The Usual Suspects of… Home Schooling

Having fun, everyone?

I’ve heard a lot of people saying we’re living through a moment of history, something no one has ever experienced before, and that we should be marking it in some way. Well, I think time capsules and diaries are so last global crisis, this seasons all about the sarcasm. I haven’t done one of these in a while, but here are the usual suspects of the crazy home-schooling reality we all find ourselves in. Here’s hoping we all wake up soon.

The Over Eager Beaver

Let me start by saying that if you’ve ordered a white board, you’re in this category. An off the cuff timetable to get you through the day is one thing, but if you have split each day of the week into English, Maths, Humanities and SPAG, and the SPAG doesn’t end in ‘hetti bolognese’, you need to chill.

Same goes for you parents of toddlers who have created whole universes out of toilet rolls (kind of like showing off expensive jewellery at this point) or have ‘just thrown together’ a space exploration room complete with UV lighting, to-scale models of the solar system, and a sensory corner where you can experience what it’s like getting closer and closer to the sun. Top tip for kids: Get that same sensory experience with a lot less effort by asking me for another snack at 9.43am.

The Hashtag Blessed

Come on, have a moan. All the cool kids are doing it. No-one wants to see your inspirational memes about how Spring is happening outside your window, or how incredible it is to really just sit and spend time with your ‘little ones’ and get a chance to just ‘enjoy them’. Y’know what I would enjoy right now, Karen? An uninterrupted shower and – sorry, I have no idea what that sentence was going to say, I got interrupted by a nine year old’s monologue about the differences between northern elephant seals and southern elephant seals, including the differing gestation periods, and then I had to explain to a 4 year old what a gestation period is, plus check there were no elephant seals in her bedroom. Plus, she ate my KitKat while supervising to “see if I did a good job of checking”.

The Downright Liar

Some of these arts and crafts ideas are really very cool, and we all appreciate the sharing culture of uploading photos and ideas for things that might keep our little ones busy so we can answer an entire email in one sitting.

But let’s not pretend that anything outside of a tablet screen keeps kids busy for longer than 10 minutes, max. “My 5 and 7 year old’s went in the garden to collect twigs and then made a nature collage, it took up the whole afternoon!” – You’d better check whether there’s a hole in your fence, cause that’s a 12 minute activity if ever I heard of one. Those seriously popular masking tape ‘cities’ that everyone is making on the floor? Definitely something that would take me 90 minutes to achieve, and that the kids would give up on after 15. And the salt dough hand-prints?! I saw someone say it was a great activity for the day. Seriously lady? It’s pressing your hand into some dough. The only thing that it keeps busy is your oven, meaning you can’t even cook dinner. Actually, maybe I should try it…

The Suspiciously Quiet One

Got any friends that are just… fine? Not posting on social, a bit monosyllabic on WhatsApp, very vague when they tell you what they’re spending every hour of the day doing? I feel like they might know something that I don’t know at this point. Have they found out about a walled in part of the UK that still has an open Starbucks or some kind of private school option? (TAKE MY MONEY.)

Or maybe we should all be breaking the lockdown to go check on these guys in person. The kids could well have taken over on day 3, leaving them sobbing in an under-stocked larder, scrolling hopelessly down a Facebook feed of colour-coded whiteboard activities and kids that are definitely being bribed to practice times tables on camera.

The Outsourcer

This one is kind of like the over-achiever, but only because of their fierce organizational skills. The day starts with Joe Wicks at 9am, of course – we don’t judge that, even my motivationally challenged 9 year old is on board, ‘cause he thinks he looks like Sirius Black. But unlike the rest of us who just throw them in the garden at 9.30am, or start fighting with the printer and badly formatted worksheets, everyone’s favourite body coach is only stage one for the outsourcer.

Next up is 9.30-10.15, music group with someone called Linzie or Nicky or Tiffany. Quick snack and then straight into a guided tour of some kind of museum or a zoo where the animals are all asleep, before Jamie Oliver shows them how to whip up a healthy lunch that they eat while David Walliams reads them a story or two. By mid-afternoon, the kids are having online archery classes or learning survival skills from Bear Grills despite the fact that it’s now proven that even this generation’s global apocalypses involve Netflix and Chill. Meanwhile mum’s on the sofa eating M&Ms and watching Tiger King. Hey, do you think we could get her to give us online YouTube classes on how to home-school?

Spotted any of these parents in the wild? Add your own rare sightings in the comments, and let’s never complain about the summer ever ever again.

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