Sheltered Diaries: Isn’t That Specials

In our bid to get more work done and still work our jobs that pay for the toilet paper and hand sanitizer we can’t buy anymore, my husband and I have come up with a bit of a tag-team system that seems to be working (even though both of us have jobs that could pull us away at any moment).

We tag each other in and out on Mondays and Thursdays. Tuesday my husband takes the bulk of the duty, and Wednesday it’s me. Friday is a catch-up day for anything we didn’t get to during the previous four days (Tiny’s teachers are giving assignments on Monday that are due by Friday at midnight).

We’ve finally figured out Google Classrooms, and Zoom, and (fingers crossed) we’re making headway on this week’s work. But today was my day with the new classroom, and I have to say – if you can figure out how to block off chunks of the day at least one day a week to really work with your kids on these assignments,  you see parts of their personalities that usually only their teachers see.

Take, for instance, our music lesson today. After listening to Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro,” which was used to tell the woeful tale of a hungry cat who just wanted some food (there was a cartoon and everything, and yes I know the actual song is not about a cat at all), Tiny was tasked with explaining how he felt about the song.

“The cat was sad, and this song sounded kind of sad, too,” he wrote. “It didn’t make me feel sad, because I’m not a hungry cat. I’m not even a cat. I’m a human.

“I did feel sad for the cat, she seemed so hungry, and the music sounded like she was very hungry. The singing was very high pitched – freaky high pitched. It’s high pitched because the singer was singing very loud and high.”

In social studies, his teacher is taking the opportunity to talk about what it means to be a good citizen in a digital world.  After reviewing the lesson about differentiating between the world at large and your own community, he was asked to explain the internet to someone who doesn’t know what it is.

“The internet is where you use a computer to find things,” he wrote. “There used to not be an internet, and you had to actually go read books.”

It seems my child is more sarcastic than I previously thought.

Tiny has been lucky – his teachers have uploaded lessons for PE, music, and art (what are commonly known in elementary school as “specials,” too. But if you haven’t gotten those kinds of lessons, or just need a minute to take a break and provide some enrichment while you do, three new things have come across my inbox this week.

The Dallas Children’s Theater has provided a lesson in two parts on building a shadow puppet theater. Start with part one, which shows how to create your characters, and then check out part 2, which discusses how to create your stage.

Legacy West is partnering with Creative Parties for Kids to host a virtual kid’s club through Friday this week on their Facebook page.

The live broadcasts will be at noon, with The Story Lady appearing both April 2 and 3. Does your child need a little social interaction? You can also schedule a 20 minute FaceTime call with a book character thanks to Creative Parties, too.

Is your kid a Captain Underpants or Dog Man fan? The Library of Congress is hosting the popular children’s author every week, beginning today with fun and free activities like how-to-draw demonstrations, engaging read-a-louds, and resources from the Library’s collections. Dav Pilkey at Home will feature new video content created by Pilkey himself on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. ET on social media channels and the Library of Congress and Scholastic websites. Click here for details and links.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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