Coronavirus Blog #10: Back to School and LOCKDOWN

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Today is March 23, 2020.

It’s a Monday, and technically, it was supposed to be a Monday of spring break. We were supposed to be wildly running around the state, trying to enjoy our break from school. We had talked about going to OMSI in Portland, or the Zoo, or the Children’s Museum. We’d planned to have lots of playdates with friends, and to travel with my kids’ grandma.

It is also another birthday, my son this time (daughter was on Saturday).

For so many reasons, we aren’t getting to do anything we had previously planned.

Given that we had such a wild and fun weekend, I decided to treat the day more like a normal day, than a holiday. After all…there is really only so much to be done around the house. And…given that we’ll be homeschooling for the foreseeable future, I figured it would be better to start getting a schedule established.

So after we did a special birthday breakfast (I put candles in everything and we sang), we got to work.

My older boy is reading tons right now, so rather than starting him on worksheets, I set him up with a chapter book on the couch. He has been reading about a book a day lately, which really tickles my heart (I’m a reader).

My other son needs to be more directed, and really lacks a lot of confidence in his skills. So it means that I have to have him in front of me to keep him on track.

I was really proud of them today, as they worked through all of the scheduled activities. We took breaks to do some birthday video chats with friends and family, but otherwise they did good work.

And that really highlights I think the benefits of taking a break on the weekends, as they seemed to come back to homeschool work with much more enthusiasm than they did at the end of last week.

As for the birthday….we did a video chat with other family members to sing to my son for his birthday and for him to blow out his candles. He had the biggest grin on his face, which made me feel really good, even though I felt bad that it was hard for me to do more for him and to celebrate him.

While working on schoolwork….Corona updates rolling in

It was while we were working on school that I heard the news that the state we live in issued a “lockdown” order. Of course, it isn’t much of an “order.” It isn’t illegal to leave our houses, to my knowledge. But the governor ordered that all non-essential businesses be closed, and that we stay home.

My heart sank when hearing this news.

Yes, I understand why the order was necessary. Over the weekend, while we spent all our time along, distancing ourselves from other people, we did spy tons of people congregating. Lots of people having meals together, barbecuing, shopping, visiting shops.

But I can’t help but think of all of the people out there, especially those in my community, who live paycheck to paycheck, who are going to be devastated that they can’t go to work.

Yes, it is for their safety, and the safety of all of us, especially those who are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

But these same people have to eat, and they need money to buy food.

And many of those businesses which are being shut down today won’t open up again. Many of these businesses go month to month, and barely make any profit. They have enough to pay for expenses….but not always a lot of profits.

They will eventually need money to re-open, and they aren’t going to have it.

Re-starting the economy isn’t going to be as simple as lifting the restrictions on going to work and opening a store-front.

There is talk of a “stimulus” but I find it really hard to get excited about it. I can’t imagine how getting money in the short term is going to save everything. In a few weeks, if all of this stuff isn’t handled and back to normal, people are STILL going to need money for food, and are going to STILL be struggling to make ends meet.

Limited Options Now to Play Outside

As I read through the new restrictions, I also noticed that all the playgrounds, skate parks, and even the school fields are now closed. I guess we are learning that the virus can live on metal longer than it was believed, and that playgrounds with a lot of kids can be a transmission point.

This is a big bummer, as we are frequent visitors to our local parks.

As far as “entertaining” ourselves, I think in the future we are going to spend a lot of time bike riding, riding scooters around the neighborhood, and until we get some more restrictive lockdown order, hiking.

This could be a real inspiration to do school in the mornings, and then assuming the weather is good, take a drive to lots of different hiking trails.

I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about building a mud kitchen in the backyard, and/or adding a climbing dome in the backyard. We already have a big trampoline.

Concerns about the availability of fresh food, especially food that is usually imported from other parts of the world, is going to push me to get my garden going this spring. I hadn’t planned on spending a lot time on it this year, but my anxiety will probably push me to get it ready. Plus, I’ve got more time at home, and it’ll be a great project for the kids to help me with.

Staying Positive

It is hard not to get down when you are constantly bombarded with bad news. I am trying really hard to focus on the things important to me during these times of crisis and panic….specifically, my children. I’m also trying to limit my social media scrolling time, as I find that very little of that content does anything to help me in my day.

I don’t find that stress and panic does anything to keep me healthy, and in general does the opposite.

For our kids, families, and friends, it is best if we do our best to stay positive, and stay calm, even when it is hard to do both.

And hopefully, in a few months, we’ll be able to look back at this time as a strange aberration, a bad dream that we were able to wake from, and put it behind us.

For more daily ramblings in a time of a pandemic, here’s the link to my journal, where I am blogging daily about our life in this pandemic.

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