Homeschooling is a bit like childbirth...

Newborn baby leaning against his mother's shoulder

I realised this with some distress the other day. You get through it once, your memory fades, your glasses get rosy, and your recollection suggests that it wasn't so bad. In fact, it was pretty good. Fulfilling. Triumphal.

And then someone suggests, seeing as you enjoyed it so much the first time, you  should do it again. And just like those really big, somewhat forgotten contractions, the ones when you realise, 'Up until this point we have just been practicing, now we are going to produce a baby-in-the-world,' you start to remember what it was really like.

And you start to realise that perhaps it wasn't as good as you recall. Here's how homeschool day one went for us:

9am - By some miracle all the required passwords were found and the junior recipe testers were able to log on to their required systems.

9.01am - One junior burst into tears about how terrible homeschooling was and how she wanted to go to school. Realising the futility of her continuance to work independently, the senior recipe tester retrieved her desk from her bedroom and carried it down the stairs, as requested.

9.02am - We set about rearranging lounge room furniture to accomodate said desk.

9.03am - The tear-filled crisis, now moved from bedroom to lounge room, no amount of soothing, cajoling or the issuing of commands through gritted teeth abetted its cessation. [Editor's note: the tears continued until 11am when we sought out hot chocolate to salve the pain.]

9.04am - A enigmatic wail emerged from another junior recipe tester regarding the online request to write a persuasive text. Despite pleas from the senior recipe tester that the writing of said text was likely to take far less time than the tantrum that was brewing, the tantrum could not be averted.

9.06am - The senior recipe tester and I decided it was too soon for a glass of wine.

9.08am - The senior recipe tester was forced to take a work call into the laundry to get away from the wailing.

9.09am - A crisis broke out regarding whether the aforementioned persuasive text should or should not be written on a lined sheet of paper and the (il)legibility of any work written on unlined paper. To suggest that this particular junior has not yet mastered copperplate script would be kind. The reality is rather that his cursive more resembles a budgie dipped in ink. As the junior recipe tester of two occupational therapists, it is perhaps karma that he has handwriting difficulties.

9.11am - An only-just-reached-high-school aged junior recipe tester wandered past, looking slightly vague. This necessitating a long and detailed foray into the high school online learning system, a comprehensive missive on the value of self-directed learning, and a quiet prayer that the junior's apparent vagueness was more to do with his ambitious contemplation of his studies than his understanding of what was being asked of him.

9.12am - An extensive discussion ensued as to whether the source of a noise, just heard by one junior recipe tester, was a passing helicopter or a fart.

9.13am - The senior recipe tester and I looked at each other and wondered if this was a triumphal as we remembered.

If homeschooling is wearing you down, and dinner is the last thing you want to consider, may I suggest the following

Too many balls in the air? Let us take care of the meals. You gather the people, we'll bring the food. Delicious, healthy, family-style ready made meals delivered to your home.


Dinner on the Table is a Sydney caterer and social enterprise, gifting cooked meals to families living with disability. With every meal you buy and every event you invite us to cater, you are also helping vulnerable families by putting dinner on their tables.

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