To my amazing boys,
It’s hard to believe the craziness of 2020 and that you have spent the last 8 weeks, or perhaps a tad more, learning remotely from home. We have been through the whole gamut of emotions; had every technical problem known to humankind; tried every type of routine; and all probably said some words we shouldn’t have!
We started off with a plan to mirror the school day but it just didn’t work. One of you liked to push through with shorter breaks and the other was overwhelmed looking at all the tasks for the day. I learnt more than I ever have about how you learn. I know one of you works well independently, and the other needs a classroom setting and social side to work at your best. We finally settled on a simple list of tasks that you could tick off as you completed them. (We found that works for chores on the weekend too!).
I came to understand how you both deal with stress. I have seen you crumble when it all became too much. I have also watched you persevere after I have told you both that you have done your best and that you can stop working. Sometimes you kept going until you got it right. I have witnessed you making amazingly creative artworks, videos and obstacle courses. I now have an even greater insight into which subjects you love, hate, struggle with and excel at.
I have been so proud to see you grow as you tackled this new way of learning. My heart burst when I saw how happy you were to see your friends on Google Meet for the first time. I loved your smiles at the feedback and fun videos you received from your teachers. The dynamics changed when you sister returned to school earlier. I revelled when you stopped niggling each other enough to work together and do great things.
I learnt for myself that some things just aren’t multi-taskable. Sometimes I just need to slow down. It was easier to help you with your work before I did my own. I learnt some things were worth letting go. I learnt to use my time better. I know my brain can’t handle five different roles at once, (mum, facilitator of learning, wife, writer, homemaker). We all have our limits. We all have our ways we deal with stress. Thank you for being patient when I had bad days too.
Tomorrow I get to drop off you off at school with your sister at the same time! Yes – we made it! It wasn’t the easiest thing we have ever done but I also wouldn’t change it for all the extra time we had for boardgames, puzzles, discussions, bike rides and much more. You have learnt many extra skills at home and some that most children don’t get a handle on until VCE – prioritising work, knowing and working to your strengths, organising your day, responsibility, accountability, self-motivation. You are amazing little humans.
I hope you have the best day with your friends and teachers tomorrow. I know that even though you lost 8 weeks of being physically at school, you also gained a lot too. It will be a much quieter day but I can’t wait to hear how you went when I pick you up.