Mental Well-being During Isolation

Your mental well-being is going to be put to the test and something you need to check on often. I suffer from depression as well as anxiety. I know that I am struggling more right now. However it’s not just me that’s taking this isolation thing hard. My 6 year-old daughter isn’t dealing with this at all.

My daughter loves to talk, she’s a social butterfly and knows every child in her whole primary school. When we leave school she says hello and goodbye to every single child, no matter which class they are in. She barely takes a moment to breathe, as she talks so much and fast. We would laugh at how much she talks when back in nursery they were giving her extra help as she was behind on her speaking.

Now she’s talking a lot less. Her laughter is almost completely missing. Instead it’s replaced with tears and anger. She’s getting up later and later, which I recently found out it’s because she isn’t going to sleep until midnight. Now I sit by her bed, just to comfort her as she drifts off. But even then, it’s a slow process. It tires me out as much as it’s affecting her.

I stopped doing educational things with her. Her mental health is far more important to me. And I felt I needed to contact her teacher. To which I got a phone call from school and they agreed. Not to worry about her education, just focus on her. I held back tears on the phone. Because I was so glad they said exactly the same as I was doing. I knew we could work together and help her.

Since then she has had  voice call with her best friend. And my goodness! She was back to her non-stop chatting self. She was smiling, talking, laughing, it was amazing. And after the phone call she did something she hadn’t done in ages.

She asked me if she could do some crafting.

Everything had been forced or came with lot of tears and moaning to the point I knew it wasn’t going to be any good for her. This was the first time since Day 3 she actually wanted to do anything at all. I had just gotten a Disney Frozen magazine which just so happened to have a  “make your own tiara” craft set.

I sat with her. Watched her create her own tiara. We talked to each other. Had tea together. Yes my daughter loves tea. She’s just like me after all. I just couldn’t stop smiling. Here was my girl again.

I knew this was not the cure. Because that’s not how it works. Let’s face it, if I could cure my mental illness by going to one therapy session I’d have done that by now. She’s not out of the woods, but she’s getting there.

Last night I had to sit by her bed again. I was there until midnight. No amount of reasoning or reading books to her was helping. I just wanted to help her. But I wonder… am I hindering her by doing this at bed time?

Also as I have been writing this, she just asked to log on to her email account with school. She then did not one… but TWO Maths games on there. No pestering was needed. She asked without my intervention and did it with me by her side.

Schedules – Not in My Home Ed Life

Schedules don’t exist in my home. We have rough ideas on what we’ll be doing  in the week, we go with the flow. I’m seeing a lot of families who’ve suddenly become Home Educators writing up these intense timetables, then complain how tired they are.

The answer is… bin the schedules!

Children can be hard to keep interested in something. My son hates everything, except maths. But we did some History and Science last week. Without a schedule!

First thing I recommend is, secret learning. Every day you learn new things, right? Children also learn constantly without realising it. When we did our walk, I had an idea of how to sneak in History in to the walk. We happened to walk through our local church, the children asked questions about it and wanted to know more.

alex-thebeck

See what happened there? They actually wanted to know some history. No amount of colour-coded timetables or printed papers would have made my children feel the desire to learn anything history related. Yet they found a small spark in them. Yes, I totally did a happy dance afterwards. Yes Alexa probably thinks I’m crazy. I don’t care because my kids actually wanted and enjoyed some learning!

91504511_570958727111717_590294614330572800_nWe have loads of Lego too. Most children love those tiny builds of doom. But have you ever thought that maybe those plastic mini bricks could be used for learning? They could build a castle, volcano, robot, whatever they want! Then when they proudly show their creative skills to you, ask them why they chose to use this in their design. What can their robot do? Who would live in their castle?

 

All this is part of learning. Document as much as you  can with photographs too, you’ll want to look back at these moments in the future. You’ll be proud of their growing minds and realise you’re one heck of a parent too. And remember that this is a huge change for our children to take in. Let them have fun, let them play with a sticker book or make a den out of blankets. You’ve got this.

91429205_533273420699353_2454774122643718144_n

Stay Safe.

The Isolation Continues

Trying to find time to write my blog posts is harder then I expected! I may have to do this as a weekly thing, then stuff in between will be random bits. Anyway here’s how our Isolation Days 4 and 5 were like.

Day Four
90513952_10157698568321117_8044245339047198720_oIt was a slow start to the day, the children haven’t been getting up early which is fine in my eyes. I forgot to put the bin out, so I was wide awake at 7am as the bin men decided to collect bins on my road an hour early! Thankfully they emptied our bin and I got to enjoy a cup of tea for an hour in peace. The kids came downstairs for breakfast which was waffles with either marmalade or Nutella. My daughter has been reading Paddington Bear, so suddenly she loves marmalade!

Then it was time for some Maths work. Both did very well and only needed a little bit of my help. They then did a bit of English work as well as some Science. Once again we missed Joe Wick! However Just Dance saved the day and we got our groove on, myself included! My son wants to master his favourite song in Extreme mode. I wish him all the best, because even I find Extreme songs bloody hard!

Afterwards we chilled out as a family, had dinner and watched Gravity Falls. I decided to get Disney+ to keep us all sane. I’m a Disney nut and I’ve been slowly turning my kitchen in to a Disney Kitchen. Maybe I’ll get to work on that and show it on my blog? We’ll see!

