The first week of homeschooling and homeworking has finished. How did it go for you?
It’s the end of week one of the homeschooling/homeworking marathon and I’m not sure how it has gone really. The homeworking side has been great, because I’m well used to working all hours and in any setting. I have, in my time, filed stories from cupboards, cars and hills in parks and conducted conference calls from the toilets of the school disco. That bit I can cope with. It’s the homeschooling bit that I haven’t yet cracked, even though I had daughter three at home for a term a couple of years ago. It’s the combination of different ages and different curricula with a busy work period that is proving a challenge.
I therefore consider it a major achievement that only son has done daily maths – fractions and long division – and even done some English, something he railed against. I appealed to his sense of injustice and got him to write an essay on why children should be allowed more than one hour a day on the screen. He put forward a strong case.
He mentioned the poor weather in England and everyone’s proximity to screens. “This coronavirus is making it even harder to go out and not use a screen now that the government has officially announced /recommended self isolation to all and if they are really going to close all schools for two months then I think children will get a bit bored of their garden [if they’re lucky enough to have one].” It’s actually very entertaining reading your kids’ English work. I’m going to set only son lots of debate questions – just for my own entertainment. Being fourth in line, he has spent his whole life having to argue his case.
The only problem with the maths is that he does it very quickly and then you have to break from whatever you were doing to explain the next sum. That’s where ‘reading hour’ comes in handy. Thank goodness for Harry Potter. Music is also very easy as only son loves to play guitar. PE is a little less successful and seems to require parent participation, which is not good work-wise. No-one will do PE unless a parent joins in…
Then there are the teens. Daughter three starts work late, but at least does things her school has sent over. Daughter two says she is doing sociology, but I strongly suspect she is just watching K-pop videos. Today she said she was doing DT by rearranging the pictures in her room. The problem is that she doesn’t currently take DT…
I’m thinking laterally and that things like history channel could be a way forward. Writing diaries also seems to be a good way to go – it’s English and living history – although when I’ve suggested it everyone just says that there is nothing to write about because they can’t go out. “Write about your thoughts..” I say. Everyone looks at me like I am on another planet.
Zoom has come into its own to connect with work colleagues and friends and family. The trouble is keeping in touch with so many different individuals can be quite time-consuming. I’ve never been more in touch with people than now, even if only virtually. Zoom has also thrown up some truly bizarre situations. Mid-week my close family zoomed my dad’s funeral. My brother in Argentina couldn’t get online because he’s in lockdown and they’ve limited the use of video online, but everyone else was there. The funeral took place in the Bahamas and only one of my brothers was able to be there. The Bahamas is also in lockdown so there were only about five people physically at the funeral. Seeing yourself grieve is bizarre, but life nowadays is so surreal that it doesn’t seem as unusual as it perhaps should.
One day we will hopefully process all of it, all the grief and anxiety and strangeness and appreciate life and each other a bit more. When it comes to daughter one, though, it will not make any difference. On Monday we had to attend the Old Bailey to see for the first time the person who killed her. Apparently it couldn’t be done virtually. Another very difficult day in a series of difficult days. The one thing I know, though, is that I have no regrets about anything to do with daughter one and that is at least some comfort. I appreciated her every single day from the moment she was born. Nothing has changed.