Week One of self isolation, I took our white board and outlined the lessons for the week and day, giving my three (and a half) year old the letter of the day, a theme for the day, the number of the day, and the item we'd be exploring on our outside adventures. Week Five of self isolation, and my main goal for the day is to not let her watch TV the entire day. Trying to work full time during the day while being the primary daytime caregiver for these munchkins is rough, but I can't imagine actually worrying about school work on top of all that. My daughter has had one Zoom meeting with her class, and I had anxiety for days about how I was going to fit that into my work meetings and her sister's naps.
The parents out there that have suddenly become teachers are my heroes, as are the teachers that are trying to keep their students engaged in this virtual environment while also being on display to parents. We're all just trying to figure this out, and I spin out at night worrying that my daughter will be set back in her phonics, but I'm not having to think about her losing math skills or not being able to take the SAT so she can get into college. It's the little things, you know?
So, while my expectations for educational engagement are basement level low right now, I have found a way that gets my kids away from screens. We've been going outside and drawing massive obstacle courses and doodles for our neighbors in the cul-de-sac. We have been paying particular attention to the other houses with children, drawing rainbows and dragons and heart explosions all over their front sidewalks.
On our outing yesterday, I decided this could actually be a teachable moment. My daughter parroted something about the solar system that she'd just heard on one of the many (many) PBS shows she'd just watched, and I had an idea. I dumped out the chalk and began drawing a massive solar system, explaining each planet to my daughter, who had a basic understanding of what Earth was but not much else. She joyfully hopped from planet to planet once I was done, exclaiming which one she was currently orbiting, and I felt like I had actually taught her something this week.
If you haven't taught your kids anything except how to get their own damn goldfish, you're doing great. If you have a meticulous lesson plan every day, you're also doing great. The best we can do right now is make them feel safe and happy and occasionally say yes when they ask you to draw a sleeping rainbow dragon that they have to sneak by every time you come home from a walk. Sssshhhhhhh.....