Surviving School Closure

Here is how my family is surviving work from home and school closures.

Disclaimer: we are lucky to live in the midwest with plenty of space to run around outside, we both still have jobs so we aren’t financially stressed (I’m burning through 80 hours of PTO but still employed), we have a 6 and 9-year-old that don’t need to be supervised 100% of the time, and we are in good health. All of these variables lead to a much more enjoyable quarantine.

We made an “I am bored” list. This list includes mopping, dusting, and other household chores. I give them one chance, if they say I’m bored more than once, it’s to the “I am bored’ list.

I assign a daily sous chef. I will not be cooking alone! Each day a child is assigned as my sous chef. I even gave them free rein to make taco seasoning without me. (Recipe: Here) They also are in charge of any vegetable chopping as a team. These veggies are the “I’m hungry” snack. If I hear “I’m hungry” they are sent straight to the fridge. Part of learning to cook is also learning how to read the nutritional information. We will watch a video on the top 10 healthiest foods, we count added sugar and fiber content and then figure out how to improve our meals by adding better side dishes.

I trained a mini-barista. I’ve been working with my 6-year-old to learn how to make me a latte with my latte maker. This has been my favorite part of the week thus far! He brings me a hot cup in between my telehealth patients.

We are now allowing technology. We used to be a minimal technology family. Our typical week was less than 1-2 hours a week of total computer, iPad, or tv time. The part about technology and keeping your kids sane is setting limits. If they get full access whenever they ask they will badger you to death. At least, my kids will. So during this prolonged time at home. They know what technology options will be allowed each day.

Our kids are learning to type. This is a skill that they don’t get at school and it will help them a ton in the future. This is the free program we are using.

On the first day, we minimized our toy closet to see what we had. We took every single toy out of the toy closet. During this time we also made a pile of toys to sell. (We’ve sold $100 so far.) My other pile is to give to the Goodwill, I am going to wait until this is over before actually getting rid of it.

We’ve been teaching our kids about money. This is by far the best time to describe the importance of an emergency savings account. There are so many people out of work right now. I had to explain to my kids that we are decreasing the compounding interest on my kids’ Famzoo account since they need to learn about recessions. We are working our way through this free program, this program is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, they recommend a lot of extra books and since our library is closed we are skipping them. Since my son is in kindergarten we started with the pre-school curriculum and we are working our way up to third grade. The first part of the pre-school curriculum was focusing on how to be safe. Helmets, seat belts, etc and then discussing how saving money keeps us safe. We have sat down with my third grader and went through our entire recurring expenses. Her mind was blown that we need $3,400 a month to pay bills, eat, and live.

We’ve been learning Spanish, 15 minutes a day. We use Duolingo for free. We each have our own account, it’s a super easy program and it teaches you the basics.

We are still having our haircuts at home. If you mess up, don’t worry no one will see it! Here are some tips.

I enrolled in a Free “Happiness” Course. There are plenty of free courses through your public library. I’ve also enrolled in the Science of Well Being at Yale for free.

These are some of the things we are doing to keep busy. It looks pretty magical but don’t be deceived, there is still crying, yelling, and drinking. We are all trying our best but there are definitely days that are harder than others.

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