Mum stops work and pulls son out of school to homeschool through pandemic
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
Kesgrave mum Sharon Hobbs took her clinically vulnerable teenage son Kyle out of school and stopped working so she could teach him at home during the pandemic.
Mrs Hobbs' 19-year-old son who has down syndrome will have to repeat his last year at West Suffolk College as he was only able to return to the college last month.
"Part of him does not understand," she said. "He loves college and seeing his friends and all those in his class and quite happy to do another year.
"He could not complete the course and work experience so he did not achieve some areas to graduate.
"He wants everything to go back to normal and does not understand the issues and the impact it has."
But the mum-of-two says it has been a struggle for Kyle who has spent the last year not being so "independent" while always being home and the family that had to buy him a laptop so he could attend lessons at home.
"A lot of anxiety not seeing his friends and wearing masks," she said. "There is the impact of online and he wants constant reassurance. It's quite hard at times."
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To make sure his "wellbeing" and schoolwork could continue while his normal schedule had changed, Mrs Hobbs stopped working for Suffolk Parent Network.
"I didn't want him on the Xbox all day and wanted him to go out for a walk with the dog and do well."
The family did have some breaks through his support worker, in Kyle's bubble, who allowed him some time away from home.
Mrs Hobbs has also been taking care of her 80-year-old mum living with dementia with her sister during the pandemic.
"We wanted control over her care," she said. "And we did not want lots of people going into the house."
Her mum who would often see friends or go to the shops and look after Kyle before her dementia has also had her health "deteriorate" in the last year during the pandemic.
"It's horrible to think a lot of people do not have anyone."
She says her story is similar to the many other family carers that have to take on more responsibility to keep potential Covid transmissions down.
In March of 2020 alone, Suffolk Family Carers recorded 1000 new carer registrations – against a typical average of 300 in a normal month.
Mrs Hobbs, who is now back working for Suffolk Family Carers, added: "I have just learned to deal with it."