Well, who saw this coming a year ago? Not me.
I’ve given more than passing thought to homeschooling over the years. We all get along quite well; apart from a few small rebellions, the boys by and large do as they’re told; and then there are the very tempting term-time travel prices, which we both feel is a massive part of our boys’ education. So my reaction when the schools’ closure was announced was, first, relief that we can all be closeted away (which I really believe is so important, as soon as possible, in beating this virus), and second, excitement that I would get the opportunity to try the homeschooling I’ve always fancied (minus the holiday benefits, sadly). And even better, both schools are providing everything we will need to teach them in line with what they would be learning at school.
Today though, I was not expecting a crisis of confidence. We took the boys out the day after the announcement, and began their schooling using some of the resources we’d already been sent. We haven’t taken it too strictly – especially as we have also picked up our gorgeous new puppy, and I’ve been on high wee-wee alert pretty much all the time – but we’ve made a start. This meant that the little one wasn’t at school to bring home his own education pack that the school has prepared, so I popped down this afternoon to get it, along with his other sundries left behind.
As I was leaving, and saying goodbye and thank you to his wonderful teachers, down came the tears, completely out of the blue. I feel cheated. We chose this fabulous school for him, and now he’s missing out on a huge chunk of time at it – the outstanding education, provided by a dedicated, inspirational and kind teaching staff, of many diverse personalities and approaches; never mind the friendships and falling-outs and team working and cameraderie with his year group. He’s stuck with me, probably for the rest of this school year – one sixth of his whole time there as a schoolboy. It’s so unfair, and what I can offer feels so inadequate in comparison; so far shy of the rich quality and quantity of education that we wanted for him. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to go into the older one’s school as well, or I would have been a complete mess, for exactly the same reasons.
I’m feeling this grief for all sorts of other things we’ve lost because of this virus. The holidays, and family get-together plans; the adventures we were going to take our little pup along on; the plans I’d had for my business; the time with friends, the playdates and games nights; all whipped away, and for goodness knows how long – or if we’ll even get back to what we used to call ‘normal’ again.
I know I don’t need to put too much pressure on myself to give them the education they would have had. We’ve had some wonderful communication from both schools about that. I will do what I can, and teach them other things too – like tying their shoelaces, and creating a meal – that would not otherwise have been top of the priority list. But the thing that gives me most hope that I can get us all through, is that we are all in the same situation; and unlike days of yore, when isolation meant exactly that, nowadays it only means physically. Keeping a strong community of friends, business friends and family around is going to make all the difference as we all work through these strange times, and create a new world afterwards.
Here we go.