Corona-schooling

You all might be wondering how school is going in my household of 10 students in this time of pandemic and school closures. Well, it’s interesting.

 

We’ve got all kinds of personalities going on here. The highschooler symbolically slammed her books shut and declared the year over. Even though the school has made review work available for her. I can see her point of view. They aren’t offering any new material and, in typical teenager short-sightedness, she can see no reason to review for classes that she’s just going to be handed a grade for and to which she won’t be returning. 

 

The 8th grader, the one who marches to the beat of a different drum, is attacking Khan Academy, trying to teach herself the rest of her Algebra 1 class so that she’ll be prepared for the next math class she takes in High School. She’s also looking up the state standards that weren’t covered because of school closure and researching them, trying to teach them to herself. (I told my husband this, and he expressed my thoughts, “Who does that??”) 

 

The 6th, 5th, 4th, (2) 3rdgraders, 1st grader, kindergartner, and preschooler are all under my jurisdiction. I set up a chart. Every day they have to watch two of the school videos that are available on our School District’s website, read a book for 30 mins, read one chapter of the Bible (We’re all reading Mark), and practice 1 of their times tables. If they do all of that, they can play MINECRAFT for 30 mins. Since we have never had any kind of video/online/computer games available, this has been a big motivator. I’ve got kids crashing into my room at 7:30am, when I am only slightly awake and demanding that I help them get started on school. Minecraft is apparently a powerful tool. (In the afternoons, if they clean their zone, their bedrooms, and deep clean one item on my list, they get another 30 mins. My house is looking a lot cleaner!)

 

Despite how organized this all sounds, it gets pretty chaotic. 

 

So, today I was sitting on the end of my bed (my bedroom has somehow become the school room, not sure why) helping my preschooler do his reading lesson. (I’ve got the preschooler and kindergartner doing my old homeschool curriculum for kindergarten since they need one-on-one help.) He had a short little paragraph to read and I was pointing, one word a time as he made his way through the story, stopping to ask questions after each sentence. He was reading pretty slowly, so when the nine year old popped in front of me and told me she was ready to go over her times table with me, I nodded in agreement. Sure I can listen to two kids at the same time. 

 

So, here I am, pointing at the book, Here David, what’s this word…D..O…G.. Dog, that’s right, keep going..Ok, Nomi, 7×9…No, not 62, you’re really close….yes 63. So, David, what is the dog doing? Uh huh. 7×2. Yep. 14, 7×8? Here David, you’re reading right here. Not, BBB, it’s DDDD. Ok. That’s right, DOT good job! No, 7×8 is not 63, that’s what 7×9 is. No, not 49. No. Not 52. Right here David, stop getting distracted, what’s this word? No, Nomi, it’s not 54. If 7×9 is 63 what can you do to figure out 7×8!!! That’s right, start counting backwards. Yes.56. Ok David, so The Dog did not eat a fish…What do you think he’s going to eat? Let’s keep reading and find out! YES! 56!! That is correct! 7×3? Yep, you got it, 7×7? No, not 62. THINK!! 

(Just then, the other nine year old approaches and says he’s ready for me to listen to him read, a practice I’ve had to undertake to help keep him honest.) Not now sweetie, I can’t listen to you right now. You’ll have to wait. 7×7. 49 You got it. Here David, L…O…G… Log. Yes! The dog did not eat a log! Good job. No, I’ve already told you I can’t listen to you read, dear nine year old, go do something else!! 

 

ACCK!! (At this point the 3 year old did a somersault on the bed and hit me square in the back.) I turn around. Both the three and six year olds have burrowed under my covers and are proceeding to hit both me and David in the back (remember, we’re sitting on the end of the bed) and are stripping my bed of all it’s covers. STOP STOP STOP!! OFF MY BED!!! GO PLAY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!

