Our New Normal

We are now 12 weeks into home schooling and living life a little differently and this is the first time I’ve wanted to write about it. To be honest, everything moved so fast back in March and we were all thrust into situations I’m sure we never dreamt of!

At first, if I’m being honest, I was thinking selfishly about the situation and didn’t really know what was in store for us all. Simply thinking about my own family, in a snapshot as it was all unfolding, I was absolutely gutted for my son who’s first school birthday party was ruined. It was due to be on the Saturday after schools closed and he was so upset and just didn’t understand why he was no longer allowed a party. Thankfully a couple of his school friends came to the recreation grounds for an hour to socially distance while playing a few party games for him. As they had all been together at school just the day before, we decided it would be ok to so this outside in the fresh air.

Once I had snapped out of this self-centred mode, and I began to take in what was actually happening, we began to make new routines and fumble our way through new ‘Mummy School’ and general living.

Home schooling

Home schooling started off well. The children were excited to be taught by me. I am a secondary school teacher usually so they thought it was brilliant to be at ‘Mummy School’. I’m sure however that after a week, this enthusiasm quickly waned and the children were less than thrilled to have me constantly on their backs! For me, trying to shift my mindset and expectations from teaching teens to reception and year 3 was harder than I thought. Of course, trying to teach two separate year groups simultaneously was tricky in itself but I put a lot of pressure on myself and the children too.

Finally, by the we had clawed our way to the Easter Holidays, we were thoroughly burnt out. I had intended to do a little work throughout but we all needed to just have a break and get used to being with each other 24 hours a day.

The following weeks were more productive with family walks and games which were great interlaces with school work. We enjoyed having my husband at home more, even though he was working daily and busier than ever. Just having him home was great. Even though I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the home-schooling side of things, I am, in a way, pleased I had the opportunity to do it. It has allowed me to see where my children are struggling and put in place steps to help them more. Although technically I could have done this before, we never seemed to have the time. After school was out we had club after club and homework, play dates and time just seemed to whizz past us all. Now, with time slowing down and not being in a constant state of rushing, I have the time to appreciate what the children are doing and can analyse it a little. Finding these gaps in learning will hopefully mean I can help them catch up with where they should be or at least feel more confident in their ability to attempt it.

Falling in love with the outdoors again

Hasn’t it been glorious the past few weeks! The weather has certainly been one of the major positives during this period of uncertainly. Without the good weather and being able to use the garden, I feel our tempers would have frayed a lot quicker. We’ve all been enjoying the garden more and I love that we have actually been out exploring out local countryside more over the past 12 weeks. We’ve visited places we hadn’t realised existed in the 7 years we have lived here.

Slowing down and enjoying nature has been something I will continue to do even after lockdown ends. Meeting people and going on walks is hugely calming and I’ve found it’s my happy place. I love being outdoors, I always have (I guess I just learned to only love it when the weather was good!) and gentle exercise also helps improve all of our moods. But being outside, even when it’s cold or drizzly make us happy.

I have enjoyed being able to meet up with family and friends again in small groups. The children had the neighbour’s children over in the garden for the first time yesterday afternoon and the excitement that they displayed was heart-warming. It is so clear how much they have missed interacting with their friends and peers. I know they are desperate to be able to get back to real school soon.

So we’re adjusting to our new normal and while there are things we still desperately miss, slowing things down a little and spending more time with my family has been a real positive to take away from all of this.

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