One of the reception mums just asked on our Facebook group who’s going to be back in school on Monday.
Only a few replies so far but most are staying home still, including small boy.
There are lots of reasons for us, some selfish and others more community spirited.
For starters, trying to take small boy to school while large boy stays at home would be all sorts of mayhem. Under normal circumstances, they go to breakfast club together but on Fridays I drop them off for the start of school. It took months for drop off to not involve tears from small boy – simply because he was going in a different door from his brother.
Then there’s the rules they’ll have to follow while they’re there. For reception children, its asking a lot. They and the teachers will be so focused on keeping their distance and only touching their equipment that I doubt they’ll have much energy for learning. I know its likely that the rules will still be there in September but I think small boy will adapt to them more easily if his brother’s setting an example too.
Practically its tricky too. Our school will be open 9am to 3pm as usual. Key workers’ children can attend 8 til 4. Himself is a key worker so we could do that. But then small boy would be in a “bubble” with those mixed aged children all day every day – not with his class. Trying to do the school run at 9 and 3 would be very tricky for us to continue working effectively. Sure it would be possible, but on days when himself has to go into work it would be so hard. Its tough enough working and home learning without adding extra journeys into the mix. And home learning wouldn’t go away, large boy would still need to be working too.
Himself is needing to go into work more often, which means he’s mixing with more people and using shared spaces. That means there are increased risks both that he could pick COVID up and share and send small boy to school with it, and that if small boy brought it home he could then take it to work.
So long as we can support and care for the boys at home, that reduces the burden on school and the sizes of the groups of children there. That makes it easier for the children and staff who need to be there. This is the same reason we never sent them as key workers’ children. It’s not convenient or easy but it’s better for everyone.
We’ve considered all these things when deciding if this is the right time for small boy to return to school and decided that it isn’t yet. That’s our decision and it suits our family. Other people are choosing different things for their own reasons or the same thing for different reasons. Its important that we remain sympathetic and tolerant, try to be understanding, and most of all not dismiss, belittle or criticise people for making different choices.
Thinking about September, I’ve realised that I’m really going to miss the boys when they do go back. Its totally hectic and stressful trying to work, care for them, and support learning. But it’s also lovely to spend so much time together. I went back to work when they were each 8 months old. We’ve never spent so much time together, laughed so much or chatted about such crap as well as such deep matters. I’ve loved watching them learn. Small boy’s reading and writing is stunning! Large boy just takes (almost) everything in his stride.
I feel like I know them better, I understand them better.
I’m going to miss the company, I’m usually OK being so isolated working from home, but I’ve grown accustomed to having chats with real people in the same room as me several times a day. Not just with the boys, I’ll miss himself too when he goes back into work full time.
Our “normal” weeks were always non-stop with swimming and rugby and Cubs and running. We miss being busy but I think we’re accustomed now to not doing very much. Taking those hobbies up again is going to feel pretty hectic after this period of freedom from timetables and plans.
What about you?
How do you feel about a return now? Or how you’ll respond to them all being back in September?