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Teenage Lockdowns, Rock N’ Roll and Homeschooling During the Pandemic

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

✦ Quan-Teenager, Lola Willows in lockdown

What’s it like being home-schooled during the pandemic and how are teenagers really coping with being locked down with their parents. We spoke to Lola Willows about what it’s like being a teenager in lockdown.

Lola Willows started High School last year. It was a brand-new school, with brand new teachers and brand-new students. It was also completely overwhelming. Lola had come from the small and protective school environment on offer at the Port Macquarie Adventist School, which had provided an idyllic Primary School experience. Adjusting to a large High School was going to be hard considering the Year 7 class alone was bigger than Lola’s whole previous school, and then came the pandemic.

Transitioning to online learning during the first wave saw the style of remote learning pivoting twice, and following a year of turmoil, integration, hard work and resilience building, by the end of the year, Lola had finally found her crew and was starting to enjoy going to school.

Fast forward to this year, Year 8, and the country enters its unprecedented distance learning experiment for the second time, there’s been a growing contingent of students who’ve found themselves enjoying their cyberspace syllabus as much as the physical version.

We spoke to Lola Willows about homeschooling and what it’s like being stuck at home as a teenager.

Lola Willows, featured on Brilliant-Online
Lola Willows homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic

How are you finding this lockdown, Lola?

At first, I was really excited to hear that I wouldn’t be attending school and that I would be homeschooled for a couple of weeks. Year 8 is much harder than year 7, so I thought it would be like a little break and I could work at my own pace.

As the weeks go by, I’m not enjoying it so much anymore. I’m really missing my friends and I’m finding the amount of work I’m receiving overwhelming. I am missing being able to ask questions in the classroom. At Regional High School I am offered homework support and I miss that. I go to Kip McGrath every Wednesday to help with Maths and that is now online also.

I enjoy doing the Zoom classes and must check in with my teachers and they are all really supportive. We can email questions and it’s really streamlined. They have just offered me online homework support, so that’s a big relief.

I still miss connecting with friends and working on school projects together.

Lola Willows, featured on Brilliant-Online
Lola Willows misses connecting with her friends in person

What things are you doing to cope with the lockdown?

I am eating plenty of fresh food. I’m probably not getting enough exercise and I am staying up late speaking with friends online. I ask Mum to take me for a drive every afternoon when online school is finished, and we pick up a drink at the local shop and that makes me feel much better.

On a positive note, I’ve taught myself the bass guitar and drums in my spare time and I bought myself an electric guitar last week, which I’m learning basic chords on. My brother plays drums, so sometimes we go to our jam shed and I play bass and Jett plays drums. Sometimes we can convince Trav to come out with us and he plays the guitar. Our neighbour's dog Pearl comes and visits every time we have a jam.

Alternatively, Lola’s brother Jett is thriving “being an introvert, in an online classroom I don’t have to feel apprehensive, I’m calm and safe in my space at home. I’m charging through my schoolwork and enjoying gaming online with my friends in my spare time. I like the flexibility that home-schooling provides. I’ve been able to focus on my schoolwork without the constant commotion around me. I don’t have to worry about background noise or people bothering me.”

What’s it like being a 'quanteenager'? Do you feel like you’re missing out?

It’s hard without the predictability of normal life. I have developed a deep love for Motley Crue during this lockdown, so I’ve been busy learning their songs, dressing up in their fashion, making scrapbooks and I’ve watched their movie “The Dirt'' around 9 times already.

I do miss structure and I feel sad and anxious sometimes. Mum just keeps reassuring me that it’s ok to feel this way during this time and I’m learning to go with the flow. Both her and the school do ‘wellness’ checks with me. There’s no point worrying about things we can’t change.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when lockdown finishes?

I’m going to visit every op shop from Port Macquarie to Forster looking for Motley Crue inspired ‘fits’.


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