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Comment: Home schooling in the time of corona

Dominic Lipinski/PA

Comment: Home schooling in the time of corona

There was a brief period last week where the notion of home schooling appealed to me.

I sat daydreaming about what wisdom I could instil upon my two daughters, romanticising a scenario where their eager little faces would be looking up at me in awe while I taught them everything I knew about the Victorians or the Great Fire of London.

I would probably be wearing a flowing, floral dress and they would be immaculately presented with their hair in French plaits. Quite possibly we would do art lessons in the garden and write songs together on the piano, even though we don’t own a piano.

And then came the moment a couple of days later lying awake in bed at 2am, with my three-year-old beside me, kicking me and coughing into my face, when the harsh reality of home schooling suddenly hit me and I started to panic.

How on earth was I supposed to continue working while teaching an eight-year-old and a three-year-old? How was any of this a viable option?

How on earth was I supposed to teach an eight-year-old and a three-year-old? What was I supposed to teach an eight-year-old and a three-year-old? Where was I supposed to teach and eight-year-old and a three-year-old?

How on earth was I supposed to continue working while teaching an eight-year-old and a three-year-old? How was any of this a viable option?

Then came the moments where I had read so much information about Covid-19 that I couldn’t believe our schools were still operating, and the sheer frustration of Boris Johnson calling for the public to “socially distance” ourselves while our children were still going to school every day and parents were still chatting in the busy school playgrounds twice a day.

It made no sense, but despite the fact it made no sense, I couldn’t bring myself to fully advocate for blanket school closures because I still couldn’t get my head around the enormity of that outcome.

And when my social media pages became full of threads from parents who had decided to remove their children from schools and nurseries, then came the moments of guilt. Was I being too blasé allowing the government to decide what was best for my children? Why wasn’t I doing more to protect them?

Then came the official announcement from Nicola Sturgeon.

Several previous statements had failed to rule on the drastic measure to close all schools, but I knew this was going to be the time. It was unavoidable.

As I watched the utterly unbelievable, yet predictable, speech unfold on my phone while I tried to entertain my three-year-old, it was a perfect snapshot of how my life was going to look for the next few weeks or, more likely, months.

Now I am having moments of telling myself it will all be OK, combined with utter denial and anxiety about how myself, my partner and our two daughters are all going to cope being at home together 24/7.

Will the girls still be able to see friends? Doubtful. Will they be able to see their grandparents? Not for several months. It is perhaps this side of things that’s the most difficult to compute.

I’m going to try to take positives from this experience in order to keep myself sane, because I know the bulk of this extra pressure is going to fall upon my shoulders.

I’ll need to go for early morning runs for as long as we are still free to go outdoors in order to have any chance of protecting my mental health and being the rock my kids need me to be.

I’ll need to be organised and create a new routine for us all, where work and schooling fit in with fun and outdoor games.

Most of all I’ll have to build up my reserves of patience because this is the situation we are now faced with and we simply have to get on with it and we will either sink or swim.

It’s terrifying, it’s unbelievable and it’s going to be the biggest challenge our family has ever faced. But for the foreseeable future, it’s reality.

Read the most recent article written by Gemma Fraser - Talking point: The last goodbye – a socially distanced funeral

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