COVID, working, homeschooling and being a single parent

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  • #48051 Report


    Hi, I just wanted to check how others are handling homeschooling and working? Any tips or advise on how to do this? My son is five and we do not have any family living close by. I also do not have a support bubble, we were bubbled with my mum who lives about an hour’s drive away and is extremely vulnerable, and therefore it is too risky for us to see her at the moment. We have lots of wonderful local friends and are in close contact with family online,   but we cannot physically  bubble with local friends as many either have family members to help with childcare or are looking after elder relatives and the risk is too high.

    Is it just me or does it feel overwhelming to be your child’s everything- parent, teacher, playmate, teacher, counsellor, whilst attempting to work and try and keeps some  kind of clean home/ healthy family diet/clean clothes etc? I have tried to create schedules but really everything just blurs into one long 20hour long day.
    I feel like I need to ask for furlough but 1) am terrified this puts me firmly at risk of redundancy in Marchand 2) I feel guilty because I am just so grateful to have a job. But I feel like I am going crazy…

    During the first lockdown I confess that I put our family happiness and getting paid before my son’s schoolwork. However the result was that he fell very far behind. I mean rally far behind and he is a smart kid.  This time I want to make sure he has the same chances as everyone else and we complete the online learning as much as possible. However this means I am often just trying to do too many things at once and all just so badly..

    what is everyone else doing?? As as single parent do we just have to admit that we can’t work during COVID?? Help please? Is there another way?X

    #48052 Report


    hi, is your ex able to share child care? you seem to be in a good position. covids being used as excuse to keep kids from me.

    #48053 Report


    Hello Adice123 I’m so happy to see this as the first chat forum I’ve literally just joined up and in the same predicament as you to be fair so that’s why I thought coming on we may be able to reach out to others , so I am single mum of two and worked as a nursery worker since my children went full time school and been Lucy enough to progress and further develop this over the last couple years before lockdown, I was then made redundant at the very start of the first lockdown by a very panicky director who made the decision with haste. I worked 40 hours a week if not more I sacrificed a lot to be in full time work and not rely on universal credits but I was left deflated and without a job, I had my parents for childcare so was lucky but as with you childcare mine too are high risk , I’ve got myself a small part time job as a midday but it’s nothing to what I’m used to and we are suffering , we are currently all at home as my child’s school didn’t accept to take my daughters for the short hours only I’m working currently and tbh I didn’t want to send them in full time knowing I’ll be here by myself most of the time , I’ve been feeling selfish in that respect but I honestly feel like at the moment all we have is eachother. Money’s been so tight as we are spending more on online shopping , takeaways too as some days I just don’t wanna cook all day long … I know I’m rambling on sorry hope this all made sense.

    #48055 Report


    I thought it was just me!

    I am suffering with my mental health big time and then with working from home and trying to home school i am finding it near impossible! It is just me and my daughter, i have a support bubble but they are all key workers and live a 20min drive away so impossible for anyone to have her whilst i work.

    I dont know what to do, do i reduce my hours or quit? I receive UC also and i know if i quit i will be sanctioned! I am waiting on a pip claim as i have a brain condition.

    I feel so overwhelmed and dont know where to turn


    Grace x

    #48056 Report


    ok, some showing off. Two boys mostly working from home but sometimes office.

    A not so typical but reoccurring day.

