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Camp Corona and Consequences

Camp Corona and Consequences

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - April 3rd, 2020

Today Joanne is sharing her Surviving Sudden Homeschool life, two weeks in. Joanne and Karen are hosting 2Moms@Home on Monday nights. Be sure and sign up for this NEW live event. Then stop in with your favorite drink and meet us there in-person for a little adult conversation!

I don’t want to brag, but I am completely dressed today.

I mean, like, top to bottom, brushed hair, matching socks, and everything. I know. I’m impressed too. I looked at my kids yesterday, as they were dressed and ready for the day of doing homeschool and Zoom meetings while I was still in my “comfy clothes” a.k.a. pajama pants and a sweatshirt, and was like, “OK. This may be a problem.” The actual moment of clarity was when I found myself crawling below the camera view of my daughter’s music class. I finally said enough is enough. If letting thirty 2nd graders see how you are dressed in your own home embarraasses you, it is time to either own your chaos or change it. So today, I pulled out the jeans that I haven’t thought about in 3 weeks and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to suffer through a lie-on-the-bed-and-squeeze to-get-them-done-up session! I am going to enjoy wearing them today, because now that we’re being asked to stay in the house until at least April 30th, I am not confident that they’ll still be fitting May 1st. And that’s ok. I am more than happy to let that one go, if that’s the case. I’m actually more concerned about our ability to still be laughing than I am about my waistline. The reality of the pandemic has hit very close to home this week and made the importance of being in quarantine vital for survival. Our health and the health of our neighbors depends on us doing what we can to flatten the curve. So inside we stay. Dressed to impress.

It was recently announced that our Spring Break has been cancelled.

I am not OK with this.  When I told the kids about the state’s decision, my son cried and my daughter stormed out of the room. I get it. I’m here with you. Literally. All. Day. Long. What the state doesn’t know is that I was using that week off from online learning as bribery, so they would really focus and work hard for the few weeks leading up to the break. Spring Break was being held out as the ultimate reward for navigating their new reality of remote learning. Truth be told, I was also looking forward to the break from teaching myself! It hasn’t been exactly an easy adjustment for us. We all miss our very active, social, and diverse schedules. We miss our friends and family, we miss our playgrounds, dance classes, and museums. We miss the theatre, concerts, little league, tennis and, of course, we miss school. I can’t help but recall every dinner, birthday party, and hangout I turned down over the past year. Being “too tired” or “too busy”  was almost always my excuse. But being isolated from everyone we know has taught me that being with those I love is the easiest way to let them know that I care and value them. Now that they have cancelled Spring Break they have also cancelled our “free time”. We’re all so busy with our online lives of “staying engaged” with school and being sure that we “honor the curriculum” that we don’t have time to connect with our families and friends on a regular basis. Spring Break plans of FaceTime board game challenges with Grandparents and dance offs with cousins will now be replaced with more social studies videos and math problems. Sure. Let the good times roll. 

Our Camp Corona isn’t without its fun and leisure time.

We had a full week of hijinx that included planting more acorn squash than I’ll have room for once the vines start spreading in my little backyard garden. We ran around the house in a rush of excitement as we helped our daughter build her assigned art project of a “color wheel of found items”: “I found a blue cup!” “My pokemon is yellow!” “Does anyone have anything purple?” We finally cleaned the windows  (for anyone following, it was in fact peanut butter)! While I attempted to organize our bathroom closet, my daughter decided I needed a makeover, and my son worked for HOURS building his short domino/ball sequence. The highlight of the week was my daughter’s teacher’s prank on April Fools. Even through the online interface, she managed to play her traditional joke on her beloved students. I can’t speak for the entire class, but I loved watching the entire thing unfold like a beautiful, frustrated butterfly. I’m looking forward to more impromptu musical numbers and beauty salons as we fill in our days between now and our release from quarantine. Just hide the scissors. Bangs do not become me. 

My inbox is overflowing with advice and activities for us to do while we’re cooped up in the apartment.

I keep reading how important routines are and how structures with a healthy dose of flexibility help us all to remain grounded during these uncertain times. I think I was ¾ onboard the first two weeks of this adventure. We were up, beds were made, teeth were brushed, we checked in with school, and then spent the majority of the day working on the copious amounts of work the school was dumping on us.Yes, I was wearing comfy clothes but at least I was out of my bathrobe. The kids’ lives were filling up quickly with school obligations and requirements. This week, we actually had to make new schedules for them. Our new schedule is literally a list of Zoom times and rooms for virtually every subject they have. When there is more than one child meeting at a time, we’re scrambling to find a device that will enable us to host the other child’s meeting.

Something had to crack and today it was our internet. While we waited for someone to come and determine what had happened, we found ourselves gathered at the kitchen table talking and laughing again. We discussed the books everyone is reading and what we were hoping to do if they couldn’t fix the internet. Banana bread and chocolate chip cookie-baking were top of the lists, with a few hours of playing in the yard and maybe a game of Parcheesi. The sudden freedom from the heavy chains of the world wide web was liberating, and reminded me that being disconnected from technology and connected to each other is more important to me than insisting that my kids are involved in every Zoom class they are invited to. The dream was sadly short-lived, with our internet connection restored by an essential worker under pressure to keep the community connected. I am grateful for their assistance but wouldn’t have been disappointed if it had taken a few more hours to complete the task. Immediately the pressure to be “in P.E. class” or to complete the math assignment was back, devices were once again turned on with headphones connected, and my kids were back to their long list of responsibilities. The only thing that stopped me from turning the router off myself was that both kids are on track for “free time Friday” if they manage to get those last few assignments in today. Carry on my little ones, carry on. Tomorrow we shall play.

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