“Just text me if you’re going to be late,” was the sage advice I was given this week by my seven- year- old daughter.
Now that I am both a full-time homeschooling, stay at home mom and a full-time business owner, the balance between home and office time has been an adventure. But, I thought my daughter’s advice was funny. At seven- years- old, she now recognizes that she can oversee the communication and organization of the home when I’m at work. Though her older brothers could get her a snack and call for help if needed, she will check her messages regularly, remember when and what is supposed to be happening, and if I leave a list of things to accomplish, she is the one who will manage and make sure it gets done. She has spent the last three months organizing phone dates with her friends, arranging zoom meetings with her classmates, checking her school calendar each morning and planning the way she balances her school, play, chores, and screen time schedule.
After only three months of being out of our regular routine, my daughter has acquired a number of skills many adults are still struggling with.
There’s a good chance that my kids don’t have a solid understanding of multiplying integers or all the different names for the layers of soil in our earth, and they probably don’t know the exact dates of various inventions and political events – but, I can say, with full confidence, this family has learned an awful lot over the past few months.
My eldest has learned to do the laundry, babysit, make Kraft dinner, bake hot dog ‘mummies’ and cut the grass. My middle son has mastered back flips, riding his bike and baking bread and my daughter can schedule, organize, communicate and plan like a future CEO.
As I reflect back on what was the strangest school year in recent history, I have managed to come up with a list of some surprising things I have learned over the past few months:
1.Science: If you or someone you know bakes you homemade bread, multiple times a week for three months – you will gain 17.5 lbs. The experiment has been completed and the results (unfortunately) are in.
2.Mathematics: One kitten equals unending home destruction, from ripped curtains to scratched couches, the mess is unimaginable, however, when combined with the love, fun and pure joy on the children’s faces as they cuddle, feed, play with and shower attention on that kitten, the destruction becomes negligible.
3.Literature: Kids books are cool! Even adults can learn from and enjoy kids’ books. “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” is currently this adult’s favourite bedtime story book! Look out world, this ‘rebel girl’ is on the go!
4.Geography: My house has 14 rooms, 16 stairs and 13 windows – yes, we had to count them one day…
5.Physical Education: Sand Ball should become an Olympic sport, of which The Johnston Family would become fierce competitors.
6.Home Economics: You actually have to teach children to use a can opener! This never occurred to me – can openers seem like ‘common sense’! But a friend explained to us the importance of Kitchen Gadget 101 – and we too, (to our utter embarassment) found that this was an important class for our children.
Maybe you learned some of these things during your isolation – maybe you learned something else. Perhaps you learned how to Skype, or some ancient Egyptian history? Perhaps you mastered website design, or learned how to knit?
However you spent your time over the past few months, I hope you can look back, maybe with a little laugh or an eye roll, or a new pair of stretchy pants and know that the time, though strange and difficult and unexpected, certainly taught all of us a thing or two!