Homeschooling life in lockdown, working with Spike homeschooling alongside me
Discussions,  Family,  Home,  School

Comparing our experiences in lockdown 1 and 3 – How we’re coping with homeschooling this time round

January has been so long hasn’t it? Like I swear its lasted about 16 years. Except I still have a 5 year old, not a 21 year old, and I’m still in the probation period of my new job. Both these things are adding extra stress to my life daily.

December was so full of news about vaccines, about the end of the sh*t that was 2020. There was so much hope for the new year. But that hope hasn’t been realised yet, as we were plunged into another lockdown. This time it seems so much worse than the last too. The colder weather isn’t helping.

Our Previous homeschool experience

In lockdown 1.0 I was furloughed from the day the announcement came. I was instantly told to do no work and that my workplace would be in touch. I was annoyed about this as I felt it wasn’t a great way of dealing with anything and it continued to be a frustration of mine. Especially during the days when I’d get phone calls and messages asking about things that no-one knew about other than me. And definitely, later when I felt that it was held against me. I knew that every minute with Spike while T worked would dive me mad so I carried on with the course I was working towards while homeschooling. Doing the school work in the morning and then my course for an hour or so in the afternoon. Spike played or watched TV. We spent a lot of time outside, I blogged more, read more and racked up 160 hours on Animal Crossing because Spike enjoyed playing with me. I needed the course I was doing to keep intellectually stimulated, and found it hard to do but I managed at least 8 – 16 hours on it a week because it helped me stay busy at the right kind of level. I was mum, teacher, student and blogger. It was a balance I found just right. Though I found myself wishing I could be being ‘useful’ at work during those 16 hours I was being student.

Juggling every role in Lockdown 3.0

The juggling of Lockdown 3.0 began at 8am on Wednesday 6th January when I was trying to eat breakfast, while getting sorted myself, finding all of Spike’s school stuff and getting her dressed. Then it continued and hasn’t stopped since. While I checked my emails – of which there were many as I hadn’t been in work since Christmas Eve – I set her up with her work. It became apparent very quickly that the school were being more ‘on it’ with the learning this time. Less Youtube videos, more worksheets. More things that I needed to actually assist with. On top of that, I had a new job. A full time, WFH job that relies on me working core hours. This time round i was mum, teacher, student, blogger, full time employee and I’m trying to find time for myself too. Thats why the blogging has fallen a bit to the wayside.

Supportive colleagues

Thankfully my new team are being super supportive and whenever I apologise for the background noise I’m reminded that its absolutely understandable. I often have meetings with my closest colleague on speaker and she can hear everything else happening. Spike was pretending to be an owl during one of these. Last time I wouldn’t have been able to work as I am. Instead if they had trusted me enough to work from home, I would have been part time and working on an evening. I would have been constantly getting checked up on and I wouldn’t have been allowed to have interrupted meetings. So at least thats one upside of this lockdown.

The other learning that Spike is doing

As well as her school work, this time Spike is learning a lot about the world around her. Because I was off last time, she had my attention whenever it was required. Even when I was blogging or working on my course, she could interrupt me. Its taken some getting used to, not having that. She can’t fathom the idea that she can do her work quickly and its over, but me and daddy have to put in a full 7.5 hours, even if we do things quickly. She’s also learnt so much more about winter, the fact it gets darker sooner and that she can’t go out as much because she gets so much colder. She lived outside in the summer and during the last lockdown. We went on so many walks. Now she barely leaves the house. She’s learning to play more independently though and her reading is coming on so much because she’ll just pick up a book and read it alone if I’m working.

Feeling the pressure

During the last lockdown there was very little pressure from Spike’s teachers. There was barely any work, it was easier and there was a few weeks where we actually didn’t do any. Thats not possible this time. However one of her teachers has experienced the working from home (albeit only 3 days a week) while looking after a child fun over the last 10 days, and its helped. There has been a slower stream of work and a more balanced approach to completing it. I would have broken doing my old job in the way Im experiencing this lockdown, so the new job, with more reasonable expectations has relieved a lot a pressure too.

The differences Spike has experienced

Spike is missing her friends so much. Last time she had made friends but not built strong friendships at school. She had got closer to a number of people in Autumn term. She has a best friend at school which she didn’t before the last lockdown. Also, she has a best friend on our estate. They are still playing out together on the front. Heck, I can go and meet one friend from another household for a walk so why can’t they? But they aren’t seeing as much of each other as they used to and its making her sad. Im so glad she’s at least able to whizz up and down the path on her scooter with her!

The future and our new routine

With no end in sight between now and March 8th, things aren’t going to get much better. But Im hoping that now we’ve found a routine and we both know exactly what needs doing and when, it might be a little easier. I’m knackered and I’m going to continue to be knackered. If it gets too much I know theres people around to support me. I know that the school will understand if I need to take a few days off or only submit one piece of work during one day. I just hope that Spike isn’t too damaged by this experience. She’s clever and the homeschooling is going well, but its the social side that worries me. She’s such a timid little thing, she’ll barely speak up on her class zoom chats. But hopefully we’ll see some of her friends and be able to go for some socially distanced walks in the meantime. At least a little.