Well, here we go again. Schools in Toronto are closed for in person learning as of today. For Toronto, this is our third time having the kids home from school - first last year from mid-March to June (or September actually). Then we had January to mid-February. And now this "two week" break. We actually only have three more days left in this week and then we are off on "March Break" (moved from March). Allegedly the kids will go back after that week break, but I am not confident. The Covid cases are climbing again here in Toronto as the variants are winning the race against the vaccines in this third wave. Until a larger portion of the population can be vaccinated (including our educators) then I think we will be told to stay home for a bit longer.
Here at our house we will be looking for small wins, for us that includes:
- No crying (parents or kids, hah!)
- Being able to take phone calls without having to mute and tell the kids to be quiet.
- Outdoor time
- For E, logging into all school sessions and getting work completed before the end of the day
- For Q, logging into school at 9:00 and 12:40 for attendance (and sticking it out for at least an hour after that)
- No arguments to turn off the TV or iPad when it's time to get back to class.
- Snacks at regular scheduled intervals (rather than eating all day)
We'll take any and all combinations of these things! It helps to know that we are not alone in our struggles and that many people are facing the same challenges. I also recognize that we are extremely privileged and our "struggles" are certainly first world problems.
Something I have found to be helpful is to communicate to my co-workers that it is challenging to get work done during the day as if I was just sitting at my desk all day without distractions. No one wants to hear that I can't get my work done, and I do get it done, whether it's before or after "regular" work hours, but just to let them know I have different things on my plate while the kids are at home. I will need to start getting up early again to work before the kids start school, and then put in some time after supper, but it's manageable.
Something that works for us is to print out the schedule for E's class so he can consult it without having to flip back and forth between screens, and then I can remind him of what is coming up next. I also make a written list of things he can do instead of video games when he's bored. If he's got the list to consult, then he can try to figure it out himself.
For Q, in Junior Kindergarten, he has a hard time staying engaged in the class. The teacher sends out the themes/topics for the day ahead of time and so I will collect things from around the house that match the theme (space, dinosaurs, food, etc.) and then Q can play with those things and they are somewhat on theme even if he isn't really doing what everyone else is doing.
Parents, we can do this! Stay strong!