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Anyone else have kids homeschooling at the moment?

The joys of juggling kids and work

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Anyone else jugling the usual January madness with kids home schooling?

My kids are teenagers so not as needy as primary aged kids but I still feel I have to check that they are up (!), online and have everything they need, fielding requests for pens and paper (teenage boy!).

Normally in January,  work takes priority and I'm head down, ploughing through all day.  It's going to be tricky this month for sure!

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By SXGuy
11th Jan 2021 09:32

Luckly for me the wife is on furlough so she does all that. Leaving me free to work. However we've agreed I help with the maths lol

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By JD
11th Jan 2021 10:33

Youngest gone to school as accountants are critical workers and she needs the human contact.

The oldest is pretty self contained, living her best life home schooling, from the office. She quite enjoyed watching the teachers doing PE, whilst sat their eating a sausage roll.

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Replying to JD:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
11th Jan 2021 16:50

I don't know your circumstances and please don't take offence, but its the "human contact" that is unwitting spreading this thinner new variant.

Much better to keep them at home and use them as tax interns. With the benefit that when it comes to choosing a career they are likely to choose something more interesting :-)

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By the_drookit_dug
11th Jan 2021 10:37

Yes, it's horrible.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
11th Jan 2021 10:52

Yes its a PITA but what can you do?

My no.2 is struggling with it and her kids are getting full lessons online unlike mine who are making do with a couple of videos and some help sheets. We both have primary aged kids.

On the plus side as I changed all my office machines over xmas, they have the hand me downs and we now have a "school network" in what was their playroom kitted out with headphones and web cams. Some of the kids at school seem to be working on mum's phone. Ouch. Mine have got all the kit + my mrs to help.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Jan 2021 11:15

The roll out of tech to children who do not otherwise have access does seem to have been a bit hit and miss, well certainly in Scotland (Scottish Government were apparently dealing with this last year, buying in 25,000 laptops etc, but not sure provision/roll out has been adequate/completed)

My wife's school will still operate as it is one of those which is to remain partially open for children of essential workers, so I think any pupils who does not yet have remote access may be able to attend instead, though not totally sure ;right now it all seems pretty fluid but I do not tend to interrupt her and ask questions, she is now working downstairs on the dining table.

(My house is becoming a suite of offices, I am upstairs in my study, daughter is upstairs in what was son's study (He is in States with his wife at present), if he returns daughter will then need to vacate upstairs to use newly created extra study downstairs, in effect our house has become lounge, three bedrooms, three studies- wonder what I can charge as rent to each of their employers)

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Moore Accountancy Altrincham Accountant
By smooreaccountancy
11th Jan 2021 11:06

Yep 3 young teens at home. Quite self sufficient but it's the "has the internet slowed down" (yes we have 5 laptops running and you are all on snapchat/insta on your phones...!), "Are there any snacks" (yes look in the bl**y fridge), "I'm bored" (Well I have loads of SATRs to file) type things which are a PITA.

I do however feel 100 x worse for those with primary aged children who actually need to be guided and actively helped rather than monitored.

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Replying to smooreaccountancy:
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By Cat's whiskers
11th Jan 2021 12:22

Exactly this! Daughter is now messaging me with things she wants for her room!

I really feel for those with primary aged kids. Working as well would just not be possible.

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Replying to Cat's whiskers:
Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
11th Jan 2021 12:43

Ah yes, constant demands for stuff - son's last request was a £400 gaming chair!! Apparently it's very ergonomically designed.............to me it's a decent office chair that's double the price due to branding!

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Replying to Hazel Accounts:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Jan 2021 12:51

Here is a cheaper one I bought earlier (last April once I was working from home) which is reasonably comfortable, my son bought one first and as my office chair at home was on its last legs I also bought one.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0761Y6M13/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_titl...

Currently out of stock but they do plenty of others.

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By lesley.barnes
11th Jan 2021 11:11

My son who works for me, he didn't get anything done last week because he had a 5 year old bouncing around the house on home schooling. His wife works in childrens nursery so is in work full time. He asked about key worker status but was told the school was full with higher priority key workers. They've changed their stance this week and compromised grandson is going in for three days and two days home schooling unless someone with a higher priority wants the place. At the end of Jan he goes back to home schooling.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
11th Jan 2021 11:32

Gosh, I sympathise. Our offspring have left home but even getting homework done when they were teenagers was an uphill struggle. I can't imagine what it would have been like to get more of the curriculum done.

