The Coronavirus: Dr. Dave and I talk about Risks, Schooling from Home, my Biggest Concern, and the Bright Side.
It is so interesting how our world can change in such a short time. I don’t need to re-state the obvious, but it’s pretty wild how many facets of our lives are being impacted by the outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus.
YET: Amidst the sad news of sickness and death, plans being derailed, pretty-much-everything being cancelled, financial stress, and a general state of anxiety, we can all agree there is much to be thankful for: Good leaders making hard decisions to keep us as safe and healthy as possible. Scientific masterminds scrambling night and day to find a cure. Medical professionals risking much to serve sacrificially. Communities caring for one another. And hopefully a whole lot of toilet paper being rushed to the Hawaiian islands. (Can you hurry? We’re getting…low.)
Really, though — There is good in this if you’re looking for it. (selfishly I’m happy that Josiah will be coming home from college next week!) And, of course, we can trust that God is not surprised by COVID-19 or anything else, and He will be with us all through it. He is also likely to teach us a lot in this time, so we’d all be wise to be prayerful and alert.
I really didn’t plan to write a post about the Coronavirus but in light of how many emails and messages I have been receiving, I thought it would be a good idea to address the 3 topics I am getting the most questions about. Actually, I am getting questions about the first two — the third one is just my heart.
Dr. Dave’s thoughts about the Coronavirus?…
“What does your husband say about the Coronavirus?…Should we get tested?…Is it going to get worse?…”
First, about Dr. Dave: Dave is a hospitalist — he does inpatient medicine at a hospital. He spends a lot of time in the ER where he evaluates new patients before they are admitted to a room. Then he follows up on their care, ordering tests (including the COVID ) and doing all he can to help them get well and back home. He sees a lot of infections, heart disease, cancer, and any and all end-of-life scenarios. (Basically, you should hope he is never your doctor. Except he is a cute one. 🙂 )
Dave wishes he could give everyone some inside scoop on the Coronavirus but he really is learning each day just like everyone else. He is scrubbing up constantly, fully covering up when he tests a patient for the virus, and getting more information as it is available. Hawaii has not been hit hard at this point, though there have been a couple cases, and we can expect more are coming.
^^Today at the hospital while testing a patient for COVID-19. So far he has not had a positive COVID-19 test.
Dave responds —
WHO should be tested? Get tested if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, if you live in a community where there is on-going spread of the disease, or if you develop symptoms.
Symptoms: Cough, fever, shortness of breath.
If you develop the following emergency warning signs, get help immediately: Difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, blueish lips or face. This list is not all – inclusive but consult your medical doctor for these or any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
**Find more information at the Center for Disease Control.
Dave says to take every health precaution you can: Wash your hands often. Avoid crowded places. Stay home when you can. Stay hydrated, and eat healthy foods. (fruits and veggies = antioxidants.) Also, avoid touching your (or anyone else’s) face.
(from Scary mommy IG)
2. On Schooling from home:
Schools closing down and sending students home for the foreseeable future may be causing as much fear and anxiety as the threat of disease itself…And now parents all over the country (world) are facing one of their biggest fears: having to homeschool their kids. I’m getting lots of messages from moms asking for help or direction, and while I confess I get excited thinking how many parents will discover they actually LIKE having their kids do school at home, this is not the ideal way to step into it, I know.
(Found this on Heidi St. John’s IG.)
Of course this disease came so quickly that schools will need some time to sort through how they will handle the details of educating students remotely. Hopefully, everyone will eventually be given specific directions on what kids need to do to finish their school year well. If you are choosing to actually pull kids out of the current school system and homeschool them, that is different; you’ll need to choose a curriculum and figure out how to approach the rest of the year. (In my opinion, this is probably not the ideal time to start…I would recommend finishing out the school year and starting with a fresh curriculum next year if you can.)
However, here’s what I’ve told a number of anxious parents: In the elementary through middle school years, the most important thing is that your kids are reading as much as possible, writing regularly, and doing math. High school is a bit more complicated, but even then — those are the basics. Books and books and more books. Encourage them to get curious. Make them read books, listen to audio books, and write about what they’re learning. Find math websites or worksheets, or get familiar with the Kahn Academy. YOU CAN DO THIS.
Find links to a few of the posts where I talk about WHAT HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUMS WE ARE USING here:
Homeschool Updates and Books the Boys have been Loving (from 2019)
On Homeschooling High School (A guest post but very good!)
Homeschool Updates (from my boys High School years — from 2016)
Homeschool Updates (from Elementary and Middle School — 2016)
A Typical Day in our Homeschool Life (an oldie but goodie. 🙂)
3. WHAT I’M MOST CONCERNED ABOUT for our kids (please read this):
With the abrupt closing of schools and sports and so many other activities, I know that parents are scrambling to figure out childcare for their kids. This will not be easy and I am so so sorry for the headache and heartache it will cause. I hope this pandemic brings a lot of communities together in a special way and that many people step up to help one another out with selfless giving and creative solutions.
But one thing I am terrified of is the number of children who will be left unsupervised with access to the internet. I plead with you all to please take the time to set your kids up for success before leaving them alone — for a few minutes or all day. Every device your kid has access to really needs to have a filter and/or accountability software on it. (There are many to choose from. This post has links to the filter we use and my book, BOY MOM, has a full list.)
