Lock-In: How to Cope with Living in Each Other’s Pockets Day In and Day Out

I got an email from our local church outlining the activities they have planned (all virtual of course) for the youth over the next week. It began:

Dear Claire, I hope you’ve managed the first couple of days of home-schooling….

Yes, we are managing quite sufficiently. Have been for the past 18+ years! It seems weird that the enforced lock down of society in the UK has meant that most students are now homeschoolers. Who’da thunk?

I suspect that veteran homeschoolers might have the edge on coping with having the family all in one place all day long, after all nothing much has changed really. As for me and my family, Gary is working reduced hours, trying to keep his 36 greens alive with a skeleton crew of 4 who can not be within two meters of each other; Thomas is home from college and is attending lessons via Zoom; Charlotte (and her boyfriend who is staying with us at the moment) are off school and studying hard each day to keep up with their school work; Lillie has had her maths GCSE cancelled, so is setting herself various art and design tasks to keep herself busy whilst the others are working and the littles are continuing with workbooks and extra fun stuff each day.

We are doing okay. Thomas really struggled for the first few days and Becca is a bit grumpier than usual, but apart from that we are doing well. Once we found out that we would be stuck with each other for at least a few weeks, I got to thinking of ways we could alleviate cabin fever. A structured routine was the way to go, ensuring all the important stuff is covered – chores and education – as well as fitting in some fun and relaxing activities as well.

Our routine is simple and flexible. Everyone is up by nine. Some baths, chores and breakfast occur, with the goal of starting work by ten. We all work until lunch, which the littles have been preparing and setting out as a picnic in the garden. Work is resumed after lunch and continued until it has all been completed for the day or until threeish, when Gary returns from work.

Then we do our much looked forward to (well, by the girls, maybe not quite so enthusiastically by the boys…) activities. We all came up with a multitude of fun, embarrassing (the embarrassing aspect is very important!) activities. So far, we have put on the not-so-talented talent show (post coming tomorrow) and ‘Who Am I? – Figures from History’ where everyone chose someone from history to dress up as and we all had to guess who they were (post coming soon). Today we are putting on a black bag fashion show…

Fun times

As our dining room table is covered with school work, and to reduce the amount of packing down and setting up each day, we made the decision to eat dinner whilst watching a movie each night. We are currently working our way through the Harry Potter films, after which we will go through the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then the Pirates of the Caribbean films. We eat dinner off our laps and some tasty snacks to finish, whilst we all snuggle up and enjoy just being together as a family.

So far, our days have meandered by fairly peaceably and enjoyably. No-one has cabin fever yet, and whilst the boys might moan about joining in the activities (apparently its embarrassing 🙂 ), they all join in with gusto once it comes to it (as you will soon see!)

We have enough activities to keep us busy over the next couple of weeks at least. I’ll be posting each day.

I hope and pray that all my readers, friends and family remain healthy through this pandemic. xx


  1. We’re fairing pretty well too (and in fact are watching the 3rd Harry Potter movie tonight). We had started re-reading the series when we planned our Universal trip and began watching the movies as we read through the books. I actually feel bad for most of the families in our state because while they are calling it homeschooling the schools are calling the shots and sending home work the kids must complete and parents are struggling to keep up; many of them have multiple kids in multiple grades and are still considered essential so they’re working full time (or working full time from home). I want to shout “this isn’t homeschooling; in homeschooling you have freedom..” but know that isn’t really helpful. So far we get out each day for a hike and that is keeping us sane but I am wondering what we’ll do as we finish up our schoolwork and our schooldays shorten dramatically.

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