day 50: back in the saddle, ya clowns.

I spent a good part of this weekend Organizing how the last two months of this school year would play out in day-to-day work.

After reading many articles about how it was important to not keep kids to too rigorous a schedule (ha…), I realized I was reading articles aimed at families whose kids had been in brick-and-mortar schools up until the day quarantine began. My kids were not experiencing the culture shock of suddenly being home; the bigger culture shock they experienced was when I said “If you’re just feeling overwhelmed, go take some time to do whatever you need to do, as long as you don’t go anywhere to do it.”

While there’s a time and place for this with everyone, with Claudia and Béla, it led to as much confusion as anything else. Going slack on the actual “homeschool” part of our day was going slack on the ONLY thing about life that was still the same. No more performing arts extracurriculars. No more hanging out with friends. Being twelve and not getting to see a friend — for months. What this will mean developmentally, and emotionally, hurts my heart. (Particularly when kids are made aware that “even just seeing one friend” is something they must sacrifice — or people may die! — and then they then experience the hypocrisy of adults who can and do arrange whatever they deem “safe” and convenient for themselves.)

There are really wonderful anchors to our lives together here. Reading out loud together, from the great big volume bigger than my lap. Evening singalongs to the YouTube channel. But I had a sense that, now that we had completed all the testing required for the year (there was a time I was not sure that would be possible, for either of them), it was still time to apply a little pressure, to make the game more interesting. The school year was still on! As terrified as I am to talk to them about whether the Ridiculously Expensive Rick Riordan-Themed camp week is still happening, or to bring up the fact that currently the city’s budget cuts mean no public pools will be opened (Oh God), it’s still the SCHOOL YEAR and there’s still STUFF TO DO!

I didn’t know how to tell Béla his beloved therapist had COVID-19.

This weekend, I buckled down and made sure that no matter how much we’d done “enough” in a day (particularly easy, now that the District has waived our hour count for the homeschool year), that we were doing a little more. Yeah, you can listen to Neil de Grasse Tyson for another twenty minutes. Wasn’t it worth it to learn that the Sumerians had invented not just the wheel wheel, but the pottery wheel?

We continue to make new friends online — particularly this year, finding more like-minded and lovable folk. Béla’s “met” more Korean adoptees to share experiences with. Claudia has networked pretty darned well with the Oxford Classics colleges. In fact, today, we learned How To Organize an Ancient Greek Symposium at Home:

How about with an ancient Greek meal?

Whilst listening to, if not just your own friends, an army of famous folks — including Robert Sheehan from The Umbrella Academy — reciting The Iliad and The Odyssey at various sites all over London?

Tucker’s Sticky Toffee Pudding was good last night, but he forgot to make… the toffee sauce. (It really was good enough that this was not a giant letdown, so we expect it will be even better tonight.) We are going to watch Gretel and Hansel.

I’m very in love with my new organizational system for academic hours: for instance, if we know a movie is part of the evening, then we don’t do Roots for history, earlier in the day, as we don’t need the screen time. Sad to say we have finished the Horrible Histories series; not only was that always good at buying me an hour of quiet, it was better than Schoolhouse Rock by a long shot. We will always be a bit sentimental about that 3 PM ebb and Horrible Histories. At the same time, Horrible Histories may be over, but their green screen kit just came and I can’t wait to see what they do with that.



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