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One day at a time

OkotoksToday and Western Wheel reporter Krista Conrad's daily update on working from home and raising five kids suddenly out of school amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Day 68: Learning life skills

Christian was disappointed to have to do school today.

It’s probably the first Friday he’s had to hit the books since the pandemic sent school homeward, because he typically finished up all his lessons by Thursday at noon. But this week was different.

The long weekend definitely played a role, since he didn’t get to start until Tuesday morning. But there was also Language Arts.

Christians don’t do words.

That’s not to say he can’t. The Boy can be a very skilled writer when he wants to be, but he will always be far more comfortable surrounded by math problems, science facts, calculators and experiments.

This week he was challenged by that first-ever business letter I mentioned previously. It took him a couple of days’ worth of school time to figure out how best to arrange his sentences and make his fake request to the manager of Walmart for donations to the St. JPII annual backpack campaign. He asked for help and I gave it in spurts, because I think he thought I’d just spew out exactly what he should write – and yes, I could have easily done that, having written many a sponsorship request letter in my day – but that wasn’t about to happen.

So he struggled through and came out with a fine letter in the end. But he was mad. It meant he didn’t start math until late Thursday, which in turn meant there was more math to do this morning.

He was diligent, finished his assignment and quiz before lunch, but was disappointed he didn’t get to hang out with his Switch and make fun of his older sisters for still having to do work on a Friday.

On our chore chart, someone gets a day off every Friday, and today he was the lucky kid without a household job to do. But Mom had something up her sleeve.

So when Hannah disappeared to the basement to clean her room, I had him empty the fridge and freezer. We’ve had a small leak in the bottom-drawer freezer lately and quick Google searches, tips and how-to videos showed the problem was likely a clogged drain spout in the back.

Today, Christian moved from school lessons to life lessons. He learned what it takes to move a fridge out from the wall and cabinet (and the dusty mess that can collect under there). He learned how to remove screws from the metal panel, identify the problem – with the help of one of those online how-to videos – fix it, and then put everything back together.

Many tools were used. A lot of time eaten up. But he didn’t complain. I think he enjoyed applying himself to something like fixing a household appliance.

He did well, and only needed my assistance a couple of times, to demo how to use the wrench to unscrew and tighten the nuts on the metal panel. It’s clear he’s proud of what he accomplished here today.

Hannah enjoyed her time helping as well. She took control of the flashlight and giggled while cranking the handle to light up the scene inside the fridge for her big brother. I think she thought it was funny to be sitting behind the behemoth in the kitchen, on a piece of floor she’s never seen before.

This is another one of the bonuses that come from homeschooling while Mom works at the kitchen counter. Extra jobs – maybe not so exciting. But there are real skills being developed on top of the school’s lesson plans.

These are things they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Krista Conrad,

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Krista Conrad

About the Author: Krista Conrad

Krista Conrad is the news reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper covering Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips contact
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