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How do I choose? Children's education or earning a living? This is not fair

(52 Posts)
sarahanne1969 Tue 09-Jun-20 20:22:17

My situation is now this: I run my own business with husband, have kids who are studying for GCSEs, one is under learning support at school. Since lockdown, we have been trying to work and teach our kids. Husband teaches from 10 to 4 each day, then works into the night to try to keep our work going. I am working long hours too to try to keep things going. Our business has been hugely hit by Covid crisis, so we are trying to adapt and find new avenues to try to lift us out of this. This would be a horror for any business owner to solve, let alone given the task of suddenly having to teach your children at home on top. We have repeatedly appealed to our school for more support and help - begged pretty much for a teacher to be at the end of a phone to help when we are overwhelmed with subjects we just do not know (chemistry - don't get me started), but no reply to emails. The only person who is interested is LS head, who is lovely, but she can't make other teachers respond. Today we hit an all-time low, realisation point that we can't continue like this. Conclusion to our situation is clear - either educate our kids and let our business fail, or let our kids fail and keep our business. I've given up now on kids going back to school - I can't see how it will happen properly in the near future and I am so disgusted like others that our government has not even addressed the elephant in the room at all the endless daily updates we get/press briefings - how do they expect parents to earn and work when have to teach our kids because no one else is? It's not good enough to say 'schools are open still', they are not. Our children are being expected to educate themselves like an adult studying for a remote degree - that's fine if you are over 21 and have signed up for it, but how can you expect a 13 year old to do it? It is utterly ridiculous. I think the most responsible thing the government could do right now is admit the whole home schooling thing has been an abject failure for most kids - only the high flyers who are able to teach themselves remotely are probably coping well in this situation, and they are possibly just a small percentage of the population? It's time for government to look this thing in the face and be honest - admit people cannot work and home teach. If schools are not going to open up, offer parents a lifeline - if we can't work, we can't earn. Parents need to be paid to stay at home and teach now. The time has gone for this fantasy of people being able to carry on working while their kids toddle along in the background happily learning - the kind of thing I see portrayed on morning breakfast TV that leaves me with my jaw dropped as it is such a world away from where I am. Am I living in a parallel universe? The reality is it is sheer bloody hell and it is killing my family, so what is it doing to others? I have seen posts on here pointing out that nightingale hospitals were built in weeks, retired staff re-recruited to work in NHS and other measures put in place to try to deal with this crisis. Yet the whole system of education has just been ignored and we are all having to go along with this pretence that it is all just fine and 'schools are still open' and isn't everyone doing jolly well? It is absolute bollocks. I am so pissed off I don't know where to even start - I have talked to friends in similar situations who have resorted to doing the kids work for them to get it done so they can get back to trying to do some work. This is all madness. Why can't we get our act together, work with planners to set up schooling in safe situations, urgently recruit more teachers and bloody well start teaching our children again? Or, if government are not prepared to throw some money and resources at it, how about they start throwing some money our way so we can do the job for them? Or at least just write off this whole school year and let everyone off the hook - give everyone a level playing field. If we are struggling and we are trying to teach our kids/have home computers, what the hell is happening to kids who do not have this support? It is just so unfair on everyone. Government have to admit they can't have it all ways - parents working and contributing to the economy or home schooling. It's one or the other. In the end, at this rate, the biggest cause of economic fail in this country will be because schools shut, working parents had to stay at home and teach, and a properly functioning educational alternative was not put in place in time. If we are one small business going through this, how many others must be in the same boat? And how many employers must be struggling because working parents can't go back to work? Our kids are being failed and our families and businesses are being failed. I think Women's Hour had it right too when I listened in the other day, maybe if more women were on the panels making decisions at the moment someone might have mentioned the obvious - if schools don't open, women (usually) have to stay at home, that means they can't work, that means half the working population are not at work, that means mass redundancies when these people will inevitably lose their jobs, that means huge loss of tax revenues, that means no money for NHS or schools, that means we are all going to go back decades in time in terms of education and social/health care. Surely the money should be going into education NOW to make sure this does not happen?

