“Keep your kids at home if you can.” That was the advice given by our government to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Okay”, I thought, I am a stay at home Mum and Mr Three had pneumonia just a few months ago, so it is probably best for me to keep them home. Five children, four who are school aged, two with special needs and all in different grades, how hard could it possibly be?
At first it was simple, we had to quarantine after coming back from overseas and had no formal schooling to do. My “home learners” and I would cook together, making cheese, butter and bread, and planting vegetables. In the afternoon we had a “movie appreciation class” with popcorn. This home-schooling gig was easy!
Then came the ‘continuity of learning packs’, actual schoolwork. “I can do this,” I thought as I woke up early enough to set everything up before logging into each child’s Google Classroom account, but while trying to navigate the website realised, this is not fun anymore.
“But I don’t do this at school,” “I finished this bit,” “I need the toilet,” “Is it recess yet?” and “he took my pencil!” played on repeat like a broken record until I decided to set up learning areas in each bedroom, away from each other. With each child demanding my undivided attention, there was not enough of me to go around.
I looked around at the end of day one and wondered how we managed and how they made so much mess. The dining table was strewn with pencils, scissors, glue sticks and paper as my husband came home to the children in their pyjamas and me with a glass of wine, almost ready to login for online dance lessons. This gig is not easy and teacher’s Christmas presents will look very different this year.
By Mel Butler