I thought I was alright. I was actually quite bullish about it all. I looked around me and felt and knew how lucky we were that home, for us, is a safe place. That our family, although individually capable of being utter bastards at times, is fine.
It would all just be like a slow Saturday on repeat. How hard can that be? And look – the shops are open again and full. And look – the sun in shining!
And yet as term started again there has been something slightly wrong, something a little off. It’s me, it must be me. Having been very determined and headstrong to do no formal homeschool thing, I thought for some reason that I would try again. And I suddenly became headstrong and gripped with the importance of it.
My children resisted, they hate it, forcefully. Something to do with the wrong and bad cross-over of school and home. They don’t want to see their teacher’s faces while they’re sitting at the kitchen table. They don’t want to sit through 20 other kids doing their presentations. They feel claustrophobic and weird with the headphones on.
It’s all glitchy.
And there were threats and refusals and stampy disappearances upstairs and I suddenly feel like I am failing them. Or that they are failing me.
It doesn’t help that I am not a good teacher, I’m not fun or interesting or child-like or anything. I wasn’t child-like when I was an actual child. It also doesn’t help that my husband, when he takes a “lesson” with the kids is brilliant and all I hear from downstairs when he is in the hot seat is gales of laughter and then I am called down to see a performance of the Jabberwock complete with elaborate faces and roaring and a jittering-about that they would never, ever do for me. That it would even occur to me to ask them to do.
My children look at me and see a receptacle for empty packets of things and a distributer of snacks and glasses of water. The crossover to any sort of teaching is ludicrous and disgusting and they hate it as much as some children don’t want the different foods touching each other.
At lunchtime yesterday when my children had eaten and were set free to watch something on the telly I sat on my kitchen floor with my knees drawn up and I just really, really felt quite emotionally uneven and unwell within myself in a way I haven’t for years. And keeping the Other People in your mind helps but when that greyness comes for you and the walls start to wriggle infinitesimally inwards, it’s hard to maintain perspective.
Anyway I sat like that for what felt like ten minutes, though it was probably far less than that and then I got up and necked a Starflower oil and cleaned the kitchen again, properly and cleared all that shite off the end that had been hanging about – you know, packets of rice and sauces that I hadn’t been bothered to put back in the cupboard, a hat, an empty box, a packet of cat food – and I cleaned and wiped and moved the chairs back to under the kitchen table. And the tidy kitchen made me feel better for a moment.
Needless to say, I have abandoned the formal teaching again and we will talk about what takes our fancy, be it the 7 Wonders of the World, or What is the Biggest Country in the World or the dreaded Why Is the Sky Blue. Also, I’m sure: is the cat pregnant? Can I have a sandwich and: Mum, Can Preston Playz Come to My Birthday party?
Moving on, I must apologise – yesterday I requested some readers for a side-project I am working on and I only needed perhaps 5 people but the take-up was very enthusiastic and I found quickly I was unable to cope with the number of incredibly kind, (and clearly hugely bored), volunteers. So I deleted the post, totally forgetting that people receive this in their email inboxes – so I then had many, many emails from rightly confused readers who clicked the link to a post that no longer existed.
I really hope that I managed to email everyone back but I’m pretty sure in between all that sitting on the kitchen floor and then children and the catering and the wiping I might have missed one or two and if I did I really am terribly sorry. It’s terrible to send an email and get nothing back, it’s my worst feeling.
So, bad admin and general tech fail from me. I have now got probably ten readers for the project, which is probably as much as I can cope with or I get terribly mixed up with everyone’s names. But thank you so much for replying and putting your hands up.
I know it’s the Great Pause, but that doesn’t mean your time isn’t still precious.