Homeschooling in lockdown 2020
People, I miss you. x

Homeschooling in lockdown 2020

I enjoyed it.

First let me get this straight. My heart was breaking for families in health crises, financial ruin and marooned in terrible circumstances. For stranded friends in Italy and elderly family, I worried and washed hands fervently. The rabbit holes I went down for hours on end took me to places in my mind I really didn’t want to go. I do fear for the future, of major financial crisis, of government controls way beyond what we need. With all that in a big scary black cloud floating above, the day to day of life actually changed for the better.

How could it be good to be ‘locked’ in your own home, only allowed out for medical treatment or food. Sounds like one of those interesting film where nothing happens but everything happens.

Having a well-stocked pantry prepared for actual meals was new. Of course I shopped before, but it was always in drabs and drabs, a meal at a time, with a bit of thought for the next day but not much farther than that. Going to a once weekly shop really hurt my head at first, but now it has liberated me. For time calculated in dashing to the shops at 5pm daily, not to mention an early morning trip for bread and topping up fruit, I reckon I have been gifted around 30-40 minutes a day. Aside from the gift of time, a particularly foodie child has relished the opportunity to create slow cooked meals and has even encouraged me to try a few new recipes. Our weekly line up has changed markedly, for the better, and we’ve learned to use what we have.

I have wanted to achieve this for years, but with the shops so close it seemed crazy not to just ‘pop to the shops’ and grab sour cream or whatever fancy finishing we needed. Thanks for teaching us how to make do.Our home grown herbs are getting a work out, not to mention the garden is weeded and has plenty of lettuce and broccoli on the way. More time in the garden – thanks again.

Home schooling families have busy lives as all of us in the bubble know. Especially with four kids, it means pick-ups and drop offs, music lessons, friend catch ups, station pick-ups, supervising little ones, just like school families.

It means lots of decisions, juggling needs, too-ing and fro-ing in general. How many hours were we gifted by not having all of those things in our week? I think at least 10, if not more.

 I was excited to have more time to knit a shawl I had started back in February hoping to have it ready by winter (I’m slow). Two of my older girls picked up the needles and crochet hook as well and finished projects. One a crocheted rug, the other a scarf. Thank you for new skills which otherwise would have seemed boring.

The uniqueness of this time has really struck me. Even having a holiday couldn’t have replicated this, because on a holiday you want to race around and see things. This time was one of its kind. Yes, I made bread to escape my own thoughts like everyone else. The sour dough starter is in the fridge and we are ready to go, for the process that takes, oh about 24 hours to a warm, crusty sourdough loaf. Thank you for new skills, slow food and patience.

More time alone with my thoughts – thank you. Quiet contemplation, delving in to the past for answers, hours of You tube videos and podcasts on why we do the things we do, has taken me down new paths of understanding. Compassion even, for myself and others. Daily mindfulness practise as a free gift from Jack and Tara (Thank you! see link below) has fitted nicely into my pre bedtime and private lockdown time (yes I go in about 7:30 and shut the door), along with a shower and some fiction reading.

I am finally getting into Harper Lee’s second novel and it is so good I have vowed to never write fiction again. Why bother when that exists.

Peace and quiet at bedtime. Thank you. Recognising my own needs for some alone time and a quiet wind down time before bed, thanks again. It’s possible I am even sleeping a bit better after years of insomnia. Not to mention daily walks that aren’t rushed in the darkness hours before the dawn, and cheers to new beginnings, daily yoga with thanks again to You tube.

Maybe the kids didn’t enjoy it as much as me, but what they got from it was a big old fashioned dose of, ‘this is how it is and we can’t change it’.

So often today there is a way around things, an exception. It’s easy to get more, get less or get out of it somehow. There is not so much tough shit. Brutal yes, but what a lesson. Our elders learnt it. My parents were born into the aftermath of WW2 and lived with less. Poverty was normal and eating your dad’s crusts was something to look forward to. Four in a bed, meals of bread and dripping, walking for miles and holes in your shoes were a matter of reality.  They lived with it, they made do, they thrived even. If this is the worst thing our kids have gone through they’re lucky. Thank you that we really did not suffer at all.

The days I did get out for a walk it was like living in a tiny country town (my city has a population of about 200,000), when you saw another person, you greeted them excitedly and really would have liked to stop for a chat. Was that weird? Were we actually beginning to connect? Empty supermarket shelves prompted conversations between strangers, head shakes were exchanged over security guards standing by toilet paper stocks, we thought about, even checked on neighbours with absolute care and concern.

It was, for those days, a kinder place to be. Thank you for connection.

The kids occupied themselves with too much screen time at first (me too), and when even that became boring, they cooked, cleaned, exercised, crafted, talked, played music, gardened, laid around, read books, slept in, got bored. They did what they felt like doing within the frustration of not being able to do lots of things they wanted to do.

We talked about walking on the beach, seeing friends, sharing a meal with someone, camping, concerts, travel, missing the things we missed.

We sat with it, without a choice. Mindfulness calls you to feel the feelings, recognise them, acknowledge them and let them go. On those days we did that. We got frustrated and niggled at each other, but we felt the feelings with nowhere to go. Literally. Thank you.

I lament now for what the world has lost, in precious souls, family members gone and freedoms we all took for granted gone too. For what I have gained I am grateful. I’m glad we chose the slow life, though not slow enough now I realize.

Now Please. Can we just keep being kind to each other?

Curious about home educating?

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