Week two: it’s the Easter holidays

It’s the end of week two of homeschooling while simultaneously working. The good news it’s the Easter holidays, except…work still has to be done.

Easter eggs in the nest


We’re at the end of the second week of the homeschool/homework marathon and the good news is it’s the Easter holidays. The bad news is that it makes little difference in the current circumstances as there is still work to do and children to entertain.

I’m not sure I’ve yet mastered homeschooling. Only son is the only person who takes my teaching attempts in any way seriously and he protests loudly every single day about the literacy task set by the school, even though, to me, they sound great fun. Today’s was doing a video talking about an invented planet. He actually got a little bit into that because it involved technology, but he likes to keep things entirely factual so, despite me suggesting weird and wonderful landscapes and creatures that could inhabit his planet, he only referred to its size, temperature and other measurable facts. The thing is he is actually very good at English; he just hates it.

We went for a long walk for PE because Joe Wicks is not doing it for him and he enjoyed that. And he’s being doing a lot of art and music so I kind of feel some sense of success.

His school are also really good. The head teacher sent an empathetic email the other day: “If you are finding this adjustment as challenging as we are, particularly if you are trying to juggle supporting your children with working from home, please do not be too hard on yourselves or your children. This is a significant change for us all. Try to avoid putting too much pressure on yourselves or your children – you are all doing an excellent job.”

It ended with a message saying that she misses the kids and us. It may be PR, but it got me. I miss school A LOT.

I’m failing miserably with the teens though. Daughter three says she is doing work, but she is doing it in bed and seems to be finished suspiciously early. And then there’s daughter two. There was an email from her school with a suggested coronavirus timetable. It began with a shower at 7am and ended with bedtime at around 9.30pm. For a secondary school whose life blood is teenagers they seem to have very little concept of teen psychology or maybe whoever wrote it is a mum and did so with an ironic chuckle. I’m lucky if daughter two is up by noon. She is very into showering though and can last this for a very long time, about as long as the schedule allows for, say, English.

I’ve tried to allow the teens a lie-in till 9.30-ish, based on research saying teens function best with a later start, but by 9.30 I’m working and the trouble is you have to go in several times to wake them up and by then I’ve got engrossed in something and an hour has passed and they’ve gone back to sleep again. I’ve threatened a phone ban, but that takes away any motivation they have at all to get up. It was a towering achievement to get them to go for a walk – in the dark, naturally – at the weekend.

The thing is that it is hard to put any pressure on them, given the family circumstances. Maybe we should just be spending time together and watching films. I’m waiting for them to want to talk about their sister. I’ve told them they can talk to me any time, but I think they worry about upsetting me. They are always on hand to give me a hug when I crack. I’ve suggested counselling. They don’t want to do it. Maybe not yet, but eventually.

They just want not to think about it too much, although it haunts our every word and move. Only son asked me on our walk if there was any chance daughter one could just be injured. He has asked in various ways if there is a way that she can not be dead. Unfortunately, there is no way. Some days are easier than others. Some are really, really hard. Maybe just getting through the days and being with each other is the best thing we can do for now.

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