 

7×4. Yes. 28, 7×6.. David, keep reading! What did the dog eat?? No, 7×6 is not 49, that’s 7×7. Will the dog eat a pot of tar? What do you think? Yeah, I think so too. Let’s keep reading and see what he eats…7×5. No. I didn’t already ask you this. And even if I did, just answer it and keep moving.  Oh look David, the sentence says, “the dog will eat his car..” huh. Well, that’s pretty silly. I uncover the picture that is supposed to stay hidden till the end of the story. Sure enough, there is a dog eating a car. Weird. David starts laughing hysterically. Apparently this reading book understood it’s target audience. 7×6..Oh, yeah, you’re right. I already did that. Ok quick, lets go over the ones you didn’t know. David, you’re done reading. Other nine year old, I’m ready to hear you read! 

 

And that is a glimpse into what corona-schooling a whole bunch of kids at the same time kind of looks like. At least over at my house.

Coronavirus, Kids, and Mental Health

Hey Everyone. I’m wondering how everyone is doing right now with the World Pandemic?  I’ve got friends who have been preparing for this kind of scenario their whole lives, and they are READY! And then I have friends who aren’t taking things too seriously, still doing life as-normal as much as they can. I think I’m probably in the place that most people are. I’m taking it seriously, but I’m really not set up to be SUPER PREPARED. I don’t have the storage space or the extra cash flow to have two months of groceries stored up in my house. I live in the city. I don’t have a wilderness hide-away to retreat to in full-blown quarantine. I’m taking it one day at a time. 

 

So…Kids. Let’s talk kids. 

 

My kids are excited about having a super-long vacation. And mad because we can’t go do all the fun things they normally expect to do on a vacation. Can we go to the Children’s Museum? No. The zoo? No. The library? Well, we can go get a book, but we can’t hang out there. Play at the playground? No, way too many families there. 

 

I’ve seen a lot of posts online about How To Homeschool Your Child During Coronavirus. Homeschooling moms are in their element right now, finally, people willing to listen to their experiences!! I’ve told the kids we are going to start homeschooling next week. I’m starting to feel depressed about this. Our school system has said we are shutting down through April 3rd. I have no hope that they are going to be opening school on April 7th. And that makes me depressed. I stopped homeschooling for a reason. It was One Thing Too Many for me to handle. Right now it still feels like One Thing Too Many for me to handle. But, on the other hand, having a household full of children with no schedule and no real structure is also Too Much To Handle. So, I plan to homeschool just so I can give these kids schedules and structure, so we all don’t go insane. 

 

Here’s the plan. I plan to read devotions and have the younger kids choose a sentence from our Bible story that they can copy neatly and maybe draw a picture. I’ve got a cool history book I like called “Story of the World”. I plan to read this out loud to all the kids and give them paper and pencils to draw a picture of something that stands out to them in what I’m reading.  The older kids can write me a paragraph summary of what we’ve read in history. For math, my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are going to drill times tables, since none of them have their times tables memorized. I’ve got some cool science books that I’m also going to read out loud and let kids draw pictures and write descriptions of what we’ve read. And then, I’ve got a large selection of quality Children’s Literature. Everyone gets to pick a book and read some of it every day. My middle-schoolers and high-schoolers can get online and use resources that their schools are making available. My preschooler and kindergartner can do phonics workbooks that I already own, and I’ll continue to do reading lessons with them. The first grader can read books and all the little ones can do addition flashcards. Then we’ll run around outside and play a lot of games. And watch some of my favorite orchestra pieces on YouTube. And paint pictures. 

 

Or, I’ll lose all patience and tell the kids to turn on the tv and leave me alone. 

 

We’ll see. 

I guess, the point is, either scenario is fine. We all have structure and learn something. Great. We free roam, watch tv and eat snacks all day. Also ok. 

 

There isn’t a script that we are supposed to be following. This is new for all of us. Grace. We just need to practice grace for each other. Sometimes grace might look like stimulating our kid’s brains and giving them lots of interesting things to do. And sometimes grace might look like throwing the kids out in the yard and making them stay outside all day. Or binge watching Marvel Movies. Or getting Happy Meals. Or learning how to bake bread. 

 

Let’s just take it one moment at a time.