Forget all the stress that comes from having MS, home-schooling has got to be the toughest challenge I have ever had to face. Yesterday, I slammed my kids’ books down on the table and screamed, “I GIVE UP!” Not my finest hour, I’ll admit, but a clear indication of just how frazzled this lockdown has left me. As I stomped up the stairs like a stroppy teenager I felt utterly defeated. Someone please tell me I am not the only one struggling!
I seem to have lost all my enthusiasm for it. Last year I could be found turning phonics into a song, humming a merry tune whilst my reluctant children wrote sentence after agonising sentence. This time around any urge to sing has disappeared entirely; I now sound the words out through lethally gritted teeth. When I asked my son why he wouldn’t just sit still and write something down he looked at me in exasperation and said, “It’s because you’re teaching me everything I already know!” We were researching facts about lemurs and Madagascar, which is apparently a complete waste of time for a child who knows all there is to know on the subject because he has “seen the film”.
I somehow get caught up in a battle of compromise whereby my son insists that he will only do this piece of work if he can forgo that piece of work and he’ll only do that piece of work if it means that he will never have to do schoolwork ever again. Every day is “the worst day ever”, despite the endless breaks to find snacks, to eat lunch, to play on the trampoline, to watch TV or play on the tablet and to eat lunch again because a 7-year-old is never full.
My daughter isn’t quite so dramatic about doing her work, especially if it involves drawing or making something, but she still has her moments of flopping over backwards and rolling around on the floor in agony when I ask her to complete the simplest bit of maths work.
My youngest doesn’t even get a look in. The staff at his nursery send over suggested daily activities to keep him occupied, and in a perfect world I would be ticking off the lot, but this isn’t a perfect world, and I am far from perfect.
Last night it was finally confirmed that schools will reopen fully in a fortnight. Music to my ears. Alas, the children didn’t agree. I put them to bed whinging and wailing; they do not want to go back to school.