Lockdown taught me to…

This post is an appreciation to teachers and parents who are doing the most in this lockdown to keep children regulated in such incredibly difficult and unprecedented times.

At the start of 2020, who would’ve thought that we would be right in the midst of a global pandemic, trying to figure out how to get through day-to-day tasks of home-schooling.

Parenting can be challenging during the best of times, but I don’t think we were prepared for the challenges we had to overcome when the initial lockdown was imposed in late March 2020. I remember watching the news with my husband when the announcement was made and, in that instant, I knew we would need each other more than ever before to get through what was ahead.

One of the biggest challenges that we faced (and I can perhaps say this for many other parents) was home-schooling with the added pressure of working from home. My initial thought was “how hard can it be? if we make a plan and stick to it, I am sure we would be fine”.

I can safely say that the plan didn’t last a week. What I hadn’t taken into consideration was the struggle the children would have, making the distinction between home life and school life where the two now had to coincide.

The struggle in the morning just getting them out of bed was real because they didn’t understand why they needed to get up so early since they weren’t physically going into school, and constantly explaining that school was now happening at home was tough. We had lots of tears, and not just the children, I can unashamedly say I broke down a few times.

I remember a distinct moment when I was in a virtual teams meeting and my older daughter, Tumi, came into my home office with a sad face on.
“What’s the matter, mama? I am in a meeting”

I said to her and she replied: “Mummy I need your help with something, I am stuck on my work, I just don’t get it…”

I answered abruptly, maybe slightly irritated at the fact that she could clearly see I was busy.

“I am in a meeting right now, can it wait till I finish?”

That was the trigger, and she burst out crying. I was suddenly overcome with guilt and quickly excused myself from the meeting. I apologised and calmed her down. I then asked her to take a break while I finished my meeting and thankfully, that appeared to do the trick.

We came back to it later because I realised that I was mummy first before taking on the role of school/home teacher. I was learning on the job because this experience was all new to me and I believe many parents can relate to this.

I read a tweet recently that resonated with me and explained my frustration perfectly “Anyone struggling with home-schooling should know that despite having a PhD in literature and having published 12 books, I only learned what a fronted adverbial was when my 8-year old’s teacher said he doesn’t use enough of them in his written work”.

How many of us have had to watch YouTube videos just to understand the task given to our children? Many times, I felt like I was losing my mind, but by the Grace of God, we got through it. Looking back at the entire experience, I have learnt so much and gained some valuable lessons that I thought to share.

Lockdown has taught me to appreciate the role of teachers more.

I have a newfound respect for teachers and a high level of appreciation for the role they play in the lives of our children, and frankly, I don’t believe they get paid enough. It is really not a joke. For that, I am grateful for all the teachers who do this every day with the sole purpose of making an impactful difference in the lives of the children they teach.

Lockdown has taught me to accept the things I cannot change.

I tend to see myself as someone who is solution-focused; I, however, wasn’t ready for the challenges of lockdown and home-schooling. I had to quickly accept that certain things were beyond my control and sometimes, I just had to be okay with getting through the day.

A good example of this is realising that home will never be school, therefore trying to enforce such consistency on my kids meant that I was fighting a losing battle where there were no winners. This wasn’t their fault, so I, therefore, had to pace myself in a way that doing a little each day that was productive was good enough.

Lockdown taught me that my role as a parent went beyond home-schooling.

I read a quote recently that captures this perfectly

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent”.

Mamahat Ghandi

I had to learn to stop being hard on myself and on the girls on days that we couldn’t do much, because actually I was mum, and sometimes it was okay to give hugs or even get treats in the middle of a meltdown. I needed to maintain home life as a place of safety, nurture, and warmth trusting that the lessons I instilled in the girls, went beyond home-schooling.

We are now in the middle of another lockdown, and I can say we are doing better this time. We are all coming round to the idea that this new way of life may be our normal for a while to come.

However, it is still okay to wake up a little later, give hugs even while in the middle of a work meeting, and take breaks when it gets too much.

Right now, we are in the middle of a pandemic, so it is not about perfect reading or accurately solving formulas. If you achieve this, it is a bonus, but for me, it is about not losing sight of what is truly important, which is holding each other (your children can hold you too) and getting through this very difficult time. We are nearly there, well done for showing up, that alone is a win.

“Children learn more from what you are than from what you teach!”

If you enjoyed reading this post, then please like, share and comment below. Would love to hear your experiences on homeschooling during a lockdown.


12 thoughts on “Lockdown taught me to…”

  1. Ginika Amanerimi

    I totally agree, we are learning new skills everyday and understanding that patience is a much needed virtue in helping our children and in dealing with each other.

  2. Aderonke Oshungbohun

    As I’ve not actually had to home school, my experience is slightly different. I learnt how to have and create fun at home . I used to be dependent on restaurants and outdoors for fun, we’ve now been able to create something different.

    1. My dear, this is needed, we have to be creative to help keep sanity at home. It’s not easy, but I suppose the positive is that after this is over, we will learn so many skills to use with our children. ☺️

  3. Great write-up!

    I experienced all these as well during the lock down. Working from home and helping 3 kids with online work was no joke at all. But thank God we pulled through.

  4. Allow me use this medium to express my heartfelt gratitude to school teachers and to register my respect and an upgraded admiration for these amazing professionals. They help shapen our children and do so with very little renumeration compared to the enormous responsibilities. Lockdown brought a rude awakening of the fact that there’s been an imbalance in the process of raising our children, the role of the home, by this I mean parents must not be left solely in the hands of teachers. My Wife and I became more involved in their study lives, we saw first hand their areas of strength and weaknesses and we were able to carefully, yet lovingly guide them.
    Great piece Ma’am!

    1. You’re absolutely right, lockdown has helped us to see the gaps we didn’t know was there because we were all so busy. I am sure that after this is all over, many of us would’ve picked up better skills to support our children. 😀

  5. Stella Mlengandale

    The jobs that teachers do are not celebrated enough and it is just a shame that it’s taken Lockdown to truly appreciate them . And all those parents working from home and schooling at the same time you rock!. Lovely piece Pam.

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