As the world faces unknown challenges during the pandemic and lockdowns we are faced with a choice. Do we complain about the uncertainty or do we embrace the adventure of being pulled from our safe daily routines?
As a full time employee, business owner and wife/mom of three I’ve never shied from an adventure so I decided on the later during lockdown. Step one: analyze the family situation and provide added support where necessary. How are the kids coping with online schooling. While my 18 year old in University and my 15 year old gracefully navigated the learning curve to finish their first semesters with mostly amazing grades my 10 year old was not fairing so well. I have often thought that sitting in a classroom for as long as students do is some unfair expectation, online proves even harder for some. While working from my computer with my 10 year old online in the background I spent half my day trying to get him to not play with the cat or dog while trying to attend to my own work. I could hear the frustration in all the teacher’s voices as they tried to get Isaiah to turn on his camera, or Kyle to put down his switch. Step 2: Adapt. It was not working for any of us so I made the decision to homeschool and pull him from the online environment.
While I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be a homeschooling mom I quickly learned to love it. With math being truly progressive learning it remained structured but the rest…woah the fun we could have. We build things, we do experiments based on chemical reactions, we read books on things he wants to read about, and explore things he’s most interested in. We are cultivating his curiosity and love of learning, which is understandably a lofty task when one teacher has thirty children in a classroom. Before total lockdown, but with reduced entry, he picked his field trip location to the Royal Alberta Museum where he read about life in the trading posts and Indigenous ways of life. When we returned home I asked him to write an essay about his favourite thing he saw there. He was amazed at the dinosaurs that roamed his province thousands of years ago and wrote about the shape of their teeth shape and how he knew whether they were Plant or Meat Eaters. BAM! Reading, writing, palaeontology and social all in one fun outing that he wanted to learn about.
When Hockey was Indefinitely paused the kids took out board games to play together. Chess is a daily activity in my house now, as is Scrabble and Pie in the Face to ensure not too much thought is happening.
Without play dates, parties, shopping trips and extra curricular my teen daughter and I have marathon watched Marvel together, baked cookies and both taken time to become reacquainted with our love of reading. We volunteer when we are able to local charities to help raise funds for Christmas toys and meals. She wants to spend time with me so that is an all around win.
My 18 year old is a quiet studious guy so he’s been training for this his entire life. Although I think that at times he even gets tired with the study and will ask for just a drive with mom. We listen to music and talk about books. Things are just mellow with him as they have always been, as he was made for this life. We have begun painting together, which has always been a favourite pastime of mine which I haven’t done in a long time.
Step 3: what to do with my extra time? Without all the extra running around I have time to spare, a welcome change from the break neck speed I usually operate at. Based on my experience running a Supervised Access Company I’ve increased my blog writings on divorce and completed two books with a third in the works. While my work has not slowed for me I appreciate the increased difficulties families are facing in a recession and a pandemic. Those who were already in the process of divorce have increased stressors, and the stressors alone are breaking down intact families. Families are suffering and it is a responsibility for those of us who can help to help. I’ve received calls from the Saskatchewan (our neighbouring province) to help children see their parents. It is a time for communities to come together. I have seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity during this trying time.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. ~Maya Angelou
Many people thrive on predictability and are feeling a little lost. There is not a better feeling in the world than helping another person. For those people feeling bored, reach out to a local charity and see what you can do remotely to add something to another persons life. The choice to be bored or not, as with many mindsets, is changed only by our attitude towards it.