Time to go back to school

#5 Back to School!

It’s been a long time since I have written a journal post. I have no excuses really. I’d say there hasn’t been much to write about or that I have been too busy. Both kinda true but deep down I know it’s an excuse. I remember reading somewhere that always saying you are busy is either a cover because you have nothing interesting to say or an excuse you give yourself to feel better. Truth is if you really want to do something you’ll find the time from somewhere.

A school corridor

A welcome return to school

Schools in the UK have begun to re-open to certain year groups. There certainly seems to be lots of debate – Is it the right time or not to send them back?

I’m afraid I cant give you that answer. There isn’t one answer that’s going to work for everyone.

For us, though, it is an emphatic yes!

Our kid’s ages are as follows: 16,11,9,7. My 16-year-old son gets to sit out his GCSE and have them be predicted based on the work he has already done. Hopefully, this means he gets to go where he wants too, but no school for him and college might be very different in September.

My eldest stepdaughter, who is 11 and in year 6, went back to school a couple of weeks ago. She was so ready to go back. With both me and Nicky working from home full time the days were long and boring for the kids. Netflix has been bled dry, Disney+ films watched and re-watched. Even 3 men and a baby made an appearance. Her first week at school was very enthusiastic, the week after the tiredness started to kick in and now it’s like everything is back to normal.

No way

I asked her the other day if she would like to stop going. “No way”.

I was interesting to me that the school choose to use the term “pens” to describe the square an individual student can stand in while playing outside. Animals for the market.

My youngest stepdaughter has started going in 2 days a week. Nicky is having to go into work so we got her a key worker place (Nicky works for the NHS). It has done her the world of good.

Finally my youngest son has gone back to school full time with a key worker place as his mum is a teacher and has had to go back to work.

All of the kids who have gone back to school have enjoyed doing so. I think the routine and to feel like things are returning to normal, despite being herded like cattle. Anxiety has been dropping and sleep patterns are returning to normal.

Mental health in children is as important as physical health

While it’s absolutely right to focus on the physical safety of our children, and indeed ourselves, it’s important to remember about mental health and well-being too. Things that don’t often get talked about, things that aren’t often easy to spot. My year sixer had not had a good nights sleep in weeks, often awake for 3-4 hours every night from about 1 am.

She wasn’t particularly worried about anything, and not overly upset. She was just not getting the mental and physical workout needed to get a good nights sleep.

I think you have to go with what works for you

I think we all know what’s best for our own family. On-going medical conditions or other illnesses could affect your decision. You might feel the school is a really old building – how are they going to cope with the social distancing? You might just feel that your children would be better off staying at home with you.

If they are old enough then have that talk with them, if they are old enough. Get them involved with the family decision, they might surprise you with your answer. I think as adults we can be guilty of projecting our own emotions and thoughts onto them. Often without even asking them what they feel or think!

Ultimately its up to you if you want to send your kids back to school or not. Decide together as a family.

What’s up with the site?

I have completely redesigned the site, its faster, looks better and is far easier to manage from an admin point of view. I had cobbled the site together out of various free plugins that had started to break in various ways and I was spending more time just fixing the site.

In the end, I spent a day ripping them all out and buying a theme that did it all. It still took a fair few hours to get it all working how I wanted it too but I should now have more time to write more content. Speaking of which.

Coming up

My content plans for the next few months revolve around a couple of key concepts.

Firstly, Blended Family finances/budgeting. I love YNAB. It totally changed my life. Nicky loves it too and together we have managed to do some amazing things – buy our dream fixer-upper of a house, convert the garage into our wonderful kitchen diner, go on holidays etc. Finances and money management can be hard for blended families, but we have made it into a real strength. I think other blended families could too. So I have a content plan of getting people interested, spreading the YNAB love and the going through the initial setup process, while paying particular attention to how this can really work for couples and blended families.

Secondly the family courts. I want to create a series that focuses on the whole process, from filling out the forms to looking after yourself during the process. What you should be doing when. I have big plans for this. When I went through the process (twice!) I felt like a deer in the headlights sometimes. Obtuse legalese language and dozens of acronyms don’t help.

I can’t and won’t offer any legal advice. But the admin of the family courts is something that can be navigated on your own – saving thousands! I used a solicitor for my first family court case. It cost almost £7,000. The cost of filling the forms as a litigant in person is roughly £250. I would always advise getting proper legal advice but you can reduce your costs significantly by doing lots of the legwork yourself.

the family court process is full of forms! So many forms! enough with the forms!

Finally, I want to tackle the topic of how to deal with false allegations of domestic abuse. It’s a topic I am passionate about having had personal experience of it. It’s also a very sensitive topic and I want to make sure I do it justice without offending or upsetting anyone who has suffered abuse at the hands of a partner.


That’s about it for now. I had some more things to write but I might save those for next week. One of them was a revelation about myself that has led to reduced frustration and upset. The second is about fixing up the house which has caused more frustration and upset.

You win some you lose some.


2 thoughts on “#5 Back to School!”

  1. I think we were all terrified of COVID to start with, but after a couple of months of kids not seeing anyone, they needed school mentally. My Yr6 has gone back and she needed it, although there have been friendship issues, I suspect caused by weeks of being apart from friends. My youngest, poor kid hasn’t gone back to school and it’s been tough on her seeing her sister going back to lessons.

    1. I can sympathise completely. My youngest stepdaughter was gutted when she found out her sister was going back but not her. Although now a couple of weeks into her 2 day a week keyworker place, the novelty is starting to wear off!

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