This is a little diary of our first week in social isolation, home learning, and with both himself and me working from home.
They always have to be dragged from bed on a school day, not this Monday! Bah humbug, my plan to work in peace for an hour before they got up failed on the first day.
7.15am kids playing lego, I started work while himself went for a shower before heading to work (he’s a key worker for a pharma company).
8am breakfast, they’re quite independent now so I just poured milk and left them to it. At half past I sent them to get dressed, brush teeth and make their beds.
9am Maths! We aren’t doing Joe Wicks because I’m trying to keep to routine and large boy always has maths first thing. Plus its his favourite so we began with something that sparks enthusiasm. Large boy did a work book from school and small boy practised numbers in a Collins book. Again, something he will feel good about because he can do it already.
Small boy did great, concentrated well for 20mins and then got sent to build 5 lego items. This annoyed large boy no end as he didn’t understand why his brother could finish before him. So I got him to finish 2 more pages and let him join his brother. We’ve got to balance them learning, me working and no one getting upset. This experience can’t turn negative on day one, but I can’t let them get away with mucking around and set a “mum’s a walk-over” precedent either.
10am movie time for an hour while I had a release decision meeting.
11am large boy did quizzes for his reading scheme and small boy played while I had another meeting. Once I finished (early, hurrah) small boy reviewed his set 2 sounds from Read Write Inc and read a Biff Chip and Kipper book.
11.30am they watched half of David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals for science in preparation for large boy following an OpenLearn course. So far no major feuds, but lots of chattering while I’m trying to work.
12pm lunchtime and a nice quiet walk round our local area – didn’t see another soul. We played I Spy, taking the opportunity to reinforce the set 2 sounds that small boy had been practicing earlier. By the time we got home they were rather inventive about the things they could spy: “best brother”, “me jumping” and “broken down tree” all featured.
1pm I set large boy to read Tyger Tyger and answer some questions about it that I printed from Twinkl. Small boy practised writing some letters and short words, I’m so impressed with his progress.
2pm We talked about some of the nature we saw on our walk, then my boss IM-d me to say that there were koalas on the San Diego zoo webcam, we watched them a bit and small boy phoned my boss to say thank you. Then I had a meeting so they had some computer science time. Large boy did some PowerPoint and then Purple Mash while small boy played Alphablocks and had his first ever go on Scratch Jr.
3pm important meeting for me, presenting and running the show so the boys were dispatched upstairs to build lego from the 30 day challenge. There was lots of thumping and running around so I had to step away and request quiet. Then 15 mins from the end small boy interrupted to show me that he’d made a nunchuck out of lego, joy. I did a less than stellar job driving the meeting.
4pm was meant to be screen time but by then they had settled down and were playing nicely with their Lego so I left them to it. Last meeting of the day, the afternoon was so disturbed I wasn’t sure this was going to be tenable.
5pm husband home and boss on the phone. I totted up the number of hours worked at 5.40pm and I squeezed 7 out of the 10 since I sat down. Not my most productive even when at my desk but it’ll do for day 1.
6.15pm I put in another hour and a bit’s work to try and minimise needing to work Friday.
Proper lock down was announced on Monday night. No leaving the house for 3 weeks except for essential reasons. So himself is home until further notice too.
I got up and to my desk bright and early again, hoping to follow a similar routine to Monday, only having to juggle the kids around himself’s meetings as well as mine.
It was actually less stressful than Monday. The boys did maths first thing again, then watched the other half of The Incredibles. We did some reading and set 2 sounds with small boy while large boy read before lunch. Large boy did some French too. Then they had a picnic in small boy’s bedroom as both himself and I had lunch time meetings. They were so good we put them on their rainbow (we’ve made a version of their school behaviour chart). After lunch I was in meetings so himself did writing with them, large boy learned about similes and small boy practised letters and pencil control – I could hear them giggling from my meeting, such joy (real this time, not sarcastic). Mid-afternoon we had coinciding meetings again so the boys watched the second half of their David Attenborough show in preparation for large boy’s OpenLearn course – small boy got jumped back down to the sunshine for interfering with the laptop they were watching on. Finally they did engineering (lego building challenge).
