By Stephanie Richardson - 3rd April 2020 6:08am
As a parent who has successfully drug up four children — I never did have time to read the label on the Diazepam tablets — I cannot understand this fuss about home schooling. Yes, it is true that two of my offspring have left their birthplace in favour of Trumpsville, but they took different paths in life and they were on the MI5 wanted list.
Our school system is designed to teach obedience and conformity, which is probably one of the reasons that this country has to put instructions on shampoo bottles! Home schooling should be seen as an opportunity to fill in the important gaps, so here's my advice:
All children should have their alarms set so they can rise at midday. Do not allow them to sleep in as this is the moment when their brains are at an optimum learning level. This also has the added bonus for you of skipping breakfast and moving straight on to lunch, thereby saving the cereal for those important late night snacks that you so enjoy.
They will have learnt the importance of routine.
Once up and watered, enforce full virus protection gear, their batman outfit will do, give them a shopping list, remember no sweets as they are not classified as 'essential', and send them off to the Coop with a reminder that they must stand two metres apart from any other shopper in the queue.
This will teach them to obey Government guidelines.
After joining the Coop queue, now snaking around the corner to the medical centre, they should be able to enter the Coop after about an hour, only to discover that the milk and bread have sold out. As they approach the checkout, they will also be challenged by the manager with regard to the bottle of gin they are buying, so they will leave empty handed.
Not wanting to disappoint you, they will rack their brains and decide to join the queue at Williams, after all Judy has everything in her shop, and true to form she magically produces two pints. Judy doesn't have any gin as she has drunk it all, but If they had had enough intelligence they could have considered approaching Alan from the Lord Combemere with regard to the purchase of a bottle. They don't, and you point this out to them when they return without it. They hang their head in shame.
They will have learnt patience, perseverance and never to buy alcohol unless over eighteen. Also that Judy from Williams sells everything.
After a late afternoon healthy snack of chocolate and a milkshake, you should give them a cookery lesson as survival is paramount at the moment. Challenge them with a tin opener and a can of beans. This is an observational experiment to see if they spot the ring pull on the top of the tin. Pour yourself a gin and tonic as watching them struggle can be stressful. After half an hour of wrestling with the tin opener, they will probably cut off the top of their finger. This will require a lesson in first aid. Sadly they will probably not listen as they are crying too much. As you rush them to A&E with a towel around their hand, you will probably be stopped by the police as they will want to check that you are leaving home for a valid reason. Be warned, they may well smell the alcohol on your breath, however you can explain that you were sterilising your child's finger with it.
They will learn to be observant, and that sometimes little white lies are necessary.
Upon returning home, with a huge white bandage on their finger, and because you are a kind and considerate parent, you instruct them on how to open the tin of beans, heat them up and put them on a plate. There is no toast because they were unable to buy any bread.
They have learnt that sometimes you have to go without for the greater good.
After tea you decide that your child needs a craft lesson, however you are confused as to why 'simple crafting for kids' can think it even vaguely plausible that your child could make a 3D model of the Eiffel Tower out of yogurt pots unaided, given that they already have a huge bandage to contend with? You have also realised that you may have to revert to babyhood and help to wipe your child's bottom. This is embarrassing for both of you.
They have learnt that not everything is as easy as it seems.
As bedtime approaches, you may feel that your child has not expended enough energy for the day, after all they have only spent an hour queueing outside the Coop, and so you should record a U Tube video of Joe Wicks, the Body Coach, who has got children up and down the country keeping fit in the comfort of their home. This is a weekday work out for children and their parents to keep fit whilst self-isolating. As a parent, this may involve spilling your wine, so you should sit comfortably on the sofa whilst making encouraging remarks to your child who is still in trauma after cutting off the top of their finger, but is valiantly doing butterfly jumps.
Your child has learnt that daily exercise leads to a healthy body.
Now is the time for bed so that your child can wake up refreshed and ready for another day of home schooling delights tomorrow. You should leave them with an age appropriate story book to encourage their reading, whilst you go downstairs for a refill, after all you've had an exhausted day of teaching!
Your child will learn never to ask to be read to when their parent has a wine glass in their hand.
Remember, home schooling allows you the freedom to step off the motorway of learning and take a more scenic route along a B road. We've got a lot of those in Audlem!
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