It would be fair to say home schooling has its ups and its downs. When you are flying high one is reminded the little sprout you helped create may have a future which doesn’t involve them filling cardboard boxes full of tinned beans at the end of a production line for the rest of their working life. On the other hand, when life feels bleak, and nothing can get them to focus on any given task, one is certain the best to be done is start saving for a good lawyer to keep them out of jail. Today’s lessons fitted the latter mould as snugly as that velour tracksuit you accidentally popped in the tumble dryer.
Thus far in 2021 I have been designated Official Home Educator but my performance is so woeful we’ve decided Mrs M will pick up the mantle. Cerberus and I managed a pathetic sum of 20 minutes scribbling together today. What sealed the deal for my curt dismissal was a second intervention from dear teacher Mrs E. The boy is slipping so far behind he’s had a special extra teacher appointed him, along with three of his similarly bored chums.
I have to hand it to the school for having their finger on the ball this time around in lockdown, but the hopeless reality is we are drowning at Micawber Towers. I’ve a new found respect for the professionals who handle the nation’s future criminals each day, and now have the definitive knowledge I could never be one.
In years past I spent many a doting hour at my late grandmother’s knee. She repeatedly asserted, with a steely glint in her eye, that ‘patience is a virtue’. I echoed this budgie-like at the time, though paid scant heed. I now realise why she chose that particular adage. Patience was never one of my strong points, though I’ve become neutralised with passing years and the acceptance that life in general is for the brave or idiotic, of which I am neither. I’ve realised there’s little point in fighting against the great human tide which at some inevitable point will toss you upside down and bash your head against the rocks.
Unfortunately Cerberus, my eldest, has inherited my knack in his early years of being as attentive to the job as a builder when a local lovely saunters by his scaffold.
In the application of schoolwork at home, this means 20 minutes straight focus on a lesson is the equivalent to him of a 17 frame snooker match. He downs his pencil, which he’s been largely using to draw pictures of some kind of demonic frog anyway, slides off the chair with a ‘mpmff’ and is gone. Whether I opt for the diplomatic encouragement or the raging ‘get the fuck back here!’ matters not.
The rest of the house would need to be filled with rabid vengeful gophers before he reentered our mock schoolroom. Even then, I suspect they might run first.
The deadest door nail in my future as educator was when Mrs E informed us she had appointed this specialist teacher. Cerberus’ reputation has slipped in the course of three weeks as rapidly as Eric Cantona’s when he kung-fu kicked the Crystal Palace bigot.
After school I spent a weary hour or two walking in the biting cold with my first-born, trying to make sense of it all. I silently begged the heavens to ‘give me a fucking break!’.
I doubt they will. More than likely it’ll be a swift kick up the arse. I deserve it. I’m sure Cerberus will make this very clear later when I’m visiting him at Her Majesty’s pleasure.