Day one of the lockdown and day two of homeschooling.

Officially, school’s are now closed until further notice. The general expectation is that they’ll be closed through to the summer holidays and reopen again in September. This summer’s exams have been cancelled. GCSE’s and A-levels will be awarded based on predicted grades and existing teacher assessment/evidence. However, schools have been asked to stay open to look after children of ‘key workers’, doctors, nurses, police officers, armed forces, supermarket workers, delivery drivers, financial industry workers and a few others. Without school’s these children may be looked after by their elderly grandparents – something the government needs to avoid as over 70s are being asked to self-isolate – or their parents who would have to take time off work, keeping them away from the effort to save lives and save the economy.

School leaders aren’t ones to walk away from their children. Almost unanimously schools decided to issue work for children to complete at home. Each school is approaching it in a different way, like everything at the moment, there’s no rule book, no instructions, no right way to do things. Chloe has been given a pack of work to complete over the next couple of weeks, while her sisters are receiving daily emails from teachers who are setting work. Some want the work emailing back for marking, some say they’ll mark it all once school reopens and some have said if you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. Everybody is learning as we go, there is no single approach, it comes down to what each of us feels is the right thing to do.

Amelia sat down to get on with her maths and history work and Chloe did some maths work, while Hannah quite happily sat on the sofa all day playing on her phone and watching TV. I left her until around 3pm before saying she’d have to do some schoolwork or I wouldn’t let her have tea. School work isn’t a legal obligation right now, but I can’t just let her watch TV all day for the next few months, so some schoolwork needs to happen to keep her mind active, and make sure she doesn’t fall behind everybody else who seem to have been made to sit and work all day according to the posts parents are making online.

After some maths and science work I got her engaged with art and even a bit of PE out in the garden.IMG_7562

Outdoor office

Last year I had planned to buy a patio table and chairs set for the garden, but I never got around to it. I’ve been thinking about it again for the past couple of weeks and the plan was to buy something in time for the Easter school holidays.

Tonight though I decided to bring the timescale forward, if we’re going to have to stay at home any longer then it’ll be a good feature to have so we can sit out in the garden. I opted for a wooden picnic table and two benches. They arrived by courier tonight after the girls had gone back with their mum. It was a part-built flat-pack so I spend a couple of hours assembling them and getting them into the garden ready to surprise the girls when they came back in the morning.

Chloe’s seven days of self-isolation are now over so technically she can go back to school, although I decided to keep her at home for the rest of the week. The government have now announced that all schools will be closed after tomorrow until the pandemic is over so I didn’t see much point in sending her in.

Still not convinced

The girls’ mum came round to pick them up at 3pm. She hadn’t realised I was serious when I said they’d all have to stay off school and continued to insist that Chloe couldn’t possibly have Coronavirus.

Amelia tried to reason with her mum but grew frustrated when she couldn’t get through to her. I said to just let it be, it’s easier to getting into an argument about it. School knew why the girls were off so they wouldn’t be allowed back in for the rest of the isolation period anyway, meaning their mum would have to stick by the rules.

New guidelines

Things were really ramped up by the government last night. The advice is now that if anybody in the household has either a high temperature or new and persistent cough, then everybody in the house must self-isolate for 14 days.

It’s thought that if you have the virus you can transmit it to others for upto seven days, so the timescale has doubled because it’s seven days for the person with symptoms while others might take seven days to show symptoms after catching it. So, I get a cough on day one, I pass it to you on day seven but you don’t show symptoms possibly until day 14.

Of course, this now means that Amelia and Hannah also can’t go to school. Amelia wasn’t too bothered by this, although Hannah was quite upset. She wanted to see her friends but also maintain her 100% attendance record to go into a prize draw at the end of the year.

It’s strange keeping the girls off school when they aren’t ill. Other than the cough Chloe isn’t ill and the other two have no symptoms at all.

Self Isolation

I called the school this morning to tell them Chloe would be staying at home in line with the new government advice. I’ll have to stay home too to look after her. Luckily I regularly work from home and so it won’t be an upheaval for me.

Chloe was in good spirits. While she was upset at first, at the thought of not seeing her friends, the prospect of being part of the latest trend, living the buzzword – self-isolation – was quite exciting for her. The cough is only very minor, she’s not otherwise ill and is in good spirits.

I spent the day in the dining room, where I turn the table into my desk with my work issued laptop hooked up to a TV screen. Chloe played with her toys in the livingroom and her bedroom and watched some TV. We played together for a while in between my meetings. The whole thing passed without incident. Just six more days of it to go before she can return to school and see her friends again.