Monday 30 March 2020

Day 7 of Lockdown

Today is the start of the new homeschool week. We had a shortened school period because I had a meeting at 11am about telepractice - carrying out speech and language therapy online. I am hoping to start work again as a speech and language therapist on the temporary COVID-19 HCPC register.

Despite out shortened time, we managed to do maths and copywork and I read the next chapter of our homeschool coop book, 'The fantastic flying journey' by Gerald Durrell.

The meeting was very useful. It was carried out over Zoom and I am getting used to using Zoom now. It seems a really easy-to-use platform. I learnt loads of tips on how to carry out speech and language therapy using Zoom as a platform as well as useful apps and resources.

In the afternoon, Sefer had to go shopping for food. The children played in the garden and I read a bit of my book. Then we made pizza dough and, after this, the children watched a film.

Sefer and the children made the pizza for dinner and it was absolutely delicious! Sefer is good at making pizza as he used to work in a Kebab shop and Zizzi Italian restaurant. 

After dinner we played some games. I played Scrabble with the older two and Sefer played Dobble with the younger two. Delal managed to get an extremely high score by using the 'Q' on a triple letter score! She won the game and then the children all played hide and seek with Sefer before bed.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Day 6 of Lockdown

Today we went on a walk to the fields near our house. It is only the second time we have been out the house for exercise. I have felt quite content at home this week but now that the weather is cooler and we haven't spent as much time in the garden, I thought it best to go for a walk to have some fresh air.

We did not see anyone on our short walk to the fields, however, there were a few families in the field. Normally, I never see anyone there. However, the field is huge and it was easy to maintain social distancing rules.

The children had great fun running around, seeing the horses and finding ladybirds. It was surprising how many ladybirds there were. We will come back again in a few days time.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Day 5 of Lockdown

It's the weekend so no school work. Today has been quite a slow day. We haven;t done much. The weather was not so good so I didn't spend any time in the garden. The children did though. They enjoyed playing on the trampoline in the afternoon. They have been spending so much time on the trampoline recently.

Friday 27 March 2020

Day 4 of Lockdown

Today we discovered that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has coronavirus! I bet he's now wishing he put the country into lockdown sooner! Meanwhile we spent another day at home. I'm actually feeling quite content and don't even feel the need to venture out for a walk yet. The weather probably has something to do with it.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Day 3 of Lockdown

Day 3 has been much the same as the other days this week. We started with some read alouds and then did the PE lesson by Joe Wickes on YouTube. We did maths and copywork and then I thought I'd bake a Turkish snack this morning. This was a bit of a mistake because it took so long so we ended up with an extra long morning break. I must remember to save this recipe for the weekends in future! 

This is what I made. They were delicious and very moreish and thankfully I've made enough to last for a few days.

After morning break we all hung out in the garden - it's still beautifully warm outside - and did some foreign language lessons. We started off recapping the French vocabulary we learned recently and then practised Turkish. Then Sefer gave the children a lesson in his mother tongue; Zazaki. Zazaki is a Kurdish language spoken by around 10% of the Kurdish population of Turkey. I hardly know any Zazaki, mainly because there are no books on how to learn it so the only way is to learn it from a native speaker of the language.

After this we read some more about the battle of Hastings. Then the children did some watercolour painting. The children were very happy playing in the garden so we didn't go out for a walk. We really have to make the most of this glorious weather!

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Day 2 of Lockdown

Today was the second day of lockdown and I'm still feeling fine! I think the good weather definitely helps. We spent a lot of time in the garden again but also managed a trip to the playing fields round the corner so the boys could play football without worrying about breaking the greenhouse!

Riyad wanted to colour in his map so he did that first thing. Then I read some read alouds and we managed to finish 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks'! It was a brillant book and I enjoyed it just as much as the children. Then we did PE with Joe Wickes. I did not join in today as I was busy putting the final touches to a video I am creating in collaboration with the NHS to give guidance about coronavirus in seven minority languages. There is a real worry that ethnic minority groups and at greater risk of contracting the virus because they don't have access to the health warnings and guidance.

The children help me make jam tarts for morning snack. Asiya was not happy because Delal wouldn't let her hold the jam jar.

After lunch we carried on learning about the Battle of Hastings and the Bayeux tapestry. 

