Its been weeks now that people have been messaging and asking if I would share a “Quarantine Schedule.”
This is an excerpt of a response I posted on Instagram:
After I posted about grieving during the pandemic, I received a few messages from people asking if I would post something a little more hopeful, or even helpful, like a quarantine schedule. Friends, here is a spoiler alert—I won’t be posting a schedule. That doesn’t mean we don’t have one, but the last thing I’d do is share a schedule that we definitely aren’t following. We’ve lost our co-op, therapy team and access to our community. Nobody here is breezing through this. Sure, I could put together an idealistic quarantine schedule and post it, but I certainly wouldn’t follow it. That’s never been my jam and I won’t start now…..
I still stand by this. I have no schedule to offer because every day looks a little different for us. Instead, I’ll share what TODAY looked like. I will try to do this a few times over the next few weeks to give an idea of what homeschooling looks like now with so many of our support beams gone. Homeschooling without co-op, beach days, art museums, libraries, friends, field trips, or therapies. It is both richer and poorer in many ways.
On Wednesday April 23, 2020, our 42nd day of isolating at home, this is what happened. No apologies for the long post. If you asked for it, here it is. More than anything I want to document what these days look like. You’re welcome to tag along. I have linked materials here because I am not answering many messages these days. Some are affiliate links.
8:00AM I woke up late. Far later than I got up in my before corona days. This is because I have been staying up late into the night catching up with friends or reading with inadequate respect for tomorrow. I feel like I saw a meme that said that once….
I follow my PTSD management protocol, try not to look at any news items or social media, remind myself that I have work to do and head out to the kitchen to get the morning chores rolling. I’ll admit that I have at least two or three days a week lately when I really do not want to do anything at all. I have to pray, read scripture and pull myself together to do the work at hand. Its painfully hard some days. Today when I walked out to the main part of the house the kids looked happy and eager for the day. That doesn’t always happen these days, but today it did which meant it would be an easier day. Children scattered to feed the animals or unload the dishwasher and then the boys began to make a breakfast quiche. I caved and looked at my phone and found a text from a friend who is struggling greatly. I teared up, sent her a verse, prayed for her and helped the boys put the quiche in the oven.
Little Boy Quiche Recipe
store bought crust
bits of eggshell
1/2 cup of cheese
(If you are under the age of 8, all the herbs you can find)
Bake at 375 till golden brown.
8:45AM-9:45AM Morning time. Its been starting late these days. I’m ok with it.
We lit the candle and sang a call to worship. We’re currently memorizing a portion of the Sermon on the Mount and begin with it every day. Then we go round the table with our readings. I’m reading Exodus right now, the eldest reads the Psalm of the day, the second born reads a portion of Proverbs and the third born reads from John. The youngest closes by leading us in the hymn of the month which is “I need thee every hour.” This is something we do nearly every day. Today we read a little extra from Exodus because it was a gripping part of the story.
We recited the Nicene Creed and said our catechism. By this point everyone had eaten and we were free to sip tea and practice our poems. We reviewed memorized poems from years past and learned a few more line from our new poem: “Bilbo’s Walking Song” by JRR Tolkien. The boys asked for this one since we can’t go anywhere except in our imaginations so we might as well walk with Bilbo. The little one asked, “I wonder what our friends are doing right now?”
We read a fairytale, Sleeping Beauty and talked about the duty of kings. Then we read a portion about stink bugs from our nature book (evolution viewpoint) and the boys were quite riveted. At this point the seven year old was rolling on the floor by the window so I moved us all to the library and set “The Silver Chair” (CS Lewis) on audiobook for the boys to listen to. The boys had dropped their dishes in the sink on the way to the library so I stacked them while we listened to Puddlegum and Jill and Eustace make way through the land of the giants. Afterwards I dismissed the youngest and we read a bit from “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat and “World War 1” by Richard Maybury and had a fifteen minute discussion about it. We were going to read from their economics book but my brain felt foggy. Thats been happening a lot these days.
9:45-11:20AM I told the little one to go play or visit the animals and the older three to commence THE TRIO. This is what we call music, math and latin, which they rotate throughout three different rooms in the house. The third born began practicing piano and the older two began their Latin which today consisted of a review sheet and working through vocabulary flashcards. They recited declensions and did a little bit of translation work. Its difficult to capture the chaos of everything that took place within that sentence. The older boy works at a slower pace than the second born who flies through everything with haste. When they work together I have to spur one on so he stays focused and slow the other one down so he doesn’t make mistakes. The little one of course came back inside and was crawling all over me (and the flashcards) while the dueling personalities tried to sync up for recitations. They (FINALLY) finished and went to work on math and music respectively while I worked with the third born on his Latin assignment which included new vocabulary words and a translation of the table blessing he is memorizing. He finished and began his math assignment today which happened to be a test. I caught up with the eldest and we worked on his math while the second born worked on his music. In about twenty minutes the older two switched places. I’m very thankful for our math curriculum these days. Its provided a good foundation for the boys these last few years and the short, focused lessons are a gift now more than ever. I sneaked in three small reading for my youngest: a fable from Aesop, a poem from Robert Louis Stevenson, an Elsa Beskow book and half a reading lesson. Most boys wrapped up by 11:20 and we went outside to gather eggs, play with the cats, check on the fruit trees and work on the boys latest form for Tae Kwon Do.
