Category Archives: Helpful Suggestions for Activities and Readings for Parents

Interview with Eric DeSio

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Eric DeSio is the author of the children’s book, The Social Distance King.

As we head further into summer, families are starting to emerge and take safe holidays. To help you with your quest back into the world, I found a great book to help with some of the new normals that are going to be part of our every day lives for a while.

A new book by author Eric DeSio helps to teach social distancing. It is called The Social Distance King. With school starting in the fall, teachers will also be interested in new class structure introduction books as we all take on dealing with the continued pandemic. This book will help in the quest for educators to find books to introduce these new topics to children.

I had a chance to interview Eric DeSio. He shared his love for story telling, and the need to teach lessons in his books. The Social Distance King by Eric DeSio helps introduce the topic of social distancing to children. In the interview, he shares his childhood reading memories, his favorite authors, and what projects he has in story for us.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child? 

My favorite childhood reading memory would be reading Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.  I remember feeling totally immersed in the imaginary world of that book. The characters and scenery were real and alive for me.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you? 

As a child I would say Dr. Seuss. I enjoyed and continue to enjoy the rhyming and visual presentation. I’m not certain about how Dr. Seuss influenced my writing exactly, but I appreciate that he seems to have lose rules if any. I love the originality of his stories.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you. 

Often my writing starts with me singing about something. If I’m singing something, then I will usually write about it. And if I write about it, then I usually will start singing about it. I often write about stories or topics that intrigue me and that don’t “go away”. If the story and idea stay with me for a while, then I feel more naturally moved to write about it.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects? 

Wow. So many but at the same time, there are actually very few specific subjects that I feel I must write about in the future. Recently, for the most part, if I want to write about something, then I write about it. In general, I can say that I would like to write about challenging subjects or subjects that are not often written on. Also, I can see myself writing some non-fiction in the future.

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing to me is expression, sharing and connection.

social-distance-king-frontThe Social Distance King is a book that introduces the sensitive top of kids and social distancing. It’s a kid-friendly way to introduce them to this new social norm, and to teach them about the reasons for its use to keep them safe.

For a limited time, a FREE copy of this book will be offered through the authors website at: http://ericauthor.com/social-distance-king/.

The Social Distance King is also available as a free Kindle Unlimited title. Printed hardcover copies are also available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Rebuilding Yourself After Trauma: What We All Need to Know to Survive the Pandemic

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Tiffany Turner in the hospital ICU Dec. 2014

Four years ago, I had a heart attack. My last memory is feeling sick with what I thought was another bronchial infection while closing my classroom door, and thinking I’d try to kick it over the weekend. My next fleeting memory is sitting at the computer that night checking a writing board. The next memory is waking up in a hospital with a oxygen and feeding tube down my throat, unable to speak, and my mother sitting across in the corner of the room with the most saddest look I’ve ever seen on her face.

This was what happened to me in the first weeks of Dec. 2014. I was a full time public school teacher, looking forward to the soon to happen Holiday break, and was having a hard time with another bronchitis flare up. Like most good teachers, I was trying to teach through the sickness, make it through to Christmas. The next thing I know, I’m waking up in an ICU hospital bed, tube down my throat, with little or no energy to speak of. My first thoughts were, “What happened?” I was finally able to recall having the bronchitis and realized it all had probably gone down hill badly. But I couldn’t remember. I had been induced into a coma after the heart attack, and lost over twelve days of memory.

***For more on that personal experience, here is my post about it back in 2015.

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My monitors in the hospital.

What I was told happened is I did tried to fight the bronchitis that didn’t get better. After three days of it getting worse, my husband took me to the emergency room and I was admitted with acute pneumonia. Later, I had a fight or flight response when I pulled out my IV and a nurse tried to keep me in bed. I struggled, and then my eyes rolled in the back of my head, I fell back, and flatlined. I was clinically dead for sixty seconds.

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Mrs. Turner at the Sonora Celtic Festival playing the Gaelic Harp in 2015.