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Replying to Red Leader:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Jan 2021 12:54

You obviously did not scare them enough, with ours it was pushing my son to get started and stopping my daughter doing too much, luckily St Andrews eliminated his last minute dot com approach.

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Replying to DJKL:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
11th Jan 2021 17:15

If only being scary was enough! I'm sure there was a homework button on them somewhere but I never found it.

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Replying to Red Leader:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Jan 2021 22:30

Like most tech these days they do not come with an instruction manual.

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Ivor Windybottom
By Ivor Windybottom
11th Jan 2021 11:46

Main problem is keeping the fridge stocked. Teenage boy working reliably, but apparently that is hungry work. Spending UK GDP on food now!

Need to re-train him to open the door to strangers now.... deliveries coming thick and fast and I can't go to the door.

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Replying to Ivor Windybottom:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
11th Jan 2021 12:18

It doesn't get any easier - my 27 year old teenager daughter clears the fridge, freezer, cupboards, & booze cabinet.

She's supposed to be working from home, but I suspect she just logs in and moves her mouse around now and again in-between her trips to the kitchen.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
11th Jan 2021 12:57

Yes, locusts into the fridge, we got used to that before they went away to Uni, the assault on the drink is the newer factor, mine are 26 and 29. (At least my son is currently abroad so the beer is safe but the wine is taking quite a punishment)

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Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
11th Jan 2021 12:22

Yes, also 2 teenagers - youngest (pre-GCSE year) has more or less full day everyday on "MS Teams" but older doing BTEC at college has much less online.
As others say hardest bits seem to be:
1. Making sure they get up for online registration at 8.40/8.45!
2. Keeping food supply in - fridge seems to empty at least 2 or 3 days before next supermarket delivery is due (Teen boy weight trains and that means he eats a lot!!).

On the plus side no shirts to wash as hubby also WFH

Wouldn't send them in to school though even if I could as I don't want them bringing Covid home!

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Replying to Hazel Accounts:
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By Cat's whiskers
11th Jan 2021 12:28

Thankfully this time the school is more on the ball with online lessons, so giving structure to their day. My eldest is GCSE year and I really feel for the teachers trying to keep teaching when they don't know what form assessments will take yet. If only the government had had 9 months notice that this could be an issue.

Definite upside is not having to get school uniform ready - I really resented that September to December! Unfortunetly we just bought my son new school schools in the Christmas break!

Likewise, I'm happier they are at home and healthy.

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Replying to Cat's whiskers:
Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
11th Jan 2021 12:39

My son was GCSE year last year and it was horrible for the period between lockdown and the announcement of what they would do - he was doing extra assessments etc as, like many, his mocks weren't given the full effort not realising they would be important! Then Government said nothing more would be taken into account so he had nothing to do from Easter until September!
Turned out teacher assessed grades were Ok for him - a few plus and minus a grade to what he/we hoped but overall evened out. My nephew is A level year now and really unhappy with the position he's in.

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By Cat's whiskers
11th Jan 2021 12:29

Thanks for the replies - good to know I'm not alone :-)

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Replying to Cat's whiskers:
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By Alex_T
11th Jan 2021 13:35

Great post.. makes us all feel like we're not alone. Best of luck!

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By alicooke71
12th Jan 2021 21:41

Yip, 14 yr old, 5 yr old & 1yr old all at home - no school or child care. PITA wouldn’t begin to describe it. Stress levels high and not SA related yet.

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By AustinA
15th Jan 2021 10:35

Yes - two teenagers at home - one in GCSE year and one in A level year. No idea how they are going to be graded since the teachers haven't seen them for most of the last year. Older one is fairly self-motivating and just clearing the fridge with occasional checking ins. Younger one has to be woken up, does most of the work from her bed (but I would too given the chance so I can't complain) but needs motivating and food brought otherwise it wouldn't happen and she would waste away and then the evenings are spent catching up. Luckily my husband and I are sharing the extra lessons - I'm history, spanish and english. Hola! Also dying her hair is an essential activity every time there is a lockdown opportunity. My mother has also moved in with us again for lockdown. Certainly brings an extra dimension to the silly season. We are still fortunate though that our children are older. It would be impossible otherwise.

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Replying to AustinA:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
15th Jan 2021 11:32

I like the division of duties, my wife and I did similar with ours years ago, she did languages and history I did english, maths, physics, for art, graphic comms and geography they were mainly on their own and luckily neither took accounting or economics.

