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Friday, April 3, 2020

Corona Statistics you don't see on the News!

One of several daily Zoom calls for schooling and contact with long-lost friends

Daily average statistics of our home quarantine 

Hours parsing WhatsApps groups to figure out daily school assignments: 3
Daily homeschooling assignments completed: .4 out of 12 (with luck)
Pencils gone missing or broken: 10 (yes, per day)
Zoom calls (for children): 4
Sheets of paper lost to doodling, drawing and "art" work: 36
Meals consumed by three children: 65
Food micro-particles swept off the floor: 1.57 million
Hours spent dish washing: 2
Furniture items damaged to varying degrees: 1
Hours spent putting toys away again: 4
Minutes spent in fresh air outside: 19
Sibling fights broken up: 85
Cases of coronavirus at home: 0
Cases of high blood pressure: 2

During time out in our 100-meter perimeter.
The forced labor includes Lucas reading to his non-attentive audience
and the rest of us decorating the forlorn path less traveled these days.

Corona Fallout: 'Home Sheltering' and Remote 'Learning'

Me outside during yard time
In the irony of what has come to be known as "home sheltering," the home itself has found itself in a situation that is the exact opposite of shelter since everything inside it - from food to furniture - has become an endangered species.

As we hunker down for the interminable and indefinite future within the confines of our apartment, we fear all of our magic markers will run dry, that the entire stuffing will come out of that shiny new rip in our sofa, that the coils in daddy and mommy's bed will lose their spring due to our jumping and that our academic progress will be stunted beyond repair thanks to our new teachers (our parents, bless their hearts). My glasses, which I broke in a dazzling act right before the corona-shutdown, remain unfixed and unused. Our school shirts have been retired. And we drift casually from nighttime to daytime pajamas at some point in a 24-hour period.

If everything else fails in homeschooling... least we will be able to use our heads for something! 
Homeschool sports - on Zoom
Homeschool showoff 
Perhaps our fears are misplaced and we should be more concerned about the coronavirus seeping through our four walls. But for now we are too busy to add fear to our checklist. Hence, fewer blogs. On a positive note, maybe we can learn how to use the damaged wooden furniture to make paper. Now that would be what I call homeschooling.

When parks just won't do... because they are off limits! Boredom is the new mother of invention.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronapalooza: "Remote Learning" Day 5

It has come to this.
"Remote Learning" is going well. As you can see from this photo.

What you may not know is that the floor onto which we are leaping is covered with blankets, stuffed animals, pajamas and pillows from our beds. And from the sofa.

This is only symbolic of how mommy and daddy are feeling as they consider the balcony.

Utter disaster.


Fauda! (which means chaos in Arabic and is a great series to watch in times of high anxiety!)

But never mind, most of the pressure is essentially off as this is the LAST DAY of remote learning! I'm not really sure what happened but the announcement came in last night that we no longer get our live stream of teachers who tackled various subjects to keep us somewhat up to date on our academic skills.

I'm not sure how much regression we can expect in the next five weeks. Or what we will do if the internet goes down or iPads stop working.

But never mind academics. We are being rather creative and helpful even in times of crisis and quarantine. Lucas will help the children of the world improve their judo skills, one Lego doll at a time:

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Remote Learning” Day 2

Schools are out. And so are we!

Israeli schools are closed and millions of students are supposed to be learning from home in an effort to curb the spread of the contagious coronavirus. This is what we are doing instead. See photo ☝🏼

The Hebrew language uses certain abbreviations for some phrases such as “halat” which stands for hofesh le’lo teshlum, meaning vacation without pay. We’ve just developed a new phrase as evidenced by these photos: halal - hofesh le’lo limudim - vacation without learning!

While many adults are currently getting sent off to "unpaid vacations," the children are sent off to "vacation" and, if we learned anything in school, there is no formal "learning" on vacation!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Corona Update #3: “Remote Learning”

"Remote learning"

It is Day 1 of Five Weeks in the Wilderness of No School. You can see how this is going. Send the kids out on their own to learn about nature ... or something ... and monitor from a distance. With a cup of coffee.

