This mum says her son, who has Asperger’s, has become happier and more confident during lockdown because he is free from bullying.

I can’t take the credit for homeschooling my 12-year-old – our amazing teachers did that remotely, like superheroes, as they juggled their own primary-age children, delivered free school meals in our community, worked at the hub school for key workers’ offspring and vulnerable children, communicated with parents and carers. Oh – and set, delivered, supported, marked and provided feedback on a full timetable of classes and pupils, many of whom posted questions all day long.

I suppose I can take the credit though for being a one-to-one tutor, teaching assistant, student aide, note-taker, scribe, and chief cook and bottle washer. Actually, in my household, I’m the only cook and bottlewasher.

Learning in lockdown for me – a solo parent of a P7 pupil with a high-functioning additional support need, Asperger’s Syndrome – has been eye-opening, in many ways.

Having this insight into your child’s learning feels like a privilege. A “bring-a-grown-up-to-school-day” or an hour in school once or twice a year – let alone the carefully curated work shown at the bi-annual parents’ evening – has nothing on seeing and being able to delve into the sheer amount of work across the entire curriculum that our children tackle.

This glimpse into lessons and classwork has been a chance to see where some struggles lie (writing/French), where joy is found (ICT/Stem) and where it’s, well, more of a chore (imaginative writing!) and where excellence lies (maths). The creativity within the online timetables that have been sent home has been staggering.

Daily, my P7 could tackle maths, literacy and reading, weekly spelling words and throughout these weeks of lockdown has dipped into a rotation of art, music, PE, ICT, French, Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths], religious studies, history all with the knowledge that you did not have to do every task. All effort was rewarded and encouraged.

For us, the ability to do daily schoolwork and maintain our routine gave both of us structure, a purpose Monday to Friday and kept the YouTube usage in check. I did have to smile though at the proclamation that, “I’d never normally get this much work done in school Mum!”

To be fair, it was probably more of a complaint than self-praise, but still…

In the last few weeks of primary school, we worked on transition activities in preparation for the big move to high school. Letters were written to future guidance teachers and questions, worries and thoughts shared together as a year group.

For some children, mine included, school isn’t always an ideal environment. Despite the very best efforts of teachers, leadership and staff, unfortunately, bullies do exist. Those that mock, jeer, push, kick and shove. Those who swear in your face, trip you on the way back to your seat, call you names and then laugh at you when you end up upset.

I don’t know about you but if someone ridiculed me throughout the day at my place of work I wouldn’t feel much like getting my work done. Lockdown learning, despite the downsides of solace and missing your friends, doesn’t have any of that. Bye, bye bullies and hello, visibly happier, more confident child.

Now I hope to send a happy, safe and more confident child off to high school in August, who is looking forward to the adventures ahead and able to cope with the possibility of blended learning and part-time attendance. But for my part – although my patience has hung by a thread many a time since Scottish schools closed – I will miss lockdown learning.

The author is a parent based just outside Edinburgh

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