From recollection, some people in the pre-lockdown era voluntarily opted to home school their children. I always assumed they were imbeciles; the type of people who named the mites Sycamore or Rainbow and made their own latrine in the back garden. The experience of enforced domestic education has confirmed this. Only a complete fathead would deliberately put themselves through it.
Cerberus and Medusa work hard daily, not at learning, but at destroying the house. I touch up paintwork in each room once every ten days. For weeks now both upturn all furniture items in the youngest’s bedroom, leaving Mrs M and I to rectify matters immediately before bedtime.
On the subject of restorative sleep, Cerberus is famously non-committal to the notion, going down roughly at 9pm on a normal day. A normal day however involves attending school, formerly nursery, and the exhaustion of social interaction finally catching up with him.
Mrs M and I have for five years determinedly loathed weekends. We are of the callous breed who send their children to nursery from the first few months of their lives, in order to allow us to live ours.
A conversation with a diabolical former neighbour; a personal trainer with a brain the size of a squirrel’s testicle, resulted in him chipping me off for sending Cerberus to nursery. I’d loathed the dolt before but that sealed the deal. Any parent will know it is deeply unwise to criticise their technique, particularly if one is not on familiar terms. Never do it if you’re a peanut-headed gorilla.
The experience also validated our choosing to send Cerberus to nursery early. We replicated the process with Medusa. In peacetime Mrs M and I work long unpleasant hours which are offset by the children being worn out, just like us, of a weekday. At the weekend Cerberus sleeps five hours in total and spends all waking hours undertaking to give me an aneurysm. I wish he would.
Perhaps the biggest problem with lockdown is that time has both stopped and become illimitable. There are no weekdays, no weekends; in our experience it’s been one long day in March 2020. Reprieve came with in-school teaching through the second half of the year, but without that any routine has evaporated.
We work all hours of the day and night; schooling and play continues all hours of the day and night. There are no weekdays or weekends. There is little sleep.
Cerberus and Medusa must know this. A rare blessing for us is that they are both under seven years old, so relatively malleable. The real home education horror stories are happening with those aged seven and up. I’m tottering on the fence as to whether our two will become deranged serial killers as a result of house arrest; many friends with older children already know their younglings will.
I send teacher Mrs E an email today. It is the fairest way possible of providing a brief on Cerberus’ achievements and failings since Lockdown 2021 began. With mid-term break almost upon us, I felt the personal touch could perhaps fill in some of the blanks; where his schoolwork should have been. I also provide a vast and creative list of extra curricular activities which we have worked upon. All true but without the benefit of in-class testing so useless for measuring his abilities.
Medusa’s nursery are in touch again. They (because we pay them so well) are extra swift off the mark with the proposed reopening in late February. I know I am paying for the service but I’m sucked in by how adorable they are. I pour out compliments, such as ‘you’ve lovely brown hair and I can’t wait to see you again’. Still they don’t hang up. You get what you pay for, that’s for sure.
Cerberus’ school focuses on saying goodbye for mid-term rather than welcome back soon. I get the impression they couldn’t give a toss if the children came back; might even prefer if they didn’t. Living with my two all these months, I don’t blame them. I make a mental note to triple my income and make all my kin boarders. Presumably they get locked down on site.