Day 1 to Day 66 of Learning at Home

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Today is officially the last day kids in New South Wales are learning from home. The twins watched their carefully crafted morning breakfast show that the teachers create every morning, however this time it had guest hosts – two students telling us what is on the agenda for work today and that it is the last day of being at home. All children go back to face to face learning full time starting next week on the 25th of May, 2020. (Putting the date in here for historical reference)

Kids homeschooling due to COVID-19

Kids homeschooling due to COVID-19

I’m grateful that our response to the virus has been good and we have low to no infections, so that is a good sign. With restrictions easing and schools opening we are very lucky, many schools in America are set to be closed for the rest of the year and kids are going to be learning from home for the remainder of 2020.

Insert a HUGE Happy dance and ENORMOUS SQUEALS OF DELIGHT from every parent here.

Juggling work, kids, learning from home and keeping an active four-year-old entertained has been super difficult to impossible.

We’ve had arguments, fights, tears and just defiance to do any work. Work that has been completed seems to be more of the fun stuff; art, drawing and the creative components to worksheets. Some maths and other work has been finished but with a lot of arguments and mummy explaining for the billionth time that the work needs to be done. To achieve final completion for a lot of the work I had to sit with both children and help them out, this meant that I could not do what I needed to do and arguments for who I was helping and telling the other child they need to just wait.

Geez if I had $1 for every time I tell some to wait I would a wealthy woman.

 

Here are my thoughts of day 1 and we are now coming up to 2 months of being at home. I did think we would be still homeschooling for the rest of term 2 and come back face to face in term 3 so this is a good thing.   I just hope that there are no outbreaks of coronavirus and everyone stays healthy.

The school still has restrictions, there will be no excursions or incursions, no volunteers, no visitors, no drinking at the bubblers, no assembles and kids told that they need to wash their hands and understand if they are sick not to come to school.

My wonderful girls doing their online learning at home - They are learning about tsunamis

My wonderful girls doing their online learning at home – They are learning about tsunamis

Day 1 of schooling from home 24th March 2020

I’m doing our bit to keep us and the community safe.

It is only day 1 of having all 3 kids at home and to put it mildly it was horrible and more like a nightmare conspiracy against mummy.

Mainly the youngest has been horrible and is acting like he is tired still. He has been hitting out, having tantrums, crying and just being awful. I have spent the majority of my day dealing with arguments, incidents, making sure the little one stays away from the bigger kids to allow them to do their schoolwork and all the fallout.

I’ve been ready for a lie-down and a G and T from about 12 pm or earlier actually.  I am keen to have a nice drink later and as I am writing this the kids are having a bath, then dinner and then bed – they are going to bed and there will be no arguments…bed is happening soon for all 3.  Do you hear that they really, really need to go to bed!

This said, we have done some work on Mathletics, art, and drew a pagoda from scratch. I even added to the theme of Pagodas by watching some educational videos on YouTube. Now the kids want to make their own pagodas out of clay but one kid didn’t seal the bag of the clay and therefore our supply is rock hard.

 

 

The kids have had some outdoor time on the trampoline and helping their brother search for bugs and insects.

My little boy did do some drawing and art and practised writing his name. The rest of the day he has been collecting his cars, playing and making our day interesting.  Yes, interesting is a nice way to say challenging and difficult.

I’m not sure that I can handle weeks or even months of this.

I do know that schools and daycare are still open but with work drying up for us, and limited funds having a kid in childcare wasn’t helping us financially. Plus with the fact that they said that if we could have kids at home we should, our stance was if the twins were home so should our youngest as well.

How are you all faring with being at home teaching the kids?  I for one am feeling exhausted and over it already and it is only day 1.

Day 66 – The Final Day of Learning at Home!

Today is the 22nd of May 2020. It is now the last day of the twins learning from home.

It has been fraught with mixed emotions. We embraced the changes and did as we were instructed by the school to help the kids continue with their studies, however dealing with two strong-willed children who don’t want to do work is exhausting. Maybe they should have just gone back to school you say, well this was my thought after day 1 but we fought the urge. It was actually hubby that fought it, I could have easily dropped off the twins at school and been happy with that decision.

I was over it all as I seemed to be the only parent making sure they were working on tasks they should be, worried about assignments due. Hubby and the kids kept on telling me they had plenty of time and then the day before it was due the assignment was done in a rush…and were accompanied by screaming, yelling and attacks at me about “Why am I not helping them do their work!”

Geez!!! If you hadn’t left it to the last minute and done a bit a day it would be done and not rushed, I kept on saying!

The teachers went above and beyond to get online content ready in Google Classroom for all the kids. It was very well done and in a short space of time. I also thought it was very easy to navigate and to find what work you are working on and then submit it to the teachers. This ease of use seemed to be lost as the kids decided to not click on all the work that was assigned and do other tasks. I then ask them what are you working on to get told nothing or something that is not school work.

I have now taken to logging on as the twins to see what school work is due and has been assigned, I print out all needed worksheets, run through the tasks with both kids and get them to work on items that are due soon. I then check on them to make sure they are doing what they should be doing and if they need any help.

We are a little behind in some work but for my own sanity, I have concentrated on reading, writing, and maths as the main areas. We have worked on some other things that have been assigned, I am hoping that next week the teachers will assist my kids to catch up if they are indeed behind.

I know I will not miss the crazy that has become our normal due to homeschooling and having all kids at home, and not to mention trying to find some magical free hours that are uninterrupted to get some work done. I’m looking forward to the girls going back to face to face lessons and for their learning to get back to normal.

