"4pm: Mum loses her sh*t." My (legit) timetable for staying in with the kids.

As many parents kept their kids home from school today due to the increase in cases of COVID-19, there were a couple of colourful and cheery ‘home school’ timetables doing the rounds.

One particularly helpful daily schedule by US-based photographer Jessica McHale went viral after being shared over 10,000 times on Facebook.

Mia Freedman’s thoughts on coronavirus. Post continues below.

Video via Mia Freedman

While the idea of segmenting your day in such an organised way seems appealing – I couldn’t help but wonder how many parents would be able to seriously maintain Jessica’s suggested level of structure when many of them will also be working.

Also, because they have real actual children, not compliant TV advert children.

Jessica’s daily schedule starts at 9am with a lovely morning walk in the fresh air, which sounds fantastic.

For most parents, getting out of the house to do anything involves repeatedly yelling, ‘get your shoes on NOW!’ for 17 minutes before arguing about why we have to leave.

No child actually wants to go for a walk unless it is to the car in the garage that proceeds to immediately deliver them to a friend’s house or to Timezone (currently out of bounds anyway with all the social distancing and hygiene rules).

‘Academic time’ as listed by Jessica starts at 10am and runs for an hour. This seems totally reasonable and probably quite doable for parents of one academically-minded child or two kids over the age of seven.

I have a nine-year-old who would certainly give it a go and a three-year-old who certainly won’t. Therefore, I will be managing my three-year-old for that hour and for the following ‘creative hour’ while simultaneously trying to work.

There is only so much colouring-in, Lego and playing ‘dinos’ I can handle but I guess I’ll give it my best shot.

The reality here is I fold after twenty minutes, put the kettle on, inhale some biscuits and mother-guilt behind the cupboard door, then put the TV on for the kids.


After lunch it is ‘Chore time’ on Jessica’s schedule.

I see the benefits of getting the kids to help out around the house and it might fly for one or two days as a novelty activity in our house. Come day three, however, it will involve much yelling and direction from me as my boys comply for five minutes before finding a stashed nerf gun and shooting each other until someone is injured and something is broken. Likely my spirit.

Nap time sounds amazing – I am just wondering what I will do with the kids while I take a snooze? Is this when Mary Poppins comes over in a Hazmat suit? Jokes.

Once again that slot for ‘afternoon fresh air’ sounds great in theory, but instead of going for a bike ride that involves putting shoes on/equipment in the car, I will instead bundle the kids out into the yard with nerf guns and biscuits so I can make the dinner that I am apparently due to have ready by 5pm.

‘Free TV time’, I am totally down for however and I know that will keep my kids happy and quiet while I either work or frantically scroll news sites for more bad news about our impending doom, while drinking gin.

In all seriousness, if Jessica’s schedule works for you and brings you all the positive vibes you need to survive in our brave new world, then all power to you and your amazing kids.

If, however, you can see its flaws, you might like mine (see below) which was crafted with no academic input whatsoever and based on my own below-par parenting skills and immense need for coffee, chocolate and gin.

Image: Supplied.

Laminate away and yes, you are so welcome.

Feature image: Instagram/@lauracjackel and supplied.