No, my kids won't be following their school's homeschooling plan. This is why

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied 

I have the best of intentions, really I do.

It's not that I don't care about my children's education, but I can tell you right now that there is a zero per cent chance I will be following my kids' school's homeschooling plan as it's written.

I know we're all new to this, and everyone is doing the best they can. I have the utmost respect for my children's school and teachers. The last thing I want to do is give them the middle finger – it's just that balancing parenting with work right now is a challenge a lot of us are battling with – and sometimes losing.

It all started for me on Monday when the first batch of lesson plans hit my inbox: a week's worth of lessons for my grade 4 son. Fifteen minutes later, the equivalent lessons for my grade 2 daughter also hit my inbox. It was overwhelming. 

Each plan had four or five areas of focus for the day, with links to various websites where they can either do online work or we can print off worksheets for them to complete.

I randomly looked at one exercise, which asked my grade 4 son to read a short story and figure out what the moral was, and then to write his own story with that same moral at its core.

I can categorically tell you there is no way that is happening without my prompting and involvement. Nine and seven-year-olds are not known for their ability or interest in working independently. 

Each of the children had to use the same websites to access their lesson plans, but of course we had to log in and out of the website for each child, then navigate our way around various  pages to find what we needed for each lesson. I'm no tech idiot, but this was not a user-friendly website.

All of it is probably work-outable (I'm making that a word), but the problem was really that I had to do this for both of my children, plus supervise my teenager, who mercifully was working through his own subjects (hopefully, but how do you know if you don't check?), and that I'm one of the lucky ones who actually had a full day's work to do. 

My days are full. I don't have time to work through lessons with my kids - and I certainly don't have capacity to give them my computer to work from. 

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All while we're all working our way through a whole lot of emotions about isolation and our family's health. 

Knowing my work would start at 8am that day, and wanting to keep my children engaged and busy so they wouldn't stand behind me for seven hours asking what they could eat, I had already planned a schedule for the day.

It involved things like writing a short story on an agreed theme and then reading their stories aloud to me while I drank tea, choosing from some maths worksheets I'd downloaded from a website I found online, doing some word searches, and practising their chosen sports and music. 

My work day had already started at 8am, and I didn't have the capacity to put it on hold to learn new systems and let my children complete exercises on my computer. So we did the best we could.

It's only a few days until the holidays start where we are, so we're getting through the best we can for now. I appreciate the curriculum our hard-working teachers have put together but I suspect the main purpose of that content was to keep kids busy for a week and give us all something to do.

When we all come back from the holidays and settle into the idea that the entire next term could be delivered online, we might all have to learn new systems and adjust our lifestyles.

It's a small price to pay for the safety of our community, of course, but for busy parents juggling a world of uncertainty and trying to keep on top of school work for multiple kids, this week was never going to happen. 

My report card for this term might read: could do well if only she had the time and resources to apply herself. Hopefully I'll do better next term.