I don’t know about you, but my email, WhatsApp, Voxer, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Messenger inboxes are full of messages about what us parents can be doing during this extended Covid-19-related school break.
Homework sheets, arts and crafts, “fun” activities (does anyone really see them that way?), and what I know is spelled as “board” but all I see is “bored” games.
Here’s my answer to all those who feel like chiming in on this conversation: No, I will not be homeschooling my kids in the coming weeks (or, if it must be so, months).
Sure, if there’s a free, cheap online program that I can sit them in front of to occupy an hour or two from the longest days in memory, I’ll give it a go.
But if things are really as bad as they’re starting to seem, I’m rather inclined to teach my kids some survivalist skills I think will come in handy more than, say, math or spelling.
Things like how to start a fire, should the furnace crap out. Or maybe even target shooting practice with their sling shots, lest fights over toilet paper come to that.
Gym class actually seems like the best thing I can offer my kids right now. A chance to use up some of their energy, get their feel-good endorphins flowing and keep them fit for the coming apocalypse.
I’m also tempted to let them watch all the TV they can absorb right now, before that service interrupts too.
I’m lucky that I work from home anyway, so technically I can keep working. Except that the fighting and screaming in the background makes it impossible to think, nevermind interview my subjects as required.
Historically, my three-year-old daughter’s afternoon nap is my me-time. I mostly spend it working, but even still, I treasure that whole hour of quiet before it’s time to pick up her brothers from school. I’m not about to fill it with whining kids, crying over their homework sheets.
As if being a parent, particularly a mom, in the 21st century isn’t enough, we now have to add entertainer to our endless daily tasks.
Be present, be loving, be patient, they say. Create gorgeous, healthy, slow meals to nurture your kids from the inside out. Help them with their homework, coach them in their sports and applaud during their musical performances, all while you keep the house clean and tidy, and laundry folded. Oh, and did we mention put in an 8-hour workday? Because all this takes tremendous resources as well. And now on top of it all, I have to set up the art station, do the art with them and clean up after even as I’m setting up for my kids’ next activity.
It is impossible. And shame on whomever is stacking even more on our already towering plates.
So no, I will not be homeschooling my kids. Or playing snakes ’n’ ladders. Or doing arts and crafts. Though my kids are welcome to help themselves to the generous supplies we have for all of these that have been gathering dust since they first entered our home.
Call me negligent. Call me lazy (if you dare!). Call me merely human (I prefer this one, actually.)
I will make sure they are fed and watered, as my mother-in-law calls it. I will keep their bodies busy, and the house tidy. And yes on weekends I will cuddle up with them as we watch a family flick.
The rest, I throw up to the fates. It’s in their hands anyway.