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COVID-19 - Sometimes feeling 'Out of Sorts'

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Wed 24th Jun 2020
Blog Categories: Things we did | My Coronavirus Story | All / Filter

It is now over 13 weeks since the country (and many other parts of the world) went into lock down, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Whilst this has affected us as a family in many ways, the biggest has been no school for our 7 & 9 year olds, but my wife teaching from home via Zoom, then at her school. And it isn't just about to end - our 7 year old will have 8 days at school preparing to move to junior school, but our 9 year won't attend school at all until at least Sept, and who knows what will happen then. We understand why, and understand others have had far worse during this pandemic, but who could have expected this?

Whilst we as a family get on well, if you put 4 best of friends in a house for 13 weeks, hardly leaving it (as we haven't), there are likely to be tensions. For the past 13 weeks, I have been with our children absolutely every day, near all the time each day with little break, and we have hardly left the house/garden in that time. The past 13 weeks has required bucket fulls of patience, and it has been exhausting at times, and finding time to 'escape' to do something else has been important (like sort my type, or sharpen some tools!).

In traditional printing & typesetting, metal type was called 'sorts', and when they where in short supply or stored incorrectly the printers were said to be 'out of sorts'. Whilst this may or may not be origin of the phrase, as I was sorting my own metal type recently (which I use in letterpress when I have time), it occurred to me that we have at times been feeling 'out of sorts' at times. However, we have tried to make the most of it too.

I started this Coronavirus blog so I could record our story, what we have done and thought, even though it may be small and insignificant compared to the trauma that others have been through, so we didn't become one of the missing millions. We fully understand the need to lock down, and below I record some of the things we've done & thought since this all started.

Home Schooling & Childcare

Home Schooling
We've done a lot of this. With a wife as a teacher, you might think we have it made, but she has been teaching her classes, via Zoom, and later at school, so hasn't been able to spend the time she would have liked to with our children doing home schooling, which has left a lot to me.

Whilst it hasn't all been about education, we have a timetable to create order, which has worked, and have been doing Maths & English each day, along with a variety of other subjects. But it is hard because we aren't teaching them as a teacher would, they are often using books or sites such as the BBC Bitesize to do self study with us helping where needed. Whilst we do our best, they aren't leaning like they would at school, and nor could they reasonably do so from home without daily contact with their teachers - I'm not a teacher.

That doesn't mean we haven't done anything with them - quite the reverse, we have done lots with them, but we also have our own things to do in life, and can't sit with them all day. When they do go back full time - which will be away off - they will have so much to catch up on, and will be at different stages, all this will set them back many months in education.

However, I strongly feel that lock down & home educating is more than just our children learning. It is about spending time with them, talking to them, and finding ways for them to talk to their friends.

Social Interaction
School isn't just about learning, it is also about developing friendships and social interaction, and learning about that. But no school has also meant no time with friends - lock down means lock down and no meetings with friends. So I have organised time with video chat for them both with about 3 friends each - they need it and have enjoyed it. But it is also time consuming as each usually takes an hour, and we are so busy, and have sometimes found it hard to keep it up, but it is necessary for them to do.

More than just school work
However, it hasn't been all about learning. We have done other things, using this time to spend more time with our children, like making dough in our bread machine, and rising/baking bread in the over. Our 9 year old son and I have enjoyed a 'games club' whilst my daughter does ballet via Zoom, and we have enjoyed playing many board games together - currently enjoying adult monopoly.

We and they have spent a lot of time in the garden (we are incredibly fortunate to have a big enough garden), and have continued to work on the garden, especially our veg garden, which they have helped with.

Guilt
It is easy to have feelings of guilt at this time, guilt that they aren't getting the right education, social interaction, time doing other things etc. It is easy to feel guilty about what we might have done, or not done. But we, like many other parents, have made the most of what we could do, and understand that everyone is in the same boat. For me the most important thing is that we have spent time with our children, even if we have had other things to do at times, and for me that is the most important thing.

Home Schooling & Childcare

Home Schooling
We've done a lot of this. With a wife as a teacher, you might think we have it made, but she has been teaching her classes, via Zoom, and later at school, so hasn't been able to spend the time she would have liked to with our children doing home schooling, which has left a lot to me.

Whilst it hasn't all been about education, we have a timetable to create order, which has worked, and have been doing Maths & English each day, along with a variety of other subjects. But it is hard because we aren't teaching them as a teacher would, they are often using books or sites such as the BBC Bitesize to do self study with us helping where needed. Whilst we do our best, they aren't leaning like they would at school, and nor could they reasonably do so from home without daily contact with their teachers - I'm not a teacher.

That doesn't mean we haven't done anything with them - quite the reverse, we have done lots with them, but we also have our own things to do in life, and can't sit with them all day. When they do go back full time - which will be away off - they will have so much to catch up on, and will be at different stages, all this will set them back many months in education.

However, I strongly feel that lock down & home educating is more than just our children learning. It is about spending time with them, talking to them, and finding ways for them to talk to their friends.

