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To feel increasingly resentful of the growing divide between those who are able to home school and those who can't

(277 Posts)
thepeopleversuswork Wed 20-May-20 09:53:07

To preface this with the observation that I'm very lucky to be able to work from home in safety and I haven't lost sight of that.

But I am working about 10 hours a day in order to be able to hold onto my job. I'm a lone parent and have no support from anyone. My company expects me to be literally always on and takes no account whatsoever of the fact that I am supposed to be home schooling.

I'm constantly bombarded with people who are either on furlough or not working talking about the "pressures" of home schooling and how difficult it is to fit it in when they have whole days free and are agonising over difficult maths problems etc. Or people posting endless pictures on social media of the cool, creative things their kids have done.

I'm really lucky if I get to spend half an hour with my DD setting tasks for her and very rarely get to do any supervision, let alone teaching, as I'm holed up in the next room.

I've mentioned this to various friends and they will raise an eyebrow and say "but surely your work must understand?". No, they don't understand. It makes me feel so shit.

I get that furlough is not ideal and that we're all in various ways struggling so there's no point feeling resentful of other people for their circumstances.

But I'm increasingly concerned about how the government and schools plan to handle this if physical schooling becomes more difficult over a longer period.

A real divide is going to grow between those who are able to support their children in the home and those who aren't. I can accept my daughter's schooling taking a back seat for a few months or weeks. But what happens if she ends up losing half an academic year to this, while the children of SAHMs or those on furlough get lavished with one to one attention at home?

Does anyone else worry about the impact on our children of those who are physically unable to provide this support?

Drivingdownthe101 Wed 20-May-20 09:55:59

YANBU. It is really bloody tough and I feel for you.

CallmeAngelina Wed 20-May-20 09:57:08

Well, yes, but there have always been huge differences in the out-of-school experiences children will get.

And this is one of the very many reasons why Covid-19 is so shit.

You're doing the best you can. Ease up on yourself.

HugeAckmansWife Wed 20-May-20 09:59:41

Of course they do which is one of the reasons why schools need to open. Sorry your company is being crap OP but you're not alone.

corpsebrid3 Wed 20-May-20 10:04:55

There are a lot of people out there who are finding the same too. It's nigh impossible to concentrate on your work whilst you are caring for kids.

W00t Wed 20-May-20 10:06:52

Switch off all your notifications (except work ones, obviously!).
There. It's calmer already.
How old are your children? Can they reasonably be expected to get on with things during the day?
Don't forget you've gained your commuting time, plus your lunch break should be taken each day at some point.
Of course work expect you to work- presumably they're paying you. However, perhaps it's time to ask for some flexibility or reduce hours for a few months? This would allow you to spend a little more time on the homeschooling too.
Most of all though- DON'T feel guilty! It is what it is, no-one caused this, we have no power to fix it, so don't take it upon your shoulders. Thousands of children and parents are in similar positions. We just have to do what we can thanks

Sinuhe Wed 20-May-20 10:12:10

I hear you and you are not alone! Just do your best, and don't worry to much about what other people are doing.
I don't know how old your DC is but I am teaching mine y5 to be independent! I get the work prined out from school and I spend about 30 minutes in the morning talking him through the work... he then goes off to do it. I do the same at lunchtime for the nx set of work ... I check it in the evening. We only do English & Maths, so just the basics. I usually look for films or documentaries on the topic (so far we had Egyptian and solar system) at the weekend and we have a chat about it.
That's all I can do and school is ok with it.

iVampire Wed 20-May-20 10:16:46

Yes, it is unfair

As it will continue to be for shielded DC, or those in households where someone is shielded and isolation within the home cannot be achieved. They’re going to be at home indefinitely.

DefConOne Wed 20-May-20 10:19:15

YANBU. I’m lucky that I’m on a 70% contract and DH has been allowed to drop a day despite his work being busy so we can provide time for our two DC. They still aren’t getting the input of SAHM or furloughed parents. My year 7 has ASD and had a TA at mainstream secondary. Her needs are far greater than an NT 12 year old. Our 9 year old wants to sit the 11plus in September and I feel she will be at a huge disadvantage. She is above average and hard working but not a genius. I think she stood a chance before all this kicked off.

For your own sanity snooze any FB people on social media who are making you feel bad. Try to limit your access to social media. Do you have any friends in a similar situation who understand?

SteppedOnBloodyLego Wed 20-May-20 10:22:24

Oh OP I feel the same. I’m also a lone parent. Please don’t feel shit.

bengalcat Wed 20-May-20 10:23:38

I'm with 000t - switch off all your notifications except for your work ones ( at least during the working day ) . And rest assured you will not be the only family trying to WFH and manage . I would imagine its likely that children of keyworkers attending school are not having the same experience they would if school was running as normal .

NoMorePoliticsPlease Wed 20-May-20 10:25:20

Yes and this is one of the reasons the schools need to re open

SunbathingDragon Wed 20-May-20 10:27:05

Lots of people are in difficult situations. Struggling in lockdown isn’t a competition. I agree about turning off notifications and ignoring any platforms that tend to grate on you at the moment.

tenterden Wed 20-May-20 10:27:33

You need to have far better boundaries with work. Only work your contracted hours and do not look at work emails or take work calls outside of this.

If you are working 10 hours a day then that's two hours a day you have back straight away to spend with your child. And take your breaks!!!

thepeopleversuswork Wed 20-May-20 10:27:44

CallmeAngelina this is true, and I haven't lost sight of this. There's always been a lot of inequality.

