Parents are discovering some unusual things happening with their children this year.

Diane Kroeker is a mother of four and homeschools, something many parents are trying for the first time this school year. Typically Manitoba's homeschooling community has events and meetups from time to time but this year those and her children's other activities are on hold. She says for the most part their day-to-day has not changed much.

"I have four kids and all of them react differently," Kroeker says about the changes they have experienced in the past year.

She has learned new things about herself too, saying "I need that one-on-one in-person interaction and finding ways to do that can be hard."

The mother finds being intentional to connect with someone using any method important.

Dani Verschoore, whose oldest is in school full time and youngest newly-enrolled in preschool to learn how to socialize, says she notices a difference between her children since one had more activities than the other.

"Poor little Brynlee has missed out so much. At this age, Kali has had dance classes and all sorts of experiences that Brynlee hasn't had the chance since everything has been closed. It's just a very different upbringing than Kali has had at this age," Verschoore says.

dani vershooreBefore the pandemic, Dani Verschoore and her husband moved their children to be closer to family. (Supplied)

Verschoore says because her daughters are so young, it is difficult to find things for them to do. She keeps them busy by spending plenty of time outdoors, something Kroeker is a fan of.

"When the kids get rangy, there is really not a lot of options," she laughs, noting that their typical ways to get out are on pause. "The only thing that is left is getting them outside."

She says her friends on social media have been posting interesting outdoor spots to check out.

Both families have noticed a closeness in their children.

"Their sibling relationships were always strong thanks to homeschooling," Kroeker says. "My boys have suddenly become best friends."

Verschoore has found being a stay-at-home mom difficult over the past year, often feeling isolated from others. 

"It has been a challenge," she says. "It is a lot harder to find some downtime, and even when you have downtime you can't do anything."

Both parents agree that spending time outside helped them find the light while in dark places. Kroeker says that stay at home moms need to know that they are not alone.

"We are in this all together, We all find it tough. You are not alone and it is ok if you need to reach out to somebody," Kroeker says.

Both mothers say seeing another person, even for a moment to make a drop-off, made a big difference in their day.