Caronavirus | Home Schooling

Helen’s Fostering Blog

Adjusting to home schooling and being at home.

As a family we are now on day 10 of self-isolating due to the Coronavirus.  We continue to keep our days well structured and busy.  We are enjoying the benefits of structuring our week as it means we  still look forward to the downtime at the weekend.

On Monday we started doing the Joe Wicks morning exercise on YouTube.  The first day was a learning curve for us all, as Harry found out that wearing skinny jeans wasn’t particularly appropriate clothing as he was unable to bend his knees.  It was a lot of fun but scary to see how unfit both Beth and Harry actually are.  At the end of the first session they were both laid out on the floor exhausted, what is inspiring is to see that for everyday that we do it they are finding it much easier.

We are constantly reviewing our curriculum timetable for Beth and Harry.  What we are finding is whist Harry is younger he is coping much better with his learning than Beth.   We are doing a balancing act between making it achievable for them both at their individual level and keeping it fun and interesting.

When we notice that their level of interests depletes, we need to respond to this by putting in something educational but more fun.  For instance, this week we watched an episode of the Blue Planet and then just asked them some questions about it afterwards.

When we hear the groans after explaining that we would be doing some science after lunch we sometimes swap it for baking.  What we really want to avoid is home schooling to become a real chore for them.   We are putting in rewards for their effort, such as finishing early on Friday and us all watching a movie together and ordering a new game for their PlayStation.

We are still having a lot of fun with our school days, each day starts with a new School Head, the day it was my turn, I borrowed one of the children’s bike helmet and run in pretending to be out of breath as I had just cycled to school. I explained my name was Mrs Penelope Plum and I was a lot of fun, but unfortunately sometimes have a smelly bum. I also introduced my husband as our supply PE teacher and gave him the name of Mr Pickle Pants.  Beth and Harry love all this, so it starts the day with a lot of laughter.

This week we had our Values Lesson, whereby we watched a YouTube video of a 9-year-old boy asking expert questions about the Coronavirus.  This allowed us to have an open conversation about their concerns and worries.

I also read them a poem about the Coronavirus which I have copied below.  All of these things are helping them understand this new and strange world we have currently found ourselves living in.

The Time We Spring -Cleaned the World

The world it got so busy,

There were people all around.

They left their germs behind them,

In the air and on the ground

 

These germs grew bigger and stronger.

They wanted to come and stay.

They didn’t want to hurt anyone

They just really wanted to play

 

Sometimes they tried to hold your hand,

Or tickled your throat or your nose.

They could make you cough and sneeze

And make your face as red as a red.

 

And so, these germs took over.

They started to make people ill,

And with every cough we coughed

More and more germs would spill.

 

All the queens and kings had a meeting.

Its time to clean the world up, they said

And so, they had to close lots of fun stuff,

Just so these germs couldn’t spread.

 

We couldn’t go to cinemas

Or restaurants for out tea.

There was no football and parties

The world got as quiet as can be.

 

The kids stopped going to school,

The mums and dads went to work less.

Then a great, big, giant scrubbing brush

Cleaned the sky and the sea and the mess.

 

Dads started teaching the sums,

Big brothers played with us more,

Mums were in charge of homework

And we read and played jigsaws galore.

 

The whole world was washing their hands

And building super toilet roll forts

Outside was quiet and peaceful,

Now home was the place for all sports.

 

So, we played in the world that was home

And our days filled up with fun and love,

And the germs they grew smaller and smaller

And the sun watched from up above.

 

Then one morning the sun woke up early,

She smiled and stretched her beams wide.

The world had been fully spring cleaned,

It was time to go back outside.

 

We opened our doors oh so slowly

And breathed in the clean and fresh air.

We promised that forever and always

Of this beautiful world we’d take care.

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer.

Fostering pet

Foster Care | Caronavirus

Helen’s Fostering Blog

Helping Children Understand the Coronavirus

I think it is fair to say that the Coronavirus has taken us all completely by surprise.