OP’s posts: |
sleepismysuperpower1 Tue 09-Jun-20 20:26:25

I'm so sorry, that sounds really difficult. Would it be worth trying an online school, like Oak Academy (which is free?) It might allow your dc to work more independently since they are taught via the videos that are uploaded onto the website
all the best x

tinkywinkyshandbag Tue 09-Jun-20 20:31:05

I totally agree. Really devalues both what teachers do and what parents do. You have my every sympathy. I have a slightly different situation, also trying to keep head above water and be there for my kids,
mine were due to do their GCSES and A levels this year and both have been absolutely cut adrift. Neither is being given any work or support from the school they've left, but nor do they have any work to do or support from the college/uni they are going to. They can't get jobs, so are basically just loading around in isolation for an entire summer. I try to spend time with them but like you am also trying to keep a business afloat. Your situation sucks, and I really don't think the government understand or have thought it through. Those with children in private schools seem to be getting much better support and the wealthy can afford to hire online tutors, which not everyone else can.

Awrite Tue 09-Jun-20 20:40:15

Sounds like the choice is fail the business, fail the children or save the business, fail the children.

Most if us are in the same boat. I make my kids do their work, more to keep up the discipline of working. I don't actually think they are learning. I am not a subject specialist in every subject.

Mamamia87 Tue 09-Jun-20 20:46:44

Logged on for the first time ever to agree with you. I’m working full time too, wish they’d suspend the curriculum. It’s exhausting. My kids’ school have been wonderful throughout but online learning isn’t working for my Year 7 and he’s starting to feel like a failure.

sarahanne1969 Tue 09-Jun-20 21:10:43

thanks, all, and thanks for the online school idea, I'll look into that - big thanks x it is all a bloody nightmare, isn't it? I wish they would just suspend the curriculum and call it a day until all this is sorted out properly - I think more damage is being done by trying to keep school going than would be by just admitting it can't be done and saying we will pick up when we can do it properly again. This is just a charade that everyone is trying to keep up but we are all failing at. Every day here there are tears, shouting, and near nervous breakdowns in my house! Husband and me had massive row today and I'm near to packing my suitcase to have a night off for some respite - but nowhere to go because of bloody coronavirus! I know I have got to the end of the line with this now - it's been stiff upper lip for 3 months now but enough is enough - I feel like the whole system is just one big joke. Here we all are trying to work, pay taxes and what for? To have it all just swept away from us and made to pretend it is all ok when it bloody well isn't.

OP’s posts: |
HairyToity Tue 09-Jun-20 21:21:54

I don't know. I get up at 5am and work to 7.30 am. I then do the day schooling, housework and odd phone calls.whilst DH goes out to work. DH then looks after kids all weekend whilst I work. It's exhausting and relentless.

ToothFairyNemesis Tue 09-Jun-20 21:26:22

Is your daughter not being set work by the school ? My infant school children need by support but my year four and year 19 dc work through their work independently. My year four has around 4 - 5 hours a day my year 10 , 6 hours. It’s set on seesaw and google classroom. Primary dd has some, but not many zoom lessons

SavageBeauty73 Tue 09-Jun-20 21:26:45

I cannot motivate my year 10 twins to hone learn anymore. I'm a single parent trying to work. My mental health is suffering nagging the boys for hours. It's a fucking nightmare.

ToothFairyNemesis Tue 09-Jun-20 21:27:13

*my support

Alex50 Tue 09-Jun-20 21:38:54

It’s a complete mess, nobody seems to care what this is doing to children and young adults, this is the next generation, our future, we are messing their mental health, their career goals. My friends little girl has panic attacks now if she has to go out the front door 😢

JassyRadlett Tue 09-Jun-20 22:01:29

@ToothFairyNemesis I think your school/s are at the exceptional end of the spectrum. I’ve been mocked on here for having unrealistic expectations/not being satisfied with an English exercise in a powerpoint, a daily link to White Rose maths and ‘marking’ (and acknowledgement comment once a week) from a random teacher. And Oak Academy seems to be hugely variable. Some of their Year 3 stuff is dire (a teacher talking to a teddy bear during a science lesson...)

OP, I totally hear you. My kids are younger and we’re employed rather than running a business but it’s awful and relentless. We are run ragged and broken. 8yo is becoming more and more withdrawn as this whole thing drags on. He totally broke down at the confirmation today that school wouldn’t be going back for him until at least September. So we need to invest time in his mental health and trying to find social opportunities for him that don’t make him even sadder (his words). And both work full time in high pressure situations. There aren’t enough hours in the day, everyone and everything is getting short changed.

