When are your teens going back to school?
Honestly, there’s nothing to say about the current school situation for teens in the UK. Apart from it’s a hot mess.
When Flea’s school first closed in mid-March, the expectation was that kids would be back in the classroom after the Easter holidays. That date came and went, and since then it’s just been… confusing. And now we’re into month three and for some of us, there’s no end in sight.
Home Learning Sucks
I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Home schooling a teenager sucks.
Flea’s school has worked miracles and is delivering a full online timetable of lessons from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. Flea is expected to keep up in all her subjects, with regular tests and essays. All from our spare bedroom which is not the ideal learning set-up.
She is mostly keeping up. But I constantly have to check she’s working at her desk, and hasn’t snuck off to play video games or watch Netflix. There are emails from teachers if homework is late, and it’s always hard work to get Flea to complete her least favourite assignments.
As I told Flea’s head of year, I can work a full-time self-employed job OR I can be a teaching assistant but I can’t be both. And if my job is busy one week, then that has to take priority and I can’t really help that. I also said I’m not prepared to ruin my relationship with my daughter during what’s a tough emotional time, just because of some physics assignment.
I want to take the odd day to go and see the sky, and remember it’s a big world, and this too shall pass.
Still. It’s exhausting, isn’t it?
I think part of what’s made this process so frustrating is the lack of clarity, and consistency.
It feels like schools were going to open on this date, then that, then another. When the government announced primary schools would open on June 1, and secondary schools on June 15, I was relieved to think Flea would get some schooling before summer.
But then our county council stepped in and basically told the schools in our area to stay shut. They didn’t consider it was safe when the cases here were still so high. So at that point, who knew?
It now looks like primary schools here will open on June 22, with secondary schools the week after. But I know from friends’ experiences that these children won’t be going back to school as they recognise it. We’re talking short sessions with teachers, alone or in small groups. Focusing only on the core subjects.
I’m relieved to find that Flea’s school has made a unilateral decision based on what the headteacher thinks is the best interests of the students, and parents.
Flea will break up for summer this week, skipping the last three weeks of term. She will then return to school the week of August 19. The school will make the school day 30 minutes longer, and we’ve been told there will be a strong focus on traditional learning, as the school helps kids catch up on anything they’ve missed.
For Year 10 students like Flea, there will also be earlier GCSE mocks, with the exams taking place at the start of December. I think this must be to give the school more time to work with children who have fallen behind during lockdown.
Not the Summer we Expected
Part of me is happy that we at least have some certainty. I know now, that Flea won’t be going back to school again in Year 10. But it’s a shame that our summer break is happening while lockdown is still in full effect. Our holidays have all been cancelled, and it’s a struggle to know how to keep Flea entertained for 8 weeks without the benefit of cinemas, shopping days with friends, eating out, parties or sleepovers.
But we will make it work.
From tomorrow, Flea will be having weekly sessions with a hockey coach. It’s 1-2-1 training, but I figure it’s something physical that will mean getting out of the house and talking to someone new. We’ve also signed up for personal trainer sessions with a local trainer, to help Flea work on her fitness before she heads back into what will be her last junior hockey season.
Apart from that, I’ve renewed Flea’s membership at the tennis club, and hopefully she can spend some time enjoying the garden in the coming weeks. I will also try and motivate my teen to do an hour’s school work each day, just to ensure she hits the ground running next term. That might be a bit TOO hopeful, mind!
What’s happening with your teens? Are they back at school soon? Have they been already?