• Coronavirus 101 for Secular Homeschoolers

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    Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The thing that is everywhere, physically and literally. Facebook groups, the news, chat rooms, emails and pretty much everywhere you look or go: coronavirus, better known as COVID-19. And I don’t know about you, but as a homeschooling family, we go into learning mode and have not only been following the progression of this virus but constantly updating each other on new information as we find it. Being informed is the best way to win the war against germs.

    COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China in late 2019. It has since progressed to over 100 countries and climbing daily. Numbers within countries are climbing hourly. Why are we so concerned about this virus? I mean, it is just a virus after all. A cold is a virus. So what is the big deal? The big deal is that COVID-19 is a whopper of a virus. It is unknown how it actually came to be. There are several theories out there; who knows which one is correct? That is a debate for another day.

    We do know that it is transmitted easily. YUCK. Scientists and doctors are still learning how it can be spread, how to prevent it, how to stop it. It is a virus. It is not bacterial and therefore cannot be stopped with antibiotics. Currently, the virus seems to be affecting the elderly and immune-compromised more than anyone else.


    Wash Your Hands

    The best prevention is hand-washing. Sounds silly but it is simple. Wash your hands. Wash your hands after the bathroom, wash your hands before preparing food or eating, wash your hands after changing a diaper, wash your hands after dealing with pets. Cover your cough and sneeze. Not with your hands, with your elbow or shoulder. Limit contact. Don’t shake hands, even though that is our ingrained social norm. Right now, people will understand. Wave, fist bump or just say hi. Limit large gatherings. Many states have put bans on large gatherings. Why? Because large masses of people coughing or sneezing within close distance of each other is not good for the public health.

    Sanitize

    Sanitize. Wash often-touched surfaces with a disinfectant. Use this as a homeschool learning experience. Break out that microscope. Swab some things like the computer, your phone, the light switch and check out the germs often left behind. You can even grab petri dishes on Amazon and see what grows. Ew and cool at the same time! Make a schedule to remind yourself daily to wipe things down. Doorknobs, drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, light switches, and faucet handles are all great places to clean daily. Better yet, let the kids be in charge of it. Consider it a life skill learning opportunity!.

    Implement Social Distancing

    As homeschoolers, this is an area where we are expected to excel. But do you know what social distancing includes? Other than avoiding crowded places like schools, sporting events and restaurants, the recommendation is to maintain a distance of six feet between you and other people. Even if you’re young and healthy, you and your family could be carriers who infect those at risk. So stay home as much as possible during this time.

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    Know the Symptoms

    Read up on COVID-19 and what symptoms go with it. It is important to know the difference between a basic cold, the flu, allergies, and COVID-19. Many people won’t even consider it more than a simple cold because it really won’t affect them. But for others, it warrants a trip to your doctor and/or possibly the emergency room. Know your symptoms. Clinics, Urgent Cares, and Hospitals are reporting that they will be over-run if this takes off. You do not want to be tying up their time if your symptoms do not match COVID-19.

    Follow the Progression

    You can keep up on the latest information with the World Health Authority, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), or following your local news. Not only do they have info on prevention, safety, and symptoms BUT they have a map. A map of the world with cases and it is updated constantly. This is a great homeschool tool but it can be scary as well. You know your child best and what they can and cannot handle. If you need a less scary, more child-friendly way to explain coronavirus to your children, check out this printable comic book, Just for Kids: A Comic Book Exploring the New Coronavirus. And here are some facts for kids from NatGeo about coronavirus.

    It Is Ok to Be Concerned

    It is ok to be scared or concerned about this. It is big. It has been presented as scary. It can be scary. The best way to prevent being scared or concerned is to be informed. Talk to your doctor, especially if you or a family member is elderly or immune-compromised. Have a plan of action. Stock up on several weeks of food in case you do have to be 100% quarantined. You do not need 100 rolls of toilet paper, this is not THAT kind of sickness. A few easy to prepare foods, some cold meds, some pain/fever relievers and of course soap are all excellent to have on hand. Do you need to become a prepper? Not really. Not unless you live in the middle of nowhere and then chances are, you are already are prepared. Work with your kids on hand-washing. Then meet this head-on and turn it into a homeschool lesson.

    If you have any questions, concerns, new information you want to share or you just want to chat; feel free to email me [email protected] and I am more than happy to chat and help in any way I can.
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