Cate Blanchett 'dressed up' - here's how the A-list home-schooled in lockdown

·7-min read

Watch: Cate Blanchett dressed up as daughter's teacher in lockdown

The pandemic has taken a severe toll on everyone including celebrities, the people usually protected from life's problems by money, staff and delivery services.

Even the A-list, however, couldn't pay teachers to move in during lockdown, and many were forced to homeschool, just like the rest of us.

Some, however, threw themselves into it more than others. Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett has now admitted that during the first months of the pandemic, she was so keen to educate her seven-year-old daughter Edith, she actually dressed up as her school teacher.

Though the older children — Roman, 17, and Ignatius, 13, while Dashiel, 20, has left school) – were able to learn by themselves, she told The Project: “I realised that I couldn't even teach her grade 1 math and she sniffed that out after 14 days. I was a dead duck. There was no respect there."

It wasn't until Blanchett 'dressed up as her teacher' and 'put on her teacher’s voice' that Edith paid attention — otherwise, she "wouldn't allow me at all to teach math or do phonics".

Nightmare Alley and Don't Look Up actor Blanchett added: "I had an array of stuffed animals who also had to be taught. It wasn't an offer I made. It was a request she made. One thing that really came home to me was just how incredible teachers are."

There is a crossover with acting, however, she explained.

UNHCR goodwill ambassador and actress Cate Blanchett attends a news conference during a High-Level Segment on Statelessness, part of the UNHCR's Executive Committee meeting, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Cate Blanchett got nowhere until she dressed up as daughter Edith's teacher. (Reuters)

"That is an inherently dramatic situation where you have to stand up in front of a class of 30 often disinterested pupils and try and get them engaged in medieval history."

Not every actor took to the job, however. Halle Berry, star of Catwoman, told Entertainment Tonight: “It's a nightmare for me. It's a nightmare. This is, like, a wash (out) of a semester. They're really just not learning anything and it's hard.”

She went on to explain: “What I learned is that when six-year-olds see other six-year-olds do things, then they do things.

"Like, they sit and they eat because there's 25 other ones doing it. They stay at their desks and colour because there's 25 other ones doing it. At home, there's not 25 other ones doing it. So, to get them to focus and realise they're at home but yet they're at school, it's really been a challenge.”

Director and cast member Halle Berry attends a premiere screening for the film
Halle Berry found homeschooling 'a challenge'. (Reuters)

Other stars were struck afresh by their gratitude to teachers. Actor Jennifer Garner, who has three children with ex Ben Affleck said during an event for Variety: “Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot as I help my kids with their homeschooling are teachers."

She later said, "What is this year full of transitions gonna look like for kids, for my family?

"How can I keep joy in learning for them or help them just continue to find their resilience? That's where I am today.”

Read more: Remote schooling led to catastrophic learning loss, new study finds

Meanwhile, some found the switch from action hero to educational hero almost impossible.

Charlize Theron, star of Long Shot, said, “I will make any action movie over and over and over again before I homeschool again,” while Kate Hudson told Ellen DeGeneres, "I have one area for Bing (10) because it's more hands-on, and I have to sit with him.

“Then Ryder (17) does his work in his area, and we do check-ins because he's doing lectures and there's Zoom. It's just a juggling act." Kate is also mum to Rani, two, who - thankfully - was too little for homeschooling.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 22: (L-R) Ryder Robinson, Bingham Hawn Bellamy and Kate Hudson attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Kate had a 'juggling act' when it came to home learning. Getty Images)

Some, however, have it all worked out. The ever-organised Duchess of Cambridge, whose passion is early years education, had no trouble getting George, Charlotte and Louis into school mode - in fact, she even taught them in the Easter holidays. She told the BBC: "I feel very mean."

Other parents struggled more with new methods of learning. Thor star Chris Hemsworth told Jimmy Kimmel that despite trying to homeschool children India, Sasha and Tristan, "I’m failing miserably.

"It’s sort of four or five hours of negotiation and bribery and then 20 minutes of actual work, if that. "Everything’s changed since I was in school," he explained.

"I was talking to the teacher about it. Adding, subtracting, so on, it’s not quite as straightforward now. There’s all these new little tricks and so on, which I don’t understand.”

The Good Place star Kristen Bell also hated being a teacher to Lincoln, eight, and Delta, six, telling chat show host Ellen DeGeneres: “I gave up, to be honest. I threw in the towel. I attempted to give her some math problems in the beginning of this quarantine. She answered the first and second one, and then she got really sassy and wrote, ‘No’ … in the answer grid.”

She later reinforced her feelings: "Homeschooling stills sucks. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, OK?”

Kristen Bell at STX's QUEENPINS Photocall held at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, CA on Wednesday, ?August 25, 2021. (Photo By Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA)
Kristen Bell thinks 'homeschooling sucks'. (Getty Images)

Cunning parents Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, however, drafted in reinforcements.

"We enlisted our friends to do 20-minute Zoom sessions with our kids [to] teach our kids anything … from making flowers arrangements to architecture," Kunis told The Tonight Show.

"That gives us 20 minutes of not parenting and also allows our kids to have another type of interaction.” She also said, "I am not a good teacher. But my husband is fantastic at it."

Others called on the grandparents to back up their home education systems. This month, Ryan Gosling revealed to GQ magazine that his mother, Donna, was the “perfect person” to help homeschool his daughters with Eva Mendes, Esmeralda and Amada.

Read more: Home learning activities with preschool children ‘could boost economy by £1.2bn’

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 10 : Jamie Dornan is in the interview for movie
Jamie Dornan: Fifty Shades of maths confusion. Getty Images)

But The Tourist star Jamie Dornan told Jimmy Kimmel that understanding how his daughter, Elva's mind worked, was a serious challenge.

"I was doing maths the other day and she had, like, two plus two, and she was like, 'Yup, got it,’” the Fifty Shades of Grey star told Kimmel.

“She got that it was four. Then she got three plus four. She got seven. Then it was two plus two again... I was going … 'you just had two plus two — it was seven seconds ago — surely you remember that?' Obviously, their brains just don't work like that."

Equally troubled by the whole 'actor to teacher' switch was Drew Barrymore, who claimed on the Today Show that she “cried every day, all day long” when homeschooling at the start of lockdown.

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1538 -- Pictured: (l-r) Talk Show host Drew Barrymore during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 -- (Photo By: Sean Gallagher/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Drew Barrymore 'cried every day'. (Getty Images)

“It was the messiest plate I’ve ever held in my life, to be the teacher, the parent, the disciplinarian, the caretaker. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, and teachers have children [of their own]. Do they survive it because they get to go away and work with other kids? Have they had their children in their classroom? How did this all work?’”

Perhaps the most sensible approach, however, comes from beloved actor and more recently, cookbook author, Stanley Tucci, who wrote about his three children in The Atlantic.

"They tell me they are doing their schoolwork," he said. "I believe them, even if I don’t.”

As millions of weary parents would agree: Amen to that.

Watch: Newlywed UK couple travel the world with their son throughout the pandemic