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Homeschooling: (feels like) Day 1346

15th May 2020

Anyone else feel like their days are blurring into one long relentless one? Never has the film Groundhog Day meant more to me. I have abandoned clocks. I quite literally tell the time now by ‘ah Joe Wicks – must be 9am.’ Clapping?  – must be 8pm’. (As an aside, this is also a great way of ensuring I know it is also Thursday) .

I have read A LOT online about homeschooling recently (in between articles on ‘how to yell less’!!)  and it’s so lovely how much support is on offer. However, homeschooling seems to fall into two clear pathways – there are those that do and there are those that don’t. Except me – and perhaps some of you too – I sort of fall through the cracks in the middle.

I WANT to teach my kids …. it’s just that I’m not terribly good at it. We tried the alternative – but we are not an ‘enjoying the cuddles and watching movies’ type of family.  Mainly because when we tried that it lasted less than a morning in which time my kids did headstands on the sofa and bickered over what film to watch and then proceeded to watch approximately 7.6 seconds of it before getting bored.

So that approach did not work for us. But equally the packs of learning and arts and crafts activities I’m seeing online give me FEAR. We (and by we I mean me) are not an arts and crafts family. Below is what happened when we tried Easter arts and crafts ….

Sort of looks like some sort of Instagram v reality post doesn’t it?

And so we are muddling through the swampy murky middle ground … And how does that look?

Well ….. I decided I could at least try and teach a few life skills – so, with my 3 year old I thought I could teach him to get dressed independently. Which sounded marvelous in theory, except that when your kid still isn’t dressed by 11am, it starts to feel like ‘actually, what does it matter if at age 21 he still wears his pyjamas all day? Do we REALLY need to wear both shoes?! Just how far could we push the boundaries under this new phrase ‘the new norm’?

I decided to try and set my 5 year old ‘tasks’ to complete independently to try and get him better at working alone … this culminated in a rather awkward Zoom meeting for my husband when his entire team heard me shriek ‘no I CANNOT help you spell hedgehog because I am having a wee!!!!!’ (Why is it that parents overshare? Pre kids I would never have announced that – it would have been ‘sorry I’m busy‘, or ‘I’m just popping to the ladies’ but I digress ….)

So to sum up – the middle ground is pretty hard too. I’ve never looked worse but have never been in the spotlight more. I’ve spoken to more people on Zoom than I thought I knew. And I have NO CHAT! None! Pretty much every person I have come into contact with has now seen me with no make-up, questionable hair and my PJs on. I appear to have lost all standards, which was made clear to me by my loving husband when on getting ready for a Zoom quiz the other night he said, ‘you realise people will be able to SEE you ….’!

But …… despite all of the above …. I have never in my whole life felt more LOVED. By my kids, by friends, by family, by my husband …. and in turn I have never valued them all more than I do right now. Am I enjoying this? Good Lord no. But I think my take from this for now is that so long as we can seek out the positives amongst the chaos, we will be ok. Even if that positive is as simple some days as, –  ‘it’s wine o’clock’.


Lucy Howard, May 2020

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