Today (Friday 20th March 2020) a new chapter in our Family begins. We are self isolating as far as practical due to the Coronavirus - but the key message is we are isolating, but not isolated.
Whilst it might be viewed as scary, it is necessary, and an opportunity for us to spend quality time together as a family, and do some exciting home schooling. It might be the worst of times, but it could be the best of times for our family (within the limits of the horror happening to so many others).
There will be some challenges - whilst we get on well as a family, there will be times of friction, and that is inevitable, but we need to learn to respect each others space and not let things escalate. Easy to say, harder to do, but we can do it.
The Coronavirus is rampant in the UK now. Today, the government has closed schools in the UK, and our 2 children (6 and 9) will be home from now on until the crisis passes. For 30 years, I've had some rare health conditions and less of an immunity to some things, and whilst I am not technically classified as high risk, we don't want to take the risk and so want to self isolate. Please note: this does not make me a sick person.
There is so much to do. School will be setting some work, which we will do, and we both need to find time to work. The children do Doodle Maths & English everyday too. In talking to the children, they are coming up with ideas for projects.
Florence (6) likes Julia Donaldson books so wants to do a project on those - and has ideas about projects on different animals & other ideas - and I'm sure she'll come up with more. Florence also has virtual ballet lessons to do - we did one the other day using Zoom, and it worked well.
James (9) has ideas too - we'll do things with electricity, he has a chemistry set we haven't used yet, he wants to make things - and I'm sure he'll come up with more too.
And there is painting too, charcoal, pastels, so many creative things we can do.
We can have virtual holidays too - we enjoy Chris Tarrant's Extreme Railways programme, and have enjoyed some locations - the children loved the one in Austria etc. So we'll fit those in - and there is some education value attached.
My wife needs time to get on with her work too - that is important. Her employer is great and so will see how it all works out. And I need time to do mine too.
We hope to use the garden, and do some much needed gardening too.
But we will rest too - we aren't task masters - they and we need it too.
In this unparalleled time we will also have to learn what we need to do, and sometimes make mistakes along the way, and try to forgive one another and ourselves.
A key message, however, is that we are self isolating, but are not isolated.
I have setup Skype to talk to others, and have talked to several parents about our children communicating with each that way too (or using a similar video service).
There is email, and I'm on Whatsapp, Facebook & Instagram too. And there is the good old telephone as well (remember those things, bit like a flat banana with buttons on, you talk into it and someone talks back to you? It's amazing what technology can do these days.)
As long as it takes. Until it is safe to go out again.
As far as possible. No one will be coming to our house, and we will have no physical contact with anyone unless vitally necessary. Some shopping will need to be done, and drop offs to over 70s relatives, but that can be done within limits of self isolating.
As we live busy lives, for years we've had online deliveries and we will continue with this.
Sometimes my wife will have to go out and get vital things from shops, and drop things off to her father, but without contact with others.
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