Home Schooling

‘It’s very different. I feel the pressure is off this time’

It’s one week into Homeschooling 2.0 and the atmosphere in many – if not all – homes in the State stands in marked contrast to the pandemic panic of last year’s lockdown.

“It is completely relaxed,” says Cristina Grifoni, a Dublin mother who is homeschooling her son.

“For us it’s like being on holidays as, so far, my wage has not been stopped or reduced, even though the preschool where I work has closed down after the Level 5 restrictions.”

Pauline Minsky, mother of an eight-year-old, says she had a terrible experience last year. This year, it’s very different.

“He suffered a lot of anxiety during the first lockdown. A previously very happy boy, loving life at school, his friends and his sport, he became angry and had lots of tantrums.”

This week, instead of work landing by email, he gets three or four 40-minute classes, broken up with breaks, between 8.30am and 2.10pm.

“It’s really amazing. I worked alongside him today. All smooth. I feel the pressure off me as a parent,” she says.

But many others – especially those with multiple children or students in exam years – are still feeling the strain.

Many say their children are not getting enough live classes to keep occupied while they juggle their day jobs.

“We obtained a list of activities that should be completed on Seesaw. It really is like doing a longer version of homework,” says Mary Brennan, a mother of three whose children are in third class, first class and junior infants.

“There is no direct teaching done via Zoom or anything, so they are not learning anything new. If a parent can’t supervise the homework it won’t get done. It is very stressful, but we do what we can.”

Struggling

Chiara, who has three children, is also struggling to homeschool her three children alongside her husband. Both work in busy “high responsibility” jobs and cannot take leave.