Today I was in double quarantine. That's right, I was in classroom lockdown. In the hierarchy of quarantine life, this is my least favorite way to spend a day.
After a full day back in the classroom, it is now clear to me why I took up gardening recently, a hobby that I have never liked nor had any interest in. My conclusion is that pretty much anything is preferable to being locked in a room with four kids doing homeschooling.
On these days I am trapped in the family room/kitchen (aka the classroom), the day just slips through my fingers and I get nothing done. It's so frustrating. Try as I may to make lists so that I can make the most of being trapped, I continue to be under the illusion that maybe I can get something done. I have high hopes of my possibly making a few customer service phone calls made, or some responding to a few emails tackling some other mundane and boring task that has been hanging out on my to-do list for too long. Instead I troubleshoot Zoom meeting problems, console my students who can't keep up with the art lesson that's going too fast, or put out any other number of fires that need putting out, in classroom.
Miles is bored to death on these days (unlike when we garden) and ends up sitting in front of a computer and watching....well, I don't even know what he is watching. But I don't even have enough bandwidth to worry about it. That particular fire is so small that I can't be bothered dousing it with water because of the other, much bigger fires raging around me.
For example, today, I was making the kids a hot lunch (pesto pizzas), when Garin's school counselor wanted to speak to me on the phone. I recall being worried that the pizzas would burn because I would become distracted by the phone call. As I was trying to speak to her and remember to watch the pizzas, I could see Catherine at the breakfast room table breaking down in tears in the middle of her Zoom art class. The teacher was going too fast, Catherine couldn't keep up and her masterpiece was not turning out to her satisfaction. I didn't even know which of those three situations to focus on my attention on. This is what much of the day is like when I am confined in the home classroom. Hence my out-of-the-blue and sudden interest in gardening.
I found out yesterday that Garin has been "skipping" some of his distance-learning. When asked why he said it's boring. Really? Is there anything about quarantine that isn't boring? Thus the conversation with his school counselor today, trying to troubleshoot his distance-learning truancy.
The interesting thing is that even when I quarantine in the classroom with them, I still can't keep up with what they are all doing. I suppose if I were to walk around the room all day, monitoring what each has up on their screen in front of them, I might have a better chance. But who wants to do that? Even if I had nothing better to do, I have no interest in being the Homeschooling Big Brother all day.
So what is the solution to this ongoing dilemma? If I quarantine in the kitchen/family room all day, at least I have some sense of what is going on with the kids and am there to put out the fires as they start and be of some support, if necessary. Yet if I do that, I get absolutely nothing else done and feel resentful. If, on the other hand, I venture upstairs to finish the children's clothing organization project, or to the dining room to tackle the photo project or god forbid, outside to continue on the garden, I feel like I am being a delinquent mother and teacher.
It feels like a no-win situation, doesn't it? I had pledged to myself that I was going to split my time between some of my pursuits/obligations and being teacher-mom every day. I am still trying to make that work. It reminds me of the struggles that working moms have faced for years, as they juggle the responsibilities and guilt of being employed outside of the home, with their responsibilities as a mom. The only difference is that I am just trying to be employed in the next room over, forget leaving the house for a real job.
I am sure by the time I figure all this out, if that happens at all, we will be done with school and heading into summer break, with an entirely new set of lockdown issues to untangle.
This is what I awoke to this morning. Talking about McDreamy! He was the only one that took up residence in my room last night, so it was particularly quiet and peaceful.
Garin helping ot remove the rest of the deck this morning.
Garin getting caught up on one of his missing assignments, of which he seems to have quit a few.
Graham all dressed up for a secret project. He chose the outfit himself.
Graham. and Mlles watching some sort of crap on their computers that they weren't supposed to be watching.
Graham raiding the pantry.
Turf and Turf - Rosemary, Sage and Lemon Grilled Chicken with a Seared Ribeye.
Garden Salad with Pickled Onions and Beets.
Rice with Fresh Dill and Feta cheese.
Dinner on the patio on a beautiful Spring night.
Enjoying our evening walk, which we have missed past few nights.