Updated: Apr 22, 2020
The corona-cation continues, and the school district will be starting online learning next week. But, they say, it won't be the same content as in class; it'll be activities to spur creativity, that kids find interesting, and that can be responsive to the students. All of which is awesome. Frankly, I wish it would start sooner because I'm treading a thin line of sanity.
I was very gung ho at the beginning. I was going to be the homeschool teacher of the year! The century! But there's a very good reason I'm not a homeschool teacher. This is because I don't have the patience to both help Benjy manage his anxiety (Coron-anxiety, general anxiety, etc), manage my own anxiety, and make this experience a heart-warming memory. So I'm looking at ways to conserve my mental energy and get him doing more independent learning so that I can have more patience when it matters.
Here's what we're doing:
1. Yesterday, Benjy took a one-session Outschool class on the Fibonacci number sequence. This is a sequence of numbers in which all previous numbers add up to the next number in the sequence. The cool thing about it is that it creates a geometric spiral seen all over nature (and no, I can't explain the math; it's way way over my head).
2. Benjy's participating in a book club that his friend Simon started. It meets three times a week, and Benjy will be leading one of the sessions. It's on Wings of Fire, a series Benjy hasn't yet read, and he's already read a book and a half of it in 2 days. This is good.
3. Yesterday, I sent him on a photo scavenger hunt. This included both yellow flowers and snow flakes, because both are occurring at the same time.
3. Today I made him do some of the optional assignments from his teachers, presenting it as a transition from the optional of this week to the mandatory of next week (which he bought). He'll be making a You Tube video of one of his assignments.
4. And the coup-de-grace for today is that I realized that this boy needs a good grounding in pop culture history. So we're going to start watching Star Trek, The Next Generation together as a family (or at least Josh and Benjy will).
5. And then we have things like Bar Mitzvah tutoring, Hebrew School zoom lessons, book club, and some more Outschool classes like solving a murder mystery and writing about sloths.
6. The boy also needs more exercise. He's in the basement on the elliptical machine right now. I'm hoping that will get some of this excess energy out of his body.
And now for me:
I realize that my web design work is a large part of my sanity machine. I've just finished up a site for my client Dr. Stephanie Kriesberg www.drstephaniekriesberg.com, and I'll be helping her with some more projects. I hope to have more web design work soon, because it turns out that working creatively is calming and stimulating at the same time.
And I'm looking at way less news than I was, because hearing that Trump wants to kill a lot of people to help the stock market and/or wants a 500b slush fund that the GOP wants to give him at the expense of workers is way too frustrating and demoralizing to handle right now. And that's in addition to thinking about the disease, the lack of masks and PPE for med workers, and the lack of social distancing among parts of the country. So--limited news breaks.
I've also enjoyed the virtual tea parties I've been having with friends...we all need a bit of social contact. The highlight was the Indigo Girls concert last week (where I saw a lot of my friends on the stream), and the innovative ways communities are connecting without being in the same room.
I wish I had something more inspiring, or funny, or catchy to discuss. Alas, I'm working through the same mourning, anxiety, boredom (actually, I'm not bored, but Benjy is) as the rest of you. Thankfully nobody is sick here.
My wish for all of you is that you find comfort in distancing socially and being socially distant, that you take this time as a moment out of time to connect and make memories that will be with you forever.
And, I'd like to remember my father in-law-in-law (my sister-in-law's father-in-law), Artur Frajnd, zichrono l'vracha, who passed away the night before last in Jerusalem. My thoughts and love are with all of the Frajnds, all over the world, for losing such a wonderful, lovely man. His memory will certainly be a blessing, but for now the sadness and grief predominates. Benjy had a lovely conversation with his cousin Ella today, when she shared her memories of Saba Artur and her sadness at losing him, not being able to talk to him in the last weeks, and not being able to attend his funeral.