These Quarantine Days
You know, I never thought I would be quarantined at home with my children for two months and counting, it never factored into my plans. As our world slowly starts to open up, I wonder if I had known, would I have done anything differently?
Hindsight is always 20/20 and when I think of how we could have been better prepared for quarantine, I think of things around the home. Maybe I would have stocked up on biodegradable paper plates and maybe I would have had more ready to eat freezer meals stashed away. When it comes to the things that my children need, our home is pretty well stocked. I have things to climb and something to slide down, I have things to jump off of and a six-foot-long hopscotch rug. We have enough art supplies to outfit a preschool and my kids have unlimited access to the supplies. Their favourite toys are plentiful and our bookshelves are full.
These pandemic days though, aren’t our normal.
We have playdates and homeschool meetups, we have days spent at the museum and afternoons at the park, my kids are used to going with me grocery shopping and to the post office and they have been missing the activities and classes we participate in our community. We’ve been missing our community a lot during this time.
A huge part of living life without school is being out, away from home. My home, I’ve noticed, is kept organized and cleaner when we are in our normal rhythm and flow.
Maybe I would have bought more organizational systems; like shelves and bins.
Our usual rhythm provides us with stimulation of new ideas, new thoughts to ponder, new experiences, new learning opportunities and it is the novelty that is missing that has been challenging to fill during this time.
I bought and ordered more lego and no, I don’t have any clever storage solutions for the lego but I am of the mind that there is never too much lego. Our favourite quarantine purchase has been the stomp rocket, I ordered on a whim one night. It has been used and loved so much, we’ve already ordered replacement rockets for it.
Casting about for resources during this time, we landed on some great ones and learned a lot by introducing new things to our home. These are a few of the resources we found during this time that are keepers.
1. Chicken Squad Series by Doreen Cronin
Some of our favourite chapter books to read are Alice In Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Howls Moving Castle and have been read and re-read and I know we will read them some more but we have been missing our library visits where we randomly pick-up a chapter book to try out at home. In the spirit of randomness, I picked up the first book in the Chicken Squad series. Okay, it wasn’t that random, I try to look for books that don’t feature school in the setting and these books fit the brief. They are detective stories featuring chickens and an old-timer dog, they are fun to read on repeat, every night.
2. Just Joking: Jumbo 1,000 Giant Jokes & 1,000 Funny Photos by National Geographic Kids
In that same spirit of randomness, or books I wouldn’t order during non-pandemic times, I picked this joke book up. My five-year-old discovered knock-knock jokes earlier this year, so this book is a big hit and one we flip through daily. It surprised me how many jumping-off points there are from the funnies in this book and how much we have learned, this is the first joke book of many, I am sure.
3. TED ED
This is a resource I had heard about, bookmarked and put in the “someday” pile. One day, we were looking at water and trees and wondered, “How tall can a tree grow?” and that search term brought up the TED ED video with the same title. The videos are short, come with lesson plans and with catchy titles like, “The Bug That Poops Candy”, TED ED is a resource we discovered during quarantine and one we will keep coming back to explore.
I had to mention Mo Willems and lunch doodles because they are amazing. Mo Willems brought a kind of calm to our days and gave my kids something to look forward to each day, at the beginning of this quarantine period. I have one child who loves art and paints and draws each day. My other child sometimes does art, for a few seconds, here and there. The effect of Mo Willems, engaged both my children into art and stirred up my sometimes art child and as a result, my sometimes art child has been arting a lot more. Online classes were something I also had in that “someday” pile and this experience nudged me into exploring other video and art tutorials and while we can’t have Mo Wilems every day after quarantine but we can have online classes.
5. Online Piano Lessons with Great Courses through Kanopy.com
We have a slightly out of tune piano in our home and it goes through cycles of being played on. I saw on my feed that there was a lot of recommendation and talk about a popular company that gives online piano lessons, I went to check it out, with the idea being, maybe I would pick up some pointers. That sent me looking for a free version and I came across the piano lessons through Great Courses, which we can access online through Kanopy, which we get for free, through our library. I love Kanopy for streaming kids shows we can’t find anywhere else and it keeps becoming more useful and I explore the breadth of content it has to offer.
Sue Patterson is an unschooling/homeschooling coach who offers a ton of resources for unschooling families and those curious about homeschooling. I had been a member of the mom2mom unschooling FB group for a while but during quarantine it’s fair to say, I found myself spending more time on my screens than usual and I realized I wanted to cull the Facebook groups. I was looking for an unschooling group that doesn’t debate topics like screen time, bedtime, eating, etc. I can read about those debates in other groups or from other sources. I wanted a resource where other families were mirroring what we are doing in our home, so I decided to sign up for the UM2M Support Facebook group and it is my second favourite purchase of quarantine. I love that the group keeps to a focused unschooling philosophy and we adore the monthly strewing calendar.
During this quarantine period, I have used technology with my kids in an applied, focused way in a more participatory way that is more immersive. It is exciting to find new resources and use new tools in our home and quarantine has given us the necessity of trying out resources we might have kept on the back burner but now are here to stay.
Have you and your family come across any resource in quarantine that is a keeper? I would love to hear about it! Comment or get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org