Week two of virtual schooling completed and my enthusiasm is definitely waning. It’s like being in a continuous episode of ‘Mastermind’ and every time I try to escape from the famous black chair, an invisible force pushes me back and bombards me with questions about things that haven’t crossed my mind for over thirty years: simultaneous equations, plant cell structure, European history in the build-up to World War II…HELP!
The process is proving revelatory for both the children and me. The children look at me with a new-found lack of respect as I struggle with the relatively simple calculation of the area of a triangle. “I thought you did A Level Maths,” they say. I did. Funnily enough there hasn’t been much call for calculating the area of a triangle in my adult life. As for me, I’m realising just how little I know or can remember. Take French for example. I studied French for eight years at school but the only thing I can do with any sort of confidence is buy four return train tickets from Paris to Grenoble. Not that useful at any time, but particularly not in lockdown.
The irony is that arguably I have never been more well-informed than at this time in my life. This is in part due to the plethora of lockdown quizzes. Never has quizzing been so cool. Unfortunately, although great fun, the information that is filling my brain is largely useless. Example: how many holes are there in a Ritz cracker? Mildly interesting, possibly, but not useful and sadly, at my age, there isn’t space in my brain for both the answer to that question and triangle area calculations. The Ritz cracker wins.
The fun in lockdown is endless (absolutely no sarcasm there). Last Saturday we played virtual charades with the village people. For clarity, the village people are the people who live in my village as opposed to a decidedly dodgy ‘70s band. I say we but what I mean is the husband, my daughter and I. The boys are less keen on family interaction. I think the word they use to describe these virtual games is ‘dead’. Last Saturday’s entertainment involved a close up of our bathroom as we acted out Abba’s epic ’Waterloo’. We thought it was hilarious, the boys were mortified. Worse was to come as I acted giving birth to a cushion, whilst the husband grated cheese. ‘Great Expectations’ in case you’re wondering.
So I enter week three of remote learning with some trepidation. Inevitably it will be another week when the spotlight falls on more glaring gaps in my education and the children, to their increasing disappointment, realise that my knowledge does not fare well when tested. In layman’s terms I am only one page ahead of them in the textbook of education (and life).
By the way, because you secretly want to know, there are seven holes in a Ritz cracker.