    Get up 4.30am. Quick coffee and cigarette outside, e-mails and daily plan update. Doing the work not finished from the previous day. 7.30am eldest one gets up makes himself breakfast. 8.15am waking little one. 8.30  Breakfast with little one, sorting his clothing out, emptying the dryer, putting everything into drawer and throwing the rest onto eldest ones bed. 9.30 homeschooling starts. Getting laptop ready, signing in to seesaw and printing out the daily tasks while simultaneously reading the notifications and discussing them with little one. Making decisions about the order of tasks for the day. 10.30am first task starts. I go in the kitchen and start washing up while constantly retreating back to the living room to answer questions or give advice. Noon, break for little one and off to Aldi for shopping. 13.30pm returning from shopping, throwing pizza in the oven for lunch, getting little one back at the desk for homeschooling next task. 14.15pm. Short lunch break for a pizza except for eldest one who has his pizza in his room while  working on his laptop. 14.30pm back to homeschooling uploading the first results with seesaw, replacing the empty printer ink, feeding paper into the tray and answering difficult philosophical questions about good vs evil from RE sheet while filling the washing machine. . 16pm. Eldest one is off for his daily run and little one and I are off for our hourly walk. 17.30 return from walk, little one has 30 minutes on the phone for plants vs zombies while I do e-mails. 18h the last task of homeschooling to be finishes while  I start preparing the supper. Little one needs my help every 5 minutes while I prepare the potatoes, veggies and throw it all in the pots. 19pm homeschooling is finished and I start cooking and get the meat ready while little one listens to Sherlock Holmes on audible, and I simultaneously upload the final results of the day from the scanner to seesaw. 19.30 supper, everyone in the dinning room and family small talk of the day. 20h free time for the boys, I start working while still managing to empty the washing machine and hanging the clothing on the dryer because Alexa is helping me with texting and mails. 22pm bedtime for little one. 22.30pm we are in bed. 23h little one has nose bleeding like hell. Midnight, he has finally fallen asleep and eldest ones is in the bathroom having his shower. 0.15 I am back at the desk, wondering, why am I still alive. Eldest one goes to bed, I am still working until 2am and set the alarm for 8.15 after having decided not to shower and fall asleep on the couch. Do I have a social life? No. Will I ever find a new partner again? Naa, don’t think so. Am I happy? Sometimes.

    #48057 Report


    There’s so many of us in this position and its sooo hard, its not just homeschooling its constant feeding and if you have more than one quite a bit of refereeing too when they argue !! Ive been waking up early and logging on a 6.00 so I can get a few solid hours with no Interruptions- I appreciate this won’t work if you have set working hours u need to be available.  Have u tried talking to your employers ? My employer is offering family leave for people who are really struggling and can’t work at all or they are saying u can have a reduced hour work plan.  Also you must remember that the schools are there to support too so let them know u are struggling as a single parent and ask them not to chase work !! Tell them u will do what u can – the kids will have to all catch up when they are back at school as we are all in such different circumstances- its not just single parents i know a lot of people who are married struggling as both of them work – but at least they can tag team a bit.  The main thing is not to stress too much about it you are doing the best you can in very difficult circumstances.  You must let both employer and school know u are struggling and they may be able to help you.  In the mean time hang in there xx

    #48062 Report


    Hahaha Sirtobi,

    Reading  your post was a fantastic fairy tale up until 23h when it became all too realistic & familiar.(I write this from where im hiding behind my bolted bedroom door …while kids alternately bang and shout through it).If covid doesn’t get us,I’m afraid having the kids at home all day will definitely finish us off…

    #48066 Report


    There is no quick fix to this just best efforts.

    The only way I’ve managed when I have my son and when I work… is to get up early… do some work… then sign him into class, and get his work done with him, then stay working late to make up for that time.. it’s not ideal and many people don’t have the option of working remotely… but you can;t juggle… you have to stop and do one or the other or you give neither your best time.

    I think as time goes on teachers will need to actually teach interactively instead of just setting work and getting parents to go throuhg it with their kids.  Maybe zoom or whatever actually doing virtual classrooms.  Not every child has their own device to work on and if they are sharing a device with their parent it’s not ideal.  You can’ t do homework on a mobile phone, you need a computer really, and this is something not all kids have access to (some not at all, some not their own – my child shares mine)  I guess the only benefit (or drawback depending on your viewpoint) is that kids get acustomed to technology from a very early age.  I think it’s a shame that the years I remember as a child climbing trees and a world powered by imagination is now so cetnred around consuming technological input.  While it does have its benefits and encourages new ways of creative output it also I think holds back or removes certain forms of creativity when there is so much reliance on technology.

    Let’s hope this plague is over sooner rather than later.

    #48068 Report


    Today has been one of the hardest I was attempting to homeschool 3 kids (my teenage nightmare works from her bed, oh to be a teenager) whilst wading through a mountain of work and now i’m in bed trying to complete my uni work which is already a couple of days overdue.  I work from home 3 days a week and then the two days my youngest are with their dad i go into work and do 10 hour days trying to catch up on all the work i couldn’t finish because I am answering at thousand school related questions.  It also doesn’t help that my ex who works at home all the time refuses to do any school work with our kids because he is far too busy so i am constantly playing catch up trying to get them up to date by the end of each week.

    I can’t wait to go into work tomorrow and be in a room with people who don’t want me to play power rangers, paint each others nails, want me to feed them a three course meal every ten minutes and argue about the x box while i’m on a conference call.

