The reality of home schooling whilst home is also the workplace:
Before I begin, I would like to make a HUGE point of saying that I truly believe this home schooling is tough for most, if not all, of us.
Whether you are always a ‘stay at home’ parent, currently on furlough, have younger children to care for too or are a key worker, we all have a battle against ‘normal’ at the moment as this is only one perspective aimed to shed a light on the fact we are all in this together and that the struggle is real………….
Let me set the scene; I own an accountancy business, SJCM Accountancy, which is in its infancy but thankfully doing well and steadily expanding. At the moment it is just me, myself and I both in business and in home life. I have a beautiful 8 year old daughter (year 4 at school) who is being amazingly resilient as I’m sure the majority of children are but despite the ability children have to adapt well, this home schooling lark isn’t an easy battle and here I will share with you my average day of juggling:
6am: Right, I’m up, nice and early. I’ll get some work done. I sit at my screen, brew in hand (oh how I love that first brew of the day) and I begin some work, before opening Emails as we all know by now, Emails are the biggest time absorber and we shouldn’t live by our inbox right? So……….half an hours work done and ‘MUM….WHERE ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU NOT IN BED?’
6:30am: Half an hour chat about why I am not getting up at the usual 6:30am after my daughter routinely appears in my bedroom and I am not there, ok that settles that she understands I need time to work, I best have a shower and get some actual (ok loungewear but hey there has to be some perks) clothes on.
7am: ‘I need breakfast.’ Yes, child, yes you do, it is after all the most important meal of the day! Let’s eat it together then we will both be motivated for the day ahead. 😊
7:30am: ‘I need help printing the work off’. Ok, deep breaths, no worries, I’m sure I printed it all last night but let’s take a look. Ah, yes, I missed one part — with 23 pages! Do these people think I am made of ink? Never mind, right, oh, the printer is jammed. It turns out the dog had jumped up and attacked the paper stack thus making it pull the paper through crooked and, you know the rest!
8am: Work is printed! I’ll get some work done. Another half an hour spent working, fab!
8:30am: Independent maths work they say, independent when there is a parent sat 2 meters away? Pah! Never seen independent in its life, so this usually ends in me saying ‘I would do it like this’ being told ‘we have to do it like this’ so then I have to watch the clip on how to show the workings, so that I, the accountant, can teach an 8 year old maths. Ok. Fine. Done. I now know how to teach 8 year olds maths, until tomorrows subject that is.
9am: I’ll get some work done, maybe, maybe not……….‘I’ll need some snacks for the first Google classroom’ bring on chat about snacking 2 hours after breakfast and how Mildred has snacks when she logs on, refrain from shouting ‘maybe Mildred’s mother doesn’t f*cking work’ because that would be very unfair. Breathe. Make healthy snacks. May as well make coffee too, feel like I’m going to need it.
9:15am: Google Classroom. Brilliant. I’ll get some work done. ‘Right class can you all ask an adult to find you a dice.’ Erm, sorry, what, a dice, right ok I can do that………..apart from every board game that should have a dice, doesn’t have a dice. ‘My mum thinks all the dice are…………….’ I quickly press mute, don’t tell your teacher our dogs probably ate the dice that sounds mega weird!
9:30am: Child has a dice. Great. I’ll get some work done. Half an hours’ worth of tax return work done, that is enough time to collate information a client has sent over several months, in several formats, Email, phone calls, pigeon sorry I mean post etc etc.
10am: ‘I need help with my English, I am rubbish, I can’t do it.’ I come out with some crap about we don’t say can’t in this house, I say it every day who am I kidding? ‘You say it all the time Mum’. I’m kidding nobody then. I calm down my daughter after explaining the same thing the teacher has just explained on Google Classroom……go figure!? English work underway.
10:15am: ‘What is a split diagraph?’ Is ask Siri acceptable? I guess not, I best apply myself (and show off because I actually know this one, shock horror).
10:30am: Break time from school work. Wahay. I’ll get some work done. PAH HA HA HA HA we all know that break time means SNACKS!!! Jeez though seriously what is it about home schooling and snacks?
10:45am: 15 minutes of work done. Whoopy bloody do.
