As we entered the seventh week since Lockdown began and started the countdown until Sunday when we would be given a bit more information on the next steps, I reflected on how I have changed over the weeks. The anxiety I felt definitely peaked at the beginning when I felt trapped but as the weeks have gone on, I have learned how to be calm at home, how to accept that rather than being stuck I am safe and whilst the anxiety still kicks in, sometimes not being able to have my own space all feels a bit too overwhelming, overall I have become more comfortable in my own skin, with my own thoughts and in my own house. I still feel so much guilt about how I could be doing it all better but I accept my own limits too. At times I realise I am really enjoying it (at times I am also ready to run away from it all and hide for a while).
Things that have been a struggle today – Getting the kids to wear clothes. Getting the kids to engage in learning. Getting out of bed in the morning. Getting the kids to eat a healthy dinner. It is a case of picking my battles and when I asked Dylan whether he could do some reading, he was happy to do so as long as he could choose the book. Reading is reading and if it is a Fortnite guide that contains actual words then I will take it. It was a slow day, a lazy one with little snippets of doing something alongside a whole lot of doing nothing.
Finn’s school set the class a challenge, they needed to make a bug hotel and whilst Cora got a lot more involved than Finn did, he was more than happy to take credit. Other than cutting up toilet rolls and egg boxes, we took a day off from learning and went for a little local walk to enjoy some of the sunshine. The kids have been off school for the equivelant of the summer holidays already and I can see many parents are starting to struggle. This is a long time to be together 24/7 and a long time to be doing a job we are not qualified for. My approach to home learning is constantly changing and my plans for the rest of the week are far more based about learning History and context than fractions and adjectives but just as important in my opinion.
Today we started learning about World War 2 in preperation for VE day on Friday. By started learning, I mean we coloured in a VE day celebration poster to go in the wall whilst watching a Horrible Histories program on the war. We discussed briefly evacuation, fighting in the trenches and ration books and the children were interested and engaged. I went for a walk the night before to chat to a friend (through a window and a 2 metre distance) because I really needed it and I know they need it too so the afternoon was spent on video calls with friends and playing computer games whilst having a facetime conversation. It is their way of bonding and so important to them all.
I am working with Sea Life London and so we printed out their work sheets today and tried something different. The ideas were engaging and encouraged the kids to be creative so they followed up the learning on sharks by drawing a big rainbow shark together. I had let work stuff slip a bit – kind of inevitable when I have four children and no real respite, so I let them watch TV most of the day whilst I tried to get on top of emails and some jobs I had to do. It felt good to sort it out although I am going to have a lot to do once they go back to school and I can do it in peace (I have to take breaks in the 10 minutes of work I snatch here and there to do things like feed plastic cheese to a cuddly toy snake). I can’t imagine how full time working parents are balancing this! I am finding it hard enough doing any form of work and caring for them all and their different needs! I am in awe of anyone getting through this and remaining sane.
Being VE day, it was a bank holiday and that meant no pressure to do any home learning, which means I didn’t need to come up with a fake excuse as to why we weren’t doing it anyway. We did however experiment more with our baking, adding some white chocolate chips in our banana bread (definitely something we will be repeating!). It was a wonderfully sunny day and we took part in a socially distanced street party that involved us staying on our driveway and shouting across the road. Community has become so important throughout this pandemic, understanding how we can support one another, both mentally with smiles and words to those suffering from loneliness and physically, by helping with shopping and prescriptions so it felt right to celebrate as one. I know many people across the country caused controversy by failing to stick to the guidelines but we did it within the boundaries and the kids learned a little bit about why. It was a good end to the ‘school week’