Over the past few weeks I've been helping a friend home school her three boys. They are in years three, one and preschool.
My friend is working from home and her husband does shift work. He is either not there or trying to sleep after coming off night shift.
The theory is the children log on at 9am and then work their way through a number of tasks set by the teacher. The instructions are often quite complicated, especially when detailing a new task. It can be extremely difficult for the children to complete these tasks without help from a parent.
When there are three children, all with their computers on speaker and all trying to complete different tasks, it is impossible for one parent to help and supervise them all.
It was not until I witnessed this horrendous responsibility that I started to understand the difficulties faced by parents during lockdown and home schooling.
The teachers have clearly worked very hard to prepare the learning modules but the language used and the steps involved are often at a level of complication way beyond the children's capacity.
I am a former teacher so have some understanding of the need for clear and concise instructions when setting tasks for children. The result is chaos, distress, and arguments. With all the good will in the world, parents are not trained teachers and find these school mornings very challenging.
Returning children to school and formal learning is essential and needs to be done as soon as possible.
Merrie Carling, Nicholls
Cemetery a disgrace
Am I alone in thinking the potentially beautiful Hall Cemetery is a disgrace?
It is so sad and incredibly disappointing to see it so unkempt with a real air of neglect about it.
Be careful when choosing your last resting spot as this cemetery has caused me so much distress on top of the overwhelming and devastating loss of my gorgeous son, Lachlan Smith, to desmoplastic small round cell tumour.
Janey Wallace, Reid
Crime is ignored
Crime may be down but each robbery of a person deserves prompt and effective police attention.
A series of recent cash and handbag thefts from the elderly at Dickson has been, and remains, worrying.
The shopping precinct is frequented by beggars and idlers, some frequently swearing, spitting, raving to themselves and their mates, and occasionally urinating in public. They appear at the two ATMs waiting to "ask" for change.
Proactive plain clothed and uniformed police foot patrols should be routine. As should be a response within minutes, not hours, to a crime against the person.
This is real police work. Not glorified "fruit fly" COVID-19 inspections on the border or home quarantine checks.
The COVID-19 regulations should be enforced by civilian public servants, not police. It is a waste of valuable resources.
Christopher Ryan, Watson
Plight not new
We can relate to Brianna Eggleton's situation of having a Canberra developer terminate a townhouse purchase agreement ("Homebuyers in limbo after developer cancels contracts", canberratimes.com.au, October 12).
We experienced a similar situation in NSW. In February 2010, we contracted to purchase a flat in Sydney in a development that had started three years before and been sold-out off the plan.
Our flat came back on the market because the original purchaser lost money during the global financial crisis. The price we agreed to pay was double the price the flat had been three years before.
The project was further delayed another three years because of disputes between the developer, builder, and council. During the second three years, property values went up another 50 per cent.
In November 2013, an American multinational investment bank bought the development. The bank then advised all the purchasers that their contracts were being cancelled and we would get our deposits back.
We wanted to keep our flat and used all available consumer avenues to take on the American bank - unsuccessfully.
We eventually engaged a specialist barrister at $8000 a day to fight the case in court, and finally got to keep the flat.
However, we had to pay our substantial legal fees and sign a confidentiality agreement with the bank (which is why I haven't identified it).
A provision that was ostensibly introduced in NSW to benefit consumers - giving contracted parties the right to walk away from a property agreement after three years - was used regularly by developers to spill contracts in a rising market to increase their profits.
In 2015, NSW changed the law to give more protection to home buyers.
In our view, walk-away provisions should only be a recourse for purchasers.
C Williams, Forrest
Live and let die
The new Premier Dominic Perrottet celebrated Monday, October 10, as did many Sydneysiders as COVID-19 restrictions were greatly eased.
Perrottet said: "we've got to learn to live alongside the virus".
What he did not say, is that those who do not learn to live with the virus will now increase the numbers of those infected with COVID-19, hospitalised or killed by it.
I am sure the celebrations are premature.
Elvis Kipman, Killara, NSW
Steady on Annastacia
On Tuesday morning (October 13) the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczuk trumpeted that it was great news that 70.21 per cent of eligible (aged 16+) Queenslanders have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and that 52.7 per cent have received their second dose.
What is really great news is that 98.2 percent of eligible (aged 12+) "Ken Behrens" have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines while 72.14 per cent have had their second dose.
A sense of proportion please Premier.
When your state gets to ACT vaccination rates that will be something worth shouting about.
Don Sephton, Greenway
I get very confused when people like Premier Perrottet take an anti-abortion stand on the basis of the sanctity of life but are happy for COVID-19 to kill a few more people for sake of the economy.