We are in unchartered waters which as adults is hard enough to understand and digest so its easy to assume that our children will struggle with it also.   It can’t have helped that they became unwell themselves on Monday with a slight temperature and cough.

Normally we would encourage them to go to school with a cold but on this occasion, we were telling them we all needed to stay in-doors for 14 days.

I have heard some of the strangest things recently, my step-daughter explained that her school have banned the words ‘virus, coronavirus and COVID 19’, personally this seemed like the worse thing we could do, implying just the words themselves are so bad that we shouldn’t even say them.

In our home we are approaching this the same way we do anything else; we talk about it openly.

I have spent the day today contacting Beth and Harry’s school friends seeing if we are able to stay in touch via facetime now that the schools have been closed. So far all their friend’s parents have come back and agreed that this is a brilliant idea and will schedule in time for them to stay in touch.

I am hopeful that in time this will extend to meeting up with their friends for some time out playing in the fresh air.

I have also contacted their sister, brother and grandparents in the hope we will be able to do the same with them.  We are very aware that just simply speaking to their family will help put their minds at ease regarding their loved-one’s health.

Obviously, Beth and Harry are concerned that their Grandparents could die simply because of their age.  Beth and Harry raised their concerns regarding their baby brother today, wondering if perhaps he too might not survive if he caught the virus.  Harry has expressed his concerns that I will die as I have asthma.

This must feel like a terrifying time for these children, to have such big worries on such little shoulders.  Obviously, we have tried to put their minds at ease explaining that my asthma for instance is well managed, we are healthy, active and are following all the advice provided to us.

We will keep them safe and ourselves.

For the time being we are all enjoying this extra time we are getting to spend together as a family.  There are some positives to all of this, we can take time to appreciate all that we have and enjoy time together without rushing around all the time. 

Its time to sit and watch movies together and take a stroll on a Monday morning after breakfast, rather than dashing off on the school run. 

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer

Fostering pet

Friendships Blog

Helen’s Fostering Blog

Friendships

I have some real concerns about Beth and her friendship group.  When I first met Beth she had a best friend whom she’d known for about a year and considering she had only just started at Middle School she seemed to know plenty of the other children when I used to walk her in and out of school each day.  I would often hear other children call her name and want to walk along with her.

At the beginning it was easy for me to arrange a play-date with her best friend, although she was never invited around to her friends house it was always at ours, but that was ok as I was still getting to know the friends Mum so I felt more comfortable with that arrangement.  But there was the only two friends who came to play, in comparison Harry was often invited to friends houses for play-dates and birthday parties.

When Beth was listing who she wanted to invite to her birthday party I was really surprised that there was as many teachers as friends that she wanted to invite.  In those first few months Beth was also invited to her friends birthday parties which of course is what you would expect.  Sadly, things have changed, as it stands to-date in 17th months Beth has not once been invited to a friend’s house for a play-date, birthday parties and we have only managed to organise 4 play-dates with 2 friends in all that time.

Beth and her best friend had a falling out last year, it was an intense friendship, with Beth almost wanted to morph herself into her best friend, she would often want to be called by her friends name, each notebook would be labelled with her friends first name and Beth’s surname.

After they fell out understandably Beth was a bit lost, but she was adamant she didn’t want to be friends anymore, she had a few other friends so I wasn’t overly worried at this point as actually I thought it might be good for her to spread her wings a bit.

Whilst Beth often still talks to lots of the other girls at her school, it is clear that Beth’s mood swings, and the that fact she is so easy hurt, offended or annoyed makes it difficult for the other girls to share such an intense friendship.  She had a few issues recently whereby her group of friends kept running away from her when she approached and no longer wanted to play with her.

Obviously, this is heart-breaking for her.  As it stands she currently has a friend for a few weeks, then she quickly moves onto another one.

My hope is this will change in the future, but for now we have to help her understand that friendships are built on many things and she will need to develop those skills of forgiveness, understanding, trust, sharing and compassion if she is to achieve long standing friendships.  

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer.