by Melissa Face
For starters, I am acknowledging that I am in one of the more fortunate situations during this pandemic. I am a teacher, so I do not have to go out in public, and I don’t have the worry of not being paid. I also am able to be at home with my children and help them navigate this unusual time in our lives while providing a little instruction and a lot of love.
Our first week of quarantine wasn’t perfect, but there were many perfect moments. And like most things that go well, the week started with a plan. We made charts for both kids last weekend and gave them goals to achieve in the categories of household chores, academics, and a few others. We also allowed them to make a wishlist of a couple of items they would like to have once the quarantine is over. We hung up their charts and wishlists where they can see them every day. It has helped them stay motivated and focused on something positive.
Here are a few other things that went well in our first week that we will definitely continue:
1. Gratitude Walk – Each day we have taken a walk. On the way down the drive, we talk about all of our stressors and worries. We get them out, and I give them both a chance to vent and share. My six-year-old, Delaney, was worried that Pusheen might get stung by a bee because she left him outside. Stress is relative, right? The point is that they get a chance to talk and be heard. Then, on the way home, we talk about things we are grateful for. We haven’t repeated anything yet, and all three of us are excited to continue this part of our routine next week.
2. Support Others From Home – We are staying at home for the foreseeable future unless we absolutely have to go out. We have also felt compelled to help our favorite local businesses who are not receiving the patronage they are used to. So, we have ordered from a few of the small businesses who are out delivering. And we share posts of other online businesses we care about. It’s a really easy way to help people who are working hard get through this time.
3. Creative Learning – We have used the websites that my children’s teachers have recommended (IXL and Reading Eggs), but we have also done more learning activities on our own. Evan (3rd grade) is currently reading a novel and a nonfiction book about natural disasters. He does a lot of independent study and vocabulary lessons with topics he finds interesting. Delaney (kindergarten) has practiced writing sight words with sidewalk chalk and baking supplies. There were also several times this week when we put the academics aside and just played. And I feel really good about that because life is so weird right now.
4. Get Moving – While we haven’t stuck to a strict schedule this week, there were a few things that were always part of our day, and exercise was one of them. We played basketball, soccer, and went for walks. If we had to stay inside, we did Wii dance. It’s so much fun, and it never hurts to learn a few new moves. (There may be a video on Evan’s YouTube channel, but I’m not including a link. You’ll have to dig for it:)
5. Letter Writing – We reached out to several classmates and asked for mailing addresses so the kids could write letters and keep in touch with their friends. (And they’re writing, so they’re learning.) Walking to the mailbox is another part of our routine and something we all look forward to. And today was fantastic because the kids had a new letter. Thank you, Janice! You are so good to us!
6. Social Media – There are times when I’ve found social media to be overly negative and a major time suck. But this week it has been a welcomed source of comic relief. Posts and memes have provided distractions and many laughs. (Tell us what your kids and pets are doing, but refer to them as your coworkers.) Plus, social media has allowed the kids to connect with their classmates, see their teachers’ faces, and watch the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo (3:00 pm each day).
I have read a lot of “how-to” books over the years, but How To Homeschool Elementary Students While Providing Remote Instruction to High School Sophomores and Preparing for a Book Launch in the Midst of a Pandemic was not one of them. There are a few things that we wish we had done differently during our first week of quarantine, but we can iron out some kinks next week.
Delaney is looking forward to wearing her dance costume to “class” next week, and Evan wants to wear a sports jersey. And I don’t have to tell them that it’s not appropriate for school.
Good luck in week #2, everyone. Be kind and patient with your children and especially with yourselves.