2021 is here! Hmmm…

So, how has your year started? If, like me, you’re in the UK and have kids it’s probably started off being pretty busy. Who loves homeschooling?

Honestly, I am grateful for the extra time I’m getting to spend with my kids but I really wish I wasn’t having to force this new routine on them. Home is supposed to be where you chill out and have fun. But now, it’s where absolutely everything happens because we’re not allowed out (for very good reason) and when we do go out, say to walk the dog, the kids have forgotten how to act and you spend your time shouting about crossing the road safely and reminding them they don’t have to scream and run as fast as a cheetah just because they are outdoors. I feel infinitely sorry for children right now. Almost as sorry as I feel for their parents. Lockdown is hard on everyone but homeschooling seems to be pushing lots of people to breaking point.

Here’s my take on it as a parent. I hope it helps some people.

  1. Do what you can to help your child get set up for the learning each day and make sure they know what they have to do.
  2. Encourage your child to do as much as they can by themselves.
  3. Help your child when they are struggling and explain that there is nothing wrong with struggling, it shows they are trying.
  4. When you or your child gets overwhelmed, have a break.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until complete (If you have young children, maybe just repeat until the next meltdown and then call it quits).
  6. Praise your child for trying their best.
  7. Enjoy the rest of your day together.

There will be times when you may decide to have a day off because you know that you and your child’s mental wellbeing is at risk so you take a holiday. This doesn’t mean the learning stops, it just changes. These are the days where you practise life skills, whether this be cooking and cleaning or learning patience and waiting your turn by playing a board game.

I have been homeschooling for 2 weeks and have found most days a struggle. Being unwell has made supporting my eldest with her school work and entertaining the toddler very difficult. I am lucky because the teacher was very understanding when I told her I have an ongoing illness but we would do our best. However, having barely been able to get off the couch on Wednesday and Thursday this week but still trying to complete as many tasks as we could, I decided that Friday was an unofficial holiday. I can’t tell you the difference this made to both me and my kids! Honestly, my house was like a different place today. And they helped with the housework! I can’t wait to spend the weekend with them and just have fun.

What I’m trying to say, but not doing a particularly great job of it, is this. 2021 hasn’t got off to the best start. However, we can make it work for us. If we all do our best and help each other as much as we can (a phone call or text to check in with a friend or loved one) we can do this. You don’t have to do everything. Some days it’s perfectly acceptable to do nothing! These are shitty times but we can make them a little better by being nice to ourselves and recognising and acknowledging how hard we are trying and everything we are doing.

We’ve got this! Take care and stay safe.

If the struggle becomes too much please speak to someone and ask for help.

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