So here's a column I never thought I'd write   For the past month, Brian and I have been juggling our jobs and at-home learning for our fifth-grade daughter, Ellie; second-grade daughter, Katie; and kindergartener, Charlie.  I'll start by saying we are incredibly lucky to have the resources we need, and we have been looking for […]

So here's a column I never thought I'd write  

For the past month, Brian and I have beenjuggling our jobs and at-home learning for our fifth-grade daughter, Ellie;second-grade daughter, Katie; and kindergartener, Charlie. 

I'll start by saying we are incredibly lucky tohave the resources we need, and we have been looking for ways to help othersduring this crisis since we know too many out there are struggling even morethan they were before COVID-19 hit. 

However, parents have a few extra reasons tovent these days, and it helps as we all try to get through this together. 

Emotions are running high. What started asSpring Break transitioned to not going back to school for at least another sixweeks. 'Best. News. Ever,' was the initial reaction from the kids. But it soondawned on them that Brian and I would now be their teachers. 'Fake school,' asthey like to call it, was still on.

Ellie took it the hardest. After all, at age 10she already knows way more than us about everything (just ask her), so what could we possibly bring to the table? 

She also misses her friends. We haveneighborhood kids who were at our house every other day before coronavirusarrived. When it first sank in for Ellie that she wasn't having friends overany time soon, she broke down and lashed out with: 'Coronavirus is the worst! It's like, one guy gets sick and is like, 'I'm going togo to a party and get everyone else sick!'' 

Since then we've worked on improving Ellie'sunderstanding of how the virus has actually spread, and we've tried to makethis all easier on the kids.

While we try to have structure, the truth is notwo days look the same. Yes, we do some learning in the morning and thenusually another round in the afternoon " broken up by a long 'recess' in thebackyard or basement.

Brian and I have worked with our employers toarrange more flexibility in our work schedules. We take turns devoting chunksof the day to remote learning and play time with the kids, because we learnedearly on that trying to multitask doing our jobs and working with the kids didNOT work. Those days devolved quickly into meltdowns all around.

I still have many moments where I struggle withfeeling out of control with all this uncertainty around coronavirus and whatthe future looks like in the coming weeks, months and years. 

But we have found good during this quarantine.The kids are exploring the spaces around us more than ever before. The backyardturned into an obstacle course. The garage door became a canvas for magnetictiles. We've supported local restaurants by ordering new kinds of takeout anddiscovered the kids like Thai food. 

Also, the arboretum at the end of our streetholds treasures! The girls discovered a small skull in the creek there andbrought it home. (And then washed their hands many, many times.) Knowing howengaged the Burpee Museum staff has been in recent weeks providing dailylearning opportunities, I took pictures of it and reached out on their Facebookpage for help identifying the animal. Based on the size and teeth, they peg itas probably a fox and congratulated Ellie and Katie on the 'great find.' Howcool is that?

These are scary times, for sure. But most of the time I'm sure our little clan here is going toget through this just fine. It's what I need to believe to be the best parent Ican be right now. 

I wish the same to all of you and welcome anysuggestions or 'quarantine hacks' you've discovered for parenting andhomeschooling. Email me at dorothy.wallheimer@gmail.com