Today started with a Zoom art lesson from Tiny’s teacher, who patiently led her students through the paces of making their own illuminated manuscripts using salt dough, after patiently leading her students through a lesson on the history of illuminated manuscripts.
As we looked through his lessons for this week, one of them is to plan a trip to a state park – a creative lesson that will give students a chance to not only learn sequencing and storytelling but also learn about ecosystems and history.
All this is to say that teachers are doing a great deal of tremendous work keeping students engaged during this – for lack of a better word – weird time. I’m amazed at how well they do this – but one of my teacher friends told me candidly that her household is just as much a “hot mess” as I feel mine is some days.
I often think about how my grandmother described growing up during the Great Depression, and how she rarely spoke of the hardship, but always spoke about how her family worked together. Scarce money for food meant she perfected her biscuit recipe and became an ace with a fishing pole. No money for clothes meant she became adept at mending. Living in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl meant she learned to clean well – and often – and was very good at cheaply weatherproofing a home.
She told us stories about the family listening to the radio at night, or playing games. She spoke often of the fun they had, despite the hardship.
And I can’t help but think about how Tiny will look back on this time – and hope he speaks of our enforced togetherness in equally loving terms. But I also feel a little silly about it – because aside from cabin fever, not being able to find certain household staples that are normally easily purchased, and the intricacies of trying to conduct a serious interview while your child complains about fractions in the background, we do have it so easy right now.
But we also don’t. Before the pandemic, if I needed some me time, I could hop in the car and go get a manicure, or go to the bookstore and browse. Now, alone time is more the drive to Central Market for curbside pickup.
But we are all trying to take that time for ourselves – often toward the end of the day, we each kind of “retreat” to different rooms and read and rest. It’s not better, it’s not the same, but it is enough for now.
How do you recharge your batteries after a full day of working from home and teaching at home? Let us know. And keep your eyes peeled soon here for a conversation with Erin Duvall and Molly Duvall Thomas, the dynamic siblings of Sisters of Red, about how their families are working their way through this shelter-in-place life.
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