Well here we are again! Right in the thick of yet another national lockdown and another bout of home learning for us and the kids!! Even though we probably saw it coming and, yes, we have done it all before, it doesn't make it any less challenging to be battling through it once again! I find myself once more being tested to the very edges of my abilities (and patience!) so I thought I would try to draw on my experiences from last year and come up with a little set of commandments to help get myself through! So here goes, my top commandments for surviving lockdown school:
1. I will set my daily expectations ridiculously low!
I am someone who is an eternal optimist and is always wildly over-ambitious with what I think I can get done in any one day so during this current lockdown I am forcing myself to reign that in as it can only lead to disappointment! These are crazy times and we are being pulled in many different directions so if I set my expectation low then I might just have a hope of achieving something! And when I saw low I really do mean low! If I've got dressed out of my PJs, each child has learned one thing and we've all eaten then I'm taking that day as a win!
2. I am most definitely not a teacher so a teacher I will not attempt to be!
Whilst I am in awe of teachers and the incredible job that they do, I think our first stint of lockdown school last year taught me that I'm most likely not personally suited to the teaching profession!! Therefore I try to remember that my role during this lockdown is to be here for my children to help them to emotionally cope during this time, to support them as they attempt their school tasks and to tell them it's ok when they struggle! For me personally, this time is not an opportunity to boot camp the kids into broadening their skills by setting them extra activities or insisting that we all learn a new foreign language or advanced algebra, it is time to muddle through together, just doing what we can to get to the other side!
3. I will not compare myself to others!
One thing I know for sure is that everyone's individual situations are wildly different from each other and no one lockdown experience is the same for any one person so I will not allow myself to be affected by people sharing insta-worthy 'homeschool' set ups on their social feeds when we are all crowded round a messy kitchen table being disturbed by the cat walking over the computer or arguing over the WiFi! I will try to smile fondly as I see yet another image of children 'making memories' out in the woods when my own children have not got dressed out of their PJs in 4 days and I will appropriately ooh and aah when little Tommy in my son's class shows us his intricately built and fully working scale model of the entire London underground network that he has built with his Mummy that morning in-between morning and afternoon registration when the only achievement I can attribute to my own child is that he has managed to brush his teeth!
Yes, believe me, there are times when I want to scream as these seemingly over-achieving parents to get a grip but the reason I stop myself is because we never know someone's full story when we see these snapshots! The insta-worthy homeschool set up may be masking a parent who is so riddled with anxiety that creating a calm oasis to work from is the only way she can manage to get out of bed each day. Perhaps those families 'making memories' in the woods are just so grateful to be out of the house because their children have spent an entire morning fighting with each other and refusing to do any school work so this is the first peace the family have had all day and maybe little Tommy with his working model of the London underground was up half the night in tears missing his friends and school so much and declared that this was the only thing that he wanted to do the next day. So his Mum reluctantly agreed (anything to see the smile back on his face and knowing full well that she would then have to work well into the night for the next few days on her own work to make up for the time she would need to take out to build said model with her son!)
Who knows? Certainly not me, so I won't compare and I will try with every fibre of my being not to judge either!
4. Normal screen-time rules will temporarily not apply!
Screens get a bad press a lot of the time but I try to remember how incredibly lucky our kids are to have these diversions at the fingertips and how now more than ever, we truly appreciate them! If watching some inane YouTuber keeps my kids happy and entertained for a while so I can get some work done or just have a little peace and quiet then I am most definitely not going to deny that! If my daughter can while away some of these endless lockdown hours by playing Roblox with her school friends then I say go for it! These are crazy times and I feel that anything that keeps us all sane is a necessity in my book!
5. I will keep the cupboard stocked full of snacks!
Oh I had forgotten just how much food two small people can get through whilst permanently stuck at home! It is immense and, let's face it, a bored and hungry child is like the worst possible combination so I will keep that cupboard full of treats - the most unhealthy, crappy snacks that I can get hold of and I refuse to feel guilty about it! Allowing my kids a few weeks of grazing on party rings and hula hoops is fine by me if it allows them a little joy in these somewhat miserable times!
So there you have it, my own personal lockdown commandments, if any of this resonated with you guys in any way and this little rant helped even a tiny bit then I am so happy to share this with you! Let's all try to remember to be kind to each other during these crazy times and more importantly, to be kind to ourselves!
P.S Don't forget to keep the wine rack stocked too! I hereby declare dry January completely null and void this year!!