By Angela Clark
As some children return to school for the first time since Christmas, we hear from parents who had to become temporary teachers overnight when schools across the region closed for a second time due to Covid 19.
And with no definite dates for pupils above P3 to return yet, most are facing increasing uncertainty about their children’s futures and trying to cope with limited resources.
Despite the challenges most are doing their best to remain positive.
Sledging & Slime
Karen Hamilton cares for her grandson Caden who has additional support needs and she tries to occupy him as best she can.
Like many children he loves school and misses his friends at St Stephen’s Primary and is finding it hard being out of routine.
She said: “My grandson loves school and has found the change of routine difficult.
“It has been our biggest struggle and has been hard for him to adapt outwith his school routine.
“He has meltdowns because of his ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and being kept in the house constantly.
“It’s hard enough trying to get a CALMs appointment for him never mind services contacting us.
“We are trying to remain positive and do things to keep him occupied. We have been sledding at Dalmuir golf course where he met his friends and he loved it.
“He has been making slime and spending a lot of his time outside with his drone which takes him away from the internet and gets us all out in the fresh air.”
Many families are getting more fresh air as they find exploring the outdoors is a great way to take timeout from the stresses of teaching.
For families with more than one child, homeschooling is proving especially challenging as they try to balance multiple curriculums.
Jacqueline Elizabeth Pairman knows this too well.
As a mum of two and a full time student herself she is trying to teach two different curriculums alongside her own studying commitments and although worried about the pressures she is happy that her family is safe.
Jacqueline said: “It’s such a difficult situation to adapt to, having kids at such different levels is particularly challenging and it’s hard to divide my attention between them both equally.
“Jessica is preparing to choose specific subjects for the transition into 4th year at the Vale Academy and I feel she hasn’t really had the full experience of her current subjects to make a fully informed decision.
“Cameron is at Lennox Nursery, he is due to start school this year and I’ve found it challenging trying to prepare him properly for that.
“We have a busy home with many tasks to complete, however, we do what we can and if it doesn’t get finished today we can start afresh tomorrow.
“We are safe and well and that’s what matters most. We are making the most of an unprecedented situation and doing our best.”
Another mum who is making the most of the situation is nursery practitioner Annemarie Stewart who is currently furloughed and is homeschooling her daughter Sarah, alongside her daughter’s friend Ava whose mum works full time.
She is enjoying being able to spend quality time with her daughter.
Annemarie said: “I have really enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum and have felt very lucky to have this precious time with my daughter.
“Homeschooling is new to me as to everyone else right now, however being a nursery practitioner this is something I have thoroughly enjoyed and it’s made it easier for me.
“Homeschooling my daughter and her best friend has been great as the girls have the social skills and company of each other, which makes it more fun and consistent for them.
“I try my best to make this homeschool experience a positive, fun and consistent adventure for the girls as this has been a tough time for the children not being allowed to socialise with anyone, go to school or go to clubs.”
Much to the relief of parents and carers, younger children will start to head back to classrooms this week and families are hopeful older children will follow in the coming weeks.
Another parent said: “When I heard the announcement last week I felt like the weight of the world had fallen from my shoulders, even though my child is not in the age category for kids going back this week.
“It is just a huge relief to know there is some sort of movement to get the kids back to their learning and their friends.”
Hopefully this will be the case and all homeschoolers can give a huge sigh of relief and a pat on the back for doing a great job in these difficult times.