We’re only two days into the latest Covid-induced lockdown and I’m already exhausted by homeschooling. On the face of it, things should be pretty straightforward. We’ve been through it all before and, as I’m currently between jobs, I’m able to do more to help too.
But there are a couple of key differences. First of all, youngest was at nursery first time so she didn’t have rigid lesson plans to follow.
Secondly, during the last school closure, we didn’t have any video call lessons. The older two had plenty of work to get on with and regular contact with their teachers as well as the odd Zoom chat organised by parents, but no all-class time.
Cut to the present and things are very different. As the picture above shows, all three kids have three video calls three times a day. And, yes, they’re all at the same time.
This could be an exam question, thinking about it.
Tom has three children. They each have three video calls, three times a day. How stressed is Tom?
I could add another, actually, as each child is supposed to be supervised by an adult.
Tom and Kate have three children simultaneously in virtual lessons. Divide two into three without causing any lasting damage.
Anyway, today was the first day of this new arrangement. I was worried that, without school runs, we wouldn’t be getting enough exercise. Luckily, there’s no problem here as this heatmap shows.
That’s totally not our house, by the way. Ours is built on a slope so has split levels and three staircases. But, frankly, I couldn’t be arsed to colour in more floors than one.
You get the idea though – my average position today was somewhere on the stairs.
Of course, video calls rely on technology and that’s where the fun really kicked in. We have two computers that work – my blogging one and its just-about-functional predecessor – as well as oldest’s tablet and a highly cantankerous old iPad Mini.
We tried everything we could to get Microsoft Teams working on said tablet, but it wasn’t happening. Miraculously, it worked on the iPad. A first for it. So, somehow, each child had a functional screen at the same time.
I’ll need my office again before long though, so that’s not sustainable. Then I remembered we never got round to getting rid of old laptops. Hurrah for our apathy towards computer disposal!
So, once all three kids were on calls, it was time to try my hand at fixing computers. At first, I surrounded myself by them and did what the Night King does in Game of Thrones – or the Arch-vile in Doom 2 if you’re of a certain vintage.
Amazingly, technological necromancy didn’t work, so I tried switching them on. Even more amazingly, one the eight-year-old once poured a whole cup of tea into – and which only works when plugged in with the battery pack removed – was an early frontrunner.
It didn’t last, however, and was soon resisting any requests to process anything. A Windows 7 Dell then came to the fore before I realised it didn’t have a webcam.
So it was down to an ancient HP and an Asus with an aversion to shutting down. It’s similar to the eight-year-old at bedtime like that.
After numerous updates and the fun that is identifying which of the old laptops was taking up our third and final virus protection licence, we had a winner. The insomniac Asus, for the record.
Unfortunately, there were no more video calls left to test it on so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning. Then, in all likelihood, do it all over again.
The most important thing about homeschooling is that we all maintain a sense of humour. And create our own timetable for wine studies.
Good luck, everyone!