Tuesday, April 28, 2020

It's your teacher

A big conversation among parents has been how to keep kids motivated to complete assignments. It gets harder as the shelter at home days drag on. Lots of people have shared stories about how their students were on the verge of getting an incomplete grade because they had not completed enough assignments.

When my device rang, it said, "Private number." I hesitated, then answered.

The voice said, "Hi. Is blonde twin there? It's her teacher." 

I said, "One minute please." And then I promptly hung up on her. I didn't mean to hang up. I tried to mute my device so I could tell the blonde twin who was on the phone.

The teacher called back immediately. I apologized, muted the phone, told the blonde twin her teacher was on the phone. I said, "You are doing your work, right?"

The blonde twin seemed shocked that her teacher was calling. When she hung up the phone, she was beaming. She said, "My teacher just called to tell me what a great job I was doing. She said I was one of the few students actually completing all my work."

We were so proud of her. We knew the girls were logging on every day and seemed to be doing their work. We never actually checked, though. The blonde twin had an "I told you so" attitude all evening. She earned it.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Closing the sweat shop for now

It's hard to fight an invisible enemy. Covid-19 was easily spread in crowded places and someone could be spreading it without even knowing it. The number of people officially diagnosed with Covid-19 was growing quickly. We knew that even more people had it who were not tested. The death rate was rising. Every day we tried to mix school work and fun, but it was getting hard to keep up our spirits.

After days of debate, we were told that everyone should be wearing masks whenever they were outside. Just like that, I had a mission.

If there's something I can do to help other people, it's sew. I have a lot of fabric and thread, and a sewing machine. I found mask pattern that seemed pretty easy to put together. And then, I told the girls to ask their friends if they needed masks. 

In my head we were going to make about 50 masks for family and friends. Once we were done totaling all the masks, we were closer to 75. 

I pulled out a lot of fabric, washed it, ironed it and started planning. The first person pulled into the project was Daddy. He offered to cut all the fabric. The brunette twin recently said she wanted to make some clothes. I suggested she start sewing masks as a learning tool. The blond twin was going to turn the masks inside out and pin on the ties. I was sewing the masks pieces into a final product.

Our mask total kept growing. We said yes to everyone who needed a mask. We had all the raw materials and the team to create them. 

At one point, I referred to our project as a sweat shop. We had more than one hundred masks in progress. The news kept saying it was important to wear masks, so I felt pressure to get them done immediately. We wanted our family and friends to be safe. 

When we had enough masks, the girls drove to our local family's homes and dropped masks on front porches. To maintain our social distancing, the girls texted everyone to let them know that there was a bag on their porch. 

A few days later, we dropped almost 20 envelopes in the mail, sending masks from Portland to London. The U.S. Postal clerk seemed shocked to see all the envelopes. 

The girls drove to deliver masks to area friends. By the time they arrived back home, there were already pictures of their friends in their masks on social media.

The sweat shop is closed now, but it could reopen at any time. While the rest of the workforce is done making masks, I cannot say no to anyone who asks for a mask. We have a pretty good supply now, but could run out if the quarantine continues. If this happens, we'll reopen the sweat shop. There's no reason for anyone to go without a mask until I'm out of fabric.