Friday, March 13, 2020

No School Reality Sets In

Life was easier when this was school work.
Today was only the first day of no school and Friday is quasi-weekend so it doesn't really count. Thus, writing advice about how to deal with no school perhaps seems a tad premature. However, I've something to say and a platform so I'm going to say it. And when the UK and US close their schools, maybe someone will remember this post.

Last night DD was dancing around the apartment with joy, chatting to her friends on whatsapp, and generally on a high, not believing her luck.

I admit that I was quite liking the idea of all that time at home to pursue my own interests without daily work obligations, even though I'm very happy in my jobs. But then reality set in. We will have obligations.

It very quickly became apparent that the children and students will have online work to complete. Teachers with little knowledge of how to create online courses, are suddenly required to put assignments, quizzes, lessons, presentations, etc... on various education platforms that they are not familiar with and the children/students do not know how to navigate.

Read this article.

It explains exactly what I was thinking. Not all pupils have access to computers, printers, cameras, and any other tech devices. Some of them are working on their phones which we all know is inconvenient and frustrating to say the least. Most of them are sharing a computer with other pupils, students and parents working from home. Devices go wrong or break, and then they're even more handicapped.

Some of them may be looking after younger siblings or helping to care for sick relatives. They may not have a quiet place to work or a parent who can help them. Scheduled meet-up lessons are a no-no.

Some of them may be stuck at home with people with anger issues or who are abusive. Some children's only respite is when they escape to school. Some children only get their square meals provided for them by the school. There may be emotional issues that prevent school work from getting done. Don't expect them to work to deadlines.

DD's teacher sent a beautiful graphic of a schedule where pupils could write in what they did each day against a list of eight things: morning routine, something educational, physical exercise, reading, Pesach cleaning (spring cleaning), screen time, a family activity, and evening routine.

Then there was a meal schedule where you could write in whose turn it is to help prepare the meal, cut the vegetables, lay the table, clear away and do the dishes. Good for a family of four or more, not so relevant to our family of two. We just do it all together. I just do it.

I think it's a great idea in theory but every family is different. We are not good at sticking to schedules or having routines. We are a very laid back family. We fulfill our obligations on the fly and rely heavily on the panic monster. We waste hours just hanging out. We look forward to Friday afternoon and then 'POOF!' the weekend is gone before we even did anything. We're not tech savvy and we're not crafty. Being expats, we don't even know the language that well. (DD was born here but we live an English life.)

I dread what's coming. I'm already composing my opting out letter in my head. Home schooling would be a disaster for us. Maybe we'll have to change. I always wanted to be highly disciplined and self-motivated but I know myself and unfortunately for her, DD has learned my lifestyle well.

I too have to set work for my pupils and students. I'm feeling the pressure as all heads of departments seem to think we'll have it up and running by Monday - all seven classes in my case! (Luckily one of my courses is already online).

I'm going to think about it very carefully. I intend for us to go to the park every day and use the work-out equipment, I would like us to watch a tv documentary every day on whatever takes DD's fancy, I'd like to take up the recorder again but I don't think DD will go for it. We will definitely do the spring cleaning. Maybe cook together, except that she only like pasta with cheese (no sauce), tuna salad, and sausages and chips.

I'll let you know what happens.


  1. Good luck during the next few weeks. I’m staying with my son and family in England this weekend. Next week my DIL has been told to work from home as a practice run. However, if school pupils cannot go to school how will many parents manage? Children cannot be left alone all day. It must be a nightmare for some people. If my small grandson cannot go to his nursery we will come over to help - if we can. Life is starting to get complicated. I’m so sorry for all those who have lost their jobs.

    1. I read an article today that said more people will be bankrupt at the end of this crisis than will have died. I'm going to write about this tomorrow. Families here are also freaking out about childcare - especially if you can't send kids to older grandparents. Enjoy your stay in England. xx

  2. In Toronto next week is Spring break so parents were prepared for that - but now that they've added on at least another 2 weeks it gets tough and you make a lot of valid points.
    Today they also closed all public events in the city, all libraries, museums, galleries & ski hills and publicly funded daycares and yesterday all professional sports teams shut up shop - it is going to be very tough on parents to find ways to keep the kids occupied and then - who is going to take care of them all?
    Good luck to you and DD.
    On a lighter note - did you hear what school kids did in Japan? With all schools closed lessons were being sent out via a specific app - the kids figured out that if they all gave the app only a 1 star rating then the provider would drop it - and that is exactly what happened! :-)

    1. Hahaha that's hilarious about Japan. Scary about everything else but the sooner we take drastic steps, the sooner it will be over - or not. Actually no one has a clue and the only sure thing will be the expected vaccine in about a year's time. *sigh*