With himself available to share the load, I managed 8 hours work by 5.30pm so I didn’t need to do any extra in the evening. Both boys interrupted very briefly, I think my boss and colleagues are going to get to know them quite quickly.
Another good day, husband at home made a huge difference again. He took the boys out for a walk at the end of their day. We had maths and literacy, science and a good bit of computing. The boys built a fab lego house for us to live in – complete with dogs and a spider for pets.
After school and work, large boy phoned his best friend. They were overjoyed to speak to each other. We’re going to have to make sure they talk regularly.
After Wednesday I thought we were getting into the swing of it. Thursday bit me back with a vengeance. Thursdays are always my busy day, but himself was busy too. The boys were mucking about and it was all a bit much. They did great when they were focused with an adult pushing them, but playing quietly turned into sword fights and jumping off sofas – they’re kids, that’s what they’re meant to do. But when you’re in a meeting with your bosses boss, it’s a bit disturbing.
Positives though were small boy doing great with his set 2 sounds with RWI on YouTube and large boy writing a story for his brother’s bedtime. Maybe I’ll try and end every day with a thankful thought. Make sure the positives outweigh the challenges.
I don’t work Fridays and the long hours I put in earlier in the week made sure that this week was no different. We had an amazing day, such a contrast to Thursday’s stress. I kicked off with a run but got cramp in my foot so it wasn’t much fun, exercise set me up for the day though.
We did maths and literacy in the morning, so much nicer for everyone when I wasn’t rushing off to a meeting. Both boys did great.
Then we spent almost all of the rest of the day in the garden. We did washing and hung it on the line, hunted bugs and caught millipedes and centipedes, drew chalk rainbows on the front drive, and tidied in preparation for cleaning the patio over the weekend. When we came in small boy filled in his big book we printed from Twinkl while large boy completed his OpenLearn course on mammals in trees and did a little French. Himself went into work for a couple of hours to help someone else to work accompanied (no lone lab work is allowed).
Mid-afternoon my coveted Tesco order arrived so I unpacked and then dropped some essentials to our neighbour over the road. She’s older and her family live far away, plus she’s not well so we’re doing what we can without getting too close.
Large boy and I played some Xbox Lego Ninjago. Then he called one of his school friends on Facebook video messenger thingy. After tea they got some TV and chill out time.
They probably spent just as much time learning as the rest of the week, its was much more relaxed and fun though. For all of us.
Saturday was a lovely family day. We haven’t had many of these lately, our weekends are full of swimming and rugby and birthday parties or visitors or trips to stay with friends. We got up slowly, put on old clothes and power washed the patio, the boys helping. After lunch himself and the boys washed my truck and I enjoyed (or not) the thrilling task of scrubbing the cooker. Such is life, house work must be done. The boys and I had a lovely colouring session, mandalas and trucks – very appropriate for our house.
The clocks changed so we got up at the same time as usual only an hour later. I had a little run, much better than Friday, but not very quick. They boys played boisterously upstairs while I did stuff in the kitchen and himself researched new phone handsets.
I made a proper roast chicken dinner, we don’t get the opportunity much since large boy started playing rugby and we spend out Sunday mornings with one if use freezing our ass off. It was a proper treat though, roast chicken and roast potatoes, honey roast parsnips, mashed carrot and swede, minted peas and gravy. Lots of second helpings.
After lunch, himself cleaned his car whole small boy dust bustered the mats and large boy vacuumed the garage (the previous owners had put an old carpet down in there, its not as ridiculous as it sounds). Having researched some cubs badges with large boy, he and I settled down to play Lego Ninjago on the Xbox for a couple of hours.
Toasties for tea and chill out before bed, getting ready for a return to chaos on Monday. Tempers have been a little frayed (mostly mine), I hope we can find some calm and acceptance as the weeks pass.
See what week 2 brings.