A Month of Sundays – Our experience of staying indoors
“What day is it mum?” A constant question in our house!! Felix thinks that every day feels like Sunday, and I suppose it does for my children. We are spending most of our day together, eating our meals together, spending quality time together and reflecting on our weeks. It has been a challenge at times, especially trying to balance school work with playgroup work whilst feeling under the weather. But I do feel like we have finally got into a rhythm and an understanding with each other, now that we are 4 weeks into social distancing.
We started our home schooling week, along with a million other people, with Joe Wickes and his PE sessions. I say we, I ate my breakfast and hid in the dining room whilst the children huffed and puffed next door!! I don’t know how he manages to do all his exercises and still talk as much as he does!! These half hour sessions were great for the children; it gave them a boost to start their day and burnt off some energy; the sessions also became the sign to the children that home schooling was about to start as we did them every day and started ‘proper’ work shortly after these.
The first week of home schooling really was a learning curve for all of us, I started the week trying to replicate school and the school timetable. But I soon realised that this didn’t suit me or the children. So, by the end of the week, we had relaxed more, played more and kept loosely to the timetable. My children do need routine; they don’t cope well without structure; so, having some idea of what was coming next and what we had planned for the day was helpful to them.
After burning off some energy, our home schooling started with some artwork, with rainbows! Both Sofia and Felix created their own version of a rainbow picture, we stuck them up at the windows at the front of our house. This such a lovely gentle start to ‘school work’ and the children loved it. They will stay up in our window until we all go back to school!
One of our most favourite new discoveries was the author and illustrator, Rob Biddulph, his tutorials captured my children’s imagination and they produced some amazing artwork. We now have a well-stocked gallery wall in each bedroom and we are looking forward to watching these videos on YouTube when we get back into our home schooling again.
As well as utilizing a lot of free tutorials on YouTube, they are particularly enjoying the Chester Zoo enclosure videos, I also taught the children a few traditional games outside, we haven’t played hide and seek for such a long time as a family it has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit old games. The children also enjoyed hopscotch, rock painting, gardening and just the joy of being outside for a long time again (thank goodness for the weather!!)
It is not to say that this time has not been a challenge and the balance between work obligations and home schooling has been tricky at times; but I do think we all realise that this time is really unique and we all have to be flexible and patient with each other.
Although I have been more lax with the children’s screen time I have tried to shield them from the news and any serious conversations about what is happening in the wider world. I try to limit my use of social media and news coverage for my own mental and emotional wellbeing and I’m encouraging them to do the same.
As a family, we are recognizing that this time is a moment in history and something to remember and I want them to remember it for its positives and not the negatives. I want them to appreciate their health, their family, the sunshine and the small wins that can be achieved at home for free; and enjoy this time and see it as a gift for our family to reconnect and understand each other a little better. We are going to create a time capsule of this time so we can remember it in years to come, we have a little pack of worksheets that we are all going to complete and keep safe and open on Sofia’s birthday in 20 years’ time!
The poor dog doesn’t seem to understand why she can’t go on her weekly 4 hour walks off in the hills, she is constantly looking at the door for another walk! But the children are keeping her busy in the garden!!
We are managing to keep in contact with our friends virtually by video call and the HouseParty App! I’m not sure what we would have done without that connection! Particularly as Sofia turned 10 at the start of April, as well as Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday; being able to celebrate with people at least virtually seemed to make up for the lack of party for Sofia, that and the fact that I covered the house in balloons and banners! Our neighbours also created a WhatsApp group and I became a member of our local community group too, to help those that were self-isolating or vulnerable, another positive to come from this time is the bringing together of our friends and neighbours and encouraging a connection that wasn’t there before.
I think my lesson from this first month is to try and really enjoy this break from the norm, take advantage of this quality time with my family and cherish every moment. And when things do become challenging and overwhelming; talk to my friends, my family and neighbours; and let a celebrity take them for half an hour on YouTube whilst you have a cup of tea!!!
I am really missing the children and families from playgroup too; I imagine it’s difficult for them to understand what is going on and why they can’t go out and play anymore. I hope you are all doing ok and are managing. Sending lots of love and well wishes to you all, and my gratitude to all the key workers in our community. As the Queen said so brilliantly “we will meet again”