I can still remember going to school to pick up my son and telling his teacher to be careful and that the virus was really spreading fast. I also said to him that I hoped school would be closed to try and stop the spread. Of course thinking that this would never happen. Less than two weeks later the whole of the U.K. went into lockdown and all schools closed. There was me worried about this virus, little did I know that home-schooling would push every limit within me and make me wish my kids were back at school more often than I would like to admit.
The first few days were more like a holiday as schools tried to move lessons online and get everything set up. Then the fun really started. The teachers started setting work and gave us a time frame of when each task needed to be completed. The work would then be uploaded for the teacher to see. The trouble was as a parent I was used to reading homework and maybe ‘lightly’ assisting my children with the odd maths question here or there. Turning into the sounding board for the whole curriculum had me thinking I needed to return to school myself!
Now with four kids at home this was no easy task. I had one child on a laptop, one on an iPad, one on a computer and one on a mobile phone. The older children were ok and could get on with it, it was the younger two that needed so much attention. All I could think of was, how did the teacher do this with 25 children. Usually, our day would start with arguments and moaning about who was getting which device. Given that every gadget in the house was now spoken for within school hours. This left me with no phone of my own meaning any slight chance of some scrolling downtime was written off until the evening making the days feel even more onerous.
My days consisted of trying to keep my children focused. I would go to help one and the other would start playing games or wonder off to eat! Not only that, on some days they would finish the work in an hour and then be bored. Even the devices would occasionally lose the will to live, with some cutting off from the WIFI or ofcourse the printer would stop working at a critical point. It was crazy and I had to constantly watch the clock to try to get things done by the time the teacher had set. As we had no instant contact with the teacher, we didn’t even know if we were doing the work properly. It was crazy and so frustrating.
I tried to use google to try to find answers but that wasn’t always helpful. All I would say was, leave that question and go to the next, only to realise we had missed nearly every question! Either school work had become really hard or I really had total memory loss of everything I had learned in school. To make matters worse I had this constant fear and guilt that we were not doing enough and the kids were falling behind.
On some days when things got really bad, with kids arguing and work not being understood I would just go to my room and literally cry my eyes out. My husband would try to help but that was even worse because he would just give up teaching altogether and just tell my kids the answers.
What can I say other than when the announcement came that school was going to open, I was literally jumping for joy. As much as I was scared by the looming virus, I had reached my breaking point! No matter what, my kids were going back to school. I now understood that I had neither the ability nor the will power to educate my own children. It left me traumatised in so many ways. I felt inadequate as a parent and kept thinking what kind of parent am I that I can’t do this! The thing is, Allah put people on different paths in life for a reason. Teaching requires the patience of a saint and the compassion of the angels, clearly two things I didn’t have.
This pandemic has changed our lives forever and taught us so many lessons. I have total respect, admiration and appreciation of just how hard teachers and the school work. Truly Allah has blessed those who work there with nerves of steel and determination. They not only educate my child but also support them physically and emotionally. I for one will never take them for granted ever again.
Was your home-schooling experience anything like mine?
Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear about it.