Learning in Lockdown

A Parent’s Guide to Helping Young Children Thrive During Campus Closure

Non-Fiction - Parenting
72 Pages
Reviewed on 03/14/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Learning in Lockdown by Dylan Meikle is a non-fiction guide for parents and guardians who have had to pick up the baton during the race to curb the global COVID-19 pandemic, working with the children in their home who are no longer able to safely return to the classroom. Homeschooling is not new but for many American households, it was neither expected nor desired. It is difficult on adults and children alike, tossing them into unfamiliar territory with mixed results in both the learning aspect and the emotional stress that added fuel to the fire. In the course of over a dozen distinct and interconnected chapters, Meikle provides practical advice, encouragement, the different emotional phases as a “schoolwork manager”, structure, strategy, and self care, among many other things.

Dylan Meikle presents a well-timed and thoroughly well-compiled manual for the home education part of sheltering in place in Learning in Lockdown. I found the narrative to be extremely relatable and Meikle makes himself easy to connect with almost immediately. I haven't met a single adult wading through the new learn from home model who doesn't have heaps of frustration, compounded by unimaginable exhaustion. The most refreshing part to me was on self-care, something I have started focusing on as I let the things I truly cannot control go. Of particular note and an area I have struggled in is knowing when enough is enough. We all know how difficult it is to get a child to finally hunker down and work, and when it does happen and there is progress we are tempted to keep it going. Meikle tells us not to. Don't push burnout. Move away on a high note. I feel like I need to print this section out and tape it to my mirror. Very highly recommended.

Marie-Hélène Fasquel

Learning in Lockdown by Dylan Meikle is a non-fiction handbook designed primarily for parents to help them tackle the closure of schools and their children’s teaching positively and serenely. It is comprehensive and includes the viewpoint of a qualified classroom teacher and school counselor (the author), and of a writer and parenting columnist who offers parent feedback, which makes the guide lively and engaging. The various types of information make it a great read: text written from experience and research in the fields of positive psychology, child psychology, and so much more, invaluable tips, an extremely humane preface, and guided pauses for reflection with personal questions readers can ponder to grow as parents/educators/people in lockdown.

I particularly enjoyed reading this guide as a parent and teacher. Indeed Learning in Lockdown by Dylan Meikle provides the perfect read for overwhelmed parents, for all parents who want to reach out for support (excellent advice!), to help their kids succeed without putting too much pressure on them, who need to be reminded that each student is unique and that everything they go through is absolutely normal and they should take care of themselves first and foremost. One of my favorite chapters was Give yourself Permission of home learning to be just OK and fostering a positive home learning environment, as well as the useful list of key resources. A book to ponder, to treasure, to share, and give to our loved ones!

Mamta Madhavan

Learning in Lockdown by Dylan Meikle is an insightful and thought-provoking book that tackles a relevant topic, that of how young children are coping with learning in lockdown after campus closure. This is a handy manual that gives reassurance to all those who are supporting their children at home during the lockdown and offers additional tools, tips, and strategies for families, parents, and their children to succeed. There are also insights for parents on how to cope with the disruption of school closure. There are inputs from working parents and educating professionals who have gone through campus closure experiences with their young children and have helped their community deal with it.

Reading the book will help many parents out there to deal with their underlying fears and worries about the campuses being shut and having their children at home. It will also teach parents how to keep their children motivated, how to design a good learning plan at home so that their child can become independent and successful, which routines to make or break during the lockdown, and how to keep children motivated and positive during these phases. Dylan Meikle's approach to the topic is methodical and extensive and makes it easy for readers to understand and apply.

Learning in Lockdown is a good tool for parents to do some self-analysis and reflection, and also for teachers to adjust their lessons and modify instructions so that their connection with students is authentic. It is a perfect book to read during these difficult times when parents, tutors, and children are trying to overcome the perils and making their learning targets and schedules work right.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“I’ve been shocked, angry, frightened, and stressed since school closed. I’ve been dealing with enormous changes in my work, and all the while trying hard to be a ‘good’ mum to our kids.” Sound familiar? With the raging pandemic forcing lockdowns and, more specifically, school closures, parents have had to take on the additional roles of teacher, class monitor, referee, and whatever else has been thrown their way in an attempt to keep the educational process going forward for their children. It’s not an easy task. Add to the stress parents having to do their own work from home, having to ensure reliable and available technology for everyone living in the household (working or learning) and the emotional impact is taking its toll.

Well, here’s a guide to help de-stress (at least to some extent) a very stressful new lifestyle. Dylan Meikle’s handbook, Learning in Lockdown: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Young Children Thrive During Campus Closure, is a well presented, step-by-step approach to dealing with issues never before considered. Significant issues addressed include: helping your child adapt to remote learning, motivating your child to do the school work and keep the learning process moving forward, maintaining a workable routine within the household, designing a helpful, learning-at-home workspace and so much more. Each issue addressed is accompanied by a ‘Reflection’ sidebar, some with comments and testimonials from stressed and struggling parents. The author has provided a well-thought-out approach to this whole new world of education. A valuable resource in a difficult time.

Edith Wairimu

Learning in Lockdown: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Young Children Thrive During Campus Closure by Dylan Meikle is a timely, actionable guide about navigating distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. The first part leads with an encouraging message: whatever one’s reaction has been to school closures, their response is correct. Like the book explains, parents’ reactions to school closures have been different. While some easily adapted, others have found it overwhelming. The work further explains how parents should collaborate with the child’s school and familiarize themselves with distance learning technological tools beforehand. It explores other significant topics including the process of beginning and settling into distance learning, adopting routines, the difference between perfect learning and a child’s best, how to motivate a child at home, how to create a positive home environment, self-care, recognizing lessons learned during school closures, and parenting as a continuous role.

As a parenting columnist and parent who has experienced a school closure with her family, Kate Meikle - a featured contributor in Learning in Lockdown - has firsthand experience which she shares in relatable anecdotes contained in the work. Throughout, Dylan Meikle’s experience as a school counselor, qualified classroom teacher, and educational consultant shows as each topic is brief and contains relevant, useful information that can be actualized. I loved that the guide acknowledges the challenges that different parents may face during school closures. It does not aim for perfection but encourages creating the best learning environment that fosters learning. It also explores teachers’ roles during the process and also recognizes the challenges they are facing too. A useful set of resources is also included such as tips and reflection questions. Learning in Lockdown by Dylan Meikle is a concise handbook for helping parents maneuver distance learning during school closures.