Chalk and cheese

This week has been just me and the girls at home together due to them having to isolate for 10 days after positive covid cases in their school bubbles. They are the only ones who have to isolate unless either of them get covid symptoms and then we would all have to stay home, but for now John has still been going to work and Matthew has been at preschool. I can’t remember when we last had so much time just me, Katie and Alice. I’m always commenting what complete opposites the girls are but they have really shown it this week.

They are both being set work by their teachers and have a combination of online lessons and worksheets to do. Katie prefers to do little chunks at a time spread out with lots of breaks. She’ll have an online teams call with her class and then take some downtime before getting on with the work that was set on the call. Her work ends up taking her most of the day by the time it’s all done. Alice gets up and wants to crack on with everything. She is usually finished by lunchtime and has the afternoon to do whatever else she wants.

Katie is very particular about what she likes and doesn’t like. At school she hates writing and it’s not unknown for her to just point blank refuse to do it. At home she’s been able to use a laptop to do her English work and she’s actually been pretty amenable to it. Also because she likes animals, especially horses, she’s incorporated something about animals into all her English work which has made her happier to do it. Having said that, earlier this week she still refused to dial in and join one of her online lessons. I kind of have mixed feelings about how she refuses to do things she’s not interested in. I half really admire the fact she’s got the balls to turn round to someone in authority and say no. I also can’t understand it because not in a million years would I have done that at school or to my parents. There were plenty of subjects I didn’t really like but I always did the work because I was told to so that was it. I guess I’m a bit of a sheep! Katie also has no qualms at all about handing work in that she knows she could have put more effort in to or that has mistakes in – her view is she’s been asked to do it so she’s done it and the standard doesn’t really matter, or that she didn’t want to do it and it was boring and pointless as far as she was concerned so why should she bother.

Alice likes to start the day off with the work that she least wants to do so she gets it done and out the way. She’s only in year 2 so her teachers aren’t even asking them to submit what they’re doing at home, although they can if they want to. If she makes a mistake she will redo it until she gets it right. She doesn’t like to hand anything in unless she knows it’s perfect.

Katie has been in her element at home without constant face to face interactions. She shuts herself in the conservatory to do her school work but then she’s been staying in there pretty much for the rest of the day playing games online with other kids from her class. She has spoken to them more this week than she does at school. She’s suggesting group calls, getting everyone together, chatting non stop. It’s a massive contrast to when she’s at school and she sticks mainly to a couple of friends or feels the need to retreat and be on her own.

Alice is the opposite and is much happier face to face. When she’s at school she goes skipping in with a bucket load of confidence, but when she’s on her class zoom calls she either just listens without talking or she talks really quietly and comes across as shy. She gets bored at home with no one else to talk to apart from me and Katie (really just me since Katie shuts herself away most of the day, and I’m trying to get my own work done along with home schooling so I’m not the best company). She was so excited today because Matthew doesn’t go to preschool on a Thursday so she had him to play with! She is already planning for when her isolation period is over and talking about who she wants over for tea and who she is going to play with when they’re back at school.

It’s not just their responses to isolation and home schooling that are different, it’s pretty much everything about them. Katie loves animals and Alice is either scared of them (dogs) or pretty indifferent. Katie is practical and likes a project whereas Alice is all about imaginary games. Alice is miss active who loves gymnastics and swings upside down off anything she can. Katie has balance issues, doesn’t like PE and says gymnastics is stupid. I could keep going with this, it’s a long list.

These two have been polar opposites from the get go. I love how two children with the same parents who are being brought up in the same environment and have many of the same experiences can be so completely different. There’s only so much influence parents can have and the more these girls grow the more they go their own separate ways. Nature is definitely winning over nurture in their case.

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