Covid-19: Mother of three struggles with ‘unattainable’ challenge of homeschooling

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A German mother of three has admitted “feeling incapable” of replacing teachers, who went through years of educational study, and that she’s struggling to manage her children’s learning at home.

A mother assisting her two children as they are working with online learning resources (source: spiegel.de)

Melanie Potztave is on lockdown at her home in Ludwigsfeld, trying to keep her three children entertained and supporting them with their homeschool resources.

Ever since German schools closed, her boys, aged 5, 7 and 8, have received learning materials provided by their school.

But even though almost 50 percent of all German students receive study material daily, a survey of the Nuernberg Institute of Labour Market and Employment research revealed that only 27 percent of them spend four hours or more a day with educational activities such as homework.

Melanie said it’s a real struggle: “The younger they are, the harder it is to motivate them. I don’t think they are able to understand that normal life will continue again and education will move on as well.”

The survey also showed that even though most students are lacking in motivation, 45 percent of them are worried about the lockdown having a negative impact on their grades at the same time.

Lena Hada, a high school teacher from Ulm admits it could be tricky for parents: “Children do need a routine and after weeks of change, it is extremely hard for them to get used to performing their obligations again.”

While Melanie is really enjoying spending more time with her kids, she’s still considering this a time of “unattainable challenges” since there are still other things to worry about such as grocery shopping or cleaning the house.

She is unsure if she is able to give her children the support they need in the current situation.

Parents in Germany who are struggling with similar issues at the moment can get federal information and online support.

Dr. Jane O’Connor , a Reader in Childhood Studies at Birmingham City University thinks it is important to focus on the issue but still remember positive aspects of the situation.

“In some ways, lots of children are benefitting from learning different things at home than they would have at school like baking or gardening, but it might not be possible for some to be following the set curriculum.”

The official date for German schools to open again will be announced by chancellor Angela Merkel on May 6.

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