The good news first: in one week there will be vacations. Officially, two-thirds of homeschooling is done. Even if the school closures continue, there will be a break for the time being.
A first small survey among schoolchildren, teachers and parents has shown that everyone has found a certain structure for themselves. Still, there is no such thing as routine. Home schooling remains a challenge for everyone:
For the teachers who are expected to teach digitally, via e-mail, video conferencing and online platforms like mebis.
For schoolchildren who are suddenly expected to structure themselves, bravely sit alone at the table for three hours and try to cope with their tasks.
And for parents who have to motivate their children, who have to divide and explain the work assignments – maybe even sit in the home office or are particularly challenged in a so-called system critical job.
Whether homeschooling is more fun than school, we wanted to know from the elementary school students. And everyone agreed: school makes more fun. All of them miss their friends, some even their class teacher. The children all felt that they could learn something at home, but "teachers explain it better". And another thing came out: they are all looking forward to going back to school!
The teachers are also highly motivated: in addition to work assignments, they sometimes send letters to parents and even to the children, offer help and make phone calls.
A teacher who had to motivate a schoolboy in particular writes to him: "we are all at home, but we don’t have a vacation. It is also strange for all of us and we have to get used to it. No vacations, we have to work. For once, from home. So I’m still your teacher and I have to give you tasks to do. No vacations, you remember.
It is also strange for your parents at the moment. Maybe they are at home instead of at work. Maybe you have also received tasks from your boss. Or they have to work extra hard because others are sick. Besides, they have to take care of you children and help the schoolchildren study. It is a lot of new work for parents too!
Help them with that! Do your work without complaining, so you can do your job in the time it takes you to do it.If there is something you don’t understand, you are welcome to ask me. I’ll explain.
Why don’t you send me your assignments so I can check them and see how well you can learn on your own?."
That the children had understood the seriousness of the situation, writes a mother. After some initial difficulties – particularly with regard to the communication of work assignments and the daily structure – things are now going quite well.
A look at a personal whatsapp group, in which mostly mothers with elementary school children write to each other, shows everyday life untouched: photographed worksheets with lots of question marks, videos of encouragement in the event of a threatening nervous breakdown, cluttered living rooms and, time and again, sentences like "i don’t get it, "we have been sitting forever", "take out stress, do HSU in the forest", "can someone explain this to me?"
Different from the "little ones it’s the young people who can no longer expect so much help from their parents. The big issue here is digitization. After the "mebis" learning platform didn’t really work in the first few days, thomas gundermann from the COII secondary school, for example, programmed his own system using doku wiki.
"Teachers and students have access to all subjects via our website. Teachers are posting assignments online, by class and subject, for students to access.", explains principal steffi berg. Some teachers also used videoconferencing as a substitute for teaching.
Those who had already dealt with digitalization in the classroom before corona had no problem now, says steffi berg. And speaks of a forced digitization. Whether it’s teachers who have resisted it in the past or parents who have been reluctant to deal with it, everyone is now going "online caught up. Everyone has to "because there is nothing else left for us to do".
What’s certain is that the digital school has already made a huge leap forward. The experience of implementation is priceless, but so is the attitude of those who have not yet recognized the need for it.
How wonderful it is that children are looking forward to school again. School is more than just a place to learn – school is a social space, a place to meet.
In times like these, even a school becomes a place of longing again. Who could have imagined this?