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3 April 2020 No comments
Years ago, I became slightly obsessed with a few Instagram bloggers who made me discover through their feeds, the wonderful world of home schooling. Through their images, I fashioned the notion in my mind of this ideal childhood, a fantastical ideology where your children miraculously sit in front of their notebooks (the feeds I followed didn’t seem to use any technology weirdly) and start producing the most incredible works of art. Their parents would come across as inspiring facilitators of knowledge, making people like me wish, in a different life, this is what we would do in order to provide the most incredible childhood experience for our little ones. 
Little did I know that I would one day find myself in this situation. For the past two weeks with five children, all being 12 and 13 months apart, I thought I would share my views on this...
I have become so much more appreciative for the wonderful work the teachers do, what patience you need to have and the strength of character to try and not let things bring you down. I have had a mixed bag of experiences so far. Some have been very positive ones, coming from my most independent children who have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and love doing homework with the added value of learning new things through technology. As many of you may know, my children grew up in a virtually technology-free household, and I am so glad they now get to enjoy it and learn to use it wisely. My children have truly enjoyed the lessons that involved their teachers talking to them in a very interactive way and have especially loved having access to services like Zoom or House Party to work in groups with their friends and help each other. No matter where all these friends are, they all engaged in something we are all in such desperate need of - connection!
On the other hand, I have also experienced utter despair at times. Some of my children did not benefit from these interactive classes and had to sit down to do their homework the old fashioned way, working through tasks assigned for the day, with no more feedback than a document you need to upload to Google Classroom. They asked a question that I thought was fair, “why, if I don’t have my teachers with me, do I need to follow my lessons and do homework for 6 hours?” - how do you explain this to a 7 year old? I have tried everything to increase motivation. Bribes, hugs, conversations, a movie together, a game just the two of us. I have also tried with threats and sadly succumbed to screaming, which didn’t work either!


Anyway, this is not a post to ask for advice (although any is welcome) or give it. I just wanted to share my experience as a mum of five. I am seeing myself longing secretly for a well-deserved school break, having mixed feelings of guilt, shame and most of all huge appreciation for the wonderful work of teachers who spend day in and day out working to ensure our children not only learn, but have fun whilst doing it. It is, as I have found out, quite a skill. If you ask me, a very rare skill that we are all lucky to find in our inspiring teachers! This goes to my own mum too, who spent decades teaching French literature to teenagers. I used to roll my eyes when she would tell me her job can have challenging sides to it, I regret to have done this to you - I get it now!
During such an unusual time we have all begun to take note of the things we have typically taken for granted, from the healthcare system, to schools and key workers that are the backbone of our society. I believe for most, we are still in a state of shock, and now it is more important that ever to keep the connections going. With my five at home, I am reminded of what is truly important, however testing that can be at times. To the parents at home, wherever you are, I hope we can all find comfort in knowing we are not alone. To the teachers, care givers and key workers – you are doing an incredible job.


Thank you. X
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