I am sure I am not the only one who experience the moment of pure panic when the message from school lands in your mailbox with “Covid” in the subject. Heart starts racing faster than the new Tesla, legs suddenly refuse to hold your weight and hands start shaking like that forgotten jelly left at the back of the fridge. The dreaded message from school has arrived. Uninvited popped on the screen of my phone. The message is clear: your child needs to self-isolate due to a positive case confirmed in his class. My world was, yet again, turned upside down. First, I had to close my business due to the national restriction, and now I had to become a teacher to my older son.
Perspective of home-schooling for 2 weeks for my older boy (Adam - nearly 10 years old), based on the experience from the first lockdown earlier in the year, looked very stressful and frustrating. I need to mention that my younger boy (Leo – nearly 6 years old) still had to attend the school so the morning preparations changed into military operations. All tasks had to had clear purpose, based on detailed planning to control every minute and every hour of daily schedule. The trick was to get the balance right so he can enjoy his learning experience and me…. for me it was the case of keep my sanity.
The key to find the equilibrium is to mix routine and structure on one side and fun and play on the other, to mix intellectual challenges with physical activity. Being contained in own household makes it difficult to keep active. If this is the case for me, it definitely is a challenge for a little boy that that is filled with energy. Luckily we had great Joe Wicks to the rescue on the rainy days to help with PE as well as trusted old trampoline in the garden on a dry days. Fresh air supply to the brain cells and fast pumping heart to wake his little body ready for intellectual challenges of the day. First in order always Maths. He really likes his mathematical quizzes. Competitive nature always pushes him to learn more with enthusiasm, unfortunately, not matched by other disciplines.
The self-efficient maths slot leaves me with little window of opportunity to prepare the diner (another impossible task to keep everyone happy without cooking four different dishes…. but this is a subject for separate blog…). With mathematical precision diner is ready as Adam completes his final tasks. Now is time for him to take over the kitchen. As part of the life skills he prepares lunch for himself with assistance available but usually not needed. Do not need to describe the state of my kitchen at this point. It will stay like this for a bit with opportunity for my husband to contribute a little bit later on 😉
Now is the time for the science learning slot. Brushing off my memory from decades ago seems pointless. I cannot imagine how it was done in the pre-Google and pre-Wikipedia era. After hour on this we are both exhausted. Mental energy completely drained but brain have gained some extra knowledge (you never know when you will need to get some salt from sea water while on the desert island…). At this point we both need a break from the computer. Guitar practice is good to relax those brain cells. For me it is a time to catch up on messages and to prepare for business when the lockdown is over. After the practice Adam comes to me and we explore internet in search of our perfect holiday. Nothing lifts the mood like a bit of dreaming and planning for the next summer. With my supervision Adam is searching for new destinations. I am truly impressed with his natural skills to look for the best deals, flight connections and local attractions. Always something to look forward to 😊 Something to remind us that there will be a rainbow after the rain and soon life will be back to normal and we should appreciate what we have.
It was a long and hard day for both of us. But we made it! Home-schooling is a great way for my boy to learn independence. But it is also a great lesson for me. Lesson to be patient, lesson to be organised and proactive. But most of all a lesson to be present. To make the best out of the bad situation we are all in. In no time we will go on that holiday Adam planned for us and we will laugh together on the memories of that science lesson 😉
Yesterday was the last day of home-schooling. I wonder what will be in the next message from school…
Resources for parents with kids in Year 5: