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COVID-19: Homeschool, Hobbies, and Hope

COVID-19: Homeschool, Hobbies, and Hope
Posted on 05/01/2020
Hope imageWritten by Elizabeth Adams, Student Journalist

The last week of April came with the announcement that schools will remain closed until at least May 31st. This means cancelled mission trips, proms, and musicals. I know the seniors at St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland are mourning our graduating year without the excitement and bragging rights that comes with the annual Student versus Staff hockey game. By May 31st Ontario students will have been out of school for two and a half months, longer than the amount of time we are out on summer vacation. It is inevitable therefore, that we experience some form of boredom. There are still things we can do at home to stay productive and entertained.

Homework, the dreaded ‘H’ word, is the bane of students everywhere. All of our school work is now homework as we continue to do our learning online. Now more than ever before we have to stay on top of our assignments, and self-regulate ourselves. This is a difficult thing to do, because there are so many distractions that come with being at home. With 3 younger siblings plus a hyper puppy the noise level can get a little loud at my house. I’ve also stepped in to be my little brother’s poetry/religion/history teacher to boot. There are days that I sit down with my laptop convinced that today is the day that I’ll concentrate and do all of the tasks that I’ve left until the end of the week. Then my mom makes cookies and suddenly I’m not at my desk anymore, I’m in the kitchen. It’s normal to get distracted, but we can’t give up. Instead we should find creative ways to motivate ourselves for tomorrow...(Elizabeth, if you finish that essay you can watch Pride and Prejudice for the 501st time). These are the days that we put our learning skills to the test and develop good habits that will stick with us throughout our entire secondary and post-secondary careers. The beautiful thing about learning is that knowledge can never be taken from us.

Hobbies. With so much free time on our hands it’s no wonder that so many of us are starting to pick up new skills, or fine tuning old ones. As we continue to live with social distancing measures it’s important that we make time to do things that make us happy. Hobbies can actually help us with our emotional wellbeing and mental health. Personally I’ve taken up prayer journaling, as a way to calm my nerves. Taking time to talk to Jesus and write out my feelings on paper is therapeutic.

Flour, and yeast are flying off the shelves at the grocery store where my dad works. It looks as though people aren’t panic buying anymore, but rather panic baking. During her lunch break a few weeks ago my mom decided to bake homemade bread for the first time. My dad, miraculously, got his hands on a 20 kg bag of flour the other night, and my mom treats it like fluffy white gold. A teacher of my sister’s encouraged them to write letters to the seniors' homes, whose residents are going through a lot of loneliness with no family allowed to visit them. Whether it’s adult colouring books, piano, fitness, knitting, gardening, or origami there is something new that we can pick up to keep occupied, have a little fun, and maybe even give back to others in the weeks to come.

Hope, by definition, is a feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen, but hope is so much more than that. Hope is what we cling to when we feel out of control. Hope is what keeps us going when we feel like falling into despair. In the midst of the uncertainty that is our lives right now, good things are happening all around the world to give us hope in humanity and the end of this virus. Tourist sites are reporting a decrease in pollution, NO2 levels have dropped in Italy and China. People are bringing groceries to their elderly neighbours, animal shelters are reporting boosts in foster applications, TV medical dramas are donating supplies to hospitals in need. Pandemics don’t go away overnight, but they also don’t last forever. Life will go back to normal, albeit a new normal. Hope isn’t just a feeling of desire for something to happen, it is a choice to look at the night sky and not focus on the darkness, but the stars.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11. In this famous verse from the Old Testament God is saying to Jeremiah to not give up. He has plans to give us hope and a future, that is better than anything we leave behind. When you read this verse in context of the bigger story though, God goes on to say to the Israelites that yes, he has plans for them to prosper but they need to find happiness where they are, and wait. Happiness can be found even during difficult times; Facetime your friends, practice the things you love, get to know your family better. It is harder to be patient, and at least twice a day I want to say, “to heck with all of this”. Then I am reminded of those in the community who are vulnerable. It may be tedious to wait, but one of the most loving things we can do right now is stay home. School and other activities are cancelled for now, but love, kindness, happiness, and most of all hope are not.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla, patroness of doctors, pray for us
St. Anthony of Padua, patron of the elderly, pray for us
St. Catherine of Siena, patroness of sick people, pray for us
St. Rocco, patron of contagious diseases, pray for us
St. Rita, patroness of desperate situations, pray for us
St. Joseph, patron of Canada, pray for us
Holy Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us