day 1 distance learning, day V19

We are done with break.  Wow, was that an exciting 10 days!  We slept, ate, um…. made speculative plans about things we have no control over.  With 3 kids going on week 3 we are now pretty acclimated to the lock-in lifestyle, time to mix things up and add academic rigor!

Schools are between a rock and a hard place.  Give too little and some will wonder what their kids do for 8 hours a day and think teachers have a cush job, or, they are being shorted on education.  Give too much and parents are overwhelmed and throw hands in air and freak.  There is no easy way to start in quarter 4 and flip all the kids to ‘distance learning’ (we don’t say e-learning because it isn’t all Electronic)  In reality 100% of kids in pretty much the world are in the same capsized boat.  Do what you can, have them do what they can, it will be ok.  Just getting something into the teachers will (probably) be enough for them to move on to next year because again, the whole world is in this.

It is something new and novel to write about.  I might even have guest bloggers since the kids need writing and typing practice.  I definitely do not have any free time.  What little I had around the ‘fun’ of keeping them all cool over the past 2 weeks have evaporated with needing to make the academic rounds.  I choose to put each in their own room, might change that after 10,000 steps around my own upstairs but for now it gives the illusion of exclusive focus for each child for a time.

Today we really only had a half-day because I had to get the materials for the next 10 days from the school along with textbooks etc so we didn’t get going until lunchtime.  There were moments of mania where I just could not figure out what we were doing and what went with what and I was reading directions for the 4th time as someone needed something and someone else called on the phone and another friend is texting because we parents are all in this together too.  A bit of a perfect storm happened and once I got them going I took a 5 min break locked in the bathroom.  I recovered, I figured out what goes with what and the method to the madness of each teacher is much more clear.  The fact that we did achieve a solid 75% of ‘day 1’ when we started at 12:30 and were done (not finished, just done) by 3:30 and I kicked them all out for ‘gym class’.   Yes!  even gym sent work to do and I’m thankful for the guidance and also glad that I know I can just count anything they do actively for 30min as ‘gym’ and my school will be ok.

Tomorrow we start earlier and I know what is on the agenda.  My goal is two or three 45min chunks.  Once we get through tomorrow it is the weekend!  woo hoo, weekends have meaning again 🙂

One thing I’m keeping in mind;  I am not homeschooling.  I’m facilitating learning.  The kids each do have a teacher all day at the other end of the phone, text, or video conference.  They are given a curriculum, books, and day by day work.  If I homeschooled all the planning would be on me and I’m glad it is not.  Home school dedicate a ton of time and energy to the process and while it sucks to be tossed in like this, we are not being told to DIY it, we are being asked to help it happen.  Second, homeschool has a giant list of things they must prove to the state and it is exhausting – we don’t need to do that, and if you unenroll your child and claim homeschool you have to do that crazy list too so you might as well stay with the program.  Finally, all we need to do is turn in whatever our kids do weekly and if we totally screw it up, another teacher will help out next year fill in the gaps.  I’m hopefully going to exceed that bar but I’m glad the bar is quite low.

That is it for now.  I’m going to get back to that lovely family togetherness.

Puzzles finally make sense

I remember loving puzzles and we have acquired puzzles over the years at many levels.  We even still have some 4 and 8 piece baby puzzles, just waiting on the right time to pass them on.  The friend that asked me for all my baby stuff, that a dutifully saved and moved and continue to save is now a complicated situation so maybe this year we have the giant yard sale.  ANYWAY – my kids had never been too into puzzles

until now!

Maybe it was because I was doing one, maybe they hit the level of bored, maybe it is the maturity to get satisfaction from the puzzle but yesterday it clicked for them.  When it was ‘too quiet’ out there and I expected some horror to clean up I went around the corner and saw this;


#3 is just off to the right, I missed her somehow.  You can see her puzzle though

Double glad we have the space for 3 girls and 3 puzzles.  They actually choose puzzles over other things!  This is a big step because a few days ago #3 was crying that she “couldn’t do it” (it was a 30 piece floor puzzle with gigantic pieces)  when she did, it was the best confidence booster ever.  That puzzle is really too easy but I’m glad we kept it around.

If you remember, even before this lock-in, I had been working on the fine organization of the house and that has continued.  Timing is harder now because I can’t just focus on one chore because I’m on call all the time, but, I got 2 big ones done yesterday.

The spice drawer is now clean and labeled, the cabinet (not pictured) is organized too so we only have savory in the drawer and baking in the cabinet.



This art cart in the cabinet was moved in absolute chaos because it was one of the things that we packed fast and early in the moving process and while we actually use it all the time, it has not been emptied and organized in years.  I found a few spills that had worked their way between drawers so the entire thing got emptied, cleaned, and reassembled.  It was one of those projects that really really looked worse before it got better, I removed about have a trash can of trash, but now it is ready for active duty for the foreseeable future.


It lives in a cabinet that is plumbed for a sink that I just have not done yet, so, the drain pipe sticks into where the bins are.  Before I had the whole thing pulled forward in the cupboard to compensate it was always shifting and bumping.  I rearranged the drawers to leave an open spot for the obstacle and now the drawers open more easily.  I put a bit of thin scrap wood in like a shelf and taped it down so now the watercolors and brush basket can live there and the extra drawer sits on top keeping the papers from spilling over.

Today (I’m writing about the day before ‘daily’) is less productive with organizing so far but they can’t all be winners.


