Forest Walk 2 (1)

A typical day in the Buff House

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In the first of a series, one ISP Parent tells her story of Distance Learning. Melanie Buff is from the United States and has two boys, Harrison in ECF5 and Jackson, Grade 3. Melanie writes about the challenges, successes and activities of Distance Learning.

Jackson in his ‘Falcon News’ After-School Activity

Usually, it takes a lot of coaxing to get out of bed in the morning. And, I am talking about me… not the kids 🙂 But, after a nice cup of coffee, I am usually ready for another day! 

Thank goodness we get daily emails from the teachers, otherwise, I might not know what day it is. Our day probably starts off like most people’s. We wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush our teeth and make our beds.  This was our normal routine prior to the lockdowns that forced us into a Distance Learning situation.  

Harrison studies Mathematics

We found that it is incredibly important to keep this routine, even though the kids don’t leave the house. As much as they beg, they are not allowed to wear pajamas to school. One thing that I have chosen to do is create a daily schedule for the kids to follow. The teachers do most of the work by putting the format in place, I just write it down and tape it to their wall above their desks so they have an easy visual to reference every day. This also helps me stay a bit more organized.

Jackson in Spanish Class

Our third grader, Jackson, has a pretty full and structured day. He has grown a lot in the past year and has really become a very independent learner, requiring very little oversight throughout the day. Our youngest, Harrison, is a different story. He is a student in ECF5 and his day is not as “zoom filled”, for obvious reasons, but this poses a different challenge. How do I keep him busy throughout the day, without resorting to electronics/tv all the time?

Thankfully, the teachers have been a huge help by providing a Choice Board of activities to choose from throughout the day. Sometimes Harrison is easily engaged in the activities, and sometimes he isn’t. I have learned that I have to “pick my battles” with him, and allow for a needed break. When all else fails…. bribery with Skittles usually works! But, if there is more time than ideal in front of the TV, I have also learned to give myself a little grace. This situation is hard and we all need a break from time to time.

The boys in the Přední Kopanina woods

We are very fortunate to live close to the Přední Kopanina woods. We take advantage of this outside area as much as possible, especially when the weather is nice. Harrison has been learning about birds in the Czech Republic from his Outdoor Learning teacher and he loves to share with us his knowledge. We go on Bird Scavenger Hunts and see how many different types of birds we can see in our neighborhood. Harrison is also quick to point out a specific sound a bird makes, educating the rest of us. You can tell that learning is taking place and it is really incredible to witness!

Pizza Time!

Of course, being the time of year that it is, weather can be a bit unpredictable.  Many days we are not very motivated to get outside in the damp cold, so we stay inside… and, we cook. And bake. A lot! The amount of cooking and baking that has taken place in our house rivals that of the Holidays. The boys have really been engaged with assisting in our meal planning for the week. This serves a lot of purposes… it helps me get a bit more creative, and they tend to eat better meals knowing that they were involved in selecting the meal for the day. A favorite at the moment, is a “Make Your Own Pizza Night”. 

The boys’ Choice Lists

These are really difficult times and we are all trying to stay positive and do our best.  Like everyone, we have good days and bad days.  But, if we have more good than bad, then I think we are doing pretty well…especially if we remember what day it is to begin with 🙂

I look forward to hearing other parents’ stories!