Ok, so back to the navel gazing and feel I can offer a little bit of ‘old hand’ wisdom today to all you starting day one of your infinitesimal time at home, but please feel free to scroll on by if it doesn’t float your boat.
- Day one is a little bit exciting. It’s all quite new, you’ve set up your ‘schooling area’ and volunteer network etc and are itching to ‘get on with it.’ PLEASE spend the first week adjusting. Your kids need time to adjust. In all honesty, it might have been better for all schools to have brought forward the Easter holidays and then started back two weeks sooner. When home educated kids are at home, their lives are VERY different to schooled out of home kids. The physical sit down at a desk time is short and their days are filled with other learning activities, cooking, gardening, practical crafting, going out to home ed groups etc. They often know no other routine, so can often entertain themselves for hours at a time. Your kids need a grieving period, a period known as ‘de-schooling’. They will be at a loss socially, structurally and setting them straight off on a 9 – 3 hour day will backfire. This week, adjust, then catch up. I promise you, unless you perhaps have much older secondary aged kids or kids whose schools are literally checking them in and out (what are they thinking this week!?) then they will find they have more than enough time to fit any work into half the time it takes at school if you filter out all the classroom changes, sports fixtures, hour long lunches, break times, the fact there are probably 27 or more other kids in the class who require attention from the teacher. When they’re ready, make sure they are INDEPENDENT. If they don’t understand something, they need to email the respective teacher, not expect YOU to do it, you may have to be working out or at home or caring for other children. This is a great time to encourage them to do some independent research on the internet to find some answers. This will set them up NO END for the future and the teachers (and your children) will thank you in the end.
- Take time away from Facebook or any other social media. This is not just for them, this is for you too. In the first couple of days all this was happening for us, I was in ‘excited’ apocalyptic, crisis phase. I was checking on the book of Face every few minutes as it was my lifeline to the outside world. However, as the week wore on, I realised that despite the ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality, there were still unpleasant posts that were dragging me down. Posts about how ‘salaried’ people should shut up and help out the self employed because they’re so lucky…no mention of the fact that many of us ‘salaried’ people will be without jobs if this goes on very long because redundancies have to be made. My heart is really with the self employed (I am also self employed) and we as a family are doing what we can, continuing to pay any fees or use any teachers we normally use for dance and music lessons for as long as we’re able, but if my or my husband’s job goes due to this, we will have to cut things out, but because I have a salaried job I will NOT be accused of being selfish because of life choices I made when I was 24!! If you are feeling really pissed off about how the government has shat on you and rightly so you should, take it out on someone like Richard Branson who has billions of $$ but has asked his staff to take 12 weeks unpaid leave. He earns enough money to pay them for those 12 weeks and the dent would be no more than you or I having £20 and losing 17p. Put your energies and time into lobbying the likes of him to use his wealth to help musicians, artists, actors, self employed etc keep their businesses or maintain the income they’ve lost. I swear that if the likes of Mr Branson and others who earn similar did that, life would feel much more balanced.
- Around day 3 or 4 I did start thinking about how much more beautiful the world will become without all the plastic shit and fumes and emissions and whilst, yes, I do feel that, perhaps right now, FB isn’t necessarily the place for people to be posting the sanctimonious ‘aren’t I clever I made my own oat milk posts. Perhaps you are that clever, but maybe sharing that oat milk with someone who has no milk right now would be better, even the video tutorials that get posted, aren’t much help to those who can’t get out or get hold of oats due to self isolation or vulnerability. People are dying and right now, helping others posts are about all I can stomach despite being a massive fuck off tree hugger! And if you’re still stockpiling and you don’t have a large family to feed or are giving it away to those who need, then you need a slap.
- If you have decided to suddenly have chickens (which let’s be honest according to chicken farmer friends of mine is the case – everywhere local is sold out) because you have ‘time’ and you need to ensure a supply of eggs, that’s great but PLEASE remember that when you go back to work that those poor birds will need continued care, feeding, cleaning out, egg collection and health checks. Remember a chicken is for life, not just for Corona!!
- Find a sanctuary SOMEWHERE…anywhere, even if it’s just a chair that you say to your kids, if I am sitting in this you DO NOT DISTURB me and have to be quiet for as long as I’m in the chair. If you have a garden go down the bottom, go in your shed, find a room you can shut the doors. Take time in there to breathe slowly. Seriously I have cried so many tears this morning due to the inordinate amount of washing my middle child had piled up in his room and feeling really pissed off with them all for just being in my normally highly organised space. I then felt really cross that I was not coping with this very well and thus taking it out on them…I am now shut away in a room thinking about what I did 😉 . Life is a completely new way of being right now, so I’m going to have to learn to let go of ‘tidy’ or ‘organised’ and work with ‘go with the flow’ but I’m not that good at it yet.
- Use a diary…no not a diary to record events, what the bloody use is one of those right now? Use a diary to journal how you feel and what you did. It starts off mundane, but actually, it’s therapeutic if you are feeling in a quandary.
- Open windows, even if it is raining. I’ve felt a whole heap better hearing the birds and knowing that there is fresh air flowing around my house.
- Most importantly FOLLOW THE ADVICE. DO NOT GO OUT and mix with others. Cross over the road if you see people, stay out of cafes, go to an isolated beach if you need to go to a beach but sitting on a goddamn pier with thousands of others is going to keep us inside even longer. You may not get it, but you will pass it on to someone who could end up really sick and with very elderly in laws, parents who are miles away from me and an immunosuppressed, asthmatic son, I swear to god I will stick pins in my little pile of arsehat cockwomble voodoo dolls that I’ve had plenty of time on my dry, sore and VERY washed hands, to make.
So, there we are. A few seasoned isolater tips you might find useful, funny or neither. Either way, STAY SAFE and STAY AWAY!