11:30-12:45PM We returned inside for our Tae Kwon Do Zoom class. The boys are almost finished testing for their form and will be graduating to the next belt. It is bizarre to think that they earned 95% of this belt away from class. We miss our studio, instructors and classmates deeply. While the boys trained, which they do with varying degrees of success, I prepared lunch. When the call ended we gathered in the library for another chapter of “The Silver Chair” on audiobook. It gave me enough time to eat my own lunch before reading the next chapter from our lunchtime read “A Tale of Two Cities.” When we finished the younger boys cleaned up the lunch dishes while the older boys tidied up the library and school materials from the morning. I sat in my chair and closed my eyes for a few minutes and gathered my resolve, because as with the morning, the post-lunch lull is hard for me to fight through. Part of me wants to throw in the towel and watch Pride and Prejudice or waste the afternoon reading science or medical journals or my high school friend’s conspiracy theories. I force myself to get up and head to the dining room for the next round.
The older boys get their audiobook set up for History. Today they are learning about the impact of Gutenberg’s Printing Press. I wrote a subjective question up on the whiteboard for them to consider as they write up a narration that tells me about Gutenberg but also answers the question. They won’t get by on just facts, they need to think! While they worked I grabbed up my little guy and we worked through three lessons of his math (which he is suddenly flying through these days after a year of v e r y gentle learning) and a reading lesson. Once he is finished he decides to do a drawing lesson and then asks for a vintage Disney nature show and I grant his request. I returned to the table and approved the third born’s work and sent him off with his timer set to 45 minutes to do his SSA reading for the afternoon. I read the narrations of the older boys while they took a short break and I marveled at how old they are and how proud I am of them and made a mental note to go over how to spell that one word they really should know how to spell by now. The older boys and I open our Plutarch which today happened to be a more mature topic that caught me off guard because I didn’t read ahead the way I used to. We forged through and I think we did fairly well with it. After their written narrations were completed we moved on to our Economics lesson, which the boys ate up. They loved it and I am learning to love it.
2:00-2:45PM At this point the older boys took their list of independent work and headed to the classroom to complete it on their own. They are working intensely on their cartography skills, especially the eldest who is going into Challenge A next year. It helps that they are intensely interested in their maps. They are less interested in spelling, but finished that list too. Their grammar work was also parsed, corrected and diagrammed before they wrapped for the day.
2:45-4:30PM The older boys read their own SSA books (currently that’s an Andrew Peterson book and Children of Odin by Padraic Colum and then we had tea. We decided not to read anything, instead I updated them on different countries we’ve been praying for and we talked about how the world will likely not be the same when we reenter it. I told them about the long unemployment lines and food bank lines and they asked questions. When we finished I told them they could do whatever they’d like until dinner time and they decided to watch a movie together since the heat outside was at its peak. I used this time to file insurance papers, close out therapy accounts, finish editing our co-op yearbook, ignore the giant pile of laundry in the guest room and throw ingredients in the crockpot for taco bowl night.
The rest of the day felt like a vacuum. The eldest asked me to record the next episode for his animal show, Waiting for the Wild (instagram account @jackinthewilderness) and the youngest asked me to read him a few more stories. We ate dinner late, read our latest family read aloud together and went for a family walk around the neighborhood to visit the miniature donkey that lives a quarter mile away.
We returned home and my husband reminded me that the NFL draft was tonight. I hate football, but today I was glad for it because the boys, in the absence of all sports, were eager to watch the draft with their dad and this left me with a free evening. I made a cup of tea and curled up in bed to watch two episodes of Julian Fellowes new show “Belgravia” and wrote emails to a few friends. I drafted a to-do list for the weekend and filled out the boys assignment books for tomorrow as well as my own schedule and then began this post.
Here is the rest of that IG post I shared at the beginning of this post:
Here is the heart of our days: Its the practice of remembering. We remember the truths that anchor us to solid ground through catechism, song, scripture. Truth that leads us away from the shifting sand that seems to be everywhere these days. We remember the context of the story we are in and we keep our eyes fixed on the plot line of redemption and restoration playing out before us. We remember LIFE with stories and songs and art. We reach out to others as best we can and pour out however we can. We remember that our experience during this time, is NOT the same as everyone else’s. We are not all in the same boat and remembering this will help us with empathy later on. We are attending to the moment at hand, remembering that in a home of six souls not everyone will be ok at the same time and reminding ourselves to look up and look in. We are gathering around the table every meal to fill our bellies and fill our hearts with more stories that sharpen our appetites for the eternal. Yes, we are remembering. We are grieving— with hope. A walk in nature, a good western movie night, apologizing after losing tempers, caring for an animal, confessing fears and uncertainty, morning time squared, asking for help, eating more bread than we probably should, sticking around for one more chapter of The Silver Chair. Love dwells here. Sadness too. Brokenness and joy, all of it. We are remembering. Grace to you friends as you walk through this story with your children.