Quarantine: Balanced Like a Pro or Overwhelming Failure?


The Caterpillar Effect displayed for a Science Experiment

It’ll be fun, they said; it’ll be a breeze, they said. Little did they know that the quarantine time would be spent longer than it was planned.

It’s hard to balance quarantine with two essential parents, an essential older sibling and a little brother who barely understands what’s going on, along with school and the overall chaos of life.

But, being the second oldest sibling in the house, some of the responsibilities to take care of my younger brother Jonothan Weber landed on me.

He’s a seven-year old with lots of energy who just wanted to go back to school. He didn’t really understand why he couldn’t go back and all he wanted was to be taught by his own teacher and to see his friends. He didn’t like the home-school feeling that had become part of his every day life with his sisters as his teachers.

“I don’t like being inside its boring. I like school because its fun and playful,” said first-grader Jonothan Weber.

Jonothan Weber’s artwork for an assignment is displayed for Class Dojo

Jonothan hated to be locked up inside; even if he could play in the backyard, it still wasn’t enough for him. He needed the social interaction and it was driving him crazy not to be able to get it. Little kids spend most of their time thriving off the energy of others around him, but having an 11 to 16 year age difference with the people he’s supposed to thrive off of doesn’t help him.

“I miss my friend Meredith and my teacher,” said Weber.

While there was this side of my quarantine story, there was also another side to it.

There was my side.

While I was a mostly responsible teenager, it was sometimes overwhelming to become the home-schooling teacher for my younger brother when I wasn’t even finished with school myself. I knew I had no other choice; it felt almost impossible to balance my own classwork while he was doing his.

I never thought I’d be in the position where I would have to be a caretaker and a teacher all in one. It’s not an easy job to be both and it honestly gave me a newfound respect for teachers that actually do this job every day of their lives.

Being in this position was life changing for me because it taught me that even when I am locked in my house with nothing other than school work to do, I’ll still put it off and procrastinate my entire list of schoolwork. I know a lot of others went through this too, trying to balance their work from the safety of their homes; many people didn’t even think that doing schoolwork there would help them understand their classes or further their educations.

It felt a little stupid at first, sitting at my computer every day watching all the assignments get posted on Schoology and attempting to complete them all in one day by the due date that night; it always seemed surreal to finish the classwork but felt like I didn’t actually learn anything that day.

Teachers would upload video instructions or voice instructions to explain to us our notes, our assignments and even our daily schedules, but it never felt quite the same as sitting in the actual classroom.

With my parents both being essential employees, my father a construction worker up in Denver and my step-mom a manager a 7-Eleven, it never felt quite safe at home. You never knew who was going to come up to them or what either of them could catch while they were out in the world.

I loved my parents and I always will, but it was impossible to feel safe knowing that one of them could catch this virus at any time of any day.

An Experiment displayed to show how fun science can be

I try to find the positive side of this becoming my every day life for the time being, but just when it feels like things start to get more positive, someone else catches the virus, dies or quarantine is extended longer.

I’m still looking for all the positives in this quarantine, but some days it feels like the spiral is never ending.

I’ll catch my breath and look forward to another day, hoping that the entrapment of staying inside will soon be over.