Fears over long-term affects of lockdown home-schooling highlighted

Donegal mother expresses concern over affects of school closures on children

Moyle NS

Moyle NS in Newtowncunningham has been priased for how it is handling being closed and helping parents

A Donegal mother has raised concerns over the impact of long-term home schooling could have children.

With Level 5 restrictions to continue until March, the government has yet to announce their plan for the re-opening of schools.
Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar has said they hope to re-open on a phased basis- starting with special schools followed by primary education and then exam year.

For many parents, this means another few weeks of home-schooling their children.

Annemarie McGee has two children at Moyle National School in Newtowncunningham. She has major concerns about the impact the closure of schools is continuing to have on children.

Ms McGee said: “My five year old tends to be quite shy. She's come on amazing since she went to school. She loves the friendships that she developed.”

Her children have not been able to meet with their friends since before Christmas. She feels that one of the biggest problems to come from the current lockdown is the lack of social interaction.

She fears that if home-schooling goes on for much longer children may fall behind.

“I’ve heard quite a few time, ‘That’s not the way my teacher does it.’ It’s very different for the kids and I don’t think they are getting the same benefit as they did at school.

“The main difficulty I have is getting the kids to actually focus.

“They’re just distracted with their toys and with the house environment.”

Ms McGee also expressed concern about how the lack of a school atmosphere has already affected her children.

“I noticed when we were doing some handwriting that my seven-year-old’s is getting a bit sloppy because she’s doing it for her mammy and not for her teacher.

“If I tell her she can do a lot better, it takes a lot longer because then there’s a huff and an argument.

“Whereas I know if it was for a teacher she’d be doing it a lot better and learning it a lot better.”

She also explained how difficult it is been to establish a new routine.

The Newtown mother works on Wednesdays while the kids father works shifts throughout the week.

To work around this she does most of their home-schooling on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Ms McGee said the closure of schools may not be ideal but acknowledged the concerns if schools were to open too soon.

“We were really lucky that when they went back in September, there were no cases at all reported at the school.

“I felt like the school was handling it really well and really safely, But, with the new variant, I do think they're better with the kids off school, but, in the long term I don't know how good it's going to be for the kids,” Ms McGee said.

She praised how Moyle National School is handling the current situation.

“Teachers are always available for questions and try to make sure that neither the parents nor children are under too much pressure,” she added.

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