Half-term ‘a long way’ away as parents take on teaching duties after all schools close
Written by on 5 January 2021
It was the start of the new term no one wanted, but parents across the UK have reluctantly restarted homeschooling.
For some – like Lauren Nolan from Poole in Dorset – it’s a new experience.
Her son Frank, four, is in reception and only started in September.
“He went to school yesterday and we spent the weekend getting him ready, I even ironed his uniform,” Lauren said.
Schools and colleges have been shut to all but vulnerable children and those of key workers as coronavirus cases surge in the country.
Lauren, like many other parents, didn’t expect another shutdown of schools, and admits she “wasn’t prepared” for the latest closures.
“It seemed like there was such a commitment to keeping them open. I didn’t think things would get bad enough we’d have to close schools.”
Her kitchen has now been turned into a classroom, and day one went relatively well.
“We’ve done a little bit. Because of his age, little and often is going to have to be the key. Did a little bit of reading, shapes and phonics.”
Frank is the youngest in his year, so hasn’t realised he won’t be back in class for several weeks.
“This morning he was completely fine. I was expecting tears or a bit of confusion, and maybe lots of questions, but he said ‘I’m fine, I’ve got my porridge I’m happy to stay home!'”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the current national lockdown in England will last until at least the February half-term.
Lauren has been furloughed from her job, so is relieved she has time to help with her son’s learning.
She’s been in touch with friends who homeschooled last year for tips, and spent the morning “Googling schedules and ways to teach”.
And she says she feels “more optimistic this time” because of the coronavirus vaccine.
“I’m quite confident it’s going to get us through this. Although it seems like half-term is a long way I’m trying to focus on that end point, and I hope a really strict lockdown now will give us the kick to get over this.”