September 21, 2020 5 min read
This fall, kids headed back to school. For some that has meant learning at a distance while others returned to in-person instruction with strict protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Many of those fortunate to be working are holed up in their bedroom making calls or spending office hours outside with a laptop in hand.
As our battle with the coronavirus rages on, families continue to adjust to this unconventional way of living. As a parent, we’re teaching our children how to navigate adversity amid limited contact with family and friends. We may be struggling but we’re not giving up. We are showing the world we’re stronger than this moment in time.
Check out how the LooHoo staff (and followers!) are keeping perspective during these challenging times.
Cyndi Prince, LooHoo Proprietress
Our son, Graham, started 6th grade this week. He is excited to join his classmates at school, where they attend classes onsite. We are thrilled he will be around his friends and learning from amazing teachers in a safe environment, but like so many of you, we are anxious about how the next few weeks and months will go.
For the last six years I’ve worked from home running LooHoo and I’m grateful to have a flexible schedule. Last year, when school went remote, I was able to help Graham with assignments. We also added fun activities we did together throughout the day like cooking and baking, exercising and going for walks, as well as playing lots of card and board games. It was challenging to balance time for work and time for myself. Staying on a schedule really helped keep our days feeling normal.
One thing we’ve incorporated into our lives since May is a visit to the Rockland Farmer’s Market every Thursday. It’s been such a healthy activity for both of us and so fun to plan meals as we wander around outside and peruse the booths at Harbor Park. I think we’ve both been more appreciative of our growing season in Maine and feel great about supporting local farms.
We’ve missed visiting with family and taking trips but this time has also allowed us to go on excursions close to home, work on house projects and grow closer as a family.
Heather Wasklewicz, Social Media Maven
Our schools started this week and although it is too early to report on specifics, all signs are positive so far.
This year we will try to be more intentional about schedules. Last spring we were simply just "getting through" the best we could as we adjusted to everyone working/schooling in one small space. We've had more time to process what the first few weeks-to-months will look like so we have established specific workspaces to encourage structure.
We have accepted that the current plan could shift at any time so keeping that in mind helps keep us flexible and ready to regroup as needed.
Catherine Risling, Editorial Contributor
Social distancing has definitely brought our family together—physically and figuratively. My husband and I are grateful to be able to work from home, which means more board games at night, walks after dinner and all meals together. Emery, 9, has learned to sew and is halfway through mastering “It’s Quiet Uptown”—her Hamilton favorite—on the piano. Nolan, 12, baked homemade croissants for the first time and is growing his own garden of basil and tomato plants and building a sprawling city of Legos in our living room.
At the end of the last school year we set up Zoom calls after online instruction had ended. Third graders played “Guess Who’s on the Call” with the teacher’s aide and a former classmate while a handful of 5th grade friends troubleshooted assignments together. There were drive-by birthday celebrations, freshly baked cookies to neighbors and care packages filled with fruit from our yard.
My husband and I hosted virtual game nights with friends that ended with a couple of guitars and a whole lot of singing. We joined virtual wine tasting events and a beer-making seminar. We met with extended family on Zoom calls and invited a few surprise guests to join us.
The coronavirus will not define us; it will not rob us of a happy, healthy life. We can still live life with meaning and purpose.
Voices from our LooHoo Community
Jennifer Daicy Dupuis Via Facebook
Some of our cheats for chaotic times, or maintaining when things are good, include:
• 15-Minute Clean Up: Everyone chips in and picks what they want to do (see a need, fill a need), sometimes with suggestions. Someone does vacuuming, another puts away toys, someone else picks up the kitchen, and another wipes down the bathroom. Everyone is done after 15 minutes.
• Laundry Parties: When we get behind, we clean off the coffee table and bring in the laundry. Everyone folds while we watch a show or movie, then puts away the laundry afterward.
• Sticky Note Projects: These are the tasks no one wants to do but they need to be done and likely aren't covered in the 15-minute clean up. They're written on sticky notes and posted in a visible location. When we decide it's the day (when there's enough for two to three equal tasks per person) everyone picks a note from a category sorted by difficulty, or avoidance level, so everyone gets the same load. This helps keep our family sane and on track.
Jen Via LooHoo Website / blog comment
I’m relocating a large table under a window and creating a dedicated work space for my daughter’s online days. (Our district is doing a hybrid—two days in school/three days remote–to divide the classes for distance). After last spring I recognize that our kitchen table is not the right place to have her do school work and hope she will find it a restful spot to work in our little house. Also, I’ve tried to encourage her to take an activity break between “classes” and go for a walk or bike ride after the school day is over. However, all she wants to do is be online with friends.
I’ve struggled with the balance; developmentally (going into 8th grade) this is normal and she has always been very social. With the pandemic keeping us distanced from other families and without school in session it’s been really hard for her not to be with friends much. I think it’s unhealthy to be online for hours though, so we have a two-hour phone time limit and she can earn a bit more time if she does other activities.
However, many of her friends are online whenever they want to be, sometimes sending her messages after 10 or 11 p.m., when her phone is retired to the kitchen and she is in bed. The limit in our home feels appropriate, but she is constantly badgering me about the phone and how little she gets to be on it.
How are you getting through COVID-19? Share your thoughts below.
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