‘I worry how at-home learning will impact my children’

Frances Lang is juggling part time work alongside home schooling her four children.

For most pupils, going back to school this week has meant opening up laptops and jotters on the kitchen table as online lessons resume.

Remote learning has resumed for most pupils until at least the end of January due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Just like last March’s lockdown, homeschooling once again presents challenges for both children and parents. 

Frances Lang from East Lothian has four children: Imogen, 12, Lachlan, 10, Gabriel, seven and Adriana, four.

Frances works part time and says it has been a struggle trying to juggle work commitments with homeschooling.

“We set an early alarm but we all slept in. We had breakfast at 11.45 without an ounce of work even being done. The kids were out of sync with learning,” she says.

“At one point, my four-year-old was holding on to my legs screaming, my two sons were arguing with each other and my eldest daughter was quite tearful as she was so stressed about the amount of work she had to do.” 

Frances is finding it tough to find structure to the school day. 

“I think the kids are just out of the way of learning after the Christmas holidays and need that routine to keep motivated. I’m not very positive about it at the moment. I hope it’s going to improve,” she says.

With four children all at different stages of education, Frances is finding it stressful to try and make sure each child is getting the help they need. 

“I don’t know if I’m doing it right or not because I’m just starting them all at the same time. One is shouting ‘Mum’ and the other is screaming. The four of them are all at me at the same time. 

“To be honest it’s quite a relief when it’s 4pm and the end of the school day and the kids can just relax and watch TV.”

Frances says it has been a challenge to keep up the momentum when tempers are fraying. 

Steven, Frances’ husband, shares homeschooling duties during the week but they both find it difficult to take themselves back to school and act as at-home teachers. 

“What you do in the house is nothing compared to what you do at school. I was asking my daughter geography questions but geography was my worst subject so I’m having to Google everything because I don’t know the answers myself,” Frances says.

Frances adds that she often worries about whether lockdown will have a detrimental effect on her children’s future. 

“I think they are at crucial ages. My daughter missed out on the last few months of primary seven and she’s now missing out on first year of high school and it’s really impacting her.” 

“I don’t think we appreciated our schools and teachers so much until lockdown. I think everybody now realises how difficult a job it is. 

“It must be so hard teaching a class of 25 or 30 so good on them.” 

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