We are now into week 4 of staying at home and I think we have found our rhythm and routine and have all adjusted. We had a wobble in week 2 but I found week 3 and so far week 4 to be a lot calmer and better. Sticking to a routine is definitely helping and the weather has really helped to be able to get outside and get some fresh air.
My top tip for week 4 is to look after yourself, not just your children. I am a much better parent when I am feeling positive and upbeat. When cabin fever has set in or I’ve got frustrated I’ve started doing more exercise (rather than just turning to wine and chocolate!). I’ve been getting out for the occasional run, doing Joe Wicks in a morning and doing Zumba with Sam online some evenings; its given me more energy and therefore more energy to continue the constant childrens entertainment and combat them shouting ‘I’m bored’! We’ve done some family exercise too, all going for a bike ride or a walk and everyone seems to come back from that happier. So my tip as we get further into this stay at home life is to try to look after yourself and to all get out for some exercise if you can.
Here’s the journey so far…..
As we reached the end of home school #week2 I thought it was time to start documenting our Mumbler family stay at home journey and try to help others with some stay at home activities and ideas. Why wasn’t there a week 1? Well last week I thought I was nailing this and it was all fabulous. My opinion somewhat changed in week 2!
Week 1: Not going to school and having lessons at home was a novelty. I actually really enjoyed a slower pace of life instead of racing around, doing the school run, going to work and being taxi service to all of their after school clubs and classes. It was nice to just relax, rest and really enjoy some actual quality time with the kids without checking emails, making calls and not actually focussing on them. We had excellent home school packs sent home from our school and I actually quite enjoyed doing them – with my son in year 4 I remembered how to do long division (after some googling) and learned all about the Vikings, with my daughter in year 1 I felt a real sense of achievement when we mastered the 2x table and I helped her read more tricky words. We did craft, we baked (till we ran out of flour) and we planted seeds. I saw a lovely friendship form between my 2 children. I called friends and family that I don’t usually speak to often. It was a fabulous week of fun, making memories and being a relaxed mum!
Week 2: The novelty wore off. My children could not believe they had to do the same again this week, not go anywhere and not see anyone. I was no longer a fun teacher, I was an awful mother for making them try to sit and do more of their school packs.
I was aching from doing Joe Wicks all through week 1 and I was a lot less enthusiastic about his 9am sessions. My 5 year old point blank refused to do them again, my 9 year old still hung in there but sulked through any exercise he didn’t like. Our daily routine remained the same though –
Up, teeth brushed, dressed and ready for 9am
9-9.30am – Joe Wicks PE
9.30-10.30am – school work from their packs
10.30-11am – play outside/snack time
11-12noon – topic work/craft/colouring
12-1pm – lunch break and play
1-2pm – online learning, doing some of the educational resources we’ve been sent from school or found and signed for such as Reading Eggs, PhonicsPlay, Mathletics, Times Table Rock Stars, Carol Vorderman’s Maths
2pm – games outside or daily exercise e.g. bike ride, scooters or walk
3.30pm – anything they want to do plus a bit of helping me make tea and with chores
To be honest each day seemed to deteriorate more. My children were less enthusiastic about doing anything and were getting more and more frustrated by the situation, missing their friends and missing school. I tried to plough on with school work but there were tantrums and dramas. They also decided that they had absolutely had enough of each other and couldn’t stand to breath the same air and I spent more time splitting up fights, diffusing situations and stopping the constant bickering. I tried to stick to our routine but spend less time on their school packs and more time colouring, painting and drawing….
I then started doing more creative activities that were also a bit educational (and my children didn’t seem to spot that we were learning and not just playing!). We got out the marbles and sorted them, counted them and then started making bigger numbers with the big marbles as 10s and small marbles as 1s. We had a topic about spring from school so looked up some animals that we see in spring and made them out of loo rolls. My husband had a brilliant session doing Mechano with my eldest. We even got the Playdoh out which has been in the cupboard and not used for ages to do a Great British Bake Off challenge; they had to make a technical and a show stopper and talk me through the ingredients, work out the time for each task and minutes left and do some judging.
By Thursday afternoon I was pretty shattered from their arguing, constantly finding things to do and juggling some working from home as well and was feeling the cabin fever. So I got out my trainers, left the children doing outdoor PE with my husband and went off on my own for a long run and came back in a much better state of mind! I organised some phone/video calls for my children to see and speak to their friends after tea yesterday and this really cheered them up and gave them a boost. I also had a group call with my school friends and that really cheered me up to see and chat to them.
After my mid week wobble today has been ok again. They actually wanted to do their school packs this morning and they decided to like each other again and spent ages just doing Lego together.
There are going to be highs and lows as we adjust to this new norm, it will not all be the plain sailing of week 1. I need to not get frustrated by them arguing and not doing what I’d like them to be doing and understand they are finding this hard too. I need to be more grateful that we’re all fit and well, healthy and are all together. I am still determined to make the most of this unprecedented situation and time together at home.
My top tips as we end week 2 are:
Have a routine and try to stick to it – my kids and me are used to routine and we have found that sticking to a rough plan gets us through the day. They know when we will be doing ‘lessons’, when its outdoor time, when its free play etc. Last weekend when there was no routine and no plan but also not a lot to do we found the chaos through them! Week day routine is staying on our plan.
Let the routine go if you need to(somewhat juxtaposed to 1!) – there have been times when no matter what I have said, what threats I have made or bribed I have offered, my 5 year old has just not wanted to do that maths! So I have let her go of an play with her dolls and she has wandered back to the table later on and done it nicely.
Make snack time educational and fun – my kids are eating me out of house and home, every time I turn my back the snack cupboard is decimated. So we’ve given them each some real money and they can spend it on snacks at snack time and that is the only time the snack cupboard is available! Fruit and breadsticks are 1p and 2p each whereas a mars bar is 20p.
Exercise – both for the kids and for you. My kids are so much better after burning off some energy. I’ve taken them for a bike and scooter ride while I’ve jogged next to them and I’ve taken my 9 year old out for an actual run together (we did 3k!). If you have another adult at home then getting out on your own is great too for a walk, run or cycle.
Let your children to speak to friends – I’ve arranged video calls from my mobile to some of their friends so they can still see and speak to them, this has been a huge boost for both of my children and they have liked having the call to look forward to.
So what will week 3 bring?! Check back in next week to find out.
Wishing you all a safe and well week from us on our home school table!