    I am constantly stressed and if i didn’t have two days a week where i can escape from my four walls I’m not sure how I’d cope.

    #48069 Report


    Thank you Picklepie24,you made me feel slightly less insane.I Wish I had a workplace to escape to, a reason to get dressed properly and s1 able to carry on an adult conversation.I wonder if this is what it feels like right b4 people go mad.I mean,is it a process or just a sudden snapping sound….

    #48071 Report


    Hi thanks everyone for responding and sharing. Thank you also for the tips and letting me know what you are doing. It helps immensely to know that others are also going through this. Although as comforting as it is, it’s also saddening that there isn’t a clear cut solution. On a very logical and grateful level I know we have to muddle through in the best way we can, but some how something has to give. I am either letting my son down or letting my colleagues down and their patience is running thin. People offer sympathy but the fact remains if I don’t do the work the fallout is on them. I dread every work online meeting and email.  I thought I would enjoy having something adult to focus on but it’s just more stress.  I’m exhausted and feel insane. I love my son but I feel like I am too tired and  stressed all the time to be a good parent. I think I am hiding it, but he must be able to tell sometimes. To the person that said they are locked in the bathroom- I feel you. Having a good cry in the bathroom seems to be my go to place.  Anyway I know this is just a moment in time. It will pass right?  I’m going to talk to my employer about this again… if  furlough is allowed (big if ) and if redundancy comes at the end of this I will have to deal with that then I guess. Will just have to start  at fourth base and fight  back up again.

    #48074 Report


    Adice123 flexible furlough is an option now where you can get furloughed part of the time and continue working a set number  of hours a week.  Instead of asking for a full furlough maybe seeing if that would be in option for you to help your situation a bit.  I know what you mean about redundancy although they can’t take furlough into account when considering employees for redundancy the fact is if they have survived without certain people for so long many companies are realising they have been overstaffed and are cutting back.  I work for a waste  management company and we are one of the lucky ones as our trade hasn’t changed significantly because we are an essential service and my employer is completely flexible because they also have school age children so as long as deal with anything urgent i can structure my day as and when i can do it.

    #48085 Report


    Hello Welshdad,

    exactly my thinking. I tried multitasking, but being male I had to admit defeat. So work only when I do not need to attend the kids. I do the housework in-between the homeschooling because I can switch easily between the two task. One of the problems with homeschooling is, we have to do “doorstep teaching”. I can not prepare for the lessons, so I have to answer questions from very different subjects without being prepared. Which means in about 30% of the times we find ourselves  asking alexa or google and then finding something which gives us more inside into the subject.

    I find it also helpful to not adhere to the school times. The family dynamic is just not the same as the pupil/teacher relationship. I can’t whistle and the lesson starts. The kids always suspect sinister motives when I ask them to do something, so there is a lot more convincing involved. This translates into a longer schoolday and a later start.

    I offered them to host the zoom session, together with their mother as she has a Uni account, even if they just do it for an hour a day, but they refused because they don’t want to do any actual online teaching because of the disparities in computer access among the pupils. My feeling is, they hide behind this a bit. I offered to help survey how the actual furnishing situation is and get some of the companies I know to help with making it more equal, but they are not interested. I think the teachers are at their limit as well, and they just don’t want any more burden. It works extremely well in eldest ones secondary, by the way. They do a first class online teaching with all the bell and whistles.

    So yes, we seem to have to get through lockdown III-IV and V and just put the sleep on the back burner for a few months. After this we will quit our jobs, abandon the kids, spending the rest of our days in the sunshine :-).

    #48090 Report


    Sirtobi to give you a comparison my daughter is in year 5 of primary.  She is doing all lessons on zoom.  They connect at 9.00am then gave 1 hour sessions until 2.30 when school is over – during that time they break for 1 hour.  All pupils have to turn on their cameras so that teacher can see them and she talks them through their work which wld have been sent night b4 for parents to print although she does share her screen for those without printers.  The school chose to do lessons on zoom as its easy to access on a smart phone and they figured every household had at least 1 phone to use.  I have her in a separate room to me and I only see her at breaks or if the zoom connection has failed.  I do also have a 3 year old to manage while I’m working which is difficult but this time round the homeschooling has been seemless with very little needed from me.

    #48104 Report



    That is how it should be and I am very disappointed that our school wasn’t willing even to experiment with it. I first thought it was due to lack of zoom account, but the head told me, they do have one.

    I think I will try to get in touch with some of the governors and see what I can do.

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