Luckily, they were able to save me. I do recommend if you have a heart attack, have it in the hospital where there is the most chance they can save you. But the road from that moment forward was not easy. I spent about two weeks in the hospital gaining strength back, doing physical therapy later at home and as an out patient. It took eight months to rebuild my life back to where I could physically cope on my own. I had to leave my career, give up classroom teaching, and start all over. I learned to walk, shop, participate in Renaissance fairs again. I essentially had to rebuild my life with a new normal with what the heart attack had left of me.

It was a challenge to start over in my mid forties with something I hadn’t planned. But the world still spun on. My friends and family supported me, and I slowly built a new life in which I tutored part time a few hours weekly, built up from once a week to three times a week over a period of a few years. I was teaching in after school programs, working at a tutoring center, participating and selling at Ren fairs, and writing full time children’s books and romances which has always been a life dream. I had rebuilt my life. I was finally feeling like myself again.

In the middle of March 2020, COVID19 shut down my county. I had already started to isolate, seeing that this disease was different from when I taught in schools with the swine flu almost ten years ago. I was being told I was high risk with a heart condition. I went grocery shopping in what I now call the “old normal world” for the last time on March 11. On March 13, the California Governor shut down all the schools in the state. By that Monday, he closed all the businesses. Most of the United States later joined my state a few days or even weeks later.

I started to have a strange deja vu. It seemed like EVERYONE had joined me in a new type normal. Essential workers helped deliver and ship food. Health workers fought the disease in hospitals, and everyone else was to stay isolated to slow the disease. Spring 2020 mirrored my isolation and healing of Spring 2015. Though I had energy and better health this time, I did a lot of the things I did had done then. I wrote a lot. I rested and took care of my health, watching my diet. I had even learned to cook more from delivered box meals back in 2015. I continued with those skills, cooking at home.

There were challenges, like being able to find food and supplies you could get online as opposed as in a store. It reminded me a lot of when people were rationed during WWII. I even read WWII memoir accounts to relate to how the people felt during those historic times.

Though there were some differences between WWII and the Corona Virus Spring Lockdown of 2020, I found myself being rationed on orders and finding other items hard to get. The first thing to run out was toilet paper, along with paper towels, hand sanitizer, and items to make home sanitizer. I adapted to what seemed was going to be a temporary state like working at home and ordering things online and through the mail. I followed what the state and local county health departments ordered us to do. Everyone thought it was a temporary new normal that was going to last three weeks which has instead lasted three months.

It is now the end of June 2020. Things have opened back up, but there looks like more outbreaks and more closures on the horizon. I know that we are going to need to build a new normal. I’m finding that a lot of what I went through, surviving my heart attack and building a new normal, is helping me now. To start thinking about this will put you ahead of what is to come.

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Mrs. Turner wearing one of several owned home made masks.

Build a new normal for yourself. Accepting that the world has changed is a good start. I had to accept my body had changed to survive my heart disease. I had to built my new normal with what I could still do. I was told I might need a pace maker or even a heart transplant. They had to be honest with me in where my health could go. It helped me to face that I wanted to take the best care of myself and save my heart. So, I did what I could with what my body could still do.

For example: It helped to write a novel called “Saving My Heart” which I wrote on Wattpad. Writing was something I could do in my weakened health state. It is one of the adaptions I did while trying to find a new normal. I thought of what I could do still, and planned to switch my activities accordingly. I cut away all the old things I couldn’t do anymore. I accepted it was okay, because I had survived, and a new normal was something I could live with because I was still alive.

Through caring for my heart, I saved myself. We can do that now. Care for yourself, your loved ones, your own personal bubble of people right now. Create a new normal with them. We are not going to have the old world back for awhile. When it comes back, it is likely to differ some from what we used to do before. And it’s okay. That’s part of surviving. The human race has adapted through many tragedies and disasters. Just like you can recover from a personal crisis, we too can recover from this horrible world changing event.

Create a new normal for yourself. Create it with friends and family, whether you visit more online now, adapt it around your job if you’re an essential worker, or retreat and stay away from others. It’s all okay. What ever is safe for you to get through this will be the right choice. You can choose how to survive this pandemic. It is the one power you have to control what is happening to you. Choose how to face this virus. You can build a new normal to suit you, keep your friends and family safe, and hopefully, keep your community safe.

