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.

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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.

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Stay Safe.

Home Educating – Day 1 of Isolation

So I’ve decided to bring my blog back to life, specially now I’m home educating. A lot has happened in my little world. In 2016 I became a single parent. In 2018 my new boyfriend moved in with me. In 2019 my landlord sold the house and left us with no where to live (thankfully we found somewhere, but it’s by no means perfect). 2020… well!

It was going to be a big year for my son who will be turning 10 years old right smack bang in middle of Easter. My daughter would be taking her Year 2 SATs, nothing major but she was on track and doing well. My son and I both joined cheer-leading teams and were preparing for our first big competition in Blackpool end of May. Kids both joined gymnastics and my girl was loving Ballroom classes. Sure Universal Credit was still making life bloody hell for us, but I made sure my kids had everything and survived on a tight budget. Then… shit hit the fan!

My partner is disabled. Just a note, I call him my partner because “boyfriend” feels weird to me, as if we’re still teenagers at school going “wanna be my girlfriend?”. Anyway he has a number of health issues as well as having a rare disease. Because of this he is high risk, so for his safety we are told to isolate as best as we can. Tough when the rest of the country is buying all the damn food and there’s no bloody food delivery slots until god knows when. But anyway… it’s our first full day in isolation with two children.

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Today we have been pretty chill. It would have been gymnastics and ballroom classes, however the dance studio we go to is now closed. We instead did some French lessons. My daughter will be learning French when she goes to Y3. Not knowing the future of it all, figured may as well prepare her for learning the language. My son has been learning French for 2 years now. He’s in Y5 and will be in Y6 when (and if!) the schools return in September. For now, we focused on the colours of the rainbow, “Arc en Ciel” in French. My son pronounced the colours properly and got my youngest to say them back to us as they painted each part of the Arc en Ciel. Downside? I didn’t own an indigo or a violet paint. So I made it with what colours we did have!

Afterwards they were allowed to play Stardew Valley. Lot of questions on what animals eat, where milk comes from, what a silo is, and learning about how farmers are hard working members of our society who make sure we get the fresh food we need. Yes, felt rather important to discuss this considering we’re now got a list of “key workers” to continue running our country during this 12 week isolation period.

Lunch was eaten, tummies were settled, then it was big of Physical Education. My son and I both did our Cheer dance routine for Dance 1, a dance we both recently did for our very first Cheer Award not that long ago. It got the blood pumping and helped us feel good as well. My daughter did some ballroom, she wanted to do her Jive dance so she did that dance.

Later my daughter was feeling bit clingy. So I asked if she could read me a story. She read the first chapter of Princess and the Pea to me, before going upstairs for a nap. My son mostly been playing Minecraft and with his Lego. Minecraft is a great educational tool and you can get it on pretty much any platform these days. We have it on Xbox One, Tablets, PC and Switch. Can’t get away from it now!

And that’s about it for us! Supplies food and drink wise are so-so. Friends have been helping us as we’re stuck indoors and whenever I can go out there’s nothing else for us. I hope something gets sorted soon…