Isolation – The New-New Normal

Isolation – The New-New Normal

Happy third day of isolation, from here at the 10 Little Rules of Hank compound! Let’s talk about what is making us sane – scheduling the crap out of our day with rigid time schedules. Or you know, not, because that isn’t going to work for me. I have realized over the past 12 years of parenthood, I am *not* a Pinterest mom. But I do sort of have a schedule.

Setting up a schedule to closely replicate their school day sounds like a great idea, but the execution isn’t the easiest. Within a few hours, if you haven’t already thought so, you’re thinking that our teachers don’t make nearly enough money, sick time or free (quality) coffee. Instead of filling a schedule, I have been focusing on blocks of time.

During the first day, I decided that since I wasn’t going to be able to keep to a schooling schedule, I would focus on stimulating parts of the brain. They get that in school, too, so, I’m trying that while the kids are home.  And I know that I am writing this all out on the third day and I should really wait to see how it all works out and write this on the third week, but, hey. I am a dreamer.

Our schedule looks like the following:

Wake Up – Breakfast

Dave is on his own. There are yogurts and frozen breakfast meals where he can get them, just like any other day.

Hank wakes me up. Somewhere from 6am to 7ish am, per his normal schedule and I make him some bread and “butter” and a drink.

Both boys are to entertain themselves so that I can go back to sleep or actually wake up. Both boys have books they are listening to through their Echo Dots and are doing that while playing a puzzle game or an actual puzzle.

Mid-Morning – Lunch

*If* I see the boys, then we talk. Or they help with a chore to get the household moving. But for the last few days, they have stayed away from me until lunch – they know that I must still keep the household running and they don’t actually want to help.


This is where I think my down fall for this whole “being home during the day” thing is starting. I am making actual lunches here from real food and they are delicious. Not something that I will be able to keep up with when (or if?) they go back to school. We sit and eat as a family, though, I walk lunch into my office to give to my husband, who has taken over my office.

After Lunch

Outside time! Normally, in the summer, I would just send them outside to play but they are both very outgoing and I am afraid that the social distancing will be forgotten as soon as they see one of their friends. So, I go outside with them. We started by sectioning off portions of the front yard and picking up sticks and looking for new plant growth. We were preparing for being able to use a lawn mower. Once we were finished (in truth, it took multiple days to do the front yard, because it was more fun to threaten each other with sticks than to put them in the yard waste bag), we went for a walk. We can see one of the neighborhood parks from our house and have been noticing that people seem to be taking turns there. So, we walked until it was our “turn.”

For the rest of the time, I have more labor that I will need them to help me with. We plan on cleaning up the backyard, which is still littered with dog bombs from the colder days. The backyard also holds the area where we are making our new garden. The area used to have an above ground pool, so we need to remove rocks from the edge and sand from the middle, not to mention weeds and grass that have moved into the area.

Besides physical chores and walks around our ghost town of a neighborhood, I also plan to take them to visit a set of trails in a wood near our house, drawing with chalk, making our own bubbles and doing science experiments that are better off outside.

Mid Afternoon

We don’t want our kids to spend much time in front of screens, but we also realize that there needs to be some type of entertainment that they don’t need to create themselves. So, during this time, which coincides with snack time, I find a movie or a show that they have not watched yet – I will not be watching Martha Speaks again. After Hank’s last case of the flu, I think that I have seasons 2 and 3 memorized.

Our television is hooked up to the internet, so I have been very fortunate to find bizarre videos and movies that are educational. On Monday, we watched a documentary on fighting ants. Today, they are watching Wallace and Gromit. Balance, yo.

Since the hubs as taken over my quiet office to work from home, I placed my computer on the kitchen bar to be able to pull up more videos from the local and not-so-local zoos as well as videos of authors reading and virtual museum tours.

This is also the time we read books to each other, practice math flash cards, play instruments and work on vocabulary.

Late Afternoon – Dinner

The kids on their own. They may play on our trampoline, or play creatively (building, coloring, writing, story play) but not hole themselves in their rooms as they did in the morning.

During this time, I am chorin’ or have been coerced into playing or continuing reading -thanks to my dear friend, Wendi (with an “I”), Hank has a new (to him) collection of Magic Tree House and we’re currently reading about Hawaii.


I usually just make dinners on my own as I have spliced together so many different recipes that I am not following something cohesive. We then eat as a family and talk. All normal stuff.

Bed Time

This is our normal routine. We are not allowing them to stay up late, they don’t need to.

I don’t want my kids to feel as though they are interrupting my schedule by being home and I don’t want them to feel as though being home is a punishment. I want them to be safe and keep learning, even if it isn’t in the way that they are used to at school. As much as I joke about how great it is to dump them off at school, and they know that I am joking, I have not been making those jokes with this serious turn of events. These kids are two of the most important people to me and they don’t need to feel like they aren’t. Please remember that when you are talking in your household and to your own kids.

I am glad that the schools have been mandated to close for the next few weeks. Keeping them safe will, in turn, keep others safe.