Counting by cookies! Gotta love "home schooling"
No time for blogging, mommy has to try to work after I go to bed. Can you hear us kids laughing from across the ocean, desert, home quarantine ...  or whatever has come between us?
As you can see, the bribery attempts have already deteriorated into home-baked cookies. M&D are in trouble! 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Corona Update #2: Home Schooling 101

All alone in the world. The Holy Land under
lockdown and an empty Old City in Jerusalem.

It's official: Schools are closed for an eternal five weeks, up till and through the Passover and Easter break. Five weeks. At least. Thank you, #Coronavacation!

And at the same time, there shall be nothing to do with all this free time. In light of #Coronapanicdemic, everything in the country from restaurants to amusement parks to gyms and malls have been shut down except for supermarkets. What will I do without Shalva and my girlfriends, Talia, Adi and Tehila? And Epraim and Aharon? What will I do without school, without Yasmin, Haim and Haya, Mustafa, Dror and Eyal? It will be lonely and jarring having no routine and not seeing my friends. I will also not be getting therapy and my siblings will probably find out soon that their after-school activities are canceled too.

Supposedly the Ministry of Education has a digitized system in place for home learning, but mommy and daddy can already see where this is going. We've already destroyed the apartment several times over, I personally broke the cable box (fixed now), we've eaten 80 times a day (so much for stockpiling) and we've used every available scrap paper for "arts and crafts" (poor trees).

And that was just the weekend! We haven't even embarked upon our five-week journey in the wilderness.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Purim Nightmare: The Most ^&^#% Time of the Year for Kids with SN (and their parents)

Conquering Purim one party and costume-day at a time.
I do get a little better each year.
These kids have no problems with Purim.
In fact, they look forward to it.

It's almost over. I'm holding my breath for next week when the confetti settles and we can all put on regular clothes and maintain a regular schedule again (until all school are closed down for Corona!).

Let me paint a picture of one segment of the population: Communication issues, sensory processing challenges, anxiety, behavioral foibles, ADD/ADHD, panic attacks, apraxia/dispraxia, autism, Down syndrome, the list goes on.

Stack that list next to the adjectives of Purim: Loud music, itchy costumes, dress-up days at school, different schedules at school, days off from school, noisemakers, costumes, parties and gatherings, CANDY and lots of it, the list goes on.

This is a cocktail of disaster for children with challenges.

Purim is a time in Israel that is sometimes compared to Halloween because we dress up in costumes and get candy. But the comparison ends there.

Halloween is a one-day affair. Purim, on the contrary, has taken on a week-long aura of utter madness, and even involves, in great Jewish tradition, drinking and making merriment even until till one falls on his or her face in a drunken stupor, if need be!

The child-friendly version doesn't involve alcohol, but instead there are many "happenings" which are essentially parties with loud music. And to exacerbate the entire season, the main Purim prop is called a noisemaker.

We also have a weekly schedule of weird ways to dress for school such as hat day (as if I ever put anything on my head); pajama day (contrary to what I've learned that we change from pajamas to clothes otherwise I should not be going to school), backwards clothes day (never in my pedantic book should that be allowed, not to mention having a shirt tag itching my throat), and, ultimately, all of these are merely appetizers leading up to the main affair: costume day.

Unfortunately for our school, costume day was postponed due to coronavirus so we still have that ahead of us.

We also give and receive gifts, traditionally comprised of sugar-filled, food-dyed candies and other such items. This brings to utter ruin any ounce of stable brain function and placid behavior that was left.

The increase of sugar, plus the silliness of the week creates a party atmosphere which disrupts our normal schedule.  I am a mess if not on a schedule. Look, I already find it hard to function on "normal" let alone throw some madness into the mix.

All around the world of special needs there are meltdowns, anxiety attacks and bouts of stimming. On a Facebook page for parents of special needs, the repeated cries are: "Purim sucks," "Purim is a disaster,""I hate Purim!"

Many SN parents strategize Purim months in advance. Some solutions include: Dressing their kids in character T-shirts instead of an actual costume; wearing costumes all year round to ease Purim day; refusing invitations to certain/most events, dinners and friends' houses knowing an inevitable meltdown will cause the entire family to flee in the middle of an event; and lastly, investing in some good earplugs.

These parents are drinking alcohol just to sober up, not to "make merry."

This year, the seasonal drink of choice for Purim is:

 Happy holidays!