Parents struggle with homeschooling as they complain 'maths has changed' on first day of closures

Education websites crashed as so many children were using them

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iPads are getting a lot of use 
iPads are getting a lot of use  Credit: AFP

Parents have told of their struggle in teaching their children as they complain "maths has changed" since they were at school.

It was announced last week that, while shutting their doors to the general population, schools will remain open for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers - including medics, police and food delivery workers.

Across the country, homes are full of schoolchildren being taught not by their teachers, but by their parents, many of whom have not brushed up on their maths or science in decades.

Some teachers are conducting lessons via video chat services such as zoom, but many of these crashed on Monday morning because of the volume of people logging in.

Katie Evans posted a photograph of her children enjoying their "walk to school" in the park outside, but said the teaching took some getting used to .

She said: "Day one of homeschooling, so far we’ve walked the dog (our new version of the school run), had a pe lesson with The Body Coach and an art lesson outside. We have started maths too but it’s clear things are taught very differently from when I was at school!"

Another parent, John, tweeted: "Just opened my 8yr old son's home schooling pack that Sherwood Primary have sent me. I'm already struggling with the grammar work (Google to the rescue). Not sure who will be teaching who over the next few weeks! I dare not open the maths folder! Like kryptonite!"

Sky Sports commentator Gary Taphouse is teaching his children at home, but said: "Sorry but Year 7 Maths is beyond me."

Some found the humour in the situation. Nicci Howe said: "Maths teacher crying into coffee because headteacher put maths in timetable for Monday mornings. Uniform policy not enforced so kids in shirt and underwear. French teacher can’t speak French and cookery teacher has no working oven. Parents concerned."

Parents are at least getting some help with PE, and Joe Wicks, a celebrity personal trainer, conducted a special fitness class for children live on YouTube. Over 800,000 viewers logged in, with parents given a short break as their children jumped around in front of the television.

Teachers complained that the virtual teaching methods they are using have been difficult to get to grips with, and some students are not taking the lessons particularly seriously.

Maths teacher Pete Lonsdale said: "Hegarty Maths server appears to be struggling under the load and one pupil turned up in a dressing gown. I wouldn’t mind but he’s 15."

Many complained that Zoom, a video chat service many schools are using, crashed because of demand so students could not attend their virtual lessons.

Anthony Hamer-Hodges added: "Day 1 of mass homeschooling and Zoom is down. Bad gateway error 502 for everyone as soon as UK schools tried to start online teaching".

Students across the country posted screenshots of their empty browser screens as the website failed to load.

Some schools have implemented strict uniform rules for their video lessons, asking children to tidy their rooms before they go live.

One parent said: "My child's school is teaching via Zoom and all the kids have to wear their uniform during lessons. He is very aggrieved about this. As a parent, I'm right behind the school. When I was 17, I would have mightily annoyed as well."