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Homeworking and home schooling primary aged children

It’s just gone 6 am. I’m listening to the birds and enjoying a hot cup of tea, knowing that this moment will not last long. Along with many others, I am attempting to juggle homeworking and home schooling young children.

With so many tools and resources out there for parents, it can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t have the energy or focus to properly read and research. But, one thing I am learning to depend on is PE with Joe Wickes. My eldest was sceptical at first and wouldn’t join in, but now he’s first in line and competing to get as many reps in as he can in the 30 seconds. The regular shout outs started off as annoying, but now give a much needed sense of connectedness with children and families across the world. If you haven’t tried it, I wholly recommend. Plus, it’s a pretty good workout!

I am lucky, because my children’s primary school have provided really comprehensive homework packs from day 1. Tapestry and Class Dojo allow me to upload their work, with their teachers giving comments and feedback. The Reception teacher is uploading videos of herself going through the phonics, as she would each morning in class. It takes the pressure off me having to find learning resources myself. But, effective home schooling means ineffective working and effective working means not effectively home schooling. Whilst navigating the guilt of being torn between two incompatible tasks, I am also managing the grief and worry that goes with living through a global pandemic, that has turned all our worlds upside down and risks the lives of loved ones.

As a single parent, there’s no one to pass my children on to when I feel like this, so I manage. I manage by stepping back and allowing the children to do what they want. I’ve discovered just how much physical activity my eldest needs. He spends hours in the garden each day, kicking a football around. He’s also independently motivated and imaginative. He’s writing a play and is working with my sister (a theatre director) to bring it to life. My youngest loves to paint. As a trained artist, I am amazed that I’ve never realised this before. He can spend hours with a paintbrush and a pile of paper, creating mini masterpieces and I am completely in awe.

I am behind with their curriculum work and I am behind with my own work. At the end of the day, we collapse in a heap in front of the TV and my youngest is in bed at least an hour after his bedtime. We have a timetable we don’t stick to and we’ve had some arguments. But, we’re ok. And for now, ok is good enough.