eLearning in Challenging Times: What children missed most

by Tharindu Liyanagunawardena and Shirley Williams (Professor Emerita, University of Reading)

When the UK went into a lockdown in March to reduce the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, schools were closed for most children. During this period most families had to homeschool their children and we have been collecting family experiences of homeschooling in the UK. If you have not yet taken part, there is still time to respond to the anonymous survey eLearning in Challenging Times – UK.

This blog post is based on the responses of some 200 UK families who shared their experiences of homeschooling their children during the first lockdown period to one of the survey questions:

What did your child(ren) miss most during the lockdown? If you have more than one child, please use the space to give us information.

This was a free text question and not all participants provided response to the question. While some gave one thing that their child(ren) missed others have given responses suggesting more things missed by their child(ren).

Children missed lots during lockdown, but most of all they missed their friends

Child feeling sad

The responses varied from ‘Nothing’ to many thing that the child(ren) have missed.

  • 163 (84%) indicated their children missed the social aspects, indeed 138 (72%) specifically indicated they missed their “friends”.
  • 81 (42%) indicated they missed the educational nature of school – including the structure of the day, teachers and subjects.
  • 14 (7%) missed physical activities such as football, swimming and other sports.
  • 15 (8%) missed other things, including extra curricula activities like Scouts, their wider family, church and birthday parties.
  • A small group 4 (2%) indicated their children missed nothing; in one case specifically stating the children would prefer to carry on at home.

Specific comments about only children not having any playmates and in one case becoming withdrawn as time went on was very concerning.

We are still working on the data and we believe as we get more responses it will develop a fuller picture of the lockdown homeschooling.

If you have not yet given your experience, there is still time to respond to the anonymous survey eLearning in Challenging Times – UK

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