Harmony Wortham and her ten-year-old daughter Anahnda have been holed-up in their Inglewood Apartment for nearly three weeks. Anahnda is a precocious young lady who is at the top of her 5th grade class academically.
She has taught herself how to make short films with her cell phone and believes that she will eventually be a triple threat in the film industry as a writer, producer and actress. She has also been a standout in her dance class and is able to do front and back flips that would make any accomplished gymnast proud.
Her mother has been faced with the huge challenge of keeping Anahnda grounded and engaged at home during the time that she would otherwise have been at school.
“I’m developing a much greater appreciation for what teachers deal with on a daily basis,” Wortham said. “With only one child at home, I can only imagine how difficult it is for a teacher with 25-35 hyperactive children.”
Anahnda has three teachers; reading and writing, social studies and science and a third teacher for math. Since the school closure, which has now been determined will be through the end of the school year, each teacher provides daily online lessons along with a video inspirational message to the students that they may review with their laptop or desktop computer or with their smart phone.
“While I appreciate the fact that the teachers are trying to keep their students engaged,” Wortham said, “my daughter completes those assignments in about 15 minutes, far short of the one hour the teachers suggest is appropriate for those lessons. That leaves me with over two hours to find something constructive for Anahnda to accomplish.”
To fill the void, Wortham insists on one hour of daily keyboard typing practice, and a minimum of one hour reading a book of her daughter’s choice from the extensive library they have established at home. At the end of the reading hour, “Mom” asks her daughter to provide an oral book report summarizing what she read.
After school work is complete, Anahnda is allowed to talk and text her classmates on her cell phone and play her favorite online game, Tik Tok, the video-karaoke-like game that has taken the internet by storm.
Wortham noted that Tik Tok is reportedly owned by a China-based company and the United States State Department has banned the download of the game on federal hardware because it is capable of extracting confidential information from the cell phone or computer on which it is being operated. Her daughter’s cell phone is not being used to log into banking sites or other sites where confidential information is being stored. Parents beware!
Wortham enjoys the Mommy bonding that is available during this unprecedented shut-in. However, she is concerned about her mother, a senior citizen health care worker who has come out of retirement to help members of her Seattle community.
“I have encouraged my mother to stay home because her age places her in the highest-risk category and she has refused, while at the same time I am proud of her desire to serve others, which she has done all of her life.” Wortham concluded.
Now may be the time for some of us, or at least the believers among us, to accept the religious notion that suggests that when it is our time, it’s over. Until then, we should all do what our elected officials and health professionals have advised. Stay HOME!