Homeschool: Week 2 + Essential Activities

Meetings, to-do’s, life… all change pretty quickly durning my day to day, which is why I use erasable ink pens in my planner.

(Yes, I realize I could use a pencil. But the sharpening and the shavings and the more excuses I have about not using pencils — and don’t get me started on mechanical pencils. Ugh.)

We put the eraser to work during Homeschool: Week 2.

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Monday

My toddler was cranky on Monday, but it was my fault. I doomed us from the first cup of coffee.

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One Mother’s Day, my son (re: my husband) gifted me this “Happy Monday” coffee cup. On the other side?

perfect mother's day gift

Cranky toddler face.

A predictive coffee cup on Monday, for sure.

We built our scheduled ABC Fort at 1 p.m. — and by “we,” I mean “me.” I built the fort. My son played in it, and then demolished it.

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Like, ok, it’s not the best fort.

We also made an attempt at our New Words game, which turned out to be just flashcards with rules. Seriously? Not a game. The toddler hated it.

The first activity to be erased: Stupid flashcards with rules.

Tuesday

So, I forgot to prepare the 123 Puzzle. By prepare, I just mean I forgot to write numbers on the opposite size of the ABC foam pieces while my son was asleep. And I’m cautious about pulling out a Sharpie near the kid.

He’s already colored on the wall with a crayon.

And a marker.

And food.

This is permanent ink.

Luckily, a friend of mine prepared a letter lesson for us with /o/ — short “o” sounds as in “fox” — complete with step-by-step instructions, a sound-matching game and a friendly octopus flashcard.

The toddler colored on it.

She delivered it to my door over the weekend, and we spent our Tuesday homeschool time reading all about The Frog on a Log and The Fox on a Box.

The second activity to succumb to the eraser: 123 Puzzle.

Wednesday

Did Wednesday happen?

Pretty sure there wasn’t a Wednesday last week.

The third activity to be erased: Yeah, all of Wednesday.

Thursday

Since Wednesday didn’t happen, we did color-matching on Thursday. Again, he aced the matching bit. He even said a few of the objects on the cards: “tur-el” (turtle), “fower” (flower) and “fy” (butterfly, obviously).

My son’s pre-school teacher called… on Wednesday! Now, I remember what happened!

Real quick, on Wednesday: USD 259 teachers are teaching virtually, but my son’s in pre-school — and it’s hard enough to get him to sit still when you’re holding him down — so they’re sending out packets to help parents put a structure of some sort to teaching at home. Bam!

She also sent a letter with water beads enclosed, which is what reminded me of the phone call — because on Thursday (now we’re back on track), we grew water beads.

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I had never heard of water beads and omg. where have they been all my life. they’re so much fun. i love them.

The toddler can’t play with them, though. He’s going through another puts-everything-in-his-mouth phase, and the packaging clearly states multiple times that you’re not supposed to eat these.

He’s def gonna try to eat them.

Oh, well. More fun for me.

Meeting the eraser on Thursday: Thursday?

Friday

Friday turned out to be colder than I hoped. It was a good day to snuggle — and snuggle we did. Very little learning happened, but a lot of talking did.

I don’t know if it’s because I have him during his best time of day — morning — or because he’s not exhausted from behaving at school, daycare or grandma’s house… but he’s talking.

He’s parroting, replying, asking (re: demanding), having pretend conversations with his toys and more.

He asked to play Speech Blubs by name. Well, ok, he said “beepups,” but I knew what he wanted.

Words are still sometimes wrong. “Fah-tis,” instead of breakfast. “Wan-wih,” instead of sandwich. “Asselsash,” instead of apple sauce. (Say it out loud. Totally worth it.) Plus, his vocabulary revolves around food.

But he’s talking.

Speech might be catching up to us. (Just don’t quote me on that.)

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If I don’t write anything down for this  week, I won’t have to erase it, right?

Skip Saturday, Straight to Sunday

On Sunday, Mother Hubbard’s cupboard (re: fridge) was looking a little bare.

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Except for the beer…

The toddler helped me empty the fridge, so I could clean the shelves. Such a helper. So cute.

With maybe one cup of milk left in a gallon, two eggs in the carton, three rolls of toilet paper and four diapers, I needed to go to the store. We were also running low on toddler pouches — the only way he’ll eat vegetables — and “fis” (a.k.a. rainbow goldfish crackers). Plus, I’m out of coffee… and that’s just not gonna fly.

I didn’t want to go to the grocery store. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty scared of catching the virus and have been a good extrovert about social distancing since March 18.

In fairness, I’m only a mild extrovert. Staying home isn’t that hard.

But groceries are an essential activity — and I have to trick my kid into eating vegetables.

So, I cut up a T-shirt, folded a coffee filter inside and fashioned myself a makeshift mask using hair ties I hadn’t yet gotten rid of (because #shorthairdontcare about hair ties).

By the way, masks are seriously sore on the ears. Thank your healthcare worker. Their head hurts.

I pulled a stocking cap over my head to hold my glasses in place and cover my hair, pre-disinfected my shopping bags with spray and headed to Dillon’s. And, yes, my glasses were crooked the entire time.

