homeschooling

Wow, what a s***show 2020 was for the world but hope is firmly in sight with the vaccine against Covid being rolled out internationally and some countries resuming greater normality (hi Spain) offering us light in the darkness.  While collectively we have and continue to experience grief ( I personally did last year too), I’m certain we have emerged more mindful of what and whom truly matters; finding strength and resilience admist the shadows of grave trauma and loss. The covid crisis has changed us all.

…Homeschool started in earnest and somewhat prematurely here on Sunday as eager beaver Alexander couldn’t wait until Monday. He’s always been a motivated little learner, sometimes exhaustingly so bless him.

My 11-going on-15 hormonal eldest son, Oliver, is the total opposite to his sibling, and despite being a cerebral young man, moaned and moaned all of Monday about the advent of remote learning.

I empathise. I really do.

The kids miss their friends and their old pre-Covid life and routine as much as we all do but today saw a shift in his approach towards lockdown 3, and despite the school’s online learning not officially starting until tomorrow, he read and read, and even reminded me of long-forgotten physics lessons, recalling space facts that blew my mind. He also got to working on a SAT paper (I resorted to Google on some of the maths questions before rememebering I’d purchased an answer book). Why is maths so damn hard?

So what changed his attitdue?

A prep-talk last night about the pros and cons of tech with a disclaimer that I’m not trying to ruin his life by limiting tech time and simply want him to live in the moment more and spend more time harnessing his passions: reading, drawing, board games and Schitt’s Creek when he’s not studying.

I switched his mobile phone off for the day, bidding goodbye to the incessent pesky pinging notifications from his mates, and stuck to his 1 hour a day tech limit, and only once the homeschool day ended. More smiles, fewer strops and overall a happy kid and mum.

I need to keep this up so he will.

I used to teach English GCSE amongst other subjects (and later lectured at unis) but teaching 16 year olds + is a different animal to teaching a) my own kids and b)primary and middle school-aged children (we have a middle school system in Windsor) meaning homeschool can prove challenging in a myriad of ways, particularly when both boys are pulling me in different directions with their different learning and emotional needs.

Oliver is an autonomous learner yet still requires me to engage and feedback to him on his work (fair) and Xander needs me by his side for the entire learning day (again reasonable) but I’m staggering their learning so I’m available for both without blowing a casket.

I feel lucky that I can work around my children’s learning schedules (and I know from tomorrow both schools will start digital learning with some live and pre-recorded lessons which will help) but equally, I don’t want to fall back into working until 2am on my own job, as with the first lockdown. As a business owner I’ve spread my blog work out across the next few months, managing expectations.

I’ve continued to paint (my first love) and feel a renewed excited about a passion project I started in the first lockdown in the form of a screenplay I’m going to return to this week. Reading back the first draft is always scary but I’m determined to break the writer’s block that’s plagued me on this project over the past few months and will be diving back in. I promised my therapist I would work on it this week and her accountability during the first lockdown was how I finished the first draft to begin with.

Mostly though, I’m taking life one day at a time, being kinder to myself (leaning on my values as an anchor), getting as much fresh air as possible with walks with the kids by the river, and feeding my body with nutritious, low carb food that suits me.

I know I have to feel strong in order to help those kids through this next lockdown.

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