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Ever heard the saying 'never work with children or animals'? Most people are probably discovering the reason for this now that many of us are having to work from home!

One of our Health, Safety and Wellbeing Coordinators, Gill Dawes, has written us a short account of her experience of working at home in the company of her two teenagers and hubby!

So, it all started on the 19th March when I got a phone call from my 19 year old daughter saying that they had been told that they were being sent home from Marjon University, Plymouth and that they didn't know when they will be returning.  This news came as a bit of a shock as did all the turn of events during this particular week. 

My 17 year old son, who attends Truro College, also came home that evening and said that the following day would likely be their last for the foreseeable future.

A day later, the news hit that the following week we were more than likely going into lockdown and that schools, colleges and Universities would be closed during this period with total uncertainty as to whether they will return during the Summer Term or not until the start of the Autumn Term.

That same day, I left work loaded down with my laptop and all other necessary equipment to enable a home working setup, as was my husband who works for Cornwall Housing.

The Saturday before the lockdown was announced, we made the decision to travel back up to Marjon University and pack our daughter’s room up and bring everything home. The University had requested this as they were going to use the rooms for NHS staff working at Derriford which is just about next door. (There was a huge advantage that our daughter attended such a local University, others were not so lucky and have still not retrieved all their belongings.)

And so, 23rd March the lockdown began. Luckily, online lessons were provided for both my daughter who is in the first year of a PE teaching degree and my son for his BTEC in business (though 36 x 3 hours of practical lessons obviously had to be missed for my daughter). My husband set up office in the lounge and I set up a portable office in the kitchen (portable so that we could use the kitchen table for mealtimes).

Despite all the negatives that this situation has brought to all our lives, there are also some positives.

Firstly, thank goodness for modern technology.  We are all able to carry on with our work/study to a degree of success.  It may be slower than if we were in the office/classroom but it is still thankfully possible to get things done. 

Social isolation has meant that the only socialising that happens is over social media and amongst the close family.  We actually sit around the kitchen table at meal times and have a conversation about our work/study lives.  We talk about our difficulties faced whilst conducting our work/studies and once again ‘parents’ are at the top of the food chain when it comes to teenage needs and attitudes.  We chat about what the future holds on the other side and have been making plans for those future days.

Some days my daughter and I do workouts together, she is a PE teaching student after all and ‘boy do we know it!’ Barking orders and encouragement of course. We have done lots of baking together and she has found an amazing brownie recipe to match any ‘Costa’ brownie ever eaten. We take part in a weekly quiz via Facetime with a group of our friends and their families - my son has extensive music knowledge which always comes in handy, especially after he provided the answer to the tiebreaker this week meaning we are the reigning champions! We have done a fair amount of dog walking too as we have two dogs and it is a good excuse for our 1 hour a day of daily exercise out of the house. 

It has actually been a lovely, positive experience spending so much time as a family and not having to share them so much with their friends and outside influences.  It has given us time to value what we have and value each other.  I cannot say how proud I am of my children, they have adapted to the situation and almost embraced it.  There have, surprisingly, been few teenage arguments because I think that they believe that they are the ‘lucky ones’ and maybe they are.  The initial shock and upset has eased and a very ‘get on with it’ attitude has evolved.

The main worries are the obvious: the possibility of catching the virus, becoming ill and/or losing a loved one. This, I am sure, is how everyone feels during these uncertain times, but the resilience shown in my family and a lot of others has been amazing. 

Here’s to the future everyone!  Stay safe and take care!!

If you are looking for some additional homeschooling resources, make sure to check out our previous blog post 'Useful learning resources for children in lockdown'. 

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