Monday 13 April 2020

COVID19 - Life at Home - Getting Used to the New Normal

It's been three weeks now since the schools closed and life took an unexpected turn. Who could have predicted that we'd all be home schooling and only allowed outside for essentials and exercise?!

The last few days before school finished were really strange - much quieter on the school run with many families already choosing to stay at home and a really strange atmosphere. I couldn't put my finger on it but I think most people were worried and unsure of the future, I know I felt like that. I also felt really sad, sad that Elliot might miss out on his final terms at Infant School. Sad that they would miss their friends and teachers. And sad that life as we know it would change dramatically. I'm not ashamed to say there were a few tears, mainly from me. Thank goodness the ice cream man was there on the last Friday to cheer us up!

That weekend we went out for a walk in the forest near us, and although at that point, we didn't know for certain that there would be a lockdown, we had a feeling it might be our last day out for a little while.

The first day of home school was met with great optimism - we were up early and ready to join in with Joe Wicks, we had a timetable of subjects to cover and the snack cupboard was full! There was a real novelty of doing school work at home and Elliot was really eager to learn. We peaked far too soon though, as the days went on our timetable became much looser and some days we didn't even do any work as the children were having so much fun outside in the garden!

I have found it quite tricky some days to entertain both children at the same time. Elliot needs a bit of help with his work as he can get very distracted but Erin also wants my attention 99% of the time so I'm having to try and balance them both which can lead to arguments! Erin is only 3 so she doesn't have school work to do but I've printed her off lots of colouring sheets from Twinkl so she thinks she is joining in. Twinkl has actually been a fantastic resource for school work and my printer has been working overtime with all the worksheets we have printed.

We have been keeping in touch with school via Facebook/emails/apps and we even got a phonecall from Elliot's teacher which was nice. It is such a wonderful school and the teachers have done so much to make the transition to home schooling a bit easier. They have even been uploading stories to YouTube which has gone down well with Elliot and Erin. They are of course missing their friends but we've done some video calls, and this morning they spent a good 20 minutes on Messenger just switching between funny filters!

We are really lucky to have a garden for the children to play in and they have certainly been making the most of the trampoline and slide. The sunny weather has also been a huge bonus. Our holiday to Florida got cancelled so if we sit on the sunny decking with our eyes closed, we can almost imagine we're on holiday!

I recently bought a Tuff Tray on Amazon which has been really useful - I like the fact it's on legs so the kids can stand up and play on it. I have been getting lots of ideas from Pinterest but one of the most fun activities we did was slime! I found an old packet mix which was just powder that you add water to - it was meant for the bath but I figured we could use it on the tray. I don't think I got the quantities quite right because it was really really gloopy but the kids had so much fun. But oh my god was it messy! They had it aaaaaaall up their arms and everytime they moved it would leave a long strand of slime. I had to put them straight in the shower afterwards, along with the tray!

One of the upsides of the last few weeks is getting the chance to explore our local area on our walks. Sometimes it's too easy to jump in the car and go out for the day, but not being able to do that has forced us to venture out to the places on our doorstep. Fortunately we live in a lovely area which is close to the sea so we have found secret beaches, shaded woodland areas and had lots of beautiful views across the water. An added bonus is that Elliot has got really confident on his bike too!

I was initially worried that we would all be climbing the walls after a few weeks at home but actually it's not been so bad and it's been so nice not having to rush around anywhere. Bedtimes have got a bit later and it takes us a while to get going in the mornings but it's nice for the children to be spending so much time at home with us....well, except when they're bickering over the tv again ;)

No-one is really sure when life will get back to normal but we'll carry on clapping on a Thursday evening. We'll carry on self isolating at home and hoping we get to see our friends and family in person really soon.

How have you been spending this time?
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