Vacation from it all

TP status – roll #4 and #5 just started

TV status – ALL DAY

mood – very festive (see above)

Days since I left the house – 2

Semi Voluntary Quarantine day –  9


I declared Tuesday “TV and PJs all day”.  This is a very big deal for them because it has basically never happened in their life.  After reading dozens of ‘don’t stress’ posts, and looking at our dreary weather and lack of prospects for vacation fun this was the best I could do.  It also let me not worry about keeping them amused.

They actually did get bored by the end but did thoroughly enjoy it.  Fiona and I did a bike ride in PJ’s, it was funny.

Personally, I don’t really want to watch TV all day so I did computer catch up, finished the giant puzzle we started and did a general chill day with no fighting.  I did not listen to the news at all, that was the real break for the day.

Unfortunately a blend of stupid TV and amorphous stress coupled with each others solo company for 10+ days now there was quite a fight going to bed with insults directly from the idiotic show they binge-watched and 20 min each talking through it all. As a result, some of those shows are on a lifetime ban for being bad examples.  Oh well, no good deed goes unpunished.  The day was overall enjoyable and very ‘vacation’ like.

Hello Ms Shannon

TP status – roll #2 and #3 holding strong

TV status – 5pm but an hour break for dinner and chores

mood – meh – someone is getting cranky and sensitive but we are ok

Days since I left the house – 1

Semi Voluntary Quarantine day –   8


In our old house, we had a door that was the home to Mr. McCabbage.  He was the first Leprachan in our life and the kids loved him and when we moved his door ‘disappeared’ (I packed it).  It resurfaced in the course of time but no matter how hard I looked I could not find it before this St Patricks day to re-deploy it so we had to make a new magic door.  I decided that we should also give the ‘write to a leprechaun’ a try so I created a new one, Ms Shannon, because; new door, new leprechaun.  Given we are in the house for a while and there are fewer distractions and going out it is way easier to create the fiction of a letter-writing leprechaun then other years.  Plus, #2 and #3 really want to believe and #1 either won’t admit she believes or is playing it cool for her sisters but isn’t participating much.


I love her protection for my containers.  

My opinion is this is a fun way to get them reading and writing and researching (for them and me) and it is fun for me to make up some stories for them.  So far they have discussed travel and seasons and foods.  They left her some brownies (meaning they baked brownies!) and I also implied that she enjoys a tidy play room so they are keeping it clean in there and also getting creative with making some things for her to enjoy.


Even with all the free time I have now, Ms Shannon can’t quite manage to write daily but she does send a wee little note (8 point font on a 2 inch wide page) most nights and they are pretty good about writing to her too


I hope to keep it up, we will see how long everyone is interested.  If you have any topics that a leprechaun might want to bring up let me know.

spring break day 2

TP status – roll #2 and #3

TV status – 6pm

mood – felt like a weekend

Days since I left the house – 0  – grocery and home depot, the depot was out of paint!

I ‘missed’ posting yesterday but in reality, my evening routine is really pretty intact and does not include a blog post normally so way easier for me to do a post about yesterday than a post about today after my evening stuff.

Sunday was Sunday in a lot of ways.  Kids and we played some board games, we changed sheets, talked to my sisters and while not novel in life, the novel for the weekend we went out to a few shops.  Life ‘on the outside’ was weirdly normal, the grocery was pretty well stocked and had a ‘normal’ number of people, same with home depot except they were out of paint.  The reason was that A. people are getting paint for projects and B. the trucks that run normally are being used for more important things.

I’m getting super bored with Facebook.  All pandemic, all the time is dull.

We did a puzzle, cleaned up from the day and watched our shows; Big Bang Theory with the kids and The Black List for us after kid bedtime.  Our evenings are also quite ‘the same’ too.

I’ll be happy to continue to have dull news because it means we are not piling up bodies like so many models showed.  This is looking like a very dull 2-8 weeks for me, I wish nothing more than ‘nothing happened’, I had my fill of excitement over the past two weeks as the world spun out of control with measures to combat this.  Boring is not an exciting blog fodder – unless you are interested by what new things they can whine over that is all we got, but I’m still crossing fingers for dull.

how is the rest of the world doing?


TP status – roll #3 *forgot to count downstairs that was replaced yesterday too.

TV status – 7:30pm!  Did a LONG game with their dad.

mood – weekend! vacation! can’t go anywhere? lets nap

Days since I left the house – 1


Today is the first day of spring break.  We had plans for a getaway but now we are just getting better at social technology.  I learned Zoom today with my parents, it isn’t hard, just better to learn in pairs.

The advantage to it being a weekend is that Lars can be more helpful in the day.  To his credit, he has taken over meals and that takes a load off my mind – he made lunch for us all week but then back to the office he goes and I manage the kids and everything else.  We are used to the work from home thing so that is in our favor, the rest we are figuring out.  While Lars and the girls played an epic multi-hour board game today, I learned 2.5 chords on the Ukulele, did a bit of a puzzle and read a little of my book.  I enjoyed the ‘lock-in’ a little today, I haven’t done a puzzle in over a year and now.

I’m also dwelling a bit more in my bubble today.  Not looking at the news and only skimming Facebook for posts about normal stuff.  The best thing I can do is be in the house so I’m not going to drive myself crazy with things outside of my control.

That’s it for today, day 6, looking forward to pancakes tomorrow