Exceptional Avocado

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I’m stressed, frustrated and at my wits’ end.

Homeschooling is driving my family to breaking point, no exaggeration.

Both my husband and I run our own businesses – working from home at the breakfast bar.

As if that’s not hard enough, then add in the cooking, cleaning, tidying-up, making sure the kids are taking breaks and getting out for some fresh air, plus helping with their homework – it’s physically and mentally exhausting.

When we were told the kids would be studying from home in the first lockdown last year, there was a sense of excitement.

Steve and I were initially happy to have them home – we got an extra hour in bed rather than rushing to get the school bus, and there were no more arguments about whose turn it was to do the school pick-up.

The kids also liked the novelty of not having to go to school.

We’re very lucky to have the space where they can work, and they are both fortunate enough to have their own laptops too.

I can’t imagine what it’s been like for families with multiple children coping in tower blocks, with little or no access to technology.

I have to admit that our first experience of homeschooling wasn’t too bad. After a few teething issues, the kids got into a routine. I didn’t get involved in their school work.

I wanted them to treat this new environment the same way they would if they were at school – work out the problem yourself or ask the teachers.

But things took a turn for the worse when we got their exam results, and we realised the true impact of homeschooling.

I was pretty shocked. It was really apparent that this environment was not conducive to their learning.

Being stuck in front of a computer without your teachers, friends, proper breaks and physical activities, and trying to learn while your parents argue over why the milk wasn’t put back in the fridge adds stress and distractions, and affects mental health.

It was a stark warning that if my kids didn’t get back to their school routine as soon as possible, their learning would suffer further. But here we are, homeschooling again. And this time it’s dark, cold and miserable outside.

I’ve also had surgery on my leg, so I’m dependent on my family to help me get washed and dressed.

And I now know I can’t just leave my kids to get on with it. I have to be more engaged, which takes away from my work.

The latest announcement that the kids aren’t going back to school till March is a further kick in the teeth.

My heart sank at the news. All our kids are missing so much – friends, playtime, freedom… their very childhood.

As a normally positive person, I have really struggled. So I take my hat off to all those coping in much harder situations.

But somehow we must all take hope from the fact that the vaccine rollout is going well, infection rates are coming down, spring is on its way – and soon our little darlings will once again be their teachers’ problem.

It can’t come soon enough.