Taking it easy and making the most

RESIDENTS and businesses in our Brighton Municipality are really showing their innovative approaches to staying home and saving lives. Brighton Community News is focusing its May edition on some of the many ways in which residents and businesses are showing how they are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic particularly those with children who are at home and who need to be both kept entertained and also home-schooled. More stories about individuals and businesses coping are featured on pages 6 and 7 in the pdf version of the newspaper downloadable here: http://brightoncommunitynews.com.au/past-editions/

KIRSTY and Drew Schulze of Old Beach are certainly facing some challenges as they pack up their home to move in their newly built home in the Municipality in the near future.

Kirsty, who works for the UTAS medical faculty, said it is was a challenge working from home while trying to look after the needs of children Ellie 8, Lochie, 6 and Piper 5.

The Schultz kids of Old Beach, Lochie, 6, Ellie, 8, and Piper, 5, during their rather novel Easter break.
The Schultz kids of Old Beach, Lochie, 6, Ellie, 8, and Piper, 5, during their rather novel Easter break.

Drew is a builder so he is busy during the week, and so most of the home ‘fun and games’ as well as homeschooling, is left to Kirsty.

“I love this though as I have a real creative spirit, and arts and crafts are definitely my thing,  so I think was just made for this,” Kirsty said.

“Having three children really does keep you busy but I’m lucky because we have fantastic resources provided by our school, Dominic College.

Kirsty’s major issue is that most of the children’s toys and some other necessities are packed and ready for storage for when they begin building their new home.

“It’s been a challenge to keep the house clean too while online inspections take place,” Kirsty said.

“But we’re rising to the challenge and finding ways to use what we’ve got to keep the children entertained and happy.”

At the same time, the school has been trialling online lessons using ZOOM and Microsoft Teams, and Kirsty is looking forward to seeing how this will work as school resumes.

The lessons are being held in 45-minute blocks and with the added advantage of the school gifting technology to parents, Kirsty said the issue of home-schooling seemed to be very organised and quite seamless.

“The classes are direct learning – we’ve also had paper packs from school which we were given in the first two weeks when we were urged to keep children home, which helped in that initial home-schooling process.

“I sit at the table doing my work and supervise as the children continue on doing their school work. That in itself is a challenge.

“The school has been great in making sure the right messages are getting across to children to make them understand what this is all about and how important it is to keep our distance as well as the importance of washing hands so that others don’t get sick.”

Kirsty, like many other parents, said the challenge was to keep children busy and occupied outside of school learning.

“We’ve been very much into making things. For example, we had a drive-in movie night so the children made a car from the box that their desk and chair came in.  It was great fun and kept them busy all day with a home delivery of dinner to top it off (and less work for mum and dad at the end of the week),” she said, laughing.

“We’ve also made goodie bags as special treats for good behaviour, had outside disco nights and erected fairy lights for a special bonfire out the back of our place.  We delivered seed and dirt packs around our street and the response back was beautiful. We received thank you cards, small gifts and puzzles packs for kids all of which was completely unexpected but amazing street spirit.

“We are also fortunate that we can cycle around the streets and see what other people are doing.”

The popular teddy bear hunts have been held in Old Beach where people are putting teddy bears in their windows so that they can be spotted by children.

“Another lady set up a ‘decorate your letterbox for Easter’ idea which has been really well responded to. All of this helps us ensure we are, and remain, connected.

“I think what this has taught us all is that we’re all in it together. For example, an Eski of sweets was left out for Old Beach residents by a gorgeous local lady who also spoiled children with their own Easter cake on Easter Sunday, along with countless activity packs.

“It really was a brilliant idea.  We really are so lucky to live where we live, where there is so much going on around the place.

Kirsty said some of the initiatives that evolved in the street over past weeks and in her own home were:

  • A boot picnic with friends to adhere to social distancing when first restrictions came in.
  • An emoji hunt another Old Beach resident did for those walking around the suburb, 23 hidden all over Old Beach.
  • Scavenger hunts in the backyard which was an Easter themed one- easy, cheap and great for all ages.
  • Backyard bonfires.
  • Cake from a neighbour to help with Easter celebrations.
  • Camping in our caravan in the driveway.
  • Special high teas.
  • Egg and spoon races.
  • Night-time discos on the trampoline.
  • Family Tik Tok sessions.
  • Restaurant eat-in at home

“It is fantastic because even though we are all going through some difficult times, I really think it is bringing out the best in a lot of people.”

Kirsty said that while there are challenges now and possibly more to come, they are enjoying the slower pace and the bonding, and as parents, they have been able to see first-hand how the children have grown through their schooling.

“We are certainly doing a lot of things together. I have to say I know it’s going to be quiet and possibly sad when everything does go back to normal,” Kirsty said.