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Column

Not a teacher

To say the past couple of weeks have been anything short of strange would be an understatement. In reality, the past three months have been a mixture of crazy, stressful, overwhelming, affirming and empowering with one hurdle after another being thrown my way.

After thinking for the umpteenth time “it can’t get any crazier than this,” the world decided to participate and bring COVID-19 into all of our lives. For me, like a lot of folks out there, it means my kids are now at home, my baby-sitters are out of commission and the way I work has been adjusted. What might be one of the scariest part for me is it is now my sole duty to try to educate my children.

Truth be told, I am not a teacher. I have a hard time with patience and wanting to just take over and get the job done. I was often the leader of the group if we had to do group projects. I think it is a control thing.

When the extended break was first mentioned, I went straight to Walmart and looked for as many educational activities I could buy. If my kids could just read and write all day, I’d be set. Since math and science are also pretty important, and favorites of theirs, I knew I’d need some assistance.

Lucky for me, a whole bunch of home science kits were on clearance. I snatched them up, hoping they might help bridge the gap during our “homeschooling” time.

To be clear, I know I am not going to be able to teach my children like their teachers do. For one, as much as I follow the work that comes home, I don’t know their lesson plans and what was up next in each subject. Second, I am their mom and we are at home during a very weird time. They are going to argue and need space, want to play with their Nintendo and on their iPods and just be comfortable while on break. Enforcing strict learning parameters will only stress out all of us.

That’s not saying it will be all fun and games. I got a subscription for the math program they use at school, will do the science kits and ask Google to explain the science behind what we are doing, continue reading time and find creative ways to learn including doing art projects, dancing, singing and heading outdoors, when the weather shapes up.

Another big change for the girls will be not seeing their grandparents daily. It has been their routine for several years to spend about an hour after school with my parents, eating a snack, playing games and just relaxing. With the risk being high for older adults and us being potential carriers, unfortunately we can’t head up the hill to visit.

While it will be an adjustment for everyone, we are thinking of creative ways to keep in touch. Of course, we can make phone calls but I am thinking of starting “Grandpa mail” to send to my dad, a throw back to his time as postmaster at the post office. Also, if the weather warms up, we can hang out outside while the girls ride their bikes and scooter around the driveway while still maintaining social distancing.

Although the times are strange, I’m hoping we learn a lot during our extended period at home and take advantage of the time together. I know it will be challenging for all of us, but hopefully it will push us to be more creative and expand our boundaries of learning, making us stronger than when we started.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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