The unfair expectations of home schooling

The earliest possible date for schools to reopen has been confirmed as March 8th. This date, to many parents, feels like it is a lifetime away. And none of us have any realistic belief that schools will open on that date, at all.

What passes for home schooling, yesterday

“Home Schooling” used to mean something very specific; the calm and deliberate choice to educate one’s compliant children in the home environment, forever, instead of sending them to school. It was planned, it was measured, it was intentional and it was a lifestyle choice for parents. There were timetables, cirriculums, subjects, proper teaching materials and exams at the end of it. There were conditions attached, and it was a choice made consciously by parents for a whole variety of reasons.

That was before Covid. Now, in our new nightmare world, “Home Schooling” is a title which has been hijacked to mean something very different. Now it means clinging to sanity for as many hours as you can muster without booze, drugs, or screaming into a cushion. That’s because we are not teachers, we are not qualified to teach, our homes are homes and not schools, and we are being expected to fill in for somebody else’s job, without training or qualifications. It is hard for the kids as well as the parents to accept any of it.

The very fact we are calling it Home Schooling is an insult to what we used to call Home Schooling. What parents up and down the country are now actually doing is better referred to as “Emergency Education”. No, actually, scrap that. It’s not education. It’s “Emergency Ways Of Coping Quite Badly With Schools Not Being Open”.

Emergency Ways Of Coping Quite Badly With Schools Not Being Open

Parents, if you are struggling, give yourself a break. Stop trying to be something you are not. This isn’t your fault, you’re not a teacher. Keep your children happy and healthy. Empower yourself to put down the text books and instead do something fun. Look after yourself too. Find reasons to smile and laugh in this time at home with your children. Make it precious.

If you enjoy the so called home schooling that’s great, but if it’s dragging you down mentally, then reduce it or stop. Take a break. You kids will be fine. This isn’t worth it.

Look after yourself

You are coping with isolation, anxiety and fear. Year Five Maths can wait.

It’s fair to say that some of us are better equipped than others to deal with the pressures of home schooling. For many it is simply exhaustion, day after day after day. It’s a wonder we find the time to balance our daily lives with this extraordinary new demand upon us, given the lack of help or resources at our disposal.

Exhausted by home schooling
Exhausting for some more than others

Seeing children learn is rewarding, but seeing them laugh is a tonic.

Speaking of tonic….?

Stay safe and stay sane.

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