Required school closures and quarantine have evoked fear and panic in some, but to me it is an opportunity to experience life at a slower pace. There is a part of me (and probably you too) that has yearned for to be free from rushing around and schedules.
I have often told my children stories about what life was like when their dad and I were their age. We had time to run and play and be creative, to really be kids. A silver lining of this quarantine has definitely been the chance for them to sample what that’s like.
When our schools first made the decision to close, we eased into this, not really understanding how serious it was for us to stay home. Right or wrong, the first few days we kept hair and doctor appointments, and took the girls to the grocery with us. The talk of toilet paper shortage became real for our family when we were down to two rolls and my husband was unable to find any at our stores here. I drove to the next town over and chuckled at my own excitement when I scored a big pack of t.p. and paper towels.
We found out schools would be closed for one week, then we would have spring break. We wondered if we would go back to school after spring break, so we continued with school work: writing assignments, projects, ixl and checking Google Classroom. So many educational sites offered free access which has been wonderful. We had a homeschool experience. My girls took to homeschooling right away. They wanted time to read books, write, and do some online work, but loved the freedom to pursue their own interests, have choices, and to be able to move and talk throughout the day. We did math on white boards, and made a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day.
I thought about what school would look like as a teacher and wondered what resources students and parents would need that I could provide. We were asked to pick up personal items from our classroom. When I went in I felt sad looking at the empty desks wondering when I would see students in them again. We all worried about students on free-reduced lunch who received FUEL (a bag of food given weekly by schools). We wondered how they would be fed and were proud of how our district and school responded to meet the need.
P.E. class has looked like going on walks. Getting outdoors has been a challenge some days due to cooler temps or rain, but when we were able it was wonderful. Going for daily walks bring joy. One day we walked a trail by the creek and the rain poured. We all got soaked but the girls didn’t seem to mind. Being outside is really important for all of us during this time. We need the fresh air, and Vitamin D.
Creativity and board games have served us all really well. The girls made dresses out of paper towels for their Barbies, we did watercolor and all kinds of art work. Lots of games played: checkers, Guess Who and Connect Four have been favorites.
I have so much gratitude for the time we have and want to get it right. I want to love on these kiddos, make sure they feel safe and help them enjoy these days as much as possible.