It has been nice to sleep in a little, not be in a rush to get anywhere, not have to do lunches (although I still do but not packed ones), and not have to do the school drop off and pick up. This has been one of the more relaxing parts of learning from home.

I’ve told the kids that we are living through a huge event in history, a global pandemic and the last one was in 1918. The older kids understand the history and what has been happening but the four-year-old is not understanding why we have been at home, and he has only recently started back at pre-kinder.

We will look back on this time and be amazed at how we survived, adapted and stayed together to be safe and well.

Although there were many good times I have been hanging for the world to return to normal or at least somewhat normal. I live in a small house, and this means if kids and hubby are home I have no space to do things for me.

The kids have taken over the living room for their school work and when Alexander is here I need to keep him busy, it has only been this week and last that he started back at care, so today is a reprieve for me to allow me to do a few items of work, and help the twins out with any needed school work.

Doing some creative arts at home

Doing some creative arts at home

Here is a sample day for us while kids are learning from home:

  • Kids and everyone gets up and have breakfast.
  • Drop Alexander off at care, if not at care, I look after him which means he wants to play with his sisters and his sisters decide to play with him instead of doing schoolwork.
  • I ask what they need to work on after they watch the Good morning show from the teachers.
  • They say not much or don’t respond (yes I am invisible and they don’t answer even if I am next to them) so I log on to see what assignments and work is due.
  • I then print out about 5-6 items that are not done or complete.
  • Kids work on one task, then take about million trips to the loo and to the kitchen to get a snack or drink.
  • Ask if the work they started is complete and the answer is either nothing or NO.
  • Go in to see if they need help, they have a fit at me as they can do it on their own, I then mention that they have other work to do and give them another 30mins to finish the task they have already had hours working on.
  • More trips to the bathroom and then the realization that it is now recess and they need to have a break.  Why do they need a break when they have had one every 5 mins!
  • Break Again? I tell them to get back to work and finish their tasks.
  • They have recess and play on the trampoline for what feels like hours to then come in and do the same with other tasks they don’t complete and then more arguments and negotiations about what they are doing and when it will be finished.
  • What! It is lunch now??? Again they need food and of course outdoor time. No work is happening again. Finally, they are back at their desk and doing something, I sit with them to ensure that something gets done and they argue about how it is all too hard and they don’t understand.
  • Now they claim they need to go to the bathroom again and are incredibly thirsty and need a drink or else they might die.
  • Many trips back and forth to the kitchen, bathroom and then work desk, but not a lot of work is happening.
  • The kids are worse than cats, in and out of the house, at least I don’t have to open doors for them.
  • The kids now finally notice it is the end of school time so they bugger off to the garden to spend the rest of the day on the trampoline.
  • I’m not sure what work has been done or finished and really don’t believe any work has been done at all!
  • There were many failed attempts to get kids back in the house to complete schoolwork, but it was a giant relief that the house is finally quiet, mummy has a headache and needs to finally do one piece of work that she has been trying to do all day!
  • Mummy is over it all and wants the kids to just do their job. Why is this such a hard ask????

I have finally got my desk back as the kids like using my computer for Minecraft and some of their Google Classwork.

I have looked at many other parents social media during the last two months, and it seems many kids have really enjoyed the remote learning from the school, they got stuck in and just did the work. Pictures that were posted showed kids in the school uniform, kids looking happy and of course many boasting about how their child is loving this time and getting all their work done in record time. I was like this as a kid, without wearing the school uniform at home.

When I was younger I did correspondence for three months while I lived on a boat travelling the islands of Queensland. I got my school work done in a few days and then swam and played for the rest of the week. I was told that if I didn’t do my work I couldn’t go swimming and as a kid who lived and breathed the beach and the sea this was a deal-breaker, so I did my school work.

It saddened me that my children didn’t share this drive and idea to get things all done to allow them to do more fun things. I even signed them up to some free stem coding classes and thought that this would be great, Tynker can also help you program things for Minecraft too. See I’m working with their interest in Minecraft.

Maybe my kids just need to be at school for the routine and discipline of their teachers? Maybe being at school just helps get them into the right mindset?

Working hard at their school work - I had to coax a smile out of one of them, the other one decided she didn't want to cooperate

Working hard at their schoolwork – I had to coax a smile out of one of them, the other one decided she didn’t want to cooperate

As I write this the girls are quietly working away on their classwork, there are still many outstanding tasks but my aim today is to see if we can finish everything that is due. Or at least come close.

Maybe it has taken us two months to just get into the swing of things….although the kids have decided they had to have an early lunch, maybe this will mean that they will do more without another lunch break?

One thing that the kids have done more of is to help around the house and to do more cooking. They have cooked us all dinner a few nights a week and have refined their cake baking skills. Have you been baking more? I think it is a natural consequence of being at home more especially when cafes and restaurants were closed.

It is also the last day of being together at home so I want to take them out for a hot chocolate or something to celebrate and to mark the occasion.

You know how I said they were quietly working away, well that is no more after all of me showing everyone what to do and where the work was people are claiming they don’t know what to do and where the work is!

Geeez… another day spent supervising kids with their school work, I’m just grateful this is the last day of this struggle here.

How have you found the time at home with the kids? Did they enjoy learning from home or did they struggle?

My girls have said that they prefer school to learning from home, so it is going to be nice for them to go back to where they are better suited. I was a bit worried that they might prefer elements of working from home and it could be a hard transition back. However, with the twins saying they don’t really like remote learning I think the transition will be okay and nothing to be worried about.

Also, mummy and daddy are super keen for the house to be peaceful and for us to have our time again.

What are you looking forward to when school goes back full-time next week?

 

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