What did you do in the coronavirus lockdown, granddad? Well, one of the things I did was deliver over 30 online history lessons.

When the country was suddenly plunged into lockdown and schools had to close their doors to most of their students, I was asked if I would help out with my nine year old granddaughter by doing an online history lesson with her once a week. When a young friend heard about this, she asked if I would do the same with her son who is the same age as my granddaughter.

It was suggested that I cover Victorian history, so we looked at the life of Queen Victoria, the development of canals, railways and the factory system, and the lives of famous Victorians such as Florence Nightingale, Charles Darwin and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. But, after four weeks lockdown was still in place …

So, at the request of my granddaughter, we went back to Tudor times and we explored such monarchs as Henry VIII (and each of his six wives) and Elizabeth I, such characters as Thomas Cromwell and Francis Drake, and the importance of the Reformation. But, after another four weeks, we were still in lockdown …

So we moved on to Stuart history and discussed the English Civil War, the execution of Charles I, the Interregnum with Oliver Cromwell, and the Restoration with Charles II. But, after yet another four weeks, the kids could still not go back to school and we felt that we’d had enough of British kings and queens.

So, for the last four weeks, we’ve been talking about world history as it illuminates current events. Starting with the first humans in Africa and the earliest civilisations in the ‘lucky latitudes’, we moved on to European colonisation and the slave trade, before focusing on recent American history including the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

So, here we are: most of the lockdown restrictions have been eased, the school holidays have arrived, and we’ve ended our online history lessons.

At first, I was tasked to teach one child but then it became two. I had thought we might do three or four lessons but it turned out to be 16. Therefore, in the end, I delivered 32 lessons. Each was about one hour but, as any teacher will tell you, the preparation took twice as long. I was pleased to have YouTube as a resource because we broke up each lesson with a couple of short videos.

I don’t know how much my little friends learned from all this, but I learned a lot – and I hope that it gave the parents a bit of a break. I can’t imagine how tough it was for parents to do home schooling and my admiration for teachers is higher than ever.

One Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>