Take it from someone who has already built a new normal for themselves. It can be done. It just has to be accepted that we are all living through a time that is unlike any other, and we will build a new life to survive the virus. It’s the one thing that all humans share, and that is the amazing ability to adapt. Let go of those things that are not necessary at this time and do the things you can do. The rest will follow. Before you know it, you’ll have a new normal. And you’ll likely not want to go back. Especially if you survive. Because surviving is the bottom line.

I wish the best new normal for you. Get through it with the ones you love. And I’ll see you on the other side.

 

Interview with Tenile Carlos Bey

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Tenille Carlos Bey wrote the girl’s journal “Mommy & Doodlebop: A Journal for Girls We Love” with her daughter, Aalani.

During the summer, it’s good to keep your child engaged with activities. With all the need to social distance, it’s even more important to look for activities that children can engage in and be safe while doing. What about journaling? This is a historical time, when first person resources will be documenting how children and people lived through the pandemic. Your child can be part of the moment, writing out thoughts, feelings and what life was like during these strange times. I have the perfect journal for you child to begin their writing journal. It is written by a daughter and mother team, Tenille Carlos Bey and Aalani Carlos Bey. It’s called “Mommy & Doodlebop: A Journal for Girls We Love”.

Written as a support for inclusivity for girls with African ancestry, this journal is for girls to write out their thoughts and feelings for good or bad days. It will be a companion to sort their feelings during the pandemic. I also had a chance to interview Tenille Carlos Bey in regards to her childhood reading memories, future writing subjects, and what writing means to her.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Tenille Carlos Bey: My favorite memory was sitting on my stairs engulfed in a good book.

2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Tenille Carlos Bey: I would love to write about children & their experience from their eyes as often times they are voiceless.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Tenile Carlos Bey: Writing to me is therapeutic.

Happiness Where Sun Shines CoverMommy & Doodlebop: A Journal for Girls We Love” is an interactive journal for all the little Brown girls loved. It’s developed to help a girl express herself daily engaging creativity and expression of ideas in words on a daily basis. Keeping a daily journal will increase writing ability and help your child work through daily problems and feelings. This will make a great gift or at home activity during the pandemic.

“Mommy & Doodlebop: A Journal for Girls We Love” is available at Amazon.com.

 

 

 

Fun Summer Activity for Kids: Build a Fairy Garden

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I use crystals, small plants in pots, and fairy figurines to decorate my porch fairy garden.

I’ve been giving tips to parents for the last few months in how to help structure your child’s learning. Now that summer is here, we’re trying to find more at home summer activities to keep our children and families safe from Covid19. What a great time to take advantage of the outdoor space you have! Have you considered building a garden? This doesn’t mean you need a backyard. Gardens can be built on a porch or even a window sill. To make it extra special, create a fairy garden!

The first step is to choose small plants that you would enjoy tending. You can buy them in small planters and/or replant them into the places you would like, or plant seeds and watch them grow. Choose flowering plants or herb plants such as lavender, rosemary, or other favorite herbs your family may prefer. You get the extra bonus that you can eat them later. Small ivy or other small growing plants with flowers make lovely fairy settings.

Many cities and towns are starting phase 2 openings in which garden shops are starting to be allowed to reopen. Small starter plants can be purchased or order seeds online. You can pick and choose which plants you enjoy. Look to see where your plants will be. Consider if you have more shade or sun, since often plants can be purchased that fit those conditions. I have a shaded porch and I find plants that need a lot of sun tend to not do well. So, I’ve chosen more shade friendly plants for my porch fairy garden. Remember, stay safe and wear a mask when going back into stores and use hand sanitizer.

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My garden gnome was purchased from the local garden center and is prominent in my fairy garden.

The second step is to order either small pebbles, sand or other decorative gardening accents to create paths and decorative areas for your fairies. You can use these items to decorate and create places for your fairies to gather. For example: I used old aquarium stones to make paths and a little gathering space to later place fairy figurines.

Accent items turn the garden space into wonderful scenes for fairy figurines. The added bonus is you get to watch the plants grow to fit. You can also order crystals to places through out the garden. Plants enjoy having the energy of these wonderful pieces among and around their leaves. Place stones and crystals in pots and in soil.