The only catch is I soon got sacked from English, the difficulty was my not really grasping what was required in the brave new world of SQA in Scotland, statement, quote, analysis, I had taken English Lit at university and was from an age when literature essays were less hidebound in their presentation and approach, luckily our neighbour had been a deputy head and English teacher so she took over and undid the harm I had caused and once their maths went to advance higher level a tutor was roped in for that as I struggled to remember some of the finer points of calculus. (frankly at times some of the more basic points)

The most enjoyable part was teaching projectiles and momentum for physics, a lot of that was throwing soft toys around and explaining what was happening.

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By rocket_queen
15th Jan 2021 10:43

Yes, three kids, 3, 7 and 9. The primary school are less than helpful. It turns out they set up home learning so that it was only accessible on school networked devices and not on any privately owned devices for internet safety... After lots of frustration we have now borrowed a laptop from school which two are sharing. Nothing gets marked, work is submitted and if there are any errors they just return it and you have to try and work out why. No feedback. They helpfully decided they didn't want kids just jumping to the questions so it's long videos where you have to pause it and do the work as they go along. I tried just leaving them to get on with it, but they kept missing bits they had to do and we were in the endless cycle of work being returned with no feedback, so now I have to watch the videos with them so I know what they should be doing and can work out where they have gone wrong. The teacher designated to support home learning told me she didn't have the capacity to support home learning, so no help there! They don't seem to realise that parents have to work too and have no experience of teaching.

I'm so frustrated with it and work is obviously suffering. It's not the teachers, it's the school leadership. They were "caught on the back foot" because apparently all their planning was around restrictions being relaxed and had no idea there would be any closures, so they're fumbling in the dark just as they did last March with no preparation. It's making me seriously reconsider my school choices as other schools in the area seem far more on the ball.

It doesn't help that the childrens' father doesn't offer any support (or see his kids other than the odd hour occasionally when suits). Personally I cannot wait until they go back!!!

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Replying to rocket_queen:
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By AustinA
15th Jan 2021 11:17

That sounds like the worst of all worlds! I'm surprised the school couldn't see it coming!

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Replying to rocket_queen:
Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
15th Jan 2021 12:11

You have my sympathy, but personally I'd just leave the kids to get on with it - if they miss bits and the school return it with no feedback just move on to the next bit. You are trying (admirally) to be super mum teacher, but in the big picture it won't matter - your kids are young - if they miss a bit of Viking history (or whatever they're teaching now) it really won't affect their life! Yes, make sure they have a go, make sure they keep up with basics like reading, but stick them in front of BBC schools for an hour or 2 sometimes and get some work done yourself.
Fortunately for me my kids are older (in secondary school), but my daughter couldn't keep up in first lockdown while I had clients I needed to help and I spoke to her head of year and he said not to worry, just do what you can. And that's all you can do! Don't feel you must do it all - decide which bits matter most (maths rather than geography say) and focus on those.
Hope this helps - keep perspective and look after yourself.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
15th Jan 2021 13:09

Yep its a perfect storm this now. I have had to stop going to office and work from home to look after my 14 year old and support home study. Perfect timing.

I try and do 4 hours work then spend a few hours with her then pick it up again later on after tea. Makes you day long but no one is untouched by this, some clients are also not so understanding if they ring and don't get an immediate response.

My wife is a nurse on Covid ward though so shouldn't complain.

(But I can on here).

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By Batty Girl
15th Jan 2021 20:15

Yep - 14 year old at home here too. It certainly isn't easy, but we're grateful that he's not bad at getting on with it himself, we have all the tech we need for him (my friend has three kids and one laptop, so they are having a nightmare juggling it between them depending on who needs it most), and also he's fairly bright - I would be really panicking if he normally struggled to keep up as I think this must be having a massive effect on those kids that are already behind.

It's tricky though and not getting my tax returns done any quicker. Had to sit through a geography lesson today to try to keep him on track, and now I remember why I dropped geography at the earliest opportunity!

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By kimblemimble
15th Jan 2021 20:51

Thank you for posting this. I feel your pain and stress, it helps to know we are not alone in this though! I am working from home, now home schooling a 4 year old and looking after my 11 month old whilst trying to get accounts and tax returns done. Oh and my partner works away Monday-Friday every week so not even got him as back up. during the week. Still way off where I should be at this time of year and get the feeling February is going to be spent appealing late filing fees! Some clients are understanding, some simply aren't. I am a one woman band and the last 10 months with furlough, grants etc has left me so behind schedule, every announcement made by Rishi has put me weeks back with no hope of fully catching up.
I can't see a 'quieter time' in February/March like it can be as it'll be spent bringing clients back up to date where the deadline has been missed! Who knows how long this could carry on for as well.

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