I recommend you set boundaries for gaming, social media, and any online activity your kids might seek out, or find by accident. Give them a schedule, work to do, and structure for their time. Check in with them often. Be sure to listen to my recent podcast episode about talking to your kids about pornography BEFORE they are on the internet (or now if you didn’t’ before.)
If you can work from home or arrange for someone to be with your kids who you trust, do it. I do not mean to incite fear, but there are some things worth fearing. The internet is one of them.
THE BRIGHT SIDE…
This time of working from home does not have to be negative and may even turn out to be incredibly positive for your kids. If you don’t believe me, consider Sir Isaac Newton’s story:
In 1665, during the Bubonic Plague, students at Cambridge University were sent home to study remotely in an effort to stop the spread of the awful disease. It was during this time at his parents’ home, away from his professors, that Isaac Newton thrived. Studying in the countryside, Newton developed theories OPTICS, GRAVITY, and the early study of CALCULUS. The year-plus that he spent away was later referred to as his annus mirabilis, the “year of wonders.”
What do you say, parents? This inconvenient time at home has the potential of being your kids’ “year of wonders” as well. With a little intentional parenting, we can foster such an environment, while avoiding some potential tragedies.
So friends, in closing…Dave and I send our best wishes… for safety and health. For communities that work together and unite to find creative solutions. For plenty of toilet paper to reach all of us in a timely manner. And for students using their time well.
Who knows if a genius or two might emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hi Monica! Love your blog! I read your blog on a semi-frequent basis but have never commented. Anyways would you mind sharing a little bit about why you decided to homeschool? And the benefits/cons? What you and/or kids like about it? Sorry if you have wrote about this before… I have a 5 year old daughter who is supposed to start kindergarten this year and 2 year old twins and a baby on the way! We are considering homeschooling, at least for elementary school. God bless you and your family,
Hi Barb! Thank you so much for the comment. I am putting together a podcast episode for next week which is all Q&A. I’m adding your question to my notes so please tune in next week for a more complete answer than I could give here. Blessings and big hugs!!
Thank you Monica. I am a middle school counselor that will be navigating my job in an unprecedented way. I am not sure how this will all end up looking but really feel my role is to concentrate on making sure my students and families are managing and emotionally doing well. My husband is a teacher. This should be interesting.
As for us, one high schooler will be online at home. This is going to be challenging. Thank you for your reassurance. My college kiddo is on campus. His school is doing virtual but with dorms open. He has an on campus job and felt that going back to school was what he wanted to do. The adult decision was not easy for this mom. I am proud of him and he knows we are a small drive away.
I have been holding on to the positives and looking as my community steps in. Hopefully we all remember to take this in and remember to slow down.
Thanks so much Monica. Love your heart. Thankful to God for you. I have been agonising over the idea of homeschooling, (reading your blog) and after years of prayer my 5 year old son started mainstream school in Australia this year. However, clearly God wanted me to homeschool 😀 today with school closures imminent we have taken him out to start teaching him at home! God bless everyone as you spend more time together xx
P.s. know of any good daily routine cards to print for kids?
oh, thank you Jess!! And good for you — funny how God takes care of things and this will be a good chance to give homeschooling a try… I don’t know of any good routine cards, but I bet you’ll find more than a few on Pinterest… 🙂 If you do, let me know so I can pass them on!! XO
We “escaped” to Oahu – any recommendations for teen boys here 🙂 Activities, food, etc? they both surf, I know the weathers not great today.
Oh fun! glad you made it!!! I have this page on my blog with all of my recommended North Shore things to do — https://monicaswanson.com/our-favorite-places-on-the-north-shore-of-oahuand-a-few-others-around-the-island/ Though a lot of things are probably not open right now, it might give you some ideas. Otherwise, just enjoy a little tropical climate and each other!! XO
You are a gift! Truly…..
oh that is so kind!! Thank you. 🙂 Stay well…
Thank you Monica! So well written.
Monica, you are an ocean of calm during a stormy time. Thank you for the helpful, positive post. You gently put things into perspective for everyone. Sending prayers for peace and health throughout the world. May we all take a moment of mindfulness and be considerate and thoughtful to those around us: our families, our neighbors, our communities. I wish you well!
Thank you for sharing Monica. Praying for blessings, peace and health for your hubby and family as he serves the community…. and of course praying for more t.p. 😘
Beautifully positive. Thank you.
Thank you Erin!!
What a beautifully positive post about a really lousy situation. Well done for approaching this topic with wisdom, calm and common sense!
Thank you, and blessings to you and yours, Monica and Dave.
Thank you Belinda! That is very sweet 😉
Fantastic post Monica! Thank you 🙏🏽 for your and Dr.Dave’s measured response.👍🏽.
Still in SAfrica, where we haven’t been hit too hard yet (knock on wood🙏🏽). In church ⛪️ in Umshlanga Today There was no communion or offering plates being passed around, and instead Of handshakes and hugs 🤗 we got squirts of hand sanitizers 😉, I guess this is the new normal🤷🏻♀️! (But it was good to go and have the soul fed🙏🏽.)
I loved your mention of Isaac Newton and his discoveries in the times of the Bubonic Plague. Brilliant post and a great reminder that we will get beyond this 🙏🏽. Thanks Monica! Be safe and stay healthy. Hugs 🤗 from a distance😉❤️, Penny
Thank you, Penny! I have wondered how you are doing and so glad to hear you are well! Josiah comes home from Westmont this Friday, but his trip to S. Africa in May has not yet been cancelled. I’ll keep you posted!! Big hugs to you!