I guess what worries me is that the government and schools -- for totaly understandable reasons -- don't seem to yet have done any long-term planning to understand the effect this could have on children's education and life chances. In "normal" times there have been provisions to try to even this out so children who are "disadvantaged" get support through the education system.

In the early weeks of the crisis I can understand how this wasn't a priority. But there doesn't seem to be any official acknowledgement of the fact that some parents who don't fit the "disadvantaged" criteria are massively disadvantaged in the amount of support they are able to offer their children.

I don't tick any of the traditional boxes that would be used to identify a vulnerable family (free school meals/social services support etc). But I am massively disadvantaged due to the fact that I don't have any free time and if this goes on for a very long time my child will suffer.

Over time, I would like to hear what the government can do to help.

thepeopleversuswork Wed 20-May-20 10:30:11

tenderden sorry but it just doesn't work like that. If I "set better boundaries" at work I would be fired, pure and simple.

I am responsible for a lot of clients where I'm the only person on the account. If I don't respond to an email that is outside my working hours the work doesn't get done and the client gets pissed off and fires us. Its not a clock in/clock out job where I can simply say "I'm off the clock."

cologne4711 Wed 20-May-20 10:34:57

If I don't respond to an email that is outside my working hours the work doesn't get done and the client gets pissed off and fires us

Is that the case even now or is that your perception? I know there are a lot of a***holes out there, but surely even clients have kids and WFH problems?

NoClarification Wed 20-May-20 10:37:28

I'm currently on furlough and I don't do more than about 90 mins a day max of active learning with my primary-aged kids (the yr8 beavers away in her room). The rest of the day, they have an hour of computer game time and the rest they are expected to entertain themselves. They play, read, think up wild craft projects, and play some more. Learning to fill time productively and self-directedly is a life skill that will stand kids in so much better stead than doing supervised worksheets or highly directed, Instagram-friendly 'crafts'. Your dd will not fall behind, she will leap ahead in initiative and creativity. Make sure she has resources to entertain herself (I don't mean expensive gadgets, I mean glue, lolly sticks, paints and old boxes and suchlike) and then pat yourself on the back. You're doing fine in difficult circumstances,and your dd will be fine too.

Kokeshi123 Wed 20-May-20 10:37:51

I have said this before on other threads, but as restrictions are lifted, there may be ways to join forces with other families and use private-sector arrangements of some sort?

If I were in this position, I would be seriously thinking about getting together with a couple other families in the same position and hiring some kind of kind competent person (does not have to have teaching qualifications) to supervise the kids and help them out with their schoolwork in one of our living rooms. Once that becomes legal and possible----which hopefully will be soon. And I'd keep that kind of arrangement going over the summer to make up for lost time.

thepeopleversuswork Wed 20-May-20 10:38:03

cologne4711 yes it is the case. No bullshit. Among people of my level at my company I'm the only person who has neither a spouse/live in partner nor home help. I don't think people are deliberately punitive, they just don't get it.

My (female) boss, who is generally fairly understanding, has a husband and a live-in nanny and says she struggles with it. She carves out time in the day for her not to be disturbed because she's with her child even though there are two other adults in the home who can do this. I don't get to do this because there are no other adults for miles around, but I'm still expected to be available for conference calls at 9pm.

Kokeshi123 Wed 20-May-20 10:38:21

Over some of the summer, that should read. I would give my kids a summer break, but maybe not six weeks!

SleepingStandingUp Wed 20-May-20 10:40:47

It is massively unfair, and the government won't do anything because there's too many variables.

How old is she? I'm assuming you aren't a key worker? If they introduce the bubbles with family members is there anyone who could care for her whilst you work? Could you afford to pay for childcare now! Childminders and Nanny's are back at work apparently. Is there a friend she could zoom work with?

middleager Wed 20-May-20 10:40:57

YANBU. The burden generally falls to women too.

Finals1234 Wed 20-May-20 10:44:08

OP, I am in the same position - lone parent, with 3 DDs.

I am a freelance worker and very nearly lost all of my income when this crisis began and so I am very wary of keeping hold of my current contract. I have a very client-driven role, and some of my clients are US based so I have calls going into the evening.

I have been setting DDs their work for the day (uploaded by school), and then asking them to check in with me once a task is complete - so 12pm, DDs 1 and 2 will show me their English and Science.
Then again at 2pm. I set timers with their Alexa so they don't forget to come and show me.

I am super-strict with bedtimes and waking up times so they are ready to work and not too frazzled from a late night. No tv in the evenings, and they can read in bed. This is tough as they think they are in holiday mode. Weekends they can sleep whenever they want within reason.

They finish working each school day at around 2/3pm and have to show me their work. I look over it to make sure they have put some effort in, but I don't mark anything.

Then they are free to play for the rest of the day - including tv and devices as it means I can get on with work.

DD1 is 12, first year of high school. I check her work very sporadically (in fact the first time I ever checked was on Monday!) as I am assuming her school are keeping a close watch on her assignments.

DDs also have to help make lunch every day - this is a bit of a time consuming faff and I hate it, but it means they are learning lots of independence and will eventually be bringing lunch to me each day I wish.

I don't know how old your DD is. But I do sympathise.

RavenT Wed 20-May-20 10:46:01

YADNBU - Lone parent working from home too, it's impossible. sad

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