As I am unable to research any topics at the moment, I’ve decided to stay in touch with a blog entry. I am sure that many of you are in the same position given the current state of the world. Normal day to day activities have had to take a back seat while we all try to adapt and do our best with the social distancing and lock down protocols that have been put into place. This is my attempt to empathize, encourage and hopefully lift some spirits while asking for your input and stories about how you all are coping during these “most interesting of times”. Please take all of this with the light heartiness with which it is intended and don’t think for a moment that I am not taking this pandemic seriously. I am just trying to laugh a little and hopefully make you laugh too.
The reason I have not been able to research or post any articles is because I am back in the wonderful world of home school. Now I know there are many of you struggling with the joy of this yourselves. Kind of brings a whole new depth of appreciation to those noble individuals that we trust throughout the year with the education of our little cherubs, doesn’t it? I myself, home schooled my younger two when we lived overseas. I didn’t particularly like it then and I don’t seem to have gotten any better at it now. Even though I come from a long line of educators in my family, I know my limitations. Patience has never been a strong suit of mine and, bless them, teachers need an abundance of it!
We had the joy of receiving the grandchildren for a week during their spring break. This is always fun for us and we really do have a blast when they get to come and visit. Then the Covid-19 became a daily word. Schools closed and towns and cities went on lock down. Personally, I think this was a devious plan, devised by those without small children, to enjoy an extended spring break for themselves! Our son and dughter-in-law both have essential jobs. The facility that they would normally use for child care had to close, due to the virus. Common sense dictated that the children stay with Grandma and Grandpa, where they would be safe and isolated but have over 6 acres to run around and play. Right! That would be common sense… until it was time for school. I may end up being reported to the ethics committee for drinking on the job (joking, really – I wait till they’re in bed!).
I have the dubious blessing and a curse of having extremely intelligent children. They get it from their father. They must, because my mind simply does not function the same as our youngest son. I learned this when he was about 12 and we started homeschooling. I swear the child could do math problems faster than a calculator but try to get him to construct a sentence or read a passage of literature and I was left tearing my hair out! Our daughter was a little more on my level, or so I thought… she taught me a few things, that even as a “creative youngster”, I would never have dared of coming up with myself, but then I was sorely afraid of my mother’s wrath. I failed to instill this in my children. Shame on me. The eldest son was never home schooled. No – that would have been far too easy. He was the one that actually loved school.
Here we are 20 years later and we have the grandchildren. Fortunately for me, I get to deal with Kindergarten and third grade. At least that’s what I thought, but guess what? Math has completely changed in the last 20 years! Just as writing and punctuation and spelling apparently. At least this is what my grand daughter would have me believe. When I asked her to retype an incorrect sentence today I was told, in no uncertain terms, “Grandma, I can’t help what the internet does!” Silly me. What do I know?
This is a unique and exceptional species. A special breed of individual that actually “chooses” to make a living by cramming information and ideas into the minds of children that would much rather stare blankly at YouTube videos. How they have the creativity, patience and ability to actually achieve results is beyond me. I seem to spend my efforts banging my head against the wall and convincing my grand children that I have either been inhabited by a demon or that I’m just a drooling idiot mumbling in the corner. I have always had the greatest respect for educators and their skills. Now that has increased ten fold.
I had some incredible teachers when I was at school. The few that were capable of peeking my interest and causing me to fall in love with History, Literature, Science and the never ending puzzles of Mathematics. I have even more respect for them now. How do you do it teachers? How do you make children want to learn?
Thank goodness for all the scientist, engineers and programmers that developed the “internet”. Without this fantastic invention, I fear that my grand children would resent me forever. The wonderful learning programs and games that people come up with are superb. I certainly don’t remember learning Spanish or completing fractions when I was in Kindergarten but our grandson sails through these lessons. I was worried about the common core math, that I’ve grown to hate, but our grand daughter has no problem with math and therefore requires no help. Again, the math gene must have been passed down from my husband. Our kids always did well in math and both grand children do well too. As much as I loved the subject, I was never very good at it. It was pretty cool to see our grandson’s face the other day when he realized that slices of a pizza were fractions of the whole pie. Watching that little light bulb start to glow was magic!
I don’t care for the P.E. lessons though. Dancing around a piece of paper on the floor and performing jumping jacks and push-ups is not my idea of fun. We have come up with other ways to keep the little rascals exercised. Currently their favorite game is convincing Grandpa to take them for a tractor ride if they promise to pick up tree trimmings and dead fall around the property. They are climbing in and out of the trailer, dozens of times, working together picking up large branches and having the occasional sword fight with the smaller ones. It’s a win win situation folks! Grandma and Grandpa get away with doing the tedious yard work and the cookie crunchers are having a ball. I just haven’t figured out how to record it so that they get credit for P.E. I was invited to join them today for a trailer ride by our grandson, but not until he explained “the rules” to me. “You can only ride in the trailer if you fill it Grandma”, he said. I guess I had my orders then…
Keep Calm and Carry On
Admittedly we are living through an historic event right now and my heart goes out to all that are not as blessed as we have been. Not only do we have a nice rural area to distance ourselves, we also have the bonus of an extra long visit with the grand children. I do hope that all of you are staying safe and finding interesting ways to deal with the isolation and stress of quarantine. I would love to hear the disasters and the successes of your quarantine adventures so please feel free to add to the comments. Although it is an awful time for some, I do hope that we can find a silver lining in all of this and manage to come out of it stronger and maybe with a new-found patience. All the best people. Stay safe.
- -Dolly –