I really don't even know how to start this post. I cannot believe how quickly our lives have changed in just one weeks time. I originally published this post on March 2, 2020. Here we are just 18 days later and our world is upside down. The Coronavirus, aka: COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic. We are currently at 16,489 cases just in the United States alone. That number will continue to rise as more tests become available.
Everything is shutting down. Walt Disney World is closed. We have a trip booked for the end of April, and it's really looking like that will not happen. And even if for some reason they are open, would we even feel safe to go?
My family lives in Rhode Island. Our schools are currently closed until April 3, 2020. To be completely honest though, I'm not sure if we will go back at all this school year. That makes me incredibly sad. My oldest son has a wonderful set of teachers this year, and my youngest is in Kindergarten. He will not have his adorable graduation. But of course, their safety is my top concern.
I've been trying to keep our lives as normal as I possibly can, but it's hard. For a family that is always on-the-go, we're staying home. Although our Governor declared this past week our "spring break," I introduced homeschooling to our kids. Homeschooling is something that has always intrigued me, however, I wish we were trying it out under much different circumstances.
With that all being said, I decided to do a weekly check-in throughout this process. I will share how we are doing, what's working for our family, and any other relevant updates. I'd love for you to share how YOU are in the comments. We are ALL effected by this pandemic.
So. Here we go. Week One.
My husband and I have been working on projects we've been trying to get done for months around the house. We have a very long hallway, and finally put together this wall collage. I love how it came out. I have always enjoyed decorating with photos, but I wanted to add some accents to break things up.
We also finally got this setup in our guest room! I've envisioned this FOREVER! And it's DONE!!
How are we homeschooling our kids?
We literally jumped in head first with this one. One of my favorite resources has been outschool.com. They are offering up to $50 per family in FREE virtual classes. If you sign-up through my link, you'll get an extra $20 and I will, too. This past week, Lincoln has taken his first ever piano class with a live, virtual teacher! He had two 30 minute classes, and he can play FOUR songs! Mind Blown. Next week he's starting a coding class, and my little Avery is having fun learning about his favorite topic, SPACE!
[caption id="attachment_13462" align="aligncenter" width="2016"]Our cat, Oliver, wants to learn the piano, too![/caption]
There are a few other websites I've been using with my kids. ABCMouse and Adventure Academy are both free right now. Khan Academy is another free site. They have a TON of great programs. Lincoln wants to take "Imagineer in a Box," and "Pixar in a Box." Khan Academy Kids is a wonderful app for younger kids. Avery has been loving this one.
You know all of those projects and craft kits you have been storing in your house for years? Now is the time to pull them out! We have hatched a dinosaur, opened a treasure chest, and found gold!
We've also been building a lot with LEGO's and playing with Play-Doh!
I have a bunch of educational workbooks I've accumulated. I'll usually pull out a few pages the night before for the next day. I have noticed the worksheets are their least favorite part of homeschool. They both prefer hands-on activities.
Don't forget movement breaks are important! GoNoodle is on YouTube, and used in schools nationwide. They have short videos that encourage movement and are fun for kids! My 10 year old gave me a hard time about this one at first, thinking he was "too old" for it...but he had just as much fun as my 6 year old!
Next week we begin distance learning with our kids' teachers.
How am I protecting my family during this time?
Everyone has an opinion on this, but the SAFEST option is "social distancing." STAY HOME. It's the only way we're going to contain this illness. My children and myself have not gone out in 7 days. My husband has gone out one time to stock up on food and other essentials. Do you see what's happening in Italy? My cousin is over there right now, and it's very scary. I'm going to step off of my soapbox about this, but I think you know how I feel.
Our kids will remember this time.
Remember this. They are watching YOU. How are you handling this situation? This is a HUGE learning situation for them. They're looking at how you are managing this change. Teach them well. Your children will look back on this time and hopefully just have memories of spending extra time together. I've noticed my boys bonding more than usual. It's really been a great thing to see. They're growing closer. Keep this time for them HAPPY. Give them extra LOVE. They're feeling the change, too. They just don't understand what it is they're feeling. Help them feel safe.
I think that's enough for Week One. Hoping Week 2 brings some light into this situation.
Let's discuss this! Leave me a comment about your thoughts and how your family is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.