Yesterday was horrendous. While, strictly speaking, it was the first day back at (home) school after the Easter holidays, I suppose parents across the country made a decision about how stressful they were going to make it for themselves.

I – perhaps predictably – went full-force. I could have eased my son back in, but instead I drew up an agenda, made him call me ‘Mr Brooks-Dutton’ when I felt he was disrespecting me as a father, and argued with him all day.

Others took things easier. I saw another school parent when I nipped out to a nearby shop and asked – from a distance – how the first day back at school had been.

“Oh, it was an inset day,” she replied with a smile and a look of guilt. I laughed out load and wished I’d done the same.

Today started off better. I took some time out to reflect and reset my own internal narrative last night. I’m doing my best in the worst circumstances, I told myself. Then I text a friend.

‘Tomorrow I have a Portuguese part-time manny dialling in to homeschool my child who’s under house arrest,’ I typed. ‘I never thought I’d get to write that sentence.’

My mood, I could tell, had already lifted.

This morning started with another argument about what lesson my son wanted to undertake.

“Can’t I just write a poem?” my nine-year-old son, Jackson, asked.

“Just do whatever,” I conceded grumpily.

Here it is. Take a look and read into it what you will. I see a child who sees a world burning but who’s determined to firefight. Our kids might be hard to homeschool, but they are also doing an amazing job of adapting to these troubled times.


You can burn houses, towns, people and villages, like the Great Fire of London.

Fire, oh, fire, the scariest of all.

Fire, oh, fire, you’re good sometimes,

Lighting candles and fireworks but stop lighting cigarettes.

Fire, oh, fire, you’ll get it your way,

But you need to wait.

Meteorites will come down,

But not for 7,227,156,111,999 years.

So, don’t get excited.


  1. We had the same dramas with the restarting of ‘homeschooling’ yesterday! Pretty much the same today! We did a nature trail in the woods this morning! Slightly fewer meltdowns! I love your sons poem. Ours are still a bit young for poetry! Come the day! Stay safe…


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