Lockdown, Home Schooling & Me
Some days I am in the office. On other days I am expected to work from home. On these days we get up as usual, get dressed. No pyjamas, please, we’ve got to feel like we mean business. Thank God for Joe Wicks, who keeps my sons occupied for 30 minutes while I have my morning meeting. Some meetings seem to go on forever. Don’t these people know that I am with my children? They can’t be going on about the same thing forever when there are other things to do.
The timetable is set, thanks to Son 2’s friend. I thought I was being hard on them until I saw her timetable, which covers every hour of the day between 8am and 4pm military-style. An adjustment of this timetable has kept us going through lockdown. To be honest, I don’t always follow it through. Sometimes, with these meetings, I miss the lunch slot and everything goes helter-skelter...Son 1 is good at reminding me of the breaks. Mom, it’s snack time. Mom, it’s lunchtime. Mom, Son 2 is meant to be doing Maths and he is NOT!
I’ve had to set some rules during lockdown –
The BLACK PHONE – when Mommy is on the BLACK PHONE come silently and WAIT. Does this rule work? Well, I still have to remind Son 3 after 17 weeks.
MY ROOM is now my OFFICE – when you come up the stairs, Come QUIETLY. Shh son, please, they might hear you. Where’s the mute button? I can’t find the mute button quick enough. Alright, Lawrence, what’s the matter? Why all this crying?
In my room I have my Ikea chair and a rickety fold away table. You know the type. Usually used for crosswords and small snacks. The one that can barely cope with the laptop. The one where I dare not put my foot on the rest or it will fall apart. I meant to throw it away, but it is a good thing I didn’t, because it is now part of my OFFICE.
My room, I realise, has become My Prison. When I take a break to check what they are all doing Son 3 will use all of his little might to push and navigate me back up the stairs and sit me down on my chair. I went down one day with my laptop to sit with them when Son 1 the Dictator reminded me that downstairs is THEIR space. This is our Home, but it has now become TERRITORY.
How the teachers manage with so many children in their classes I have no idea, but great respect to all of them. I have 3 in mine and they drive me up the wall. Son 1 likes to dictate the day, to set the pace, to be the Headteacher. Son 2 needs reassurance for every step he takes. Son 3 - like all five-year olds - just wants to do his own thing. Son 3 stays by my side for most of the day, so I had to learn to find that ‘switch off video’ button quickly.
I was in an online meeting one morning, avidly paying attention to what was being discussed, when suddenly 4 someone said, ‘OOH Hello, who is this? How lovely! Hello OOOH.’ What are these people on about? then I realise that they are talking to Son 3, who has bombed my video call. ‘Ohhh’ as Gordon says, ‘The Indignity!’
Lockdown has had its challenges for us but as Son 3 said (to my surprise), it has also been fun and allowed us to spend time together. Tuesday is the best day for me. I’ve never appreciated it like I do now. It’s my day off, and I can switch off completely and focus on the boys. Seems like we have to do catch-up because when they are at school, they don’t seem to get the work that all the other children at home are doing. It’s always catch-up. I am always playing catch-up. One day I’ll be ahead and I can rest.