The third step is to order fairy figures. Many of the figures I have collected over the years have been given to me as gifts or I have purchased from gardening shops or other places. This can be a fun experiment in searching for the right fairies for your garden. You might find it is a wonderful time to start a new collection, and the garden will be a home for your new fairy figures.

When done, you’ll have a fabulous fairy garden to tend. Watering my garden is a great welcome relief from online working and tutoring. I enjoy having a cup of tea while smelling jasmine flowers or looking at my small Japanese maple tree. Other plants and flowers attract birds and butterflies from time to time. My porch may be small, but it is mighty in the positive fairy experience it creates for me to relax and enjoy some quiet time.

Enjoy building your own fairy garden with your children and welcome the summer weather in style. When you’re done, you’ll have a monument to the peace you can build at home.

summer1Plus: you can still continue summer reading with your child. I’ve made available an entire free online novel to go along with my first book in my fantasy children’s series, “The Lost Secret of Fairies”. The story takes place during the summer, and is a great addition to a child’s reading list to continue reading skills in these away from school months. There is nothing better to curl up with a good book in a garden. It’s something I did as a kid myself. So, can’t help but pass on the tip.

Here is the link to the full online novel: https://crystalkeeper.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/parent-support-for-homeschool-free-ebook-online-novel-study/

Link to your copy of “The Lost Secret of Fairies”:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1425146716

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-secret-of-fairies-tiffany-turner/1019317884

Apple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1503006160

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-lost-secret-of-fairies-1

Enjoy your summer!

-Mrs. Turner

Picture Book Review: “Mozzi Presents: Love and Other Values”

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“Mozzi Presents: Love and Other Values” is the first in a series of heart-warming picture books.

I always like to find the hidden gems that can brighten up anyone’s day. I think a book about a dog is a great way to do this, especially with the current pandemic. We are looking back to family values, nature and the best addition to any household, pets. The lessons we can learn from our pets starts when we are children. I think I’ve found a wonderful picture book that shows the values of pets, love and family in  “Mozzi Presents: Love and Other Values” by Merav Gamliel Boschan.

We meet a wonderful dog, Mozzi, and his family. From a puppy to growing up to full doghood, we read about all the different challenges of life and lessons learned by Mozzi the dog with help from his family. They also learn from him in turn. It’s a great read aloud during these hard times of lockdown and isolation. The one thing that always seems to help during these hard times seems to be sharing a book with the family. This will make a wonderful read-aloud at bedtime or shared as an activity.

“Mozzi Presents: Love and Other Values” is available at Amazon.com. It is the first book in a series of four, and is a Kindle Unlimited title.

 

Interview for L. A. Davis

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Summer reading will be starting soon. I’ve got a lot of fabulous books lined up to add to your child’s reading list. My first author in the series of recommendations is L. A. Davis. She has written a fabulous coloring book called “AJ Learns Her Colors & Shades”. The character is based on her granddaughter and is the first in a learning series. Children can learn primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, the colors of the rainbow, and shades with the help of their parents. It’s a great activity book for the summer days ahead. I had a chance to talk to author L. A. Davis about childhood reading memories and about writing.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?
L. A Davis: My second-grade teacher allowed each student to sit in front of the class and read a book from the “library” we had in the back of the classroom. I hate that I don’t remember the name of that book, but I do remember it was about snow and the child had on a red coat with a pointy hat. It might have even been a bunny suit, but it was red and the hood part was pointy. It stood out to me because I was born on an island and we don’t have snow. Another book I do remember is called “The Little House.” I got to read that one in front of the class also.

2) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
L. A Davis: Usually when I write, I pick a song and play that song to inspire me. I haven’t found a routine in writing the coloring books, but give me time :0).

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?
L. A Davis: Writing is so much fun!

aj cover-pagefront“AJ Learns Her Colors & Shades” is a fabulous child’s coloring book that teaches the basics of colors and the rainbow. Fill summer days and weekends with this fun activity, and apply new artistic skills to decorate your home. This is a great activity book for distance learning and for the summer months ahead.

“AJ Learns Her Colors & Shades” is available at: Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com.

