We’re going to be doing this until at least 8 March –and does anyone actually believe they’ll be back at school for three weeks before the Easter holidays? – so we’re accepting that things are the way they are, and the sort-of routine that has emerged around a day of homeschool is here to stay. Here’s a little insight into how the days pan out for us – a day in the life of homeschool.
6:17 – The Awakening.
I don’t know why they picked this time. I’ve asked them, and they don’t know either. But they’ve decided that 6:17 is the optimal time every morning to get up and clatter down the stairs to commence gaming. Fortnite is restricted to every other day, so on the intervening days they mix things up with Other Gaming. It’s not the magical world of imagination and creativity that I thought all children long to inhabit, but to be fair I would have done exactly the same at their age, had the tech been available.
7am – Breakfast.
Mr RLC, the pup and I arrive downstairs and begin prising the tech out of their hands for breakfast time. If it’s porridge, I make it – if it’s cereal, they have to do it themselves, so 9 times out of 10 they choose porridge. Then follows the protracted eating. For some reason, it takes both of them 45 minutes to eat a bowlful that would take the rest of us 15 minutes. I can’t fathom the cause of this either, despite extensive research.
8:15 – Dressing.
I decided at the start of this lockdown that the time would not be spent entirely in pyjamas, and that a getting-dressed routine would benefit everyone. However, I have to allow a good 15-20 minutes for that to be accomplished along with teeth cleaning, and they have to be sent upstairs separately, or it easily extends to 30 minutes.
8:45 – School Starts.
The older one has to sign a register every day, and is in competition with his class for who can be first. It’s one of the few things that motivates him to action.
Sometimes we’ll do a Joe Wicks, which is not quite as focussed as it was in the summer – mainly because the dog likes to get involved now, and pushups tend to turn into a collapsed pile of bodies on the floor.
For the older one, the morning always brings ponderous deliberation about what to tackle first. There’s a daily online Maths lesson at 10am, so that must be accommodated, and there’s probably an assembly popping up at some point too. So the hour-long, pre-recorded English lesson, Guided Reading and Maths worksheets have to be attempted in and around the screen time, which still seems to leave time for huffing, moaning and clamouring for snacks.
The little one is slightly easier. He usually finishes quickly, which provides ample opportunity for distracting his brother, and pestering to be allowed away to play.
12 – Lunchtime.
Dad joins us for lunch, and if the garden isn’t a boggy marsh (rare), I turn them out to play for a bit. Then we decide what work from the morning still needs mopping up, and someone does some reading out loud while the other one complains they can’t concentrate. If we’re lucky, the older one has time to look at the more exciting topics – his Viking long boat project and research into their way of life is especially cool.
2:45 – Emails.
The boys take photos of the work they’ve done, and we upload them to their Google Photos folders. They write emails to their teachers and send them the links. I know they’ve got to learn etc etc, but have you ever sat by and watched a seven year old type? It’s almost worse than letting them spoon cake mixture into the cases.
3:00 – Work.
The wonderful world of gaming opens up once more, so at last I’m free to get some work done. With the faithful work buddy snuggled up beside me, I can turn my brain to the other side of my life – the one that doesn’t involved divisions, fronted adverbiage and tally charts. There’s a sad absence of Vikings, but in this line of work you never know what’s going to turn up next!
Before it gets dark, some or all of us will walk the pupster, much to the disgust of any child who is forced away from his gaming.
5:00 – 7:30 – Dinner and Bed.
And then it all starts again the next day.
I’m exhausted by the end of each day, and so are the boys – which is crazy, considering none of us is even going anywhere any more. It’s mental exhaustion, and probably emotional as well – having to be a patient teacher as well as Mum, having to be an eager student as well as Son. It’s hard. But it’s not forever. This too shall pass, and I know I will miss them when they’re gone again – this little pup certainly will.