Lunch: Bowl of cornflakes, Curly Wurly, tea

Current teenager status: In bed

Our little darlings are all at home. We mourned the day they started primary school, longing to hang on to them a bit longer. Well now, they’re all home, all the time. And they require schooling.

Oh I know I went into this with over-ambitious expectations of my own abilities. Like when he was a baby and he was only ever going to be fed organic food and get appropriate stimulation. And the guilt I felt when I caught a glimpse him plunked in front of Teletubbies, munching away on a chicken goujon. My intentions were so good but the reality was so much more… real.

And so it was with home schooling. Day one, week one – a timetable! We need a timetable. We didn’t need every hour filled – I was all for breaks and playtime. It would be a bit of everything and we would work through it together and maybe even have a wee moment. Day one, afternoon – screaming row and slamming of doors because in my enthusiasm to keep on top of things, I forgot my child was actually a 15 year-old teenager. What went wrong? So many things but top one being, in my eagerness to follow his schoolwork online, I logged into the app and suddenly found myself enrolled in all his classes. My name was in there with all his schoolfriends. And he was already getting messages. I couldn’t delete myself so while he imploded in his room, I had to contact each teacher and ask for my name to be taken out. “Ooh, I wondered who that new pupil was”, said one. How we laughed. There was no day two. 

Once the teenager came out of his room (it might have been the Wednesday), we had a proper chat. And he told me he would do his work and I believed him. So a gentle (I try) daily reminder and he has just been working away himself.

We want our children to do well, to not fall behind, to use the amazing plans the teachers have put together. But we also have to back off sometimes, and we have to know our own limits and trust our offspring. Yes, I know we all want to hug the teachers and thank them for looking after our beloved children for so very many long hours every week – that will have to wait. For now, as with a lot of things, I’m learning to pick my battles and not accidentally enrol in GCSE Leisure & Tourism.

Bronagh McAtasney, definitely not a teacher 

About the Author

Bronagh McAtasney is the creator of @NrnIrnGirl1981, real extracts of the diary of her 13 year old self. She is studying for a Master's in Public History, focussing on the unheard stories of women and has worked with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland on projects looking at diaries and letters locked away in the archives.
She lives in Benagh with four cats, two dogs and a teenager.

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