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Mark Knight: Home schooling is enough to make some parents scream

Mark Knight, April 16, 2020 6:00PM Herald Sun

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Part of Mark Knight’s cartoon on parents coping with home schooling. media_cameraPart of Mark Knight’s cartoon on parents coping with home schooling.


Reading level: green

During the coronavirus* lockdown*, families are getting to spend some great quality time together — maybe too much quality time.

Not only might mum and dad be working from home, but now their children have either started — or will soon start — school at home as well.

That’s a lot of time together confined* to the one house, with no real deadline on when this confinement* may end.

At home classroom media_cameraInam and Melanie Haider help their four kids Amani, 10, Sodia, 9, Anisa, 6 and Zaine, 6 with their school work at home in Melbourne. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

I thought it was a great topic for a cartoon.

Victorian kids returned from school holidays on Wednesday (April 15) and started their first day of remote learning — a fancy term for home schooling.

Teachers spend years at university and teachers’ college learning how to educate children, and now we have mums and dads thrown into a similar role with no real experience.

I wanted to explore that terrifying idea for parents as they not only try to work from home but also have to supervise* the little one’s school day.

With home schooling turning the house into one constant ‘homework’ session for parents, the thought of them trying to help their kids with maths sums and questions about isosceles* triangles looked too much to bear!

This photo provided by Sotheby's shows painting 'The Scream', 1895, by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. The work, is one of four versions of the composition, will lead Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 02/05/2012. media_cameraEdvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ painting.

So, my sketch started with a family dining room table and three siblings of different ages at their laptops working away.

The daughter’s laptop shows her Year 10 mathematics, which to a parent reads like Egyptian hieroglyphics*.

I pictured the mother in the cartoon trying to help. I wanted that look of horror on her face. There is only one picture in the history of art that depicts that look perfectly and that is the famous painting by Edvard Munch called ‘The Scream”.

So I drew their mum with the head of that person in that painting. It looked so right.

Mark Knight’s cartoon. Right-click and open in new tab for full size.

Mark Knight cartoon on parents coping with home schooling. media_camera.

To add more impact to the cartoon I decided to have the mum running away from the home schooling — escape seemed like the only alternative for this poor woman.

So, out the front door into the street she ran … straight into the arms of a waiting police officer.

PM pleads with teachers, parents to keep schools open

Under the COVID-19 isolation* rules, there are only four reasons to be outside your home and one of them is NOT getting away from your children’s home schooling maths questions!

The punchline in the cartoon is her receiving a fine for breaking isolation laws!

They say humour is laughing at someone else’s expense.

This cartoon is a perfect example of the art form!


  • coronavirus: any of a group of viruses that causes a variety of diseases in humans and other animals
  • lockdown: a period of time when you stay inside your home
  • confined: kept in one place
  • confinement: the act of being kept in one place
  • isosceles: a triangle with two equal sides
  • hieroglyphics: writing using symbols and signs
  • isolation: being kept away from others


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What is COVID-19?

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  1. Which state started home schooling this week?
  2. Which artists painted The Scream?
  3. Mark Knight describes Year 10 maths as looking like what?
  4. Why does the mum receive a fine?
  5. What is a fancy term for home schooling? 


1. Another point of view
Cartoonist Mark Knight has drawn this home schooling cartoon from the mother’s view. She is not coping with the difficulty of helping her kids with difficult maths questions and tries to escape.

But what about the kids? What do you think they might be thinking about having to have their parents acting as teacher’s aides and looking over their schoolwork every day?

Think of a new caption for the child in the cartoon and also for the policeman that might reflect how the children are feeling.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Look through the most recent stories on Kids News and choose one to draw a cartoon about.

Use Mark’s three-step process to get started:

  1. What is my subject?
  2. What do I want to say about this issue?
  3. How do I say it? Do I use visual metaphors (an image that the viewer is meant to understand as a symbol for something else), multiple panels or symbolism (when one idea, feeling or emotion is represented by something else such as a: picture, character, colour or object)?

Time: allow at least 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Humanities, Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight all the openers you can find in blue. Discuss if they are powerful and varied openers or not. Why do you think the journalists have used a mix of simple and power openers? Would you change any, and why?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What are your thoughts on learning at home? Is it a good idea or not?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will show until approved by editors.

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