Thursday, April 16, 2020
It’s day 30 of the stay at home order, and day 3 of organized school at home. Guess which one has been harder? My kids, who had been fine at home when they were totally in charge of their own time, are now unhappy, overwhelmed, and anxious.
When they made their own schedules, they spent their time reading, writing, exercising, cooking, working in the garden, embroidering and sewing, and doing schoolwork whenever they felt like it. Now they are receiving daily assignments from 6 to 8 teachers a day, each of which is SUPPOSED to take no more than 30 minutes. In fact, though, they are spending five or six hours a day on schoolwork and not being able to complete the workload. I saw one emailed assignment from a teacher that involved reading twenty pages (of dense material), watching two videos, and taking a quiz. There’s no way that’s 30 minutes of work.
Without access to, you know, actual teaching, they are having a difficult time with some of the material, and I cannot help them with a lot of it. My math skills only go up to 6th grade or so. I’m encouraging them to take lots of breaks, get outside, and don’t sweat it too much. I also emailed that one teacher and asked her if she really considered this assignment to be 30 minutes of work?
The enforced immobility is just getting to everybody. Paloma had a small breakdown over her birthday, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. She’s turning 15, and before all this started we were planning her quince, which, for the non-Latinos, is a huge fancy party that is second only to a wedding in a girl’s life. We’d rented the hall and bought the dress and bought plane tickets for her abuelita and tía to come from Oaxaca. Not only is none of that happening, but she can’t even have a few friends over for a regular birthday party. It’s just another day in quarantine.
It’s a big deal to her, and I didn’t want to minimize it, but I did spend a little time talking about how many things we actually have to be grateful for right now. We are safe, healthy, together, and have no worries about getting enough to eat or paying the rent. It’s a beautiful spring and we have a beautiful farm to observe and enjoy it. The trees are in blossom and there will be baby goats soon. She has a sister that she actually likes and gets along with. Her papa and mama are both home and available. We got Disney Plus.
It IS difficult. I’ve only been off work for five days and I’m already going a little stir crazy, and the girls have had a solid month pretty much without leaving the property. We got more bad news, which I haven’t even told Paloma yet. The county health department recommended that festivals and gatherings be cancelled right through the end of August. That would mean, among other things, no county fair. Fair is the apotheosis of teen summer social events, and the only time she gets to see her friends from all over the county. This year she asked if she was old enough to stay until closing and I’d said yes. She’s going to be so upset when she finds out there (most likely) won’t be a fair this year.
Nothing makes me sadder than seeing my children sad. I’ve got to keep myself cheerful somehow, for their sake as much as my own.