From Guest Blogger, Melody McAllister, Mother of Five, Educator, & Author of the I’m Sorry Story.
Find yourself suddenly homeschooling? Finding it hard to help your kids understand why isolation is necessary? Well, you and me both! This past week I have squarely looked my privilege in the face and realized that while staying isolated really sucks, at least I have enough food and resources to make it doable. I started homeschooling a year ago, but we took a week off to adjust to life in a pandemic, because even our homeschooling life looks different these days. Now we are back to our regularly scheduled lessons without any public outings, playdates, or field trips.
Today, I remembered a floor puzzle I bought for my kids last month that we hadn’t opened yet. It was a Children of the World puzzle. This was after we finished our math and reading for the day and before chores. Without much instruction, my three oldest children started putting it together. The puzzle is of children from all over the world. Two pieces complete each child, from different countries, and then they are all connected to make the whole puzzle.
As they worked, my oldest started to get irritated with her younger sister, but I reminded her we are all working for the same end goal and it doesn’t help when we are mean to each other. And so my kids worked together and finished the beautiful puzzle. They said things like, “That was easy when we helped each other.” “We did that fast.” “That’s us,” while one pointed to the particular puzzle and child that represented the United States.
When they finished, I asked them, “How can we relate this back to real life?” We came up with three ideas, and yes, it was difficult for them to think of metaphors, but that’s where I come in. The lessons we learned from putting this puzzle together were:
Everyone matters. We each make an impact on this world.
Working together makes our task feel less difficult as we work for the same goal.
And if we do our jobs well, we will be together to pick up the pieces when it’s over.
Of course, I related all of these lessons to the importance of isolation in this pandemic.
While many educators and parents are doing their best to offer remote learning or learning at home,
we need to keep in mind that this is the social emotional foundation we need to help our kids understand right now.
You don’t need to have a children of the world puzzle to show this, but today it sure helped. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be the last pandemic. It’s not going to be the last disaster. We are all learning that what we teach, and place as priority, matters more than we ever thought possible. These ideas should not be forgotten when the pandemic crisis ceases and life returns to the new normal that will form through it all.
Be safe. Hold tight. We are in this together.
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