I’D like to begin by extending my best wishes to all parents of school-age children. Chances are, your Monday morning will or has been less than ideal.

Here we go again. Home schooling, remote learning, blended learning – whatever you call it, it all amounts to the same thing. Stressed parents dealing with frustrated kids who demand snacks every five minutes.

Back in December, when the Scottish Government announced schools wouldn’t be returning as normal after the Christmas break, that noise you heard was the sound of hundreds of thousands of Dry January pledges being torn up and thrown in the bin.

It’s not where any of us wanted to be, as we near the one-year anniversary of the beginning of this life-changing pandemic.

If there are any positives to be drawn – and dammit we will search for them – one is that perhaps this time round we will be better prepared for what lies ahead. From speaking to other parents, I get the impression that most will be approaching these next few weeks with less idealism about what can actually be achieved.

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While some parents tackled the last bout of home schooling with gusto, writing up learning schedules and enforcing tasks and timescales that mirrored the school day, for many, such attempts proved futile. There are some who have demanded that schools provide a full day’s worth of online learning, complete with work to be submitted and checked by the teacher. That might be desirable for some parents and children, but it ignores the reality of individual experiences and needs.

It is surely flexibility, not a one-size-fits-all approach that would best suit parents.

In the lead-up to schools returning remotely today, there were calls for a “standardised approach” to be implemented across all 32 local authority areas to ensure pupils receive “quality teaching” while the schools are closed. It’s a noble aim. It is also one that is ultimately doomed to fail. Children cannot receive “quality teaching” while they are out of school. Sorry, but they can’t. Learning, particularly for younger children, is not a remote or solo experience.

My daughter’s school has struck what I think is a good balance. There will be activity sheets and learning materials published on the Glow website for parents to use. Earlier in the year, we were given a booklet of worksheets to take home in the event our children had to self-isolate or the schools closed again.

Class teachers will be available for one hour every day if pupils or parents need help with anything. The school has been at pains to point out that there will be no “new” learning during this time.

If parents want to, they could have their child work during school hours and complete all of the learning materials as their teacher adds them. Some families might benefit from that sense of structure. I’ll be taking a more of a pick ’n’ mix approach.

I trust that when life returns to normal, teachers will do their utmost to help pupils “catch up’” with areas of the curriculum that children have missed out on over the past year. They are the experts and that is their job. Mine is to support my little one through this uniquely challenging time. Her emotional wellbeing is my number one priority.

I have no lofty ambitions for our January learning. I’m not going to force her to sit at a screen for hours on end to try to master her times tables. That’s not what she would be doing if she was in school and that’s not what she will be doing at home, either.

Instead, I’ll encourage her in activities that she enjoys. She’ll be reading a lot – for pleasure, not with the expectation of a comprehension quiz afterwards. We’ll be doing crafts, because mess is fun and we could all benefit from more glitter in our lives.

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When I’ve got work to be getting on with or just need five minutes’ peace then we’ll be doing some remote (control) learning. Children’s TV programmes are so much better than when we were young and parents shouldn’t feel bad about the time their kid spends watching them.

During the first lockdown, my wee girl discovered a passion for all things gory. She absolutely loves the BBC’s Operation Ouch: a medical programme for kids that teaches them all about the body. It’s horrific, to be honest. They show injuries in all their bloody detail and there are bits that make me feel so queasy that I have to look away.

My daughter doesn’t share my sensitive disposition and she asked for a proper first aid kit for Christmas. I cut my finger with a bread knife recently and the evident joy she derived from having a minor ailment to attend to bordered on the sociopathic.

On the days when I remember the login details, I’ll head to Google Classroom and let the teacher know what she’s been doing and how many bandages she has applied.

When the pavements are clear of ice and there isn’t an imminent risk to life from attempting to walk on them, we’ll get as much fresh air as we can. That’s about it. There will be no excellence in our at-home curriculum and no pressure to win the Teacher of the Year award. Like families up and down the country, we’ll muddle through. After 11 months of disruption, that’s the best we can do.