Behind starburst eyes

Coronavirus Pandemic and Our Emotional Health

We live in Ontario, Canada and our premier has officially declared a state of emergency this morning. This means in addition to primary, secondary and post-secondary schools being shut down for the next 3 weeks, now our daycare centers, restaurants (dine in portion), bars, cinemas, libraries, museums, major venues such as the science centre, and recreation centers are all shut down until at least April.

We homeschool our 3, but my two stepdaughters attend public school at their mother’s insistence. So this changes some things for us, but not all things. Obviously daycare facilities being closed doesn’t effect us. However, everything else being closed does.

One of the ways all of these closures effect us is through fear and anxiety. My youngest son has asthma and has had to be on oxygen and nebulizers in the past, so I am in a heightened state of anxiety. But I’m not the only one, my children feel it too. Not just through me, but also because news of the virus is everywhere and both kiddos understand the potential implications for their brother, and he understands the implications for himself. To that end we have been working a great deal with the concepts of fear, anxiety and powerlessness.

Acknowledgement of Emotions:

We’ve spoken about how scary it can be to feel like you’re powerless in a situation, and how to work with that feeling to acknowledge it but not let it overwhelm us (a thing I am struggling with myself as well).

Then, I attempt to teach them how to work through their scary thoughts. We talk about their feelings, how their real and valid first. But also that even though their valid, we don’t have to be ruled by them. We can focus on the things we HAVE done, the things we ARE doing, and the things we CAN do during this time.

Breathing Techniques:

Once I’ve validated their emotions we do breathing exercises. Five deep breathes in through the nose and out through the mouth. This helps to calm the nervous system down and allow the pre-frontal cortex to come back online (center of logic and reasoning).

Mindfulness Exercises:

Mindfulness exercises such as finding 5 things they can see, touch, and hear can also help to refocus on calming the mind enough to work through any scary thoughts.

Positive Actions:

Finally, we focus on something positive, such as on gratitude, love, giving to others, or constructive actions. We do this because in allot of ways our thoughts are like roads, the more frequently their used, the more deeply they become entrenched and at times like this we NEED the positive perhaps more than ever.

For one child, focusing then on how grateful they are for the healthcare professionals or our ability to have things delivered to lessen our chances of exposure is helpful.

For another it’s expressing love through acts of kindness such as offering to play another siblings favorite board game or reading a book to a younger sibling.

For another it’s writing a card to send to someone they can’t see in person right now, or walks in the conservation area to be in nature.

For me, it’s constructive physical acts that help, for example organizing cupboards and labelling jars with our supplies or sorting the kids clothes for donations (I’ll wait to donate, but I’m happy to pop bags of donations in a closet ready to go once this is all over). Each person is unique, so choosing the positive actions that work best for them should be specific to them.

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Aviation and Flight

I am SO blessed to be able to homeschool my children freely as I know not all countries have the same view on homeschooling. This is one of the epic adventures Mr. C gets to attend at Centennial College.

Aviation and Flight

young girl in the red helicopter 01Date: April 9, 2015
Duration: 3 hours
Time: to be determined
Age: Grades 1-12
Location: Centennial College

Learning Outcomes: Aerodynamics, lift, drag, balance, patterns, centre of gravity, centre of pressure, 3-D modelling, problem solving.

Materials:  Model helicopter – Stop watch, tape measure, scissors, sticky notes, paper to make class data table and record results.

Objective: Students will observe, test, record, and change the model helicopter to obtain the longest possible flight.

Description: The four forces of flight are explored as students build rubber band-powered model helicopters. After construction, the helicopters are fine-tuned for optimum flight. Students observe the flight characteristics of the models with adjustments for optimal flight.

Tour: A visit to the aviation centre will highlight the experience as students will learn first-hand from instructors about aviation and tour the facility.

Aviation and Flight.

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Easy = Right…Right?

There have been times during our homeschooling journey that I wanted to quit, I wanted to walk down the street a mere two blocks and sign Mr. C up for public school. There were times when I seriously contemplated it, I would write lists in my mind of pros and cons. All because at times it was oh so hard to homeschool. During times of stress, family issues, illness, and during pregnancies I struggled with homeschooling. In part I struggled because I was still trying to do it the way I’d learnt in school (small amounts of several subjects 5 days a week) in part I struggled because I worried about how much he was learning and at what pace, in part I struggled because I wanted to be able to do as much with him as I had when he was an only child.

But mostly my struggle came from a very mistaken idea I’d somehow become convinced was true…

I was convinced that it had to be easy if it was right, and if it was hard it must be wrong. Only life doesn’t work that way, children and parenting doesn’t work that way. Sometimes the best parts only happen because of all the hard that happens first.

It’s through the struggles that we grow as people, and it’s through the successes of surpassing some of those very same struggles that our greatest triumphs and joys occur.

With changing how many subjects we do each day we’re able to go much deeper into each one which balances out how often we’re doing them.

As for how much he’s learning, I believe he’s doing wonderful, I know what the current curriculum is for our region, I keep him apace of it, but I don’t make him stop learning because he’s “supposed” to wait until Grade X to learn something. Add in the fact that I still get to do tons of social skills learning with him by homeschooling him, seeing how far he’s progressed in the last 6 years and I know he’s learning more than enough to help him succeed in obtaining his version of happiness come adulthood.

I look at moments like the one that occurred the other day (And So a hero is born) and I know that I’m still doing just as much with him, because I’m teaching him something even more valuable than even math or grammar, I’m teaching him to be a good person. That dear readers is powerful beyond measure for his future, for his own happiness, and for his eventual contributions towards the betterment of society.

So while some days or weeks might be filled with hard it’s okay, because as I look at who he is as a person I can see that where parenting and homeschooling are concerned hard isn’t always wrong, and easy isn’t always right, sometimes hard = right.

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Contributing Author! :-D

I am officially now a contributing author on an amazing site: Parents Space

It deals with ALL of the vast and varied issues of parenting, and I’m honored that I get to be a part of it! Please check it out, it’s got a wide variety of thought provoking articles written by insightful authors!

 

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