There’s No Place Like Home

…and now we’re sheltering in place. The quarantine is a painfully literal iteration of the word “staycation.” Going to the grocery store is a huge treat.  I used to go daily and now I’m stretching it out to almost a week—the day after I eat the last banana. (If it weren’t for bananas, I could probably make it two.)

But like my last post said, there are some good things about the quarantine. Like, have you noticed how we’re getting in touch with long-lost friends now, checking in on one other? Just this morning I reconnected with these guys:


Billy Blanks still has it, after all these years.(Fun fact: he’s 65 now!) Cindy Crawford’s high-waist bikini has gone from being the latest style to a total embarrassment and back again to the latest style. I know there are lots of workout apps I could be doing instead, but I’m SO TIRED of technology. I had been skirting around it all these years and now it’s all up in my business with the on-line school stuff.

There’s Power School and One Note where teachers post worksheets. There’s Dreambox for math and IXL too. There’s Lexia for reading and also A-Z for both reading and science. There’s FlipGirl and Zoom and WebEx and Google Hangouts. There’s Dance Mat typing for Leo and Epi Story  typing for the older two. That’s 12 programs, each with their own address, username, and pin number, which is 21 things to remember, times the three kids, which is SIXTY THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER. Our efforts are constantly sabotaged by websites freezing up, or showing the words in a really tiny, unreadable font, or telling us it’s the wrong pin, or loading things s…u…p…e…r  s…l…o…w…l…y,  or making us do voo doo magic to type on the page, or just plain being a jerk.

Which is why Kevin found me on the couch at noon yesterday with a bag of frozen peas on my forehead, saying I just needed a minute.

The thing is, I know what I want to teach the boys and I get excited about those things. Rocco and I planned a whole bridge unit together that spans all the subjects. Leo’s doing a science project on sugar crystals. Kevin is teaching Vincenzo how to code. The boys cook and clean and have even learned the highly complicated process of loading the dishwasher. At dinner, we talk about the Cold War and McCarthyism, Ireland’s potato famine, and whether Sprite commercials appeal to our ethos, pathos, or logos. At this exact moment, Vincenzo is helping Leo bake a salted caramel tart and Rocco is making Oaxacan tacos for lunch. I’m not even being sarcastic for once!

But then I load up the on-line stuff from their school and we’re only making it through half of it, and it’s irritating because Rocco’s math worksheets are too easy even for his younger brother. But because the worksheets are there, THOUGH SHALT COMPLETE THEM and then I’m stressed out because we only had 15 minutes to work on bridges and candy science and coding. Then I feel bad complaining because it’s incredible what the teachers are doing and what technology is allowing, but still. It’s getting in the way of my teaching!

Writing this blog post made me slap myself on each cheek and say, “Get a grip! Do you even hear yourself?!” And then the part of myself that slapped me wrote this next paragraph. Now listen up, Me!

Wake the kids up at 8 tomorrow. Or 10. Wake them up whenever you feel like making the donuts. Write down the things you are truly excited to do with them.  If they spend the whole day building toothpick bridges but don’t unlock a single achievement in their on-line math program, then say, “Yay!” And if you end up with a package of peas on your head at any time, ask yourself why and make sure to not do the same thing tomorrow.

Right. Got it. Donuts. I’m on it.

Breaded sole
Pan-fried potatoes
Garlicky asparagus
Salted caramel tart

One thought on “There’s No Place Like Home

  1. I missed your voice in my ear, so I decided to check and see if you’d written anything lately…bless you, you didn’t disappoint! I’m right there with you, scowling at the computer and baking batches of peanut butter cookies or pulling out dusty board games instead. How strange it is that my youngest child has the most homework by far. He’s keeping it together, though…we’re all keeping it together. It sounds like you are too. You all are on my mind! xx

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