There is no doubt that the current pandemic we are all facing has endless challenges, one of which is that many families around the world are now supporting or overseeing their children’s education from home. According to UNESCO, as of May 21st 2020, 68.5% of the world’s enrolled learners are affected by country-wide school closures, with localised closures of education institutes impacting millions more pupils. This has left parents and carers in an unprecedented situation, where they are now responsible for their children’s learning in a way they never have been before.

In light of this, education and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson has invited people all over the world to share their experiences of learning from home. In April, Sir Ken released a global call out for families’ stories, questions, concerns and insights, that will be used to  bring us all together, share what has been working well when it comes to supporting our children’s education at home, and to connect families with helpful resources which might make things a little easier.

One of the first parents Sir Ken spoke with as part of this project was Sonia from Monterrey, Mexico. Thirty-seven and a half million learners in Mexico have had their education affected by Covid-19 (UNESCO, 2020). Four of these learners are Sonia’s children, aged 6, 9, 11 and 13. Sonia is an architect, and at the time she and Sir Ken spoke her company was working on a project which required her to go out to go to work, although she has also been working from home.

"I'll do it all!"

Sonia shared that the start of lockdown was challenging – her children struggled to shift their understanding to the idea that school has not permanently ended, they also were resistant at first to the idea that their mother was now their teacher, and found it difficult to organise the day. Sonia started off with a rigid schedule, thinking that would enable her to continue running the house and would encourage her children to focus on their learning, but found this approach did not work for them. Once Sonia learned about the Montessori school’s approach to scheduling the day and adopted it, they found it all immediately became easier. The flexibility has helped her children choose how they structure their day, and has allowed Sonia more freedom to carry on with her own work as well as making sure her children take responsibility for their own learning.

Sonia has found herself increasingly keen to be more active in her children’s learning throughout this time, changing or adding to the activities suggested by the school to increase opportunities for art and natural curiosity. She has been encouraging her kids to take on the teacher role; her eldest son, for example, has been helping her youngest daughter with maths, increasing his confidence in his own abilities. This is a hugely empowering way of reinforcing a young person’s learning. Her youngest (who is in pre-school) also became a ‘YouTuber,’ and taught the rest of the family what she had been learning through pretend video tutorials. Through tailoring their education to how each of her children learn best, Sonia has found that they are “losing their fear to be wrong, and it’s so liberating.”

"We have all the timeand it is so good!"

Involving her children with the house has also been integral. “The first week I was like “I’ll do it all!” and then that didn’t work, of course… I mean I could, but it would not be healthy for anyone in this house,” she said, “so the involvement has been key for us.” This has also opened countless learning opportunities outside of the school curriculum, for example, her children have been helping her cook, which is not traditionally a part of their schooling, and they all have chores they must do.

This increased time at home allows for new and exciting ways of discovering and learning in a less formal setting. Sonia added that her family are spending much more quality time together which is wonderful; not only have they been cooking, they have time for board games and to be outside. Her living room is now the ‘headquarters’ of the family home. “The rush has gone,” she says “we have all the time and it is so good.’

To hear the full interview between Sir Ken and Sonia, please click here, and to find out more about our project and for some helpful resources, please review our Learning from Home section.