Week three of home-schooling and standards here are starting to slip a little.

On Monday, I found myself trying to proofread a manuscript while simultaneously teaching my younger daughter how to work out the area of a parallelogram.

By now, my children have worked out that for a Zoom lesson you don’t need to get out of your pyjama trousers.

Mrs B and I, meanwhile, have started passing comment on the large number of pupils back in class.

Here we are, juggling working and teaching, while others were, let’s put this politely, pushing the definition of ‘essential’ work to its limit.

This week, to add to the general slippage, I was late with a deadline myself. Proofreading is one of those publishing jobs I do with gritted teeth.

It’s a needle in a haystack search for typos and punctuation mistakes before a book goes to print: the sort of task you really have to concentrate on to avoid missing an obvious error.

A task more difficult to do when your daughter is asking for help with parallelograms.

Part of me wanted to say, look, parallelograms are one of those things you learn about in school that you’re never going to use in real life.

The only time you’re ever going to have to worry about parallelograms as an adult is if you put a bookshelf up askew.

Well, that, and when you find yourself in the middle of a pandemic having to home-school maths.

The question that my daughter was stumped on, and which I also became equally confused about, was how to work out the area of said wonky rectangle.

Ah, that’s just base times height, my smarter readers might be thinking. Well yes, I’d got that far.

Except the teacher hadn’t given us the height but just labelled the lengths of the sides (20m and 12m, if you’re playing along at home).

I think it might be something to do with triangles, I said unhelpfully.

That apparently wasn’t enough, so I turned to my classroom assistant, YouTube.

Here, I found a video purporting to explain how to find the area of a parallelogram.

Eleven minutes later of a video so dull that even the teacher checked his phone halfway through, I learned that it was... base times height. Though sadly not what to do if you didn’t know that measurement.

Eventually, I emailed the teacher. Or rather my daughter, who’d cracked the parent account code, emailed on my behalf.

Guiltily, the teacher came back: well done for spotting my deliberate mistake, she wrote, shifting the 12 metres across to become the height.

I taught my daughter some new vocabulary, and went back to my even later proofreading.