Social Interaction
School isn't just about learning, it is also about developing friendships and social interaction, and learning about that. But no school has also meant no time with friends - lock down means lock down and no meetings with friends. So I have organised time with video chat for them both with about 3 friends each - they need it and have enjoyed it. But it is also time consuming as each usually takes an hour, and we are so busy, and have sometimes found it hard to keep it up, but it is necessary for them to do.

More than just school work
However, it hasn't been all about learning. We have done other things, using this time to spend more time with our children, like making dough in our bread machine, and rising/baking bread in the over. Our 9 year old son and I have enjoyed a 'games club' whilst my daughter does ballet via Zoom, and we have enjoyed playing many board games together - currently enjoying adult monopoly.

We and they have spent a lot of time in the garden (we are incredibly fortunate to have a big enough garden), and have continued to work on the garden, especially our veg garden, which they have helped with.

Guilt
It is easy to have feelings of guilt at this time, guilt that they aren't getting the right education, social interaction, time doing other things etc. It is easy to feel guilty about what we might have done, or not done. But we, like many other parents, have made the most of what we could do, and understand that everyone is in the same boat. For me the most important thing is that we have spent time with our children, even if we have had other things to do at times, and for me that is the most important thing.

Not Leaving the House & Shopping

For the first 12 weeks, myself and children barely left the house/garden - we left it about 10 times. In fact, we didn't need to, we have food delivered in various ways, and have a big enough garden to not need to leave the house, so we didn't.

But it is quite incredible to think though about it - in years to come will people really believe us? It has been a challenge. But it happened.

During the first 12 weeks I went into I think 5 local shops only - we had most things delivered so didn't need to. We found it hard after a while to get online deliveries from supermarkets, but other places were delivering food boxes, so we bought into them.

Getting bread flour was (and still) is hard - I make all the bread using our bread machine (except that I can't eat any of it), but found places on line to have 15kg of flour delivered at a time.

So I am completely out of what it is like to visit large shops / chains, and was summarily ticked off yesterday at a large retail store for doing and not doing what I might have done. There is so much to learn.

Not Leaving the House & Shopping

For the first 12 weeks, myself and children barely left the house/garden - we left it about 10 times. In fact, we didn't need to, we have food delivered in various ways, and have a big enough garden to not need to leave the house, so we didn't.

But it is quite incredible to think though about it - in years to come will people really believe us? It has been a challenge. But it happened.

During the first 12 weeks I went into I think 5 local shops only - we had most things delivered so didn't need to. We found it hard after a while to get online deliveries from supermarkets, but other places were delivering food boxes, so we bought into them.

Getting bread flour was (and still) is hard - I make all the bread using our bread machine (except that I can't eat any of it), but found places on line to have 15kg of flour delivered at a time.

So I am completely out of what it is like to visit large shops / chains, and was summarily ticked off yesterday at a large retail store for doing and not doing what I might have done. There is so much to learn.

Coronavirus Research Study

I was invited to take part in a Coronavirus Research Study to see who had the virus but didn't know it - you can read more about this on my blog links below.

Coronavirus Research Study

I was invited to take part in a Coronavirus Research Study to see who had the virus but didn't know it - you can read more about this on my blog links below.

Time for myself

Lock down has been an exhausting time, particularly so at certain times, and I would have to be superman for it not to be. As I have been with our children every day, nearly all the time, since 20th March, with little break, I was aware that at the start it was important for me to find time for myself throughout this.

ERIC & DISC
Some years ago I suggested we have 'quiet time' after lunch some days, where we read. I suggested that we do this every day during lock down - and we have, every day. This has been incredibly useful - after lunch every day we all sit down and read our own books - children included - and it has been incredibly beneficial for us all - including the children. We all get our own time and space and can recharge.

This has become known as ERIC (Everyone Reading In Class) but also sometimes DISC (Dad In Sleeping Class) because occasionally the temptation to have 40 winks is irresistible!

I want to achieve something
There has also been an irresistible desire to achieve something, however small - something more than cooking, home schooling and gardening, and that is not unreasonable.

Time for myself

Lock down has been an exhausting time, particularly so at certain times, and I would have to be superman for it not to be. As I have been with our children every day, nearly all the time, since 20th March, with little break, I was aware that at the start it was important for me to find time for myself throughout this.

ERIC & DISC
Some years ago I suggested we have 'quiet time' after lunch some days, where we read. I suggested that we do this every day during lock down - and we have, every day. This has been incredibly useful - after lunch every day we all sit down and read our own books - children included - and it has been incredibly beneficial for us all - including the children. We all get our own time and space and can recharge.

This has become known as ERIC (Everyone Reading In Class) but also sometimes DISC (Dad In Sleeping Class) because occasionally the temptation to have 40 winks is irresistible!

I want to achieve something
There has also been an irresistible desire to achieve something, however small - something more than cooking, home schooling and gardening, and that is not unreasonable.

Print Making

I have a strong background in using wood & sharpening tools, and in the past few years have explored wood engraving and some letter press. Whilst there may not be many 'results' on this site, never the less, it is something I enjoy and has been a very useful escape in the past few months.

In the evenings, in between saying good night to our 7 and 9 years old, I have been rebuilding my press - I made a new much longer handle, and rebuilt the press bed. And this has worked, I'm able to get better prints - I have written about this elsewhere on my blog (see below).