Produce, bread, meat, eggs and milk abounded. I found a 40-pack of my son’s size diapers for the first time in three weeks. Joy! I didn’t take the last one of anything. Toilet paper was scarce, but I scored a six-pack — and two six packs of a delicious slightly sour ale.

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Unfortunately, cleaning supplies were limited. Paper towels were not to be found, and neither were Lysol or Clorox wipes. I was lucky to get a Windex-brand multi-surface cleaner that kills 99.9% of germs.

Hallelujah.

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I also might have stocked UP on coffee…

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Now, is Starbucks my go-to coffee choice? No. I buy a pound (or two) a week from The Spice Merchant — a delightful Papua New Guinea blend that I love.

They’re closed right now, so I’m dealing with some medium roast from the grocery store. Don’t @ me.

My husband’s exact words were: “Someone has a problem.” Just as he pulled all four out of my shopping bag.

Psh.

Our fridge, freezer and cupboards are full with the staples we need to feed ourselves and the toddler for two weeks. Except milk, which will run out faster than that… I’ll go back next weekend to hunt for the cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and paper towels I usually have on hand.

Until then, we’re making do with what we have — and being thankful for it.

An Indefinite Amount of Time

Last Tuesday, my office sent us home with our computers, laptops, supplies and anything else we might need to work from home — which is what we’re doing.

For an indefinite amount of time.

On Friday night, I finally set up my home office, pulling my desk out of storage. I had been meaning to do that anyway.

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I also ventured to grocery stores Friday night, spending three hours hunting for eggs, milk and produce. Luckily, I had found six rolls of toilet paper behind a bag full of bags in my upstairs bathroom cupboard.

I felt like the richest woman on earth.

Mostly because it meant I didn’t have to go out again on Saturday.

Friday night at my neighborhood Dillon’s looked a lot like Sunday afternoon the week before…

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No bread on Friday. Thankfully, I still had half a loaf with a “Best By” date less than a week prior.
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Few soap options. I bought three, one for each bathroom and an extra to take with me. Excessive use of public soap has officially caused my eczema to flare and my knuckles to crack and bleed. The itching means I also bought an super-sized bottle of eczema cream.
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No paper products. Toilet paper, paper towels and napkins were sold out. To the world, please don’t flush products other than toilet paper. (Women already understand this.) The last thing we need is a clogged water system during this quarantine.
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The worst? No diapers (or wipes!). I found a pack of 18 in my son’s size on Sunday, and then again on Friday. One pack each day. Soon, we’re going to be potty enforcing, instead of potty training. Luckily, I’ve had people reach out to help me.

On Saturday, my husband and I cleaned the ever-loving s*** out of our house. We used the last of our Lysol wipes to scrub appliances, countertops and sinks. We dug deep into the kitchen sink with baking soda and cream of tarter. We swept, Swiffered and mopped the bathrooms and kitchen. We dusted, Windexed and vacuumed the house top-to-bottom.

I sprayed disinfectant purchased during my husband’s latest cold (more than a month ago) on every cabinet pull, door knob, light switch and surface my son might decide to press his face on.

So all the surfaces.

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Ignore the grammar errors. I was near an anxiety attack. A well deserved one, I might add. And autocorrect is a nightmare.

On Sunday, I outlined my week of billable work hours and homeschool for my son.

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My agenda book has never included “School Activities” and “Outside Play.”

With the school district closed for the rest of the semester and my household #socialdistancing (and now under a shelter-at-home order), my 3-year-old no longer has access to the education, social/speech therapy and daily work he needs to improve on his cognitive and speech delays.

Now, that therapy falls on me.

Why me? Why not my husband, too?

Let me be clear: We are not a gender-“normal” household. We share the load across the board. We take care of bills, housework, paperwork, pets and the toddler equally and equitably.

But, right now, he’s taking care of even more because he works at a major hospital in our community. He has staff on the front lines of fighting coronavirus, flattening the curve and supporting the hospital.

All while they’re all trying to take care of themselves and their families.

So, that’s why me.

However, he still has to make dinner some nights because I’m generally a terrible cook (unless he wants frozen “chicken chunks” and oven-roasted corn on the cob for the indefinite amount of time I’m home).

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Honestly, even with no butter, the corn was pretty legit.

In return, I’ll do the laundry and try to potty-train the toddler.

No promises on that second one, though.

Homeschool — and the attempt to teach my son how to string English words (instead of “his language” words) into a sentence — are my new normal for a while. I don’t know when he’ll be able to go back to daycare or school where he can learn from professionals.

Remember, this is indefinite.

What hasn’t been suspended for an indefinite amount of time is my job.

Because I still have a job.

A flexible, gives-a-s***-about-me job that understands and makes accommodations for my new normal.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

Sometimes, in the thick of things, we can forget how lucky we are.

I know I have.

Since Tuesday, March 17 — without a lucky St. Patrick’s Day celebration — I have been reminded over and over how lucky I am through the actions and words of people who care about me. The people I work for and with every day.

I know not everyone is going to be as lucky as I am during and after this pandemic.

Coronavirus is reshaping households and families worldwide. For an indefinite amount of time. Remind yourself, if you’re one of the lucky ones, that you are in fact lucky.

Stay home because you can.

Buy less because you can.

Donate more because you can.

Remember, not everyone can.

We’re all in this together.