The jungle drums have been beating since Scotland’s glorious leader granted a few of her subjects permission to attend school from next week. That mercifully includes Cerberus; Medusa will similarly be dispatched back to her nosebleedingly expensive nursery.
Any fool who wiggles an eyebrow at barbaric parents who send their beloved tots into full time daycare; with comments such as ‘gosh, why did they even have children if they do that’ should have their head examined. Only a non-parent or voluntary home-schooler could mutter such bilge.
We are delighted at this step in the right direction. Less pleased at the fact Ms Sturgeon charged parents in the same breath as being chatterboxes at the school gates, and the notion children and their carers are having luxury privileges bestowed upon them by opening school doors. Last time I checked education is a child’s right, not a mere indulgence. Only in Scotland 2021 could it be seen as the reverse.
I for one cannot wait to mooch around the school playground, yodelling greetings at fellow day-releasers. Perhaps we will all cuddle, wear paper hats and have a tea party with lemonade and forkfuls of Victoria sponge.
However this latest ‘allowance’ pans out it is overdue respite. Cerberus’ schooling today follows an age-old routine. We successfully clocked in at dawn, then had a half hour long class with his new support teacher. I’ll make clear here, although I often dismiss my son as a mental defective, we never faced the actual precipice until lockdown.
Such is our incompetence at home schooling, Mrs M and I have had to bring in the education cavalry to save him from a life shuffling boulders as part of a chain-gang.
His class with new teacher goes well, indeed he blossoms. I am thrilled. We cut a break in order that I can smoke a fistful of cigarettes then return for part two. Sadly, without his new educator on tap, he instantly loses any germ of interest. We park lessons for the day.
Later in the evening, when sleep for Cerberus seems rather hopeful, I drag him back to the computer screen for interactive math lessons. Again he excels. My hope these latest days is that somehow he has realised, but is unwilling to verbalise, that if he doesn’t knuckle down before entering his school, he will be sent to the dunce class. Even at his rudimentary stage of life, the shame of this would be a blow.
Mindful that I also don’t want the boy to end up on this hopeless track I manage to bring up reserves of compassion and gentle encouragement I didn’t know existed in me. Later I sleep with a clear conscience.
In the afternoon not only did we do no schoolwork but we visited friends for a refreshing walk in a howling Scottish gale. Armed with five children, my fellow parent and I march the children across field and stile, whilst being the recipients of occasional blocks of ice lobbed at our ears and faces from the snowy mire still lying here and there at the foot of hedgerow. Neither of us bothers to chip the children off. Gradually they get bored and sod off as a troupe, probably to strangle some unsuspecting blackbirds.
The slog home is a cold one, and exhaustion makes me shiver. Outwith the home schooling my own work has never been busier; my phone rings constantly. Eventually I stop answering the calls. The most tiring aspect is the realisation that like every other night I will be sitting up until the wee small hours of the morning churning through paperwork.
When we get home I stare at a crossword for a while in a semi-doze, put Medusa to bed, then shuffle to the study for the remainder of the night.
It’s hard to believe that in a matter of days we’ll have the house to ourselves. It will be but a breather though. Already we are counting on fingers the days left before child number three arrives.
What have we done.