Monday 6 September 2021

Welcome to Jumamji, version 2.8

So here we go again.

We've been reasonably fortunate since our initial lockdown in 2020, we've had a few three day lockdowns but that's been it.

Until six days ago.

4pm Saturday the 31st of July, the Delta strain hit Queensland and we were thrown into an initial three day lockdown which was then extended to a week. As I write this, we are six days into the lockdown and hoping that it will end this coming Sunday.

Then online schooling began. At least this time we were prepared for it - teachers began sending information out on how to access online schooling on Sunday afternoon - they were prepared for it this time. O's usual schooling learning is all online so for O, not much changed other then having a few zoom class session during the week. For L, however, everything went online.

Everyone's online/home learning during a pandemic is going to look different. For some families, parents or carers may be considered essential workers and as such they are not able to be at home. Other families may not have reliable access to the internet or an electronic device to access the online resources. Some parents or carers may not feel confident in assisting their children with online learning.

We like to think of of home learning as unschooling. We've been doing the school work online, when I've downloaded the correct work that is! But we've also been doing other learning that isn't necessarily school work but it does have elements of what both little superheroes are learning at school. L likes to call our home learning as unschooling because he's learning at home and not at school, so therefore learning at home is the opposite of schooling, hence unschooling!!

Cooking is a great activity for children to do at any time, not just during a pandemic! L's current maths unit at school is all about measurements - so he was able to put into practice what he had been learning prior to the lockdown. Cooking also incorporates a little bit of science - what is the heat source for the cooking method and what powers the heat source. This cooking session for both little superheroes, ticked off two of L's learning outcomes for the day and it acted as another reading experience for L. And they created a yummy treat for the day.

Exercise is important at any time. During lockdown, it is even more so. We are fortunate in that one of the reasons that we can leave the house is for exercise, as long as it is within a ten kilometre radius of our usual place of residence. During our extended lockdown last year, we started every day with a daily walk. We did attempt on a few occasions to start school work before we went for a walk and the school work didn't end well. A short break from the house was great to clear the mind, get a little fresh air and acted as a movement break for both little superheroes. So this lockdown we've been doing this routine again. A walk around our block also means that Henry is getting some exercise.

Exercise doesn't necessarily need to be a walk. Just due to both little superheroes sensory needs, we have yoga choice and exercise choice balls that we found in our local Kmart - these are also great for movement or exercise breaks. As long as you have an area within your house or your backyard, these can be done anywhere. There are also plenty of free online resources, type in "free online yoga poses for children" into your preferred online search engine, and see what pops up! 

Last year, both little superheroes had our trampoline to use for movement breaks but unfortunately, a few months ago it finally gave way after constant daily (and some night time) use from the little superheroes for the last few years. L's replacement sensory equipment arrived in a timely manner a few days before this current lockdown began. And it has been used on a very regular basis over the last few days. Although we have had to remind L that we are in lockdown at the moment, so we'd appreciate not having any hospital trips. L is our little dare devil after all.

One of the walks that we do goes over a small creek. Both little superheroes love sitting by this creek, looking for aquatic life, testing the depth and just chilling out there. In one of O's subjects at school, they are focusing on aquatic ecosystems and the impact that humans can have on these ecosystems. One on of the walks, we spent some time talking about how healthy the creeks ecosystem was based on what we could see. O spotted some rubbish in the water and asked if we could come back with a rubbish bag to clean the creek, so we did.

During our extended lockdown last year, I downloaded lots, and I mean lots, of free STEM activities - again type "free STEM activities for children" into your preferred online search engine! Both little superheroes love science and the majority of the STEM activities that I found use items that you would have laying around your house. On the first day of this lockdown, there wasn't a lot of work for L to do online so part of his unschooling for the day was a STEM stick raft - he had to design, make and test a stick raft. L decided that the raft needed to be tested in our local creek and that Batman was going to ride on the raft. To L's delight, his raft floated (we did have a long length of twine tied to both the raft and Batman in the unfortunate scenario that the raft didn't float! Batman ending up at the bottom of the creek would not have gone well!) and he's currently planning how he can improve his raft design. While L was planning and building his raft, we incorporated some of his current maths lessons on measurements into the activity.

It's important during any lockdown, no matter how short or long the lockdown is for, that we all look after our mental health. Sometimes we just need to take a break from school work, or own work, and have some chill time. Chill time could look like going for a walk, having a nap, sitting on the couch and watching television. If we look after our own mental health, we'll be in a better place to support our loved ones.

We were extremely fortunate in that this lockdown only lasted a week and a half, but I am certain that at some stage in the future, we will be put back into lockdown. If you are currents in lockdown, please look after yourselves.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on my blog. I do read all the comments that are posted. Thanks so much for stopping by. Jen xx