The talk of blended learning come September is really breaking me. They should just call it the Plan To Fuck Over Kids And Also Women. Because let’s be honest, it’s mostly women who will lose their jobs or have to give up work because of this.

carlywurly Tue 09-Jun-20 22:15:29

I'm so sorry. We are doing our best to give all of our employees total flexibility until at least September- we will lose some brilliant women and men if we don't. Nobody signed up to to run a business and home educate their children. It's insane.

This situation is straining everyone. My dcs are desperate for social contact. 6 months out of school is unthinkable.

justanotherneighinparadise Tue 09-Jun-20 22:19:45

I’m not even working and I can hardly stand it anymore. I’m broken. My seven year old was a struggle for his teachers to teach, now everything has fallen to me whilst simultaneously trying to be there for my four year old.

They are both so angry. They fight constantly. Have destroyed the house by throwing things, slamming doors, stamping and tearing things up. My last nerve is shredded. I can’t talk to anyone lightly anymore, it seems like so many of my mummy friends are having a wonderful time. I’m drowning and wishing there was a pill I could take to and it all quickly and painlessly.

I don’t know how people are working alongside home educating, housework, cooking, gardening and all the other myriad of fucking domestic shit that we’re meant to be able to do. I stay awake until midnight most nights just to get some alone time because my kids now won’t sleep until it’s dark. God I’ve never wished a year away so much as I’ve wished this one.

CheshireCats Tue 09-Jun-20 22:27:57

But surely if they are doing GCSE's they can learn largely independently- whilst you work. I have 3 teens, and they do their own work, asking for help if there is something they don't understand.

AbsolutePleasure Tue 09-Jun-20 22:34:14

Woah, take a deep breath. You can' t be teaching your kids from 10-4 everyday. Even if you had the time, that's just too intense for everyone.

We're not teachers, we're parents. This is a golden opportunity to strengthen relationships and spend some real quality time together at home. Get your kids involved in your work if you can, focus on developing their independence and soft skills. Use this time well and they'll be ready to learn when they go back to school.
You might even find they teach themselves the stuff they're really interested in but never had time for.

lucyintheskywithcz Tue 09-Jun-20 22:35:07

That's a very long post so I didn't read it all but I have to admit I am confused as to why you are teaching them. I have 13 yo and 15 yo and they are doing their work by themselves.

Feellikedancingyeah Tue 09-Jun-20 22:50:07

My 13 year old can't learn by himself. That's what school is for. !

balloonsintrees Tue 09-Jun-20 22:57:02

Why is your husband wasting his own working day 'teaching' your GCSE age children?
Even in the classroom, they are generally given work and expected to get on with it.
Stop treating your children like babies and teach them some independent, rational thinking.

JassyRadlett Tue 09-Jun-20 22:58:30

This is a golden opportunity to strengthen relationships and spend some real quality time together at home.

I’m sure you didn’t mean to come across as insensitive and patronising to a women who is stretched to breaking point trying to keep a business afloat while also trying to ensure her children, one of whom gets extra learning support at school, keep up with their peers at an important stage in their education.

JassyRadlett Tue 09-Jun-20 22:59:32

Even in the classroom, they are generally given work and expected to get on with it.

Why do we even bother with schools if this is the case?

SoloMummy Tue 09-Jun-20 23:09:16

Well a 13 yo is pre gcse, so I'd say that makes a difference. The gcse child should be capable of finding supporting materials via Oak, bitesize or similar. If they can't, then tbh I'd only be focusing on maths and English.

With 13 yo plus, you shouldn't need to handhold the entire day. They need to take some responsibility. Given my 5yo is having to do this, they should be able to.

If they genuinely struggle with supporting material to cement their learning, then may be that is your contribution to bookmark the pages or buy support guides such as cgp sell.

ToothFairyNemesis Tue 09-Jun-20 23:19:02

@JassyRadlett think your school/s are at the exceptional end of the spectrum
If that true I am equally thankful and angry on behalf of other parents. Schools should be providing an equal homeschooling experience.
Neither of my dc attend private school.

ToothFairyNemesis Tue 09-Jun-20 23:20:46

To clarify I mean in the way work is provided/market. Obviously there will be unavoidable differences if parents are wfm/there are limited devices to use in the home etc.

Mamamia87 Tue 09-Jun-20 23:31:51

I think it’s unfair to suggest that even high school children should be able to self teach for long periods (3 hours plus). Teachers employ a wide range of methods and techniques to engage pupils, taking into account various learning styles. In class there is discussion, questions, working together, all being lead by a subject expert. It’s great that some children can manage six hours of independent learning but I would imagine that’s the exception, not the rule.

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