I watched this YouTube video compiling all the advertisements from the COVID-19 era; I invoke it as I try to think of the best words to describe this time and to start this blog post! As a parent of a tween, working full-time from home, I shift quickly between appreciating togetherness, community, and family, and resenting sickness, distancing, and inequity (some of the words highlighted in the video). I also feel the guilt shared by many parents of leaving my child to her device and virtual socializing and not taking advantage of all the amazing educational resources being created daily.

CLiF has resources for parents and teachers:

I think this all look like tons of fun. Sadly, they look like less fun to my twelve year old. I appreciate her teachers every day, who are tirelessly working to keep kids engaged, connected, and learning. That challenge is so different without face-to-face interaction, and when the kids can do their homework together over Houseparty and compare TikTok perfomances. While I can find reassurance in the many articles urging parents to let go of expectations for themselves and their kids, it is hard!

So, here is how (for today) I am looking at my time with my daughter during this period of remote learning: How are we talking to each other and creating stories, within the parameters set by the never-ending winter weather, the Stay At Home order, my sensitivity to too much screen time, school and work, connecting with friends (for both of us), and managing the uncertainty? We have:

  • Made a Bored in the House TikTok. I can’t possibly post myself doing the same dance as J. Lo and her family, but I will help tell the story of our time at home.
  • Asked our family to send a memorable recipe; we *hope* to compile them into a cookbook for the holidays. We like this as a no- to low-cost project, too, since we can email or print a document.
  • Researched meals to cook using what we have and within themes. I sneak in some math by making her cut recipes in half.
  • Photographed the area within walking distance of our house as we have explored a lot while staying within physical distancing recommendations (I found this blog post on the difference between social and physical distancing very helpful for my mindset). Maybe this will become a journal?
  • Worked on a diversity audit of books offered to our program partners through CLiF grants for on-site libraries. My daughter may be less interested in reading, but she does like to share her knowledge and she is a good researcher! I am lucky my work allows opportunities for her to help.
  • Watched book-based movies and TV shows. So far, not much comparison between text and film, but maybe…

In CLiF’s videos for parents of young readers, we stress that there are many ways to support literacy – reading recipes, identifying letters on signs, sharing the news or a repair manual. I keep going back to that principle as we navigate through remote learning and working and this ever-changing landscape. Maybe we will won’t take any of these projects to completion, but maybe the win is an evolving, multi-media shared story.

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