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. 

Today we begin a new kind of home education. This is not home education as we have known it for the past five years. It is different. We will actually be spending a lot of time at home! A lot of people have misconceptions about home education. Firstly, people often believe that homeschooling means school at home, which is not the case. And secondly, people often think that homeschoolers do not socialise, also, not the case. Usually we socialise a lot. Everyday we get out of the house and meet up with other children and families. Now, we won't. It is going to be challenging!

I have gradually been explaining to the children, the situation that we find ourselves in. I've tried to explain to them that we won't be able to see people for a while and that our usual groups and activities are closed and they all seem sad at this. I hope they will get used to our new rhythm easily.


We started off the day, as usual, with morning time. First we did recitation (a surah from the Quran) and we read a chapter from The Prophets by Syed Ali Ashraf. I read some picture books for the younger ones and a chapter from our read aloud, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, for the other two. K, aged 4, gasped in shock when I said the word, Bloodyditch, a place name, because of the word 'bloody'. I explained that while 'bloody' is a swear word, it can also mean something covered in blood and that it was called that because a battle had taken place there. In the book it said that Bloodyditch is now called Blowditch. 

This got us into a discussion about how the same word can sometimes have two different meanings. I asked the children to think of some other words they knew that sounded the same but had different meanings. They came up with things like see/sea, spring etc. I love how even fictional read alouds can lead us to learning!

The children then did their maths work, 20 minutes of Math Mammoth, and then we had our morning snack. I had to take 20 minutes to film a short clip for a coronavirus guidance video I am working on with the NHS and Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership group then. The video will show the information in eight different minority languages that are spoken in our local area.

Next, we continued with our history topic. We are learning about the battle of Hastings at the moment and we watched some video from BBC Teach which show the events leading up to the battle of Hastings, such as the battle of Stamford Bridge, and the battle of Hastings itself. Then the children finished their timeline of kings from the death of Alfred the Great to William the Conqueror.


After lunch we watched a bilingual English/French story being read by Cate on the Babel Babies Facebook page. I think she is reading bilingual stories at 2pm everyday at the moment! Then we took the scooters and went for a walk around our local area, taking care to keep a good distance from anyone we saw. We have some beautiful fields just five minutes walk from our house. Although it is the first day of spring, it feels more wintery outside right now. But, we all need a bit of fresh air!

The children had the opportunity to run around the fields and we watched the horses for a while. It is so important that we continue to get outside as much as possible while we still can, as long as we keep to social distancing requirements. A, aged 2, managed to walk or scooter the whole way there are back and I feel that the time will soon come when I no longer need the pushchair.

When we got back home, the children did their own thing for a while; reading and general playing. Then I let them watch some TV while I cooked dinner. Apart from not meeting up with friends in the afternoon, it was our usual routine. The children have been asking to see friends and I keep having to explain to them that they won't be able to do that for a while.

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