WELLS, Maine — We're not going to sugar coat it - working from home, remote learning and being stuck at your house has been challenging for the best of us. But that isn't stopping a lot of Maine families from finding a silver lining by savoring the extra time and getting creative.
Megan Littlefield in North Berwick, like so many others, is trying to balance working from home and helping her two children with school work. She and her husband are also starting a new business. Megan says her fourth-grader Aria is doing well with school work but her first-grader, Ollie, needs a lot of support which makes it difficult for her to get her own work done.
Although Meghan admits she's struggling to find the balance, she says there is so much more the normally very busy family now has time to do. Her daughter, Aria, has been complaining recently that the family never sat down at their dining room table to eat. Nowadays the table is getting lots of use. The family is going on hikes and runs they normally couldn't and they are launching rockets in the backyard and making rafts to float in little ponds near their home.
"There’s definitely an aspect of this where I hope the kids can look back and what they remember from it is not the scariness and intensity but that they remember all the amazing extra things that we got to do as a family," says Meghan.
In Sanford, Mackayla Giles, 15, has started her own business making sea glass jewelry and selling it on Etsy. Her younger sister, Natalie, 14, has been teaching her some chords on the guitar and the sisters are harmonizing together and learning new songs. Their youngest sister Olivia, 11, wanted to learn Morse code. The older sisters made her a faux telegraph using a circuit board so she can practice and send questions and messages to her siblings.
The siblings admit they are watching more television than usual so even there they got creative and Olivia and her father made a projector using a magnifying glass and cardboard so they can project their movies on the wall.
The siblings say they are getting along well and appreciate that they have each other.
"We’re actually getting along really well," says Mackayla. "Just having each other to talk to because it gets boring."
Instead of binge-watching Netflix the Jones' in Wells have been using the time they would normally be out and about to paint, bake bread, do science experiments and dance up a storm. Emily Jones homeschools her four children, Levi, 9, Addie, 7, Harper, 5, and Bennet, 3. While their learning hasn't been interrupted, Emily says her kids are missing their friends.
"I have noticed with some of my kids who tend to be a little more anxious that some of their nervous behavior in some ways has gotten a little bit worse… things that worry them because they are very much aware of going on so that’s been kind of hard," says Emily.
Emily is letting her kids play in the rain, making rain drums and she is helping her kids to help others. She has taught them how to sew facemasks. The family made boxes of food and brought them to people who can't get to the store.
Emily says the coronavirus comes up in one way or another with her children every day.
"They’ll say something like 'I can’t wait till the coronavirus is over. I can’t wait till someone finds a vaccine,'" explains Emily. Even this she is using as a learning opportunity and her young children are making a Covid-19 time capsule so they can remember this time, or even share it with their grandchildren Emily says.