After lunch, we took a short walk to a small playing field round the corner from our house so the boys could play football without breaking another window (Riyad did this quite recently)! We also took the tennis rackets and picnic blanket and spent almost two hours playing together in the sunshine. It was a wonderful day.

In the evening I was finally able to upload a new coronavirus guidance video that we produced in collaboration with the NHS and Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group. The video gives guidance in 8 languages. It is really important to get information out there in minority languages and we have had a good response to the video so far.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Day 5 Official Lockdown Begins

Today was the first day of the offical lockdown. It was fine. We spent the whole day at home, not even going outside our home for exercise because I didn't feel the need to on the first day. We spent most of the day in the garden because the weather was absolutely beautiful - warm and sunny. I can't believe how much it has warmed up in the last couple of days.

We started the morning with some read alouds and then did the live PE lesson by The Body Coach. It was a lot of fun but my legs are starting to ache already! After this, the older two got on with their maths and copywork while I baked flapjacks with the younger two.

When the flapjacks were ready we sat out in the garden for our morning snack. While eating we listened to 'Spring' by Vivaldi and also some English folk songs. The children sang along as they listened to 'The Ashgrove', 'Scarborough Fair', 'The Water is Wide' and 'Greensleeves.'  

After snack, we took a look at a book about the Bayeux Tapestry. I do not know much about this so I'm really enjoying learning more about this important historic source. Riyad decided he wanted to draw one of the pictures from the book. He loves drawing.

After lunch, I showed the children a book about how to draw Europe. The boys were very eager to get started. I explained that we should do a bit each day in order to take it in slowly and actually learn the names of the countries and where they are in Europe. However, the boys had other ideas. They wanted to complete the map straight away. I let them because when children get passionate about something, I believe it is best to let them crack on with it. As Julie Boggart says in her book 'The Brave Learner', "A enchanted education is like kindling a fire. All you need is a book of matches." This is so true. I introduced the children to the book and this sparked an interest in drawing Europe and I love how that little spark of interest ignited a fire, a passion to learn.

Monday 23 March 2020

Day 4 of Social Distancing

It's Monday today so we started off the day with our usual homeschool routine. We read some books and recited a chapter of the Quran. Then, we did something different; a PE class with The Body Coach! Joe Wickes is doing live PE classes every week day via his YouTube channel. It was brilliant! I joined in with the kids are it was great to do some exercise for the first time in years.

There are so many free, online classes and subscriptions at the moment. Celebrities are offering lots of freebies to help keep children occupied during school closures. It's great but there are so many live lessons being offered throughout the day, I'm wondering if we are going to get any of my planned work done!

Sefer had to take his car for the MOT and when he got back he looked after the children so I could do some work for my online courses. The children spent a lot of time in the garden and Sefer cut the grass; just in time for the good weather!

In the afternoon, Sefer had to go to the barber shop to collect his things and help them deep clean the place in preparation to close. It was the last day for many shop workers as the government tells people to practise social distancing.

In the evening, the news we had been waiting for finally came. The Prime Minister announced he was locking down the country! I am pleased about this because I do not think people have taken recent guidance about social distancing seriously. It was time for some more serious measures to be put in place. We need to stop this virus spreading and save lives!

I do feel like we should have gone into lockdown around two weeks ago. The government originally planned to let the virus spread throughout the country in an attempt to create herd immunity. This was the wrong tactic and the government soon did a u-turn on it and started advising people to stay at home. But now they have taken the final step to keep people in their homes. We are allowed out only for necessities like food, medicines and looking after an elderly or vulnerable person. Key workers, such as health professionals and supermarket workers, are also allowed out to go to work. Also, we are allowed to go out once a day for exercise but we must only go with the family members we live with and must stick to social distancing rules (keeping two meters apart).

Sunday 22 March 2020

Day 3 of Social Distancing

Today is Mother's Day and what a strange one it's been. A lot of people will not have been able to visit their mothers today because of social distancing. My mum and dad are staying in their caravan in Devon at the moment but even if they were home I wouldn't have visited because they are more vulnerable to this virus, especially my dad. We did video call and have a chat and my mum read the children a story. She said she will read them stories every day via video call.

We had a slow morning. We baked some chocolate chip scones and then the children set to work making me some flowers as we hadn't been shopping to buy gifts. It is best we avoid the shops wherever possible. I am only going shopping for food.

