For Mathew and Denika Koch of Alma, life is never boring with their four boys, Kelley, twins Riley and Mitchell and Jesse.
Add a lockdown and homeschooling and life gets more interesting.
Mum Denika said that overall, they were travelling very well.
“Lockdown is one of those occasions that make you suck in the fresh air and really think how grateful we are to live with the wide-open space around us,” Denika said.
“And to stop and give thought to the people feeling isolated and trapped in suburban homes with young kids to keep entertained or just with no one to see or talk to.
“I haven’t had to come up with creative ideas for entertaining the boys or ways to get extra exercise into our day, they have a farm to run which provides plenty of physical exercise in itself and their general ‘play’ time is usually outside climbing trees, riding bikes, building cubbies and the list goes on.”
Homeschooling, however, is a whole different story.
It means fitting in a timetable much like an ordinary school day for grades one, four and five run by one teacher who doubles as mum and all the other titles that includes, while also trying to squeeze in some sheep work that would normally be done while they’re at school.
“Our school is amazing with their online learning platforms and procedures and I can’t fault the support and resources we are provided with,” Denika added.
“With school they have daily meetings on teams with their class and they’ve FaceTimed grandparents, but I don’t think they’re feeling isolated from people.
“It’s just how it’s always been for us on the farm.
“Not to mention every break time in the school day, they race out the door and it’s so hard to get them back in by the timetable.
“I’m grateful for the moments of peace in the house to have a cuppa and get some washing or cooking done.
“But they know if they go far enough, they won’t hear me calling when it’s time to come in.”
As for supplies, the Kochs have always been bulk buyers and home cooks of most things, so shopping was only ever once a week at the most anyway.
“Even stocking things like baker’s flour for bread making has always been the norm for us,” Denika explained.
“If there’s one thing that’s hard to keep up with, it’s milk.
“We go through about 16lt a week, so when I got a friend to grab it for me just yesterday at the shops she was worried she’d be frowned upon for panic buying.”
Without the boys saying it out loud, Denika and Matt think they realise how lucky they are to have each other.
“They fight like mad, but they’ve always got someone to play with, so being together 24/7 really doesn’t bother anyone,” Denika explained.
“They’ve mentioned from time to time, other kids they know who don’t have siblings and wondered who kicks the footy with them,” she added.