On April 1st, the governor of the state of Georgia announced that he would be signing an order for a statewide shelter-in-place, effective Friday, April 3rd due to the coronovirus outbreak. He also announced that schools would remain closed and digital learning would proceed for the duration of the academic year.
This news came as no shock, given the progression of the virus and increase in the number of deaths in the United States including in Georgia. However, the sheer idea of having kids at home for nearly 5 months (mid March till August) has left many like myself unprepared and completely helpless.
In all honesty, I barely made it through the last 3 weeks helping my second grader with a full day of digital learning and balancing it with a full day of meetings and work which all made for a doubly long day. How do I ensure my children, one toddler and the other a second grader, get enough academic stimulation, get physical exercise, and are engaged through out the day?
I had to quickly look at the tools at my disposal and my options. I couldn’t rely on family due to social distancing or my spouse who provided an essential service during the lockout and had to work outside the home.
1. Created a schedule for my toddler and second grader to have a more planned day. I feel that a routine would provide a certain sense of normalcy. Made sure we took some time daily to step outside in the sun for a walk or run.
2. I installed apps on their devices for academic purposes – ABC Mouse for my toddler, PBS so she can watch Daniel Tigers Neighborhood and Sesame Street. I installed art apps to allow my second grader to create her masterpieces, the library app to download kids e-books for her to read. Other apps from her school such as ITSLearning, Go Pebble Go, Pearson Math, Dreambox etc.
3. Worked with the music teacher to ensure she could still provide the weekly piano lesson over Google hangout
4. Worked with other moms to hold virtual Girl Scout meetings where they prepared their assignment of the meeting in advance and discussed with the other girls in their troop. Due to social distancing since play-dates were out of the question, we decided that google hangout meetings with friends couple of times a week would ensure a certain level of social engagement.
5. Utilized FaceTime to spend quality time with both sets of grandparents so they still felt connected even though they couldn’t visit
All of these have helped provide a semblance of normalcy, balance to an otherwise chaotic day as the 3 of us have begun to cope indoors together at home for days on end.