Day Five
Another late morning for us, me included. We are just not feeling any reason to leave the bed, but after the third alarm from my phone, I got my butt out of bed. However, it was Universal Credit Pay Day! I’ll probably do a write-up on Universal Credit, as many people are now joining the new system. Put it simple… I wouldn’t wish my own worst enemy to have to deal with Universal Credit.

90791563_10157702242116117_5442805071156871168_nI had some washing to hang outside. The children helped, one sorted through the wet clothes and the other handed me pegs. Nothing too exciting, but they now understand clothes don’t magically appear in their wardrobe all fresh by themselves.

Microsoft have made all their Minecraft educational maps FREE until 31st June. This is all types of platforms, not just PC and Xbox, so check them out! We recommend the International Space Station.

Both children were feeling pretty glum, neither of them wanted to do any work of any kind. I tried to push it, but as the saying goes “you can lead to horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. So I said after lunch we can go on a walk to get some exercise. I had an idea in mind.

Our town has a lot of history. Our church dates back to the 900s AD. We also have an old Beck where there’s a sign from the council, telling people what this was originally. We enjoyed seeing the ducks and my children read the information about the Beck. My secret plan was working. Then we took off to the old church. They spotted how one half of church was different to the rest, so we took photos and asked local people for information via Facebook. They will be putting all their findings together in their home journals.

90756145_10157702242506117_9194782969301041152_n

See what I did there? They actually learnt stuff! The thing about Home Education is you can easily learn from doing day-to-day things.  I know this isolating is hard on us all. My daughter is a social butterfly and in the night woke up saying she misses her friends and her teachers. We’re lucky to have online system where teachers and class mates can speak to one another, so she emailed her teacher and this calmed her down. You don’t need a timetable, you don’t need to follow the government’s curriculum, you certainly don’t have to worry about OFSTED! Enjoy every moment, take photographs and one day they can look back on all this and thank you for all your hard work.

Stay Safe!

Home Educating – Mother’s Day and Day 3

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, I was a bit emotional as I couldn’t give my mum a cuddle or go over for our usual Sunday cup of tea and cake. However, the children still did some learning and this included writing a letter to the grandparents. So here’s how our home educating went for day 2 and day 3.

geography

My daughter (6 years old) was given some work from school that included locating cities in England on a map. We have a map on the kitchen wall, so she was able to use that to label places correctly. We then opened Google Maps and searched some places we were unsure about. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know where exactly Bristol was. I had a rough idea, but the map she was given had three labels all close to one another, either one of those could have been Bristol in my eyes! So if you ever think “oh god, I can’t teach my kids! I’m too stupid” let this be a lesson to you. We all have our pitfalls, but that’s fine! We have technology on our side to help us out. I guess that means my daughter did a bit of ICT too. After a break she did some addition and subtraction facts.

My son (he’ll be 10 years old soon!) had school work to research someone called Carl Linnaeus. I had no idea who this was, however my son said “I read about him in Stories of Boys Who Dare to be Different!” So I told him to grab this book and use that to help him with this research. I also got to learn too, Carl Linnaeus was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He then went on to do some arithmetic questions, he loves Maths so he got that done very quickly.

The rest of the day was pretty chilled out. I don’t think we’ll do much on Sundays in the future, I only really did this to try and keep my mind and theirs going. Right now my daughter is finding all this very hard to deal with. She’s a social butterfly, she knows every child in her school no matter what year group they are in. Suddenly she’s lost contact with all of them. Thankfully my children’s school uses dbPrimary. They both have an account and able to safely email their class mates, but also there’s loads of fun educational games for them to do.

Today is the first day where our key workers’ children go to school. It’s also the first day where many children won’t be in school. It’s going to feel very weird for everybody. I’m a school governor, we are due a meeting tomorrow, however because I’m in isolation I cannot come to this meeting. I love our school and each of those bright-eyed children, but I need to do this for everybody’s safety.

We started the morning by emptying the dishwasher together. I’m making sure my children learn basic skills in life. The reason is I always felt these are missing in our educational system, but also if I were to fall in I want to be sure my children don’t need to rely fully on me, that they can do some stuff with little to no help from me.

The children were bored, so I thought of something. I asked them to work as a team and make a house with Lego. This house required one doorway and two windows. They had one hour to do this task. They almost finished, but time ran out just as they almost completed the roof. Still they included a fenced off garden, I was proud! The teamwork was tough, as both argued for a while. need some improvement on that!dbprimary-mathsAt 11am Twinkl was hosting a live Maths lesson for Year 5 children. Perfect, my son is in this age range and he adores Maths! This lesson included measurements, learning about Metric and Imperial and then children had to use a recipe and reduce the amount of ingredients to suit just two people. My son found a recipe for pizza, but it was for four pizzas. So he halved the amount of ingredients to make just two pizzas. He then went on to dbPrimary to do bit more Maths.

After lunch, it was Literacy for my eldest. My daughter had a task from school to find items in each room of the house that could only find in those rooms. These tasks they both needed some assistance with, but we got it done and had a snack to celebrate.

Finally… PE. Well for us our idea of Physical Education is Just Dance 2020! I also like to use this as my way of getting the blood flowing. I have poor circulation in my feet, dance massively helps me. The children did 3 dances each and now chilling with some Minecraft.

And that’s pretty much our Day 2 and Day 3 done. Mentally I found Mother’s Day very straining, but today has been a good day. I am finding educating my own children is keeping me pretty calm. I just cannot stand when my children whine… but that’s normal for any parent!

Stay Safe.