Five days into 2021 and we are in lockdown part 3 apparently, although if you’re living in Leicester I’m not really sure we were ever out of lockdown – may be briefly for a few weeks in the summer. The rest is all a slight blur between being in lockdown without school, lockdown with school and lockdown without school again.
Work is good and I am now working from home until further notice. No furlough this time round especially with the busy tax return season in full swing with no sign of an extension on the filing deadline. But also slightly hectic trying to homeschool and do accounts and tax returns. The girls’ school are using Microsoft teams for the online learning programme so I spent a lot of time today (their first day at home) trying to get that to work and then uploading and downloading documents. Plus the parents WhatsApp chat was in full swing with lots of parents moaning about various online issues. The cheap laptops I bought the first time round doesn’t have enough memory to support the Microsoft teams app. It was ok for going on websites and a few word documents for school projects but that was all it could cope with.
When the girls went back to school in September, the school started putting together an online learning programme using Microsoft teams and at the time I decided to put the teams on my phone and tablet. For the occasional week or two in isolation, it was fairly easy to download and print off the homework set for the girls. This time around its til half term – 6 weeks – with rumours of it extending till March and both of them are at home together, so we thought new laptops might be a good idea. Plus, if they can get on with most of it themselves, I can get on with my work. (Fingers crossed!)
Once I put their date of birth into their laptops, there are automatic parental controls in place which I thought was quite good, for both Microsoft and Google. I’m not 100% sure what I’m signing them into but I thought having parental controls there is a good thing so carried on with it. The girls’ tables are near where I have my desk so I can easily keep an eye on them most of the time but it’s reassuring to know that I have this extra parental control where they have to ask to go on certain things and I can see what they are logging into and for how long.
In the first lockdown, the schools weren’t that prepared and we would get some homework by email which they would quickly complete in about an hour and they would then bug me to let them play on Minecraft. Plus the weather was good, so it was a lot easier to send them out in the garden for most of the day. This time round there’s work set with deadlines although if all else fails, the BBC are doing homeschooling on their TV channels so I can feel less guilty when they do sit in front of the TV if I’m still working.
There’s a lot being said in the news about the kids mental health and I can see it in them too but they are lucky to have each other as they can entertain and annoy each other. I’m not sure if that it is always so great though as the older one doesn’t really want to play what the younger one wants to and then they have a fight. They were both gutted when they were told they were not going to school this term, although cheered up when they were allowed to stay up late instead. Anyway, if it helps to keep the country a little safer, we are lucky enough to be getting through this fairly ok. I just need to get on with my work tomorrow!