Hannah's 8yo threw up this morning while she was loading the car, so we tried something new today: co-schooling via Skype.
After a few technical glitches, we agreed to connect at 12:30 and try to run through some of the older boys' schoolwork. I moved one of my cool school desks in front of the computer desk to provide more table room.
First Hannah went over the grammar lesson with our 10- and 11-y-olds.
Then I taught Latin. And finally we set the boys to working together over the connection on their history.
Overall, I'd say it worked better than we thought it would. But we learned a few things.
(1) It really required supervision from both of us on both ends. Which meant that it was kind of tough to keep tabs on what the other kids were doing at the same time as the 10 and 11 year old boys were having their learning time. Even while Hannah was teaching, my 4yo and 7yo were wandering around feral, and eventually I set them up with Netflix to keep them out of my hair.
(2) Which means that the best strategy on a Skype-co-schooling day is probably to do all the non-Skype schoolwork in the morning, and then settle down for a Skype session after lunch, without trying to do anything else at the same time.
(3) And we have to have all the necessary papers printed out ahead of time and right at the ready. Fortunately we both pulled it together well enough to email each other copies of all the stuff we'd be using.
(4) It takes a few minutes for the silly faces and noises to stop.
(5) Little girls can also practice their nursery-rhyme recitations over Skype, by "challenging" each other to recite their memorized poems.
(6) But we're not sure this would work at all with seven- and eight-year-old boys. Based solely on the amount of silly faces and jumping and such that occurred every time one entered the frame.
(7) It was even possible for us to sit down "together" and have our ritual of tea-and-how-did-the-teaching-go-for-you at the end. Nice!
I think we'll try it again on Thursday, as I fully expect Hannah's family to have several days of The Christmas Bug That Swept The Nation. This time, I'll be more ready for the disruption.
ADDED: I have posted on "missed days" of co-schooling before -- here is a long list of different things to do when one family has to cancel.