If any of us thought this quarantine would be short-lived, we know better now (despite calls to reopen the economy). We're now into week 6 of quarantine and are counting on many more as the Covid disease continues to rage on and multitudes of people are infected, whether they're very sick or asymptomatic. In my understanding we may be able to safely loosen (not abandon) restrictions in July until the second wave comes upon us in the fall. Many universities are planning to stay closed til 2021 (since online learning is Josh's business, he has pretty good insights into this).
As time at home continues, we've had to reassess and evaluate how Benjy can do his remote learning (it's certainly remote, but not much learning is going on). For this public school 6th grader, it's mostly busy-work, very limited periods of face to face time with peers or teachers, and a lot of screen time. A few practices have made this sort of bearable, and we're adapting more each week. First, we all exercise every day, without fail. This keeps us on a more even keel and helps us all avoid anxiety overload and tantrums (as much as possible...we all have days when we're overwhelmed). We have a schedule that is sometimes very strict (morning, exercise, and bedtime), and sometimes more loose, depending on what kind of activities are scheduled by the school and synagogue. I have to say that where the school is doing a poor job of keeping the kids connected, the synagogue and Hebrew school are doing a fabulous job. Between Hebrew School checkins, lessons, games sessions, zoom pizza-making parties, singalongs, and T'fillah, the synagogue is performing its function as the place of gathering and connection. After all, Bet Knesset is the house of gatherings, and it's well-named.
We've also discovered that Benjy doesn't do well with choice, or with simply picking up and doing the school activities on his own. So once again we're acting as his teachers (both Josh and me, but more me) and breaking down the assignments with him as if he were in a class. That's proved to be much much better for him, and for us, since the overload would overflow in difficult to manage ways. Also, he's getting to the point where he's ready to connect with his peers more. He'd been reluctant to do so b/c he didn't know what he'd talk to them about, but now he just needs the contact. So we're starting with a group zoom today and we'll continue as much as we're able. Benjy is enjoying some classes from outschool, a homeschool platform, especially the murder mysteries which teach inference and reasoning.
Some of our extended family has been sick, so we're trying to keep in touch with everyone, whether its via social media, phone, text, or video calls. And every day we hear of more people we know, or that our friends know, being directly affected by the Covid disease, which is a devastating sickness. I'm wishing all of you self care and compassion, plenty of toilet paper and baking supplies, more patience, more love, and ingenuity in keeping physically distant but socially close.