As the alarm rings and I open my eyes, I take a deep breath and a sense of anticipation (or if I am honest, is it dread?) emerges. The laziness and calm of the Easter holidays are over and it is time to get back to home schooling. I metaphorically put on my wonder woman pants and fly downstairs full of hope that this week will be better.
The routine (used loosely) is that we start at 9am. Our first lesson is PE with Joe Wicks to get both little people moving. My daughters couldn’t be more different. Sienna, 9, is like a Duracell bunny. She has a ridiculous amount of energy from the moment she wakes to the time she goes to bed. She LOVES anything athletic and LOVES learning. Immy, 11 is the opposite. Getting her out of bed is an achievement in itself, let alone getting her involved in the Joe Wicks workout.
I discovered very quickly that I had to lower my own expectations of my ability to suddenly become a fully fledged teacher. I began the first week of home schooling with such vigour and enthusiasm but by week two it was all too much.
I am sure you will agree that we all want to best for our kids, and if that means printing epic amounts of resources and finding the most unusual and interesting work to cover then we will. Let me share something with you; this is NOT a realistic way of working, especially if you are also trying to work remotely.
So what have I learnt from the juggle of home schooling and remote working?
It is ok to walk away from ‘the classroom’ and say ‘I’m taking a time out’
It is ok to finish ‘school’ an hour early and put the telly on
It is ok to feel like you have achieved absolutely nothing in the time available to you
It is ok to tell the kids they will have to wait as you have a deadline for work and that must take priority at this moment in time
It is ok to remain in your workout clothes all day because you haven’t had time, or you can’t be bothered to get changed
It is ok that today is the day you choose to be kind to yourself and accept that although the wonder woman pants look great on you, the reality of actually being wonder woman is just another way of putting pressure on yourself.
A note from the headteacher of my youngest daughters’ school:
Our children are worried and anxious about how their lives have changed and they feel our tension too. What the children need right now is to feel loved and comforted. That might mean that the schedule of learning goes out of the window for a while. It is Ok if this happens. Play in the garden, bake cookies, paint pictures, play board games, watch movies, start a new book and read it together, snuggle under blankets and do nothing. This is all learning too and will support their mental wellbeing much more than you could imagine.
So you see it is ok. It is ok to do what you need to do today to keep you and your little people safe, both physically and mentally.