The weather was so beautiful today. It's surprising how much it has warmed up over the last too days. It felt really spring-like. We went for a walk in a local woodland. I thought walking in the woods would be easier for social distancing than going to a park. I've heard people have been flocking to the parks and beaches over the last couple of days so social distancing is impossible in these places. It really shocks me how so many people are not taking social distancing seriously. I feel like the government are going to have to enforce this soon otherwise how are we ever going to get rid of this virus?!

The woodland was busier than I've ever seen it but not so busy as to make social distancing difficult. There were plenty of times that we were the only ones in a certain spot, however, we did pass people on the main footpath through the woods.

It was wonderful seeing the children run around outside. We searched for spring flowers and climbed a hill to some fields where we sat down to rest. The children decided to do some nature journaling and I felt happy sitting in the sunshine as they painted. I hope we have a lot more good weather like this. I can't imagine it would be any fun to be isolated inside on rainy days without the option of going swimming or to a museum.

All in all it was a good afternoon out but I couldn't find the hand sanitiser and I panicked a bit about this. I know it is not really needed in the woods but there were a number of gates we had to go through and I thought it would have been better to use hand sanitiser before and after using these. 

Riyad took a bagful of paper aeroplanes to the woods to fly them. He is completely obsessed with them at the moment!

Saturday 21 March 2020

Day 2 of Social Distancing

Only day 2 and feeling quite positive. It hasn't really sunk in yet that we won't be able to see our friends and visit our favourite places for the foreseeable future. The children have been asking to see their friends and I have to keep explaining that we can't see other people at the moment. They have been asking to go our local country park but I had to explain that it's closed. My 2 year old has asked to go to the library (we usually go once a week for rhyme time) and she doesn't understand why we can't go. 'Why' is her new favourite word and I think her constant questioning is going to drive me slightly crazy soon!

As today is World Poetry Day I decided to focus on poetry. I read the children poems from one of our favourite poetry books. Later, we watched YouTube videos of the poet Michael Rosen performing some of his poems. The children were entranced by these videos. They had no idea a poem could be so exciting to listen to and watch. I am going to try getting them performing poetry soon. I think they will really enjoy the creative process.

After listening to lots of poetry, I asked the children to write a poem of their own about coronavirus. I thought it would be a good way for them to express their thoughts and feelings about this pandemic. Riyad, age 7, wrote the following short poem:

Coronavirus is killing everyone.
It is very bad.
It is very sad.

Wow. That was a shock. He must have some strong feelings about this. I guess he is picking up on the atmosphere and the constant conversation about the pandemic. I need to have a proper chat with the children about what is going on.

We spent a lot of the afternoon in the garden. I am so thankful for our garden at this time. So grateful that we have our own outdoor space where we can spend time playing, gardening and connecting in safety.

The younger ones spent a long time bouncing on the trampoline and I started re-potting some of the seedlings. We only planted the seeds about two weeks ago and a lot have already shot up.

My sister came over to drop the budgie back at our house (my brother had been looking after it for a while). I am not sure if I am allowed to be in close contact with my sister but seeing as we have both been around lots of other people lately (before starting social distancing) I guess we should be distancing from each other too. I thought it would be best if she kept a good distance from the children so I asked her to take the boys to the playing field to play football because social distancing can happen more easily in a big open space.

Later in the day the children watched a few hours of TV. More than I would have liked but I am feeling quite distracted at the moment and I have to let it go while we navigate our new normal. Riyad spent a lot of time making paper aeroplanes and now I have them all over the house.

Friday 20 March 2020

Day 1 of Social Distancing

Today we begin our new normal. For the first time ever, all our social plans are cancelled. No meeting with friends, no homeschool coops and no evening activities. Things are starting to get serious but it doesn't yet seem real. I feel like I'm living in a dream and I could wake up at any second and it will all be normal again. It is hard to comprehend what is going on. It is hard to comprehend that we will be isolated from others for a long period of time, potentially. 

Thursday 19 March 2020

The Lockdown Begins

My name is Weronika and I am a homeschool mum of four children aged 10, 7, 4 and 2 from the south west of England. I am married to Sefer, a Kurdish man from Turkey. I have been blogging for around seven years at Multicultural Motherhood about all things homeschooling, parenting and raising multilingual children. In my latest article I wrote about how those who have been affected by school closures do not need to replicate school at home. You can read it HERE.

Day 27 of Lockdown

Today we were back to homeschool and it felt much better. I think having a bit of structure to the day really helps during lockdown. You nee...