Monday, March 23, 2020

Homeschooling in a time of crisis

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Well. We're in a global pandemic. All over social media are posts encouraging you to make the most of this time your children are off of school. There are many tips on how best to continue schooling while you're isolated at home as well as memes to let off steam about how much teachers should earn, how cooped up everyone's feeling, and how no one's taught to carry the one anymore. (Is this true? I'm too old to have realized this.)

As a parent who's been homeschooling for my children's full schooling years so far, I want to offer my take on how best to homeschool right now for those of you thrown into schooling at home. Don't worry, I'll be gentle. Seriously. Because:

  1. This is not homeschooling. If your kids are usually in school full time, what you're doing right now is not any form of regular homeschooling, which is intentional and planned and much less panicky on the whole. What you're doing is crisis schooling. It's stress schooling. It's not vacation, and it's not not vacation. It's weird, and you're distracted and anxious, and your kids might be, too. This isn't normal even for homeschooling families because all our classes, co-ops, excursions, and social interactions are canceled. All children are missing their friends and routines and stimulation, whether they're already used to homeschooling or not. You're missing yours. Maybe you're still working full time in an essential (read: stressful) job. Maybe you're trying to figure out working from home. Maybe you're out of work and worrying about how to pay the next bills to come due. Maybe you or loved ones are sick or recovering. Maybe you or your kids have disabilities or other special needs that make it hard to miss out on the services that make your days more manageable.

    I feel you. But only figuratively and from a socially mandated distance.

    Whatever you do right now with school, it's fine. It's really, really fine. You don't even have to Make Every Moment Special™, which is its own form of unnecessary pressure. Kids can be bored. Kids can use screens. Kids can play the day away. Kids can fall behind in schoolwork. If your school has gone virtual and is laying on the pressure, you have the right to ask for dispensation and excused absences right now. Because:

Friday, January 31, 2020

Very important presentations

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Alrik has discovered the joys of Google Slides (PowerPoint-like presentations).

It all started when he made me watch multiple inane YouTube videos that were quizzes purporting to help you discern things like what color you should dye your hair, but then all the questions would be things like, "What kind of flowers would you grow in a garden?" and "If you could be any type of animal, which would you be? Now choose from these three options."

To celebrate the nonsense, I made my own quiz that I forced my family to complete:

Feel free to total up your numbers, and do let me know which animal you are!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Santa's helper: On tweens' big hearts

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I've been finding myself sharing posts on my Facebook page about how big kids are sweethearts, too. About how we often attribute malice or disinterest to the gangly tweens and teens with the earbuds in and the cool scowl on their faces, and we don't look further to see the tender, thoughtful souls beneath.

Living with a sweetheart of a 12-year-old who's now wearing men's shoes and is about to outgrow his aunt by height, I know firsthand that appearances can be deceiving and that the warmest hearts can beat beneath the pulled-up hoodies of adolescence.

Leading up to Christmas Eve, Mikko had been making jokes about staying up all night to ambush Santa. He thinks Danny Gonzalez's take on the movie The Santa Clause is hilarious, and he bought the single of Danny's song where he states his intention of murdering Santa so he can take over.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry to you!

Wishing you and your family all the best
this year and always!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Family mad lib theater for the holidays

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In the category of Things No One Asked Me For, I bring you a family Mad Lib to act out. Wondering what family activity to settle into on Christmas Eve? Trying to head off political arguments when relatives are over? Break out this little giggle starter.

I was inspired by Jimmy Fallon's Mad Lib Theater and thought: We definitely all need this in our very own living rooms. Because this is not just any Mad Libs. This is a DRAMA. Stand up! Emote! Bellow to the back of the theater!

Print the doc out from this link.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Easy DIY fingerprint holiday ornament

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It's just a couple days before Christmas.
Want a last-minute craft for the holidays?
Here's a simple and meaningful keepsake that's
so easy and inexpensive to make
that you can keep one for you
and send a bunch off to loved ones.

Start with blank ornaments. You can use whatever you have around,
or you can find some at craft stores or online. 
Round ones work, but I preferred the ease of use
of these flat wooden ones I found here.

Next you need at least three colors of paint. Easy peasy!
I went with tempera because that's what I had.

Red, yellow, and green are nice and bright,
but of course you can choose whatever you like.
Don't forget your paintbrushes.