Week 1 of the Easter holidays; these are like no school holidays we have ever experienced before however our ‘new normal’ is strangely normal for us now and so this week has passed much like any other since lockdown began. Predictable routines are really important for my son and so to support him and recognising the ongoing nature of the current situation, we decided the best thing for us was to continue with our home schooling routine despite it being the school holidays (we are going to have a break over the long Easter weekend).
Our home schooling routine isn’t full of academic learning however; we start every day as a family with Joe Wicks’ PE lesson (all 3 of us are now hopping around the front room trying to keep up and avoid stepping on lego and each other)! I then move onto home working and my son reads or listens to an audiobook for half an hour. Three times a week, we have maths online with a group of my son’s friends via Zoom. Every session starts with a game and we have rediscovered many different games you can play with a pack of playing cards which support understanding of number, including my Dad’s favourite card game, Pontoon (without the gambling!) On maths-free days, my son and I engage in other home learning activities together.
Afternoons are reserved for life learning and always include our daily hour of exercise outside. Now my husband is at home, we share the life learning. This week we have ventured onto the roads with our bikes; we love family cycling but have always driven to off-road trails before now. The roads are now so quiet and my son is very sensible so we have taken the opportunity to teach him how to ride safely on the roads and there is now time for him to really practice those skills. Cycling out of our village, we’ve found different quiet country roads and have come up with new routes we can try as a family. It has been so peaceful and we have spotted hares and pheasants running over the fields and red kites flying in the sky. We have never really appreciated the beautiful countryside on our doorstep before now.
We’ve taken the time to teach my son how to make a cup of tea and we have prioritised cooking home meals from scratch and baking treats, all of which my son has helped with. Under my husband’s supervision my son has learnt how to mow the lawn himself and has been gardening with my husband daily. We have done many of these things with my son in the past but infrequently and often in a rush just because of the fast-pace of everyday life.
We are prioritising connecting with our friends and family regularly in different ways. My son’s best friend turned 9 this week; we celebrated with the maths Zoom group by having a fun maths session (just games) and then all of the children and families got together to sing happy birthday to the little boy and watch him open his cards and presents. He was thrilled and it felt really important to celebrate with him. My son commented that even without a big party or seeing people face to face, his best friend seemed really happy and like he had had a good day.
We are continuing with our daily gratitude practice; on Wednesday, my son’s 3 things he was grateful for were:
- A pay rise (pocket money – for being so great at doing so many home jobs)
- Celebrating my friend’s birthday
Whilst the current situation and the lockdown certainly isn’t what anyone would ever wish for; I recognise the opportunities it has presented us with as a family; time to slow down and spend more time together, time to focus on life learning with our son, time to take notice of the beauty around us and remembering and valuing what is really important; our family and friends. When life gets back to normal, I want to hold onto the things we’ve learnt during lockdown and make sure that we continue to focus on the things that are really important to us.