Freedom and adventure are postponed…but learning and growth continue!
AT home in hungary
Hungary declared a state of emergency on 11 March, and schools were closed effective 16 March. Restaurants and cafes were restricted from operating after 3 PM and only grocery stores and pharmacies were deemed essential. The borders of Hungary closed to everyone except Hungarian citizens (and any essential trade) on the 16th as well. By this time, most restaurants were receiving take-out or delivery orders only. Also, by the 1st of April, grocery stores were given specific times for the elderly to shop, and they limited the number of people allowed to enter. Masks, gloves and other PPE were not a requirement for shoppers, but most employees wear them, and plexiglass sneeze-guards were installed at every check-out in most stores. People have been encouraged to stay at home for the most part, but we are also permitted to go for hikes, walk the dog, and exercise outside as long as social distancing is practiced.
We did manage to get our last haircuts in before things closed down for good. Willow was quite proud of hers, as its only her third “proper” haircut in her life!
Our last day in school was Friday the 13th of March, and we have been “distance learning” ever since. We are so lucky to have teachers who are creative and eager to make this thing work no matter what. It has been a gift to have their lesson plans and their “motivation from afar” for our children. They are each at a different level and have very different expectations from their teachers but so far it has been a fairly smooth transition for them and they’re doing very well. I’m so proud of how they’ve adjusted and taken their independent learning seriously! I have become more of a tutor for the big two, and a bit of a cruise director for the littlest. Ultimately we have appreciated the structure and have found this time to be rewarding. Of course we need to take breaks from all the technology and find ways to mix up the routine to keep things fun, but for the most part it’s “working” for us!
It has been a welcome change for this stay at home mom. I have really enjoyed seeing their learning process up close and am so proud of how they have grown in this short time at home. I remember having more time to work on phonics and preschool types of things with the big two kiddos, so having Willow home now while she’s excited about school and learning has been so fun and rewarding. I may have less time to myself now, but it has made me take advantage of those moments when I do, going out on walks and catching up on reading when the hubby gets home.
Here, Willow is working on her writing, rhyming (wheat and feet!), science (“does it float?” experiment), spelling, phonics (treasure-hunt match game!), and drawing. She’s such an eager little student!
Aside from what is assigned to the kids at school, we have been filling our days with all kinds of outside time, reading, arts and crafts, puzzle-making, game-playing and cooking. I’m excited to see Beau finally choosing books – finding the joy in reading! He has also overhauled and organized his Legos. He’s shown a new interest in learning guitar, so we will see how that goes. Willow is taking off in the “directed drawing” category, always asking to do more and practice her technique. Didi, our extrovert, is constantly looking for ways to communicate with her friends and snags every opportunity to zoom or Facetime. The girls also love creating works of art and are thrilled every time I bring out the paints.
We have tried many new recipes, and I will be writing an entire blog on my “corona cooking” as it’s been one way I’ve found comfort, control, and kept my creativity flowing. The weather has been terrific, so we’ve all enjoyed lots of sunshine, climbed trees in the backyard, made up sports with whatever balls we have, and run through the sprinkler. There’s chalk everywhere – and board games have made their way outside as well. Daddy even set up the tent with the kids one day and they planned to camp out in it one night, but chickened out!
Every day the kids do some kind of exercise. I have put together an A-Z alphabet exercise chart that has been a lot of fun. They like seeing the “WOD” (word of the day) to try. We also regularly do YouTube yoga and plenty of outside fun. We have taken occasional walks and bike rides as well as going to the big field in town to kick or hit balls and run around the track.
We have worked on various art projects from water color and acrylic painting to sketching, geo drawings, and Easter art projects!
We had a ton of fun making a video where the kids “sang” a song with their chins as the characters! We named our three-person band the “Rodgerchins” – here they’re singing “Africa!”
We may have cancelled all our visitors and plans for the foreseeable future and we may be mostly stuck at home, but we won’t let it stop us from making memories! On the weekends we have been able to get out and go for a little hike in the nearby Hungarian countryside.
Csóbanc Hilltop Castle Ruins was our first weekend hike down near Lake Balaton. It is a fairly steep hike and a popular place for people to paraglide. We had great visibility and packed a lunch so we could relax at the top.
Bakonynána. The following weekend we drove west to Bakonynána, where there are great hiking trails along a little river in the forest. The kids loved climbing all over the knotted trees – “nature’s playground” – and all along the river rocks and huge tree trunks that had fallen across the river. It was a beautiful day!
Somló. The third weekend we went for another hike up Somló. We had been there several times but had never made it to the castle ruins. This time we did, and it was beautiful! We noticed that each weekend there were progressively less people on the trails. We brought snacks to have at the top again, and just relaxed enjoying the view. This is the hill we can see from our backyard, so it was fun to look out and see Pápa in the distance. It was so peaceful and just what we needed after being cooped up for so long!
In addition to these family hikes, I have taken regular 4-6 mile walks around Pápa several times a week. This has been an awesome way to see “our town” in a way I haven’t really had a chance to yet, seeing all the different neighborhoods (some I haven’t seen before), watch the trees bloom, and listen to my audiobooks. I’m especially grateful for the excuse to get to know the town and country that we call home for now. Travel limitations have certainly made us appreciate the little things – even going out for a walk or a bike ride is a luxury we took for granted before. For now we will make the most of these little outings and remember to be grateful!