Interview with Yael Manor

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Yael Manor is the author of the picture book, Dana Deserves A Playground Too.

I am excited to bring you a new and exciting picture book that is inspiring and important in this time to include all people. Dana Deserves A Playground Too was written after the author found a story about how a disabled girl was unable to use her local playground. All she could do was place a doll in a swing and push it. The injustice of our local parks underserving our children with needs has inspired Yael Manor to write the book.

Yael Manor was a math teacher for thirty-five years, specializing in coaching people with ADHD. She is a mother and grandmother, and found the need within her to nourish her grandchildren and other children with humor, imagination and ingrain a sense of wonder in everyday situations. I was lucky to talk to Yael about her memories of reading as a child, how she gets her writing ideas, and what she has in store for future projects.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Yael Manor: As a child, I read a lot – every book I could put my hand on, I read. I swallowed books of all kinds.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Yael Manor: There wasn’t one specific writer I particularly liked, I just liked good books.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Yael Manor: The writing ideas come to me during my early morning physical activity and the writing itself is done when I have time for it.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Yael Manor: Usually, I choose to deal with subjects that have some educational message.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Yael Manor: It’s a mission!

DanaDeservesPlaygroundcovr Dana Deserves A Playground Too is based on a story of a father that had brought his daughter to the park. Due to her disability of being confined to a wheelchair, she couldn’t play on the playground, even though she wanted to so much. All she could do was take her doll, place her on a swing, and push it. Yael Manor wanted to show how children with special needs can’t do what “regular” children can do, and that some changes need to happen to give Dana a playground too.

Dana Deserves A Playground Too is available at Amazon.com as a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information on Yael Manor, visit her author page at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EZQ2NXC.

Interview with Martika Shanel

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Martika Shanel has written the inspirational picture book, I Am Loved & I Love Me

I’m still working hard to find helpful, supportive books for children during these crazy times. As a parent, one thing you might be searching for is a supportive book for your child’s mental well-being during the stress of the outbreak. I think I found something that can help.

I’ve located a marvelous book by author, Martika Shanel. She’s written a book to inspire youth to look inside themselves for love and acceptance. I Am Loved & I Love Me is a picture book that helps build an essential foundation at an early age and to help them build self-love with positive affirmations. I had the chance to talk with Martika about her childhood memories, what she has planned for future projects, and what writing means to her.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Martika Shanel: Getting to escape to other worlds is my favorite memory from reading as a child. And I enjoyed the fact that the selection of those worlds were endless–a remarkable concept to embrace at that time. I remember the library being my solace.

  • What projects would you like to write about in the future?

Martika Shanel: In the future, I would like to write books that help children build and solidify their foundation of self-love and acceptance at various stages of their formative years, even into adulthood. An outlier subject, for me, is writing a thriller novel that I have yet to mentally release (I cannot wait to get started!).

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Martika Shanel: Writing is a liberating medium, allowing one to release thoughts and move others in a multitude of directions.

I Am Final CoverI Am Loved & I Love Me helps promote positive affirmations with children. With uplifting talk and beautiful illustrations, this book will reinforce the significance of talking positive about oneself and looking towards your own inner beauty. This would make a great daily affirmation routine for any child during these uncertain times.

I Am Loved & I Love Me is available at https://www.insparead.com/merch.

For more information on Martika Shanel, visit her website at: www.martikashanel.com.

Interview with Dr. Michael Kinsey

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Dr. Michael Kinsey is the author of the picture book Dreams of Zugunruhe.

In these times, connections are awfully important to maintain. I have found a wonderful expert on this subject, Michael Kinsey, PHD. He is a clinical psychologist that lives in Manhattan. Dr. Kinsey’s specialty is parent-child attachment, and he has written a wonderful book that is called Dreams of Zugunruhe that combines his expertise and love for birds. Through the journey of the Little Tern, children experience empowerment in order to face challenges. I had the chance to ask some questions of Dr. Kinsey about his childhood, his book, and how to support children during this pandemic.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: When I was a child we started a Christmas tradition of reading “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg every Christmas Eve. To this day it’s my favorite children’s book. The illustrations underscore the magic of the story, and I love the message of keeping childlike imagination and fantasy alive into our adult lives.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: I read a lot of Gary Paulsen as a school-aged boy. Not surprisingly, his most popular book, “Hatchet”, was my favorite work of his. Recently I spent a weekend staying at lodge in the Catskills, near where Brian Robeson, the main character in the story, had to survive on his own. I was struck by how my memories of reading that story enhanced my experience of the landscape.

