the WhatsApp groups are suspiciously quiet

I know I said that I would not homeschool this time around, but it turns out I am terrified of authority. 

I found homeschooling an agonising exploration of how little I actually know the first time around. Having attempted to educate my two boys (9) and (8), I have even more respect for teachers and am positive that their career choice is a vocation.

But, onward with positivity. Today I am positively breezy! 

I wake as though three cans of sugar-free Red Bull has hit my system. ‘It’s Home School, Day One,’ I think to myself. ‘This is going to be GREAT. Positive thinking wins the day!’

As I trundle towards the kitchen at 7am, I mentally tick off checklists in my brain: Google Classroom installed on the tablet, YouTube temporarily disabled on the tablet, printer connected to work laptop for intermittent printing of entire reams of schoolwork, between a day filled with meetings. 

‘Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride,’ I sing in dulcet tones to myself as I assemble neatly chopped batons of carrots and cucumber for my offspring to nibble on while they enjoy their lockdown lessons at the kitchen table.

The first inkling that the day may not go as planned is when the eldest child meanders into the kitchen. “I don’t know if I can go to school today,” he mutters. I am busy preparing a nutritious breakfast and do not look at him when I reply “ah you’ll be grand – a good breakfast will set you up for the day. And anyway, Joe Wicks should be on with that PE yoke to wake us all up soon.” 

“No,” he says. “Look at my face.” My child is one step away from looking like one-eyed Nick Fury from The Avenger
. In the middle of the night, our cat Marley climbed into his bed and scratched him on the face. A swift round of find-the-cat ensues. The offender is located sleeping in the hot press, on top of my good Francis Brennan towels. He is ejected, Sudocrem is applied to wounds and normal service resumes. 

Children are washed, fed and dispatched to the kitchen table, where we are to begin our day of homeschool, which will start at 9.30am according to the circular received from our principal on Sunday morning. 

‘We will all work together’, he tells us, ‘and it will be ok’. This morning, we are enthusiastic. We log onto Google Classroom to await the flow of work from our teachers, promised yesterday by the príomhoide.

And we wait.

There is no work on the classroom stream. We log on and we log off. We get on WhatsApp. The parent’s groups are suspiciously quiet. There is nothing happening.

I revert to the last communication on Aladdin. Oh dear. We are not commencing our homeschooling journey until tomorrow morning.

‘This has been a drill. Stand back from your devices’, I instruct my children, before sending them to the Xbox to play Fortnite while I log onto a meeting, grateful for my console-babysitter and slightly sweaty at the thought of not having it from tomorrow on. 

Maybe I’ll ease them in with a bit of Home School Hub. 

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