So, we survived the first week of isolation. The children actually spent some of the time away from screens. We only had takeaway food twice. We all still quite like one another. In my book, that’s winning.
Of course, things didn’t quite go according to my initial plan. The schedule I had drawn up, although relaxed, didn’t really work. My original idea to have both children working (I use this word loosely!) at the table together wasn’t at all productive. My son still needs a lot of input from me and my daughter found this (understandably) distracting and annoying so got upset. On a wider scale. All the outdoor spaces we were planning to visit eg; National Trust, Forestry England, have closed – so fresh air is happening in the garden and out in our street when nobody else is there. We are making the most of the sunny weather and getting outside as much as we can. We have also started a Book Swop Box within the street which should help with the boredom of the same old books.
We are still up, dressed, ready to go for 9:00am. Grandpa has been awesome in using Zoom to run a morning wake and shake session which Patrick and I have religiously joined in every day, Esme has when she feels like it.
I decided to try working with the kids one at a time. Patrick is happy to play Roblox whilst Esme does her stint, then they swop and Esme watches TV. At this point, it’s more important that each lets the other have some time to concentrate than it is to be screen-free! Don’t get me wrong; these “at the table to do some work” sessions are not long and are not complicated. I am not a teacher or a therapist – I have the same printed out worksheets everyone else has and being honest, some of the Y2 maths is testing me! The other thing is that the children don’t associate home with schoolwork, so they are less focused and much less willing to cooperate.
I am going with the flow. If things are going well, we will carry on a little longer. If not, we cut our losses, finish up and try something else later. I am trying to make things relevant to home life – it seems to keep their interest slightly longer. For example, Patrick learnt about money, coin denominations and the concept of getting change back when you pay for something. We did this by raiding the pennies jar, looking at the different coins and seeing how many of each made £1.
Esme did some literacy, rearranging a jumbled sentence accurately but this took over half an hour with plenty of protests, lots of verbal support and breaks for a quick YouTube video in between words. It did, however, allow me to talk about looking for capital letters for the beginning of the sentence, the full stop for the end and using those as clues. We also talked about describing words, little words and joining words.
We have done a bit of OT – hiding random (small) household objects in shaving foam and trying to find them. My son thought that was a great game too! Esme has also carried out her own unplanned OT involving raspberries… We have gone for walks around our road when nobody else is there, up and down the kerb to try to use different muscles on different surfaces.
However, the house is a tip. I have done some laundry, but I haven’t put it away. I haven’t hoovered or cleaned the bathrooms. We have planted some seeds, but I can’t promise I will remember to water them let alone plant them out once they’re big enough (if they make it that far!). The table has piles of my work, kids’ “artwork” and school worksheets, Match Attax cards, sunglasses, a packet of wipes, an empty shoebox and some post. The cats are still refusing to attend home school and the dog keeps stealing the limelight. Today the kids requested an Inset Day: I don’t know if this is a reflection on my prowess as a teacher but I agreed to it.
Perfect we are not, but we have got through a week and we are all still friends and at the time of writing, still healthy – and that is the main thing.