Schools out and I’m in, counting the joys of primary school remote learning
It’s day one of remote learning, or what I like to think of as home schooling, mid-west style. I’ll flit from baking, to plucking seasonal herbs to helping with algebra and by 4.00pm we’ll be done, just in time for The Bold. There we were this morning at the dining room table, my 9 year old and I, eagerly awaiting the remote learning portal to unlock at 9am and for today’s lessons to be shared. Logins successful, welcome video from teacher aptly amusing and first writing task outlined. If only I could get my kid out of pj’s and off that damned device! Probably too early for freddo frogs. By 9.20am I ask him what he’s writing about. He’s staring into space but I choose to think he’s exploring a highly imaginative theme for his persuasive text. Not so. After some time he realises he’s not sure of the topic so decides it’s time for a nap. It’s 9.40.
We move onto maths, but not before I get asked if tomorrow he could take a day off school. By now I’m picking myself (and the laundry) up off the floor. He thinks this home routine is way too imposing and deserves a break. Quite right. Thankfully for me, today’s maths looks like something I can handle; coordinates. Like most gals, my map reading skills are faultless so I think I’ve got this in the bag. Except I’ve just remembered I have a job too and my email starts pinging. Then, blaring through the apartment speakers, the fire alarm sounds as the building tests their evacuation drills. I’ve never seen anyone close a lap top as quickly as my son and prepare to escape. He’s taking this test very seriously and frightfully disappointed that we’re not going anywhere. And nor is this lesson to locate pineapples on a grid. I want to know if it’s recess yet.
In truth though, I am relishing every moment of watching him read and understand, hesitate and question, stop and start. And because (as anyone who knows me knows) I don’t see anything wrong with leaping into an impromptu dance number, we do that too. He’s asked me for a two hour lunch break. I’ve given him a hug instead and he’s equally thrilled. I’ve secretly always wanted his childhood to slow down a little and maybe this is not far off…because on days like this I get to see more, watch more and share more. And while my fifth grader is navigating his way around his online learning, uploading like a pro and putting my computer skills to shame, I wonder if pressing the reset button on life as we’ve all had to do for the moment, is maybe the best lesson we’ve had in a while.