Amy Gerard: ‘Homeschooling Is Coming to End and I’m Contemplating Doing Cartwheels’

Amy Gerard

Homeschooling is finally coming to an end and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t contemplating doing cartwheels and letting off fireworks in the backyard.

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed homeschooling, that would be a lie. I’ve truly hated it, more than I hate people who ruin the end of movies or slow walkers. It’s like applying for a job at Maccas and you get it but then five years in, you get sent to a Buddhist monk camp where you can’t talk to anyone. YOU DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS SHIT. YOU WANNA BE MAKING BIG MACS AND TALKING TO HAPPY CUSTOMERS.

Never once in my life have I ever felt compelled to step into a classroom filled with children, let alone try to teach MY OWN child. I’m here to teach life skills. Confidence, compassion, empathy, self-love etc. Not friends of 10 and nouns. I can’t even get my daughter to keep her room tidy, let alone to listen to Mummy when I’m trying to read to her or help her write out sentences. We’ve been homeschooling for three months but let’s be honest, it’s felt like 15 years.

Instagram @amy.gerard

The part that I struggled with the most is Charli’s lack of desire to learn. But can you really blame her? Home is home. School is where you go to learn. I don’t think she comprehended the whole homeschooling thing.

I tried to make it as school-like as possible. I got her a little desk in her room that she could work at. I got her a workbook to write in and some stickers and stamps that I could reward her with when she put in the effort. I tried to think of all the things that her teacher would do for her. Except I forgot the main ingredient. PATIENCE.

I struggled daily with knowing whether or not she was:

  1. Just super lazy
  2. Pretending to not understand
  3. Bored shitless
  4. Academically struggling.

You see Charli is my big lazy bones. She can absolutely wipe her own bum, but she will still call out for me to do it. She can also get herself dressed and make her own breakfast but every morning she will moan and whinge and move around at a snail’s pace asking me to do it for her. So by default, I naturally thought she was being lazy. My patience fluctuated between normal Amy to Amy-a-few-days-before-her-period every day.

“If Tommy has 10 apples and eats two, how many are left, sweetie?”….. “Charli, what’s 10 minus 2?”…. “Charli, concentrate. No, you can’t have a biscuit, it’s 9am… Charli, stop putting on lipstick, come and sit back down, let’s count two apples on your fingers, now let’s count how many more till we get to 10”…. “CHARLI HOW MANY DAMN APPLES HAS TOMMY GOT, FFS”. Cue the tears, cue the mum guilt and repeat the same scenario over and over every day for the last three months (15 years.)

Instagram @amy.gerard

And not to mention the other two kids I’m responsible for. Have you ever tried to home school a 5-year-old whilst you have 3 and 2-year-old BOYS running rampant around your house like enraged bin chickens? God forbid I take my eyes off them for a hot minute to help Charli with something and they’ve helped themselves to 35 biscuits, emptied a litre of milk onto the kitchen floor and are doing Coyote Ugly-style dancing up on the kitchen bench with their pants off.

The minute I take my eyes off Charli to clean up their damage, she’s bolted from the room and totally ghosted me. If I could send her to the principal’s office for detention I would, but I’m the teacher and the principal and the snack bitch and the Mum/wife, small business owner and the in-house cleaner.

She knows I’m wearing so many hats, (the jack of all trades and the master of not a single one) so there is not a lot of respect going on at the moment. She knows I’m getting pulled in so many different angles so she sees a break and she takes it. Getting her back into her room is like trying to draw blood from a stone.

I’ve truly failed as a substitute teacher, in fact, I think Charli might be dumber having now had me as a teacher for the last term. I only ever wanted to be her ally and instead, I had to become her enemy. I had to force her to do school work every day while she watched her brothers play along happily outside. She saw a horrible side to me that I hope I never have to show her again. She saw me at my weakest points. My most frustrated moments and she saw a version of myself that I never wanted to be.

Instagram @amy.gerard

By the end of last term, I had to prioritise our relationship. I was done being her teacher, I just needed to be her mum and so that’s what I did. I called time on the last week of term and put the iPad away and I just spent time with my daughter, doing all the things that we love together. Baking brownies, bush walks, watching movies together, riding bikes and, while she might not be returning to school the brightest kid in the class (let’s be honest, repeating might be considered), you have to play to your strengths and being her mum is what I excel at most.

Check on your friends stuck in lockdown with homeschooling kids.

We are NOT ok. *nervous giggles*

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.