A mum’s clever idea to transform her unused caravan into a home-school classroom for her three children during the coronavirus lockdown has taken the internet by storm.
Lorisa Talbot, 40, said it didn’t cost her a penny to create the temporary facility that she now uses for lesson time with her kids.
With the help of Freya, 9, Ryan, 6, and Harry, 5, the stay-at-home mum from Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, brought in books, games and puzzles, so the children had a base to work from.
Sharing her unique homeschooling method on Facebook, Lorisa wrote: “So with school closed for the foreseeable future, we’ve decided to turn our touring caravan into a temporary classroom.
“The kids seem pretty excited to start on Monday as apparently they don’t have to work as hard as at school.”
Lorisa decided to take her three children out of school before they formally shut when the crisis was getting worse.
“I had been following the news in Spain and Italy very closely and decided to take my children out of school a week before they officially closed as I was terrified of what was happening over there,” she said.
“I assumed the same would happen here and thought it might be for quite a long time.”
And luckily for her, she had the perfect space already to hand.
“Our caravan was sitting on the drive unused and it seemed like the perfect space to use as a temporary classroom for the children,” Lorisa said.
The mum-of-three also said her transformation was an easy way to keep all their school books and materials in one place – rather than scattered around the house and getting lost.
She added: “It was easy enough to set up and all three children enjoyed helping out to make it like a classroom.
“They chose what games and books they wanted to bring into their new classroom and we organised them into tidy boxes and folders.”
Despite having all the essentials for an authentic ‘school day experience’, Lorisa insisted the caravan is more than just a classroom and can be used as a space to learn through fun.
She said: “The children love their new ‘school’ and have really been enjoying the time we spend inside. Their real school has been providing us with a full week’s worth of work each Sunday, to which I’m very grateful, but in all honesty we’ve not managed to get through all of it.
“We do a bit of reading and writing, board games and lots of nature projects like Nick Bakers Worm World.”
Lorisa’s daily school routine includes maths, English and literacy lessons in the mornings – after an hour doing PE with Joe Wicks.
“We’ve extended lunchtimes so the children can help prepare their meals and clear away. Afternoons are more fun activities like forest school, arts and crafts, life skills and board games,” she said.
“I’m not very strict with the daily routine though and some days a bit of reading and writing is enough.”
With two young boys in the house, Lorisa said it’s important and one of their priorities to keep them both physically active.
“What we desperately need is to have the weather on our side over the next few weeks and months so we can get in the garden for our daily exercise,” she said.
Lorisa’s family lockdown isn’t just about homeschooling in the caravan – the youngest child – Harry – has even used the time to learn how to ride his bike.
But as much as the family are making the most of their unique set up, Lorisa said the children are already looking forward to getting back to real school.
“As much as the children are enjoying using the caravan they can’t wait to go back to real school and see all their friends and teachers,” she said.
As well as helping her little ones with their school work, Lorisa said her children have asked lots of questions about the NHS.
“I’ve tried to be honest with them as much as I can about coronavirus without scaring them to much. They know if we stay home and stick to the rules things will hopefully get back to normal,” she explained.
“They’ve also asked a lot of questions about the NHS and I’ve explained to them how lucky we are in this country to have our NHS.
“They now take great pride in clapping for them every Thursday evening – we even let them stay up late to do so!”
It makes a change from it’s normal use – with the caravan traditionally employed for family road trips.
“The last time we used the caravan was summer 2018 when we did a four-week road trip around France,” Lorisa said.
The family had previously holidayed in the caravan in Austria, Germany and Belgium – and were planning a trip this summer to Lake Garda via Switzerland, however Lorisa admitted the trip would be postponed due to Covid-19.
The caravan transformation also proved a big hit online – with hundreds of shares and comments from fellow parents praising the creativity.
Lorisa said: “It’s lovely that the post has had so much attention and the responses, on the whole, have been really positive.”