Your question makes me realize that his writing has really influenced my inner world. Multiple times I’ve taken trips to boreal forest in search of experiences with nature. I realize now that my love of nature and particular fascination with boreal forest likely stems from his influence on me. It proves to me that beloved books can really shape our inner world and our life as a whole.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Dr. Michael Kinsey: Writing is still something I do as a passion and hobby. I love the idea of rigorous writing routines, but for now I don’t obsess over craft and regular schedules. My method is really to maintain a commitment to listening to the muses when they sing to me, and doing my best to capture the spirit of their message.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: My expertise is in parent-child attachment and I like to write about the bonds between parents and their children. Proper parenting is such a delicate balance of providing support while getting out of the way of nature’s oversight of a child’s developmental journey. That’s what Dreams of Zugunruhe is about and I see myself continuing to write on that theme. In the future, I’d like to write on the unique contributions that fathers make to their children. Fathers are important in creating happy and healthy adults and I’d like to provide a vehicle for fathers to provide the guidance children need from them.

5) Why did you become interested in “birding”?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: My love of birds started at a school assembly when I was about 8 years old. A man who rehabilitated hawks and other birds of prey brought some of the birds he cared for to the school. The birds made a huge impression on me. They were an awesome display of paradoxes; they were both fierce and serene, powerful and elegant, hulking and delicate. I was also struck by how dignified they looked in captivity. As a child I think I often felt trapped and admired both the freedom these creatures could have through flight, and the strength they showed while fettered.

The realization I think I had at that time was that these creatures, in all their majesty, could be found and observed if I were willing to pay attention and look for them. This is the link between being a birder and psychologist. Amazement can be achieved remarkably often if we are willing to pay attention and look for what’s hidden in plain sight.

6) Why are connections important during the coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: It’s what humans do and what defines our species. It’s a cliche but also very true that we are social animals.

During times of stress and uncertainty, we instinctively look to friends, family, community, and culture for comfort and support. The inhuman aspect of this pandemic is that we’re told we need to “distance” ourselves from others to survive. Luckily, we as humans have amazing brains that allow us to treat “closeness” and “connections” as abstractions. We have powerful communication tools that allow us to follow our instincts and turn to people we love and trust as attachment needs arise while we maintain the necessary physical distance.

7) What can you suggest for parents in regards to connections now that children are at home for distance learning?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: I do have some suggestions which I’ll make later on, but the main thing I’d like to offer parents is that this is a really challenging time to use opportunistically. A lot of parents I work with really want to use quarantine as an opportunity to connect with their children, but it can feel overwhelming to create opportunities out of a situation where boundaries blur and home is now home as well as school, office, and playroom.

Just because there may be more time and opportunity, does not mean it’s easily harvested. Schedules and structure are helpful. If you can combine schedules and structure with some flexibility and spontaneity, all the better.

Connecting with kids is a very personal thing and each parent will have to find his/her own way to reach each child. Creating space and openness to allow for connection is the hard part. Younger children especially are extremely good at making sure a connection happens if parents can only free up time, attention, and the receptivity to take advantage of opportunities their kids bring to them.

8) What have you been doing at home with your family during the coronavirus lockdown?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: I’m actually not a father yet, but I have recommended to fathers that this is an ideal time to start a project with their kids. A father’s traditional (or stereotypical role) in times of crisis is to insulate children from danger and to provide a model for how to confront challenges. Starting a project, in the yard, in the garage, or in the living room, is a fantastic way to show children that things are safe. If a father can show children that it’s safe enough to immerse his attention completely in a project, then children will truly feel safe.