Sharpening Tools for others
I was fortunate to be able to sharpen the teaching tools of a Society of Wood Engravers member recently, which worked out well, and may well sharpen more of their tools, something which I have a lot of experience of, and enjoy (and am happy to do for others - see my 'Printmaking Services' link below). I am looking at making my own tools too - for myself, and potentially for others. As a family, we can make time for this as it is 'work'.



Print Making

I have a strong background in using wood & sharpening tools, and in the past few years have explored wood engraving and some letter press. Whilst there may not be many 'results' on this site, never the less, it is something I enjoy and has been a very useful escape in the past few months.

In the evenings, in between saying good night to our 7 and 9 years old, I have been rebuilding my press - I made a new much longer handle, and rebuilt the press bed. And this has worked, I'm able to get better prints - I have written about this elsewhere on my blog (see below).

Sharpening Tools for others
I was fortunate to be able to sharpen the teaching tools of a Society of Wood Engravers member recently, which worked out well, and may well sharpen more of their tools, something which I have a lot of experience of, and enjoy (and am happy to do for others - see my 'Printmaking Services' link below). I am looking at making my own tools too - for myself, and potentially for others. As a family, we can make time for this as it is 'work'.



Garden & Cooking

We are fortunate to have a big enough garden to not need to leave the house - it isn't massive, but big enough. Over the years we have been developing the back by building raised beds etc. - we had 2 built and start of the 3rd, but with my wife's mother so unwell, hadn't time to complete it, but have used the time in lock down to continue this, and grow more veg. Currently we have 43 potato plants, 30 beetroot, spinach, carrots, turnips, swede, strawberries and other besides growing.

It has been very satisfying doing this and good to eat things we have grown. Particularly so as I cook nearly all the food in our house, and trying to find something different that young people will eat has always been a challenge. Whilst the garden things 'aren't their favourite' we can but try and at least us adults like it.



Garden & Cooking

We are fortunate to have a big enough garden to not need to leave the house - it isn't massive, but big enough. Over the years we have been developing the back by building raised beds etc. - we had 2 built and start of the 3rd, but with my wife's mother so unwell, hadn't time to complete it, but have used the time in lock down to continue this, and grow more veg. Currently we have 43 potato plants, 30 beetroot, spinach, carrots, turnips, swede, strawberries and other besides growing.

It has been very satisfying doing this and good to eat things we have grown. Particularly so as I cook nearly all the food in our house, and trying to find something different that young people will eat has always been a challenge. Whilst the garden things 'aren't their favourite' we can but try and at least us adults like it.



Conclusion

It is hard to conclude this article. Not because I don't know how to write, or because I don't know what to say. But because I don't know what the right thing to say is - we are in a pandemic and whilst lock down restrictions are slowly being lifted after nearly 14 weeks, there is no definite end in sight. The summer might be easier, but in September, when schools go back, they aren't likely to return full time - I expect they will both go back part time, but probably on different days. My wife will still be teaching, and so I'll do the school run most of the time, but what will happen?

What if there are more outbreaks, as there typically are for flu in the winter? Will we be more prepared with testing, tracing, local lock downs, social distancing and the like? And what about 2021? Will a safe vaccine be found, but who will creating the billions of vaccines needed, and who will get them first, and will it work?

There are times when we have been feeling 'out of sorts' during this pandemic, and for quite justifiable reasons, but we have tried to make the most of it. And, if in the winter, we have to do it all over again - either partly, or fully - then we will just have to carry on as we have done now, and make the most of it again.



Conclusion

It is hard to conclude this article. Not because I don't know how to write, or because I don't know what to say. But because I don't know what the right thing to say is - we are in a pandemic and whilst lock down restrictions are slowly being lifted after nearly 14 weeks, there is no definite end in sight. The summer might be easier, but in September, when schools go back, they aren't likely to return full time - I expect they will both go back part time, but probably on different days. My wife will still be teaching, and so I'll do the school run most of the time, but what will happen?

What if there are more outbreaks, as there typically are for flu in the winter? Will we be more prepared with testing, tracing, local lock downs, social distancing and the like? And what about 2021? Will a safe vaccine be found, but who will creating the billions of vaccines needed, and who will get them first, and will it work?

There are times when we have been feeling 'out of sorts' during this pandemic, and for quite justifiable reasons, but we have tried to make the most of it. And, if in the winter, we have to do it all over again - either partly, or fully - then we will just have to carry on as we have done now, and make the most of it again.




<< Newer | Latest | 10 of 103 | Older >>
Blog Categories: Things we did | My Coronavirus Story | All / Filter

All text, images and illustrations © Copyright David Rodgers 2020 unless stated otherwise. No copying in part or whole without written permission.

Disclaimer

All articles made are based on my own personal experience, and may not be suitable for everyone. They are not to be taken as formal advice; always seek personal professional advice before doing anything, especially if it is health related, or might affect your health.

Where links are provided to external sites, I am not responsible for the content of these sites.

All content is believed to be correct at time of writing, but policies and prices change over time, and this article is not updated to reflect this. Double check all facts before making any decisions.





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