Let’s talk about homeschooling. I had been feeling – if I’m honest – a little bit smug. Homeschooling was going swimmingly. We had a timetable. We were into a routine. We start with some exercise, then TheBloke (TM) takes YoungestGirl in the morning for Phonics and Reading. I take EldestGirl for English and Grammar. We have a little break. We regroup for Maths, where we mix and match supervision (depending on how many times I can cope with listening to EldestGirl fail to recognise the clock’s short hand and long hand, or insist that if 1/3 is a third and 3/3 is three thirds then 2/3 is definitely a quarter). It’s lunchtime, then playtime outdoors, then a Skype call with Grandma and Grandad, and in the afternoon we tend to pick an activity for them, loosely related to the curriculum – e.g. painting, baking, Play-Doh, gardening and so on.
Smug was probably the best word.
I’m also conscious that the girls are missing their friends, so I have also been trying to facilitate Zoom calls between their peers too. For this, they need to use my laptop. Normally when they do this, I hover in the background, and then when the call finishes, whip my laptop away and crack on with my own business. So far, so good.
Except this particular call was between EldestGirl and her two best friends and they definitely didn’t need any help facilitating the conversation, as they debated vociferously over who liked Series of Unfortunate Events the most. Leaving TheBloke (TM) in charge, I went foraging for essentials at the supermarket.
When I came back, EldestGirl greeted me not with, “Mummy, thank you for literally risking your life to buy me crisps,” but, “Mummy why did you tell your friend I couldn’t tell the time?”
I genuinely had no idea what she was talking about (although it rang a bell because despite a lot of practice, she very much still can’t tell the time).
“What do you mean, Sweetie?” I asked. “Who was the message to?”
“Your friend Nice Kate,” said EldestGirl. “When Daddy closed the Zoom window it said WhatsApp and I read the message.”
“Really?” I stalled. “What exactly did it say?”
“It said, ‘EldestGirl still can’t tell the fucking time.'”
Oops. I hope we’re not due an Ofsted inspection this week.