In opening up NSW the Premier knows that more people are likely to lose loved ones. Somehow that's okay as long as the NSW economy thrives.
It shows me that sanctimonious anti-abortion stances are less about the sanctity of life and more about control over women's bodies. Otherwise accepting an increase in COVID-19 deaths (of people's beloved mothers, fathers, sister, brothers and so on) makes no sense.
Theresa Gordon, Kingston
State of the union
I write in exasperation at some writers to The Canberra Times who use the term England when they refer to the British Isles as a whole country.
It's as if The Act of Union of 1707 had never occurred or that Nicola Sturgeon had already held and won a second referendum on Scottish Independence and that Northern Ireland had merged with Ireland, and maybe Wales was still swithering over the idea.
Now even your editorial talks of England as the whole country - "England may have joyously greeted Freedom Day in July" (canberratimes.com.au), October 11. The writer must be a complete Sassenach. And Scots still remember Culloden Well, sometimes, on Burns Night.
Laura Hakkinen née Watson, Lyons
Too many maps
As ScoMo prevaricates about whether he will drop over to Glasgow for a chat, a wee dram of scotch and a slice of haggis, the problem may lie with having too many road maps.
The glovebox of his C1 car is overflowing with COVID-19 roadmaps for all the states, territories and the Commonwealth. Then there are the maps for all the car parks.
Buried at the bottom is the roadmap for Australia's climate change action ... or perhaps there isn't one?
Chris Mobbs, Hackett
Claim is in error
Mario Stivala ("Cross the border", Letters, canberra.times.com.au, October 11) perpetuates the furphy that removing the Andrews Bill would pave the way to "the territories [gaining] equal democratic rights".
Regrettably, it is not that straightforward. The real barrier to democratic autonomy for the ACT is s122 of the constitution, which gives the Commonwealth absolute authority over legislation in the territories.
Full rights can only be achieved by amending the constitution through a successful referendum under s 128.
Chris Ryan, Kirrawee
TO THE POINT
HOW GOOD IS THIS?
How good is it. We will have Scott Morrison, Barnaby Joyce and Angus Taylor determining Australia's climate change policy, And just before the Glasgow Conference.
Brian Bell, Isabella Plains
GO TO GLASGOW
Scott Morrison should attend the UN's COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. We need to be represented in that very important world forum. And, whilst he is there, he should make personal representations to the appropriate British authorities to seek the release of Julian Assange.
John Rodriguez, Florey
GOD SAVE OUR FUTURE KING
I've been a bit of a fence sitter on the monarchy vs republic debate, but not any more. I'm for the status quo since Prince Charles's recent intervention. His influence will benefit Australia.
Geoff Masters, Kambah
Tuesday's David Pope cartoon was the best ever.
Kim Fitzgerald, Deakin
Ross Hudson (Letters, October 11) noted "after eight long years in government the Coalition has still not cobbled together a coherent climate policy". Could this be because Mr Morrison and his followers don't believe that a climate changing for the worse is anything to worry about?
Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
PAY THE PRICE
If Dan Andrews can pay a fine for not wearing a mask, Dom and "the boys" can pay a fine for standing up while drinking on Monday. It's the little things that grate.
David Bailey, Kambah
MEANING OF LIFF?
Bernard McMinn's "Molecules do not evolve" (Letters, October 4) and Paul Waring's example of DNA as one that does (Letters, October 6) lead down other trails. Is a DNA molecule alive? Have most of the atoms (elements) - that make up the molecules - themselves "evolved" in the heart of stars from simpler ones? Has the word "evolve" evolved?
Ned Noel, Wamboin, NSW
HANG 'EM HIGH
I hope the psychopaths who slaughtered kangaroos near Bateman's Bay are caught and their vehicles impounded and sold with the proceeds going to wildlife rehabilitation centres down the South Coast. What an utterly appalling act. They should be imprisoned for animal cruelty offences.
Chris Doyle, Gordon
Full disclosure: I received and paid a $301 fine for doing 49 km/h. I wonder at the policy effectiveness of fines for such minor breaches. The difference between 40 and 45 or 49 is only discernible by watching the speedo, not watching the road. Surely this puts j-walkers at more risk than if the driver was outward looking.
Andrew Dillon, Curtin
LOSS WAS WELCOME
I was pleased to see Zaaki beaten at Caulfield on Saturday although I didn't back either of the horses that beat him. Zaaki was building up a sequence of wins. Saturday's would have been the sixth. Horses that win all the time such as Black Caviar and Winx become so boring and stifle betting for the small punter.