In Lockdown 1.0 – very little home schooling was done in this house. Instead we spent a lot of time on screens, but also built a holiday park in the back yard, added a water park a month later and re enacted come dine with me. My argument on avoiding home school was that the kids would catch up; and this was a one off experience.
So maybe I got the last bit wrong…
Fast forward to the cold, dark,drudgery that is lockdown 3.0; garden parties are ice baths, walks are getting a bit over rated and once again; home schooling is not something I am partaking in for my primary school aged daughter.
And I am not hiding it or making excuses.
Most conversations I have with other parents in the same boat are either; “its going really well,”; or “this is hell.”
Very little middle ground.
For us, it isn’t so much hell, as more utterly infeasible. I work full time, I work for myself, in a limited company and the support for individuals like me in the way of furlough or grants has not been forthcoming. Also, given the choice – I would always rather work.
However, watching my daughters eyes well up when I explain that work comes before school is an experience I don’t ever need to repeat; and I deeply resent being put in that position.
Which is why I have removed myself from it.
As schools have closed, I have watched my deeply academic and social 10 year old become argumentative and withdrawn. The removal of her constant has left her confused, angry and emotional. Coupled with having the worse teacher in the world who also has a couple of other full-time jobs means that at times, I have been seriously worried about my youngest,
So, we have called time on it.
A call to school, an explanation of our circumstances and an agreement that she will only do online lessons if she likes.
School have been amazing.
The pressure is off.
In the last 4 days, I have seen my girl come back. We have watched Harry Potter instead of both mindlessly trying to work out number lines. She has drawn, painted and created pieces of art that I think should be hung in the Tate Gallery. She has read, made me lunch as I work, baked instead of cried, and laughed more in joy than shouted in anger.
She is 10, and living in a pandemic that is eating away at all our mental well being. I am happy to help her catch up if needed, but for now just to be a kid and take some time off.
I see other single parents, working, schooling and breaking themselves. I also see others absolutely nailing it.
I am now in neither category, but we are both smiling.
That is enough for me.