I think these times also reveal how overvalued the content of a standard educational curriculum can be. Schools do teach valuable skills, yet the value of a traditional education is lessened when parents are at home and available to teach their children important things that they have learned. A skill passed on from father to son is far more valuable than the typical thing a child learns in the average day of school. A project, whether basic repair, woodworking, building a model, learning a sport, etc., promotes feelings of safety, teaches something valuable to a child, and provides quality time between parent and child.

9) What main takeaway would you like to give as support to parents during this time?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: Children are watching and learning during this time, as they always are. Not every parent will be able to use this time as an opportunity for bonding because of economic pressures. That’s fine. Think of this period as an opportunity to show financial resilience, perseverance, and resourcefulness. If you’re a parent who is fortunate enough to have a financial cushion, treat this as an opportunity to bond with or teach your kids something important. This could be as simple as reading a treasured novel together, teaching them something about your work, or have them help you with the daily chores. Show them your coping skills–especially the ones that actually work for you.

To be succinct: parents have a ton to teach their kids.

I really want parents to think of themselves as having something valuable to teach their children, and empower them to supplement (or even replace) the day-to-day educational curriculum with something only they can teach their children.

10) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Dr. Michael Kinsey: Writing is a tool to create connections, and thus moments of temporary relief from the pain of existential isolation.Cover JPEG


Dreams of Zugunruhe
is a charming picture book that captures the ups and downs of leaving home and growing up. It is told through the lens of “Little Tern” that goes on the harrowing journey of migration with his mother. Expressive illustrations enhance the beautiful conversation between the terns. Children will hear the empowerment and encouragement through Mother Tern, and be emboldened as they face the great adventure of life. The urge in birds to migrate is a great springboard to educate and comfort children. It’s a great addition to any home or classroom library.

Dreams of Zugunruhe is available through Amazon. This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

For more information, please visit Dr. Kinsey’s website at: https://mindsplain.com.

Parent Support for Homeschool: Free Ebook & Online Novel Study

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The Lost Secret of Fairies is FREE on Smashwords for a limited time!

So folks, some of you have been following along with a two week, free novel study. I thank you for that, and am warmed by the feedback I’ve been hearing. Because of this, I wanted to help you out even further.

I have managed to find a way to get the ebook for the novel study, FREE, for a limited time. From now until the end of the month, The Lost Secret of Fairies ebook is FREE. Yes, you heard that right. I’m giving it to you as a gift, along with the entire free online novel study, to help promote reading and learning during these hard times for the world. It is my gift to the world to hopefully help us all get through together. I’m sure fairies are something we all need right now.

Link to Smashwords Free Ebook

Offer extended until May 31, 2020.

I hope you enjoy the story, and for those of you just finding my blog, here is a link to the entire online novel study in order. It takes about 2 weeks to go through the whole novel study. Please leave any comments or feedback on how you are enjoying it. Plus, feel free to add any questions too. I love talking to people and finding out how they enjoyed my book.

summer1The Free Online Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study

Day 1: Beginning of The Novel Study/Journal Entry Set Up

Day 2: Spooky Writing Online Unit

Day 3: Chapter 1-3 Study Questions

Day 4: Chapter 4-6 Study Questions/Blog Reading Activity

Day 5: Chapter 7-8 Study Questions/Definitions Activity Worksheet

Day 6: Chapter 9-10 Study Questions/Using Fairy Tales & Legends in Lit Paragraph Response Reading Activity

Day 7: Chapter 11-12 Study Questions/ PE Activity

Day 8: End of Book Study Questions/ Summary & Character Change Response Worksheets

Day 9: Theme/Author Message Response Worksheet/Video Lesson

Day 10: Final Essay Test & Grading Rubric with Completion Certificate

Bonus Posts:

Tips for Helping to Create Structure & Schedule For Distance Learning/Homeschooling 

Reflection on the Emotional Impact of the Corona Virus Lockdown: Poem and Journal Response Activity

Just remember, wash your hands, stay safe, and be kind to everyone, because the world needs that right now. Oh, and fairies. We need the World of Fairies too.

So, enjoy, read and write!

Until next time,

Tiffany Turner

***Tiffany Turner is the author of the children’s fantasy series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has had 18 years teaching experience in California as a public elementary teacher. She is currently tutoring in the private sector and continuing to write full time.