Homeschooling

‘I’m frazzled all the time’ – 16 things every homeschooling working parent will be able to relate to right now – Joanna Lovell

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

As a working mum, who is also now homeschooling two children again, I know all too well the challenges and pressures parents up and down the country are facing right now.

It’s tough, we’ve been given the job of teacher (which we didn’t apply for), but we’ve got to somehow hold down our actual jobs too – and the end isn’t in sight because we’ve not even been told how long it will go on for.

We’re stressed and we’re tired and we’re feeling much more anxious about it all this time. If you’ve found yourself homeschooling again, you will no doubt be able to relate to feeling like this:

1 You have good days and bad days

One day you’re absolutely smashing it. The maths clicks and they’re on a roll, they’re engaged with their topic work and in history they can’t wait to design their own World War 2 propaganda poster.

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But the next day it’s like they’re different children. There’s tears by 10am and it’s not just the kids who are crying.

2. You don’t know if you can do it all again

You got through 17 weeks of homeschooling last year, and were absolutely drained by the time the school holidays began. But you thought that was it, job done, and didn’t expect to be doing it again almost a year later.

We know just how hard it was last time, and that’s why we feel like we just can’t do it all over again, and this time it seems harder because it’s winter too, so we feel even more cooped up than ever before.

3. You feel frazzled all the time

This time the Department for Education (Dfe) have told schools they must set a certain amount of work per day – depending on the age of the child. It’s much more than in the first lockdown.

For some, that’s at least five hours a day, per child, plus your own eight or nine hour day – which means you’ve got a 19 hour day ahead. There’s no wonder we feel frazzled all the time.

Even if you can work from home and attempt to do it simultaneously, it’s not easy to be teaching about the roman invasion, while trying to concentrate on your own job at the same time.

Joanna Lovell is Hull Live’s Parenting Reporter.

Follow her parenting Facebook page here for all the latest family, parenting and education news and views.

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What has your experience of homeschooling been like? Email Joanna – [email protected]

4. You have no idea what a fronted adverbial is

In English everything seems so complicated and long-winded.

You’ve got to the age of 38 without really knowing what a relative clause or fronted adverbial is, but the government expects your seven year old to be able to define it, then use it in a sentence correctly.

You spend as much time googling what these things are, as you do “teaching” them. It’s painful, and I’m not convinced it’s necessary.

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5. The weeks seem so long

How is it still January? Hasn’t it been January for like 100 days already? The weeks just seem to drag and it’s like groundhog day over and over, getting up and doing the same thing, every day.

6. You always feel guilty

When you really have to work – whether it be to meet a deadline, or attend a zoom call, you really do feel guilty if the kids are left to their own devices for too long.

They burst in the room when you’re on a conference call and you tell them to “go away” – they only wanted to know how to work out the area of a shape, but at that exact moment you just don’t have the time.

But you also get work guilt – you don’t want to let your colleagues down by being the one who disappears for hours in the day to work with the kids. It’s a never ending guilt trip and sometimes you just feel like you’re failing.

7. You get frustrated when people don’t understand

Some people just don’t realise how hard it can be – they think the kids will be on live lessons, diligently doing their work, while you also work from home, sat beside them in harmony.

In reality, it’s just not like that. Many schools are not providing live lessons, so us parents really do have to “teach” and spend hours supervising and even where live lessons are provided, you still need to be on hand for any help they may need.

8. You just want to know when it will end

If we knew for sure when schools would re-open, we would at least have an end goal.

At first we had to get past the February half term, but now it looks like schools won’t reopen until after Easter, and you really are not sure how you can do this for another 11 weeks.

9. You worry your child will fall behind

Despite your best efforts, your’e not a teacher, but now your child’s education is in your hands.

You might get the work done and a tick in the box, but you’re wondering how much they have really taken in and know your efforts can’t compare to the proper lessons they receive at school.

People tell you over and over not to worry, and that they will catch up, and that everyone else is in the same boat, but how can you not worry about your own child’s education?

10. You’re worried about your children’s mental health

The first lockdown began as a bit of a novelty, and it was summer so you could get outside more and generally do more, and you thought it was a “one off”, and in the second lockdown schools were still open, so that was fine.

But in lockdown three, worries about their mental health are keeping you awake at night.

They’re spending more and more time in their bedrooms, the nights are drawn in by 4pm, and you seriously wonder what the effects of a lack of social interaction again, will have on them.

11. You wonder how everyone else is getting on

Everyone’s situation is different. You might feel a touch jealous of your critical worker friend who gets to go out to work and have her children in school, but she’s probably jealous you get to keep your children safe at home.

It’s difficult to not compare yourself with other parents, but you can’t help but think your furloughed friends have got it easier because they are able to concentrate on home-schooling without having to worry about holding down a job too, but they’re likely stressed about their 20 per cent pay cut.

As the saying goes, we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.

You’re also quite angry too with the parents you know are blatantly abusing the critical worker rule to send their children into school when they could be at home. It makes your efforts seem pointless.

12. You feel like you’re spreading yourself too thinly

You’ve done 10,000 steps by lunchtime without leaving the house because every time you sit at your desk one of your children is “stuck” or “needs help” or “wants a snack.”

You want to give your all to work, but you also want to give your all to homeschooling, so you somehow do both, the house though, is a mess.

13. You miss the school run

You never thought that would be something you would say, but you miss the routine, the morning walk to school, the quick chats with the other mums and obviously dropping your children off an coming away child-free!

14. You worry they’re spending too much time on their tech

You feel guilty they are spending too much time on their computer games

Whether it be the Nintendo Switch, PS4 or the Xbox, how much time is too “too much?”

15. You seem to be telling the kids off so much more

You’re locked down together 24/7 so it’s maybe only natural there’s going to be more arguments, but you feel like all you do is say things like “No, you have to do your school work first”, “concentrate” and “don’t be silly”, so much more than usual.

16. You’re doing the best you can

You might not agree with the way things have been done, and you may be frustrated and upset with the situation, but you step up, knowing from last time how hard it will be, and you somehow make it all happen.

Shout out to all the parents doing a fantastic job during these strange times, you deserve a medal.

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt

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