11am: We walk the dogs. It’s not optional really, we have two dogs, they need emptying and exercising and such like. Fresh air will help anyway, with what I’m not sure, mental health and physical health? Yes that’s it. Right, off we go.
12 Midday: Lunch? Ah yes of course, children eat lunch on week days. I don’t usually when schools are a thing but yes, ok, lunch. A tuna sandwich with a bit of butter, plenty of mayo, some cucumber cut into diamonds, an orange (peeled — obviously) and a cup of Decaf Yorkshire tea. Yes princess, anything for you princess. Whilst wondering how long it will be until Yorkshire tea turns into Lidl’s own brand due to lack of work productivity equalling lack of money (no hate on Lidl — wonderful shop, I just like Yorkshire tea).
12:15pm Eat lunch. Together. This bit is lovely, until a client calls and asks if I’ve seen the Email from 8am……….erm………..(NO!!!) ‘Yes I’ve seen it, apologies I will respond after lunch’.
12:45pm: Google classroom part two. I’ll get some work done. 45mins hours work done. I have a zoom meeting at 1:30pm.
1:30pm ‘MAMA MIA HERE WE GO AGAIN!’ ‘Sorry, what? I have a zoom meeting.’ ‘Well I am doing music lesson, I have to sing along, it’s important.’ What’s important is this client and this zoom and this roof over our………………never mind, I push the zoom call back half an hour and allow my daughter to carry on with ABBA.
2pm: Changed zoom to be a call, much safer, lets face it its snack time again I need to prepare food whilst talking. Right?
2:30pm Call done. Home schooling done. Aside from ‘build a fort indoors’ because no, just no. That. Is. Not. Happening. We all have a limit, right? Ok, I will get tomorrows 165 sheets of school work printed now to save a job later then at 3pm I’ll get some work done.
3pm: ‘Mum…………….’ Not snacks, surely not snacks? ‘Can we spend some time together?’ I point out we have been together all day but then Mum guilt kicks in as I am told that was school work not actual time together. She is right. Who is teaching who here? I play snakes and ladders then dance to little mix and take a few daft selfies, because an hour off work won’t hurt right? Wrong!
4pm: Make tea, 3 meals a day is actually quite normal I know but I mean, how do you eat 3 meals a day type people ever get anything done? Anyway, tea is made, obviously whilst catching up on missed client calls etc.
4:30pm Early tea. Eaten. I best check my Emails. At 4:30pm. Big mistake — next two hours spent dealing with Emails.
6:30pm: Spelling practice (daughter not me), bath, reading, ‘supper’, no, forget supper that’s just ridiculous after 436 snacks today. Bed time routine, normal evening goings on because amazingly despite lockdown I still don’t have a magic fairy to clean the house and do the washing. So unfair.
8:30pm: I’ll do some work, actual work, wow I am tired but this is going well, I’m catching up, wow I’ve almost done everything I would have done today and I’m smashing it on these accounts– hold on, it’s 1am, shit I have to be up in 5 hours I best go to bed.
1am: Upload afternoons work onto Google Classroom, drive, whatever portal I can find via my blurry eyes when I realise I didn’t do this earlier. My bad. Nearly (calm down I said NEARLY) upload an SA302 instead of a report about Otters. I didn’t, it’s fine, it’s all fine. Until I see the next day’s home schooling schedule accidently, more ABBA, surely not?
1:30am Goodnight home schooling, goodnight work………..
PLEASE REMEMBER, WHATEVER YOUR SITUATION, WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! ❤
6am: MAMA MIA, HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!
**Disclaimer, I love my life, I work hard and I love my job, I support my clients well and will always find a way to do my best by them as much as my daughter and her education obviously come first. When my daughter is with her Dad I have uninterrupted time working and am actually managing to maintain my sanity (and standard of work) despite the very little amounts of sleep — if all else fails, we as licensed accountants, have another accountant on hand to pick up where we left off and your accounts will always be looked after to the highest standard even if I end up sat on the kitchen floor rocking away to ABBA surrounded by snacks! Jokes — ‘I am fine. Would you like to hear an interesting fact about Otters?’