James Cook, Rapunzel and learning from home

His mum’s history lessons are unique and building a home gym with dad is a great way to learn maths. Maksim reflects on learning from home.

Image: Maksim at the headland at La Perouse with ‘Rapunzel’s castle’ in the background.

In 2020 life as we know it came to sudden stop when the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus hit Australia.

All of a sudden we had to be careful of a deadly virus we couldn’t even see. People were scared and some were just silly, even fighting over toilet paper.

It was crazy!

But it wasn’t all bad. Actually, I was pretty happy when I woke up for school one Monday morning and my mum told me I didn’t have to go.

She said the government asked parents to keep their kids home to stop the virus from spreading.

For me, this meant sleeping in … playing computer games …going to the skate park … and basically doing whatever I wanted.

What I didn’t realise was that I still had to do schoolwork.

So … I’m going to tell you all about my home learning experience. Even though I didn’t do every single task my teachers set, I learnt some things I never could have learnt in the classroom.

For example, when the gyms closed and gym equipment sold out everywhere, I helped my dad build his own gym set in our garage.

We made a bench rack from timber and painted it black, and we even made dumbbells using concrete and steel.

It was really interesting and I learnt a lot about maths, measurement and angles.

My dad also set up a boxing bag and I used this every day for my PE lesson. This was my favourite subject while learning at home!

Just like at school, the best part of my day was lunch.

I would have something to eat – usually a vegemite sandwich – and then ride down to La Perouse with my mum and my sister.

We’d get a hot chocolate at the Boatshed café and sit on the rocks beside the beach, just talking and relaxing.

Sometimes my mum would tell me about the history of the local area, like how just across the water at Kamay, James Cook first landed in Australia in 1770.

I enjoyed these history lessons, but my mum also told my sister that the old watchtower at La Perouse is Rapunzel’s tower, so I’m not sure she’s the most reliable history teacher!

What I missed the most about not being at school was seeing my friends, so I made new ones.

There were a few kids in my neighbourhood going through the same thing as me and we had heaps of fun playing basketball, learning new scooter tricks and riding my friend’s quad bike.

So, while I probably didn’t read as much as I should have and I didn’t practise my times tables, I was happy and safe at home with my family.

I was also happy when my mum dropped me off at school on my first day back, so maybe school isn’t that bad after all. Sometimes.

Maksim is in Year 3 at Malabar Public School.

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