Alexa – Teach the kids their schoolwork!


As Britain prepares for new local lockdowns, some parents may again find themselves taking on the role of teachers. However, even with remote help from real teachers, many may find the stay-at-home teaching model quite difficult–so here are a few tips. Be prepared to be repeatedly questioned how long until lunchtime.

This should begin around nine-fifteen and continue about every fifteen minutes until lunchtime. If you work with children under five, remember that if you didn’t photograph it and write about it, it never happened. It is normal for children to repeatedly blurt out any answer and keep guessing until they see the appropriate reaction on your face. What is 3 plus 4? “Nine, five, zero, eighty?” Keep calm and don’t yell, no matter how many times it happens.

Be prepared to explain what you want the child to do several times, including using picture prompts. Be prepared for this information to be forgotten in the time it takes to pick up a pencil. Remember that tidying up resources invariably causes children to urgently need to pee. Scientists have not yet worked out why but it’s an ever-recurring phenomenon. Seriously though, it’s a great job, so enjoy it while you can.

Look at the positives, enjoy the quality time and don’t sweat the small stuff. And when all else fails, just make it up! The actor Rafe Spall got his first shot at homeschooling after his son saw him in a Jurassic World movie and burst into tears when Dad got eaten by a massive dinosaur. “How did you get out of that T.rex’s tummy?” the boy asked. Spall said it was just a movie.“Yeah, I know,” said the boy, “but how did you get out?” Time and again Spall explained: “It’s all computers,” but to no avail.

Then, unexpectedly, the child added bizarrely: “Did you have a sword?”Spall did what any wise parent would do. “I just said, ‘Yes, son. I had a sword.’ ”So, make it up–or just ask Alexa!

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘TheGirl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape ofLies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available online as eBook (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, paperback& audiobook.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity

Thank you for reading this column, “Alexa – Teach the kids their schoolwork!”. For more, visit the Euro Weekly News website.

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.