Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Robynn is on the road by 6 a.m., striding through the quiet streets of Norwood. A former participant in the Boston Marathon, she relishes her training regimen.
These days, she also welcomes the time alone. Her day will quickly turn into a whirlwind because of COVID-19.
At 7 a.m., she is home in front of a computer for the next three hours, working part-time for a non-profit employer.
Her children rouse and begin rustling between 7:45 and 8:30, eating breakfast, watching a little TV or playing on the iPad. At about 9, they brush their teeth, make the beds and prepare for school.
By 10 a.m. Robynn and husband Mike congregate the kids at the dining room table. Math occupies the first hour; English language arts the second.
Mike, a lawyer, spends most of the day holed up in the basement working from home, helping when possible.
Teachers from École Henri-Bergeron and École Provencher assign work each day. Teacher-student video-conferencing continues connectivity with the schools, but the internet creaks like an old elm tree branch when everyone’s on their computers.
The children are at different learning stages — Theo, in kindergarten, learns the alphabet; Maddux, in Grade 3, learns to read; Cassie, in Grade ,6 reads to learn complex topics and apply them to assignments.
Physical education class offers a respite from the routine.
"We’re doing yoga, walks or rollerblading after lunch, anything outside to be active and break up the day," Robynn says.
Robynn and Mike have also become film directors.
"It takes time to stage things to demonstrate the learning by video or picture," she says.
For two months, the family has been eating together, a rare occurrence in this era of managing kids’ activities. Gone are hockey practices, dance classes and activities that make for sporadic family interactions.
Miyuki and Kirk face similar challenges with Lisa in Grade 8, Nina in Grade 5 and Julian in Grade 2, attending Nordale School. They receive teacher emails every day to ignite busy morning and afternoon schedules.
Miyuki manages most of the multi-grade reading, writing, and math assignments while she works from home as a government employee.
Kirk, an IT professional working from home, pitches in when possible and wonders if "we’re really able to do a teacher’s job."
Their best instincts, though, get some amazing results.
With the sun setting, Nina and Lisa perform a graceful choreographed dance on the front lawn, a unique iteration of an assignment Miyuki will share with teacher.
Turning home into office, school, playground, film studio, and gym has its ups and downs. Kids have meltdowns, especially with parents. The internet is not always reliable. Assignments may lack clarity. Students miss friends. Report cards can be confusing.
Yet there are silver linings.
Both families concede that they’ve never spent so much quality time together. Videoconferencing has forced teachers and parents to become more tech-literate. Kids are playing outside in unstructured ways.
One suspects, though, that July 1 can’t come soon enough for overloaded parents.
Adriano Magnifico is a community correspondent for St. Boniface. You can contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: @AnoMagnifico
St. Boniface community correspondent
Adriano Magnifico is a community correspondent for St. Boniface.
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.