Tag Archives: covid-19

Interview with Eric DeSio

Standard
eric-blue-1

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

Standard
hospitalicu

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.

hospital2

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.

Harpwalker

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.

tiffmask

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

Standard
Tenille Carlos Bey bio pic

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.

 

 

 

Interview with Tiffany Watkins

Standard

This pandemic has made many of us become aware of those things to be thankful for. It may also be bringing on feelings of resentment of what your child might have lost out on. Help them deal with the loss and look at the positives of their new situation with a fabulous find, a “Gratitude Journal for Kids”.

Tiffany Watkins is the author of this book. She has a BSA in Sociology with a minor in Child and Family studies, and a master in Divinity Studies. She received a doctorate in Christian Counseling. She enjoys serving her community and working with the United Way Young Philanthropist Program. Through her book, she hopes to encourage children to look towards what they are grateful for each day and find the magic in a moment of their day. I had the chance to interview Tiffany about her childhood reading memories, favorite author, and what projects she has in store for the future.

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

Tiffany Watkins: My favorite memory from reading as a child was how fun it was to have your peers reading about the same thing and able to discuss it among them.

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

Tiffany Watkins: My favorite memory from reading as a child was “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret?” by Judy Blume. This book greatly influenced my walk as a middle schooler because it addressed the things I was experiencing at the time.

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

Tiffany Watkins: In the future, I would like to write about positivity for kids.

Gratitude Journal for kids front pic“Gratitude Journal for Kids” is a helpful tool to help children focus on the positive aspects of their lives. Written to encourage an Attitude of Greatness, the journal has daily entries so your child can write three things daily about what they are grateful for. Each entry also includes a “Magic Moment of the Day” in which they can reflect on something that was positive and memorable about their day. Drawing is encouraged in the entry to express their gratefulness and artistic abilities. This book will help your child get in touch with their feelings and cope with the loss of a daily routine and events during the COVID19 pandemic.

Gratitude Journal for Kids” is available at: Amazon.com.

For more information on Tiffany Watkins, visit her Amazon Author page.

 

Interview with Chris Lewis

Standard

I’m starting this week out with a great support picture book for your little ones to understand the COVID19 situation, and help them become informed in a child friendly way. Chris Lewis wrote this book with fellow colleagues to help support parents explain to their younger children what is going on in the world. Haley and Comet Learn about COVID-19 is available as a FREE picture book and is available in Indonesian and Portuguese translations. I had a chance to talk to Chris Lewis about his writing routine, future projects, and what writing means to him.

1) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Chris Lewis:
After I have eaten with a cup of tea in the evening.

2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Chris Lewis:
Business and technology subjects target and younger readers. Change Management and testing is on the cards.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?
Chris Lewis:
A privilege and a joy I am working every day to get better at.

Covid19PictureBkcoverHaley and Comet Learn about COVID-19 tells the story of two twins, Haley and Comet. They are confused about why they are not allowed to visit with friends, and their big brother isn’t allowed to go to school. Discover the journey the twins go on to find out how COVID 19 has affected their lives. This story is written for 5 years and up.

Haley and Comet Learn about COVID-19 is available at the following eBook store links:

English version: https://books2read.com/u/mVw5Y5
Indonesian version: https://books2read.com/u/bMpdg5
Portuguese version: https://books2read.com/u/mKDMqP

Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding, and the Corona Virus Lockdown

Standard
annefrankportrayal

ID 125060942 © Kristina Kostova | Dreamstime.com

The last few weeks, I’ve been supporting parents that are suddenly homeschooling because of the school closures due to the Corona Virus Outbreak. It’s helped to give back in the way that is unique to my teaching and writing background. A full novel story for my first book took two weeks to write and post for all of you. I do hope it has helped bring some light during these bleak times. As I’ve said before, I think we all need some fairies and the Fey in our life right now.

But I’ve also been on a personal journey to help deal with the events that have been happening due to the corona virus outbreak. I live in California in the Silicon Valley. I grew up here. In fact, my book series touches on the orchards I used to play in while growing up here. But at first, it was a ground zero for the outbreak, with Santa Clara County the first to lock down in the US. It was soon followed by the whole state of California.

I’m at high risk since I’m over fifty and a woman with a heart condition. So, I took this all IMMEDIATELY seriously when enough was known on how deadly this virus was becoming. I gave a leave of absence letter to my boss, and did a huge shopping trip to help get through what I thought would be a 3 week lockdown. My last day out in the real world was March 11. On March 12, I started my own lockdown to stay safe. And then, I watched my county and later my whole state join me a few days later.

I do work a lot on line. I have Fiverr.com gigs that I help out other authors with blurbs and interview them for this blog. I self publish all my romance and children’s books, and am currently writing a “How To Self Publish” book.

But somehow, this shelter in place turned into something a lot different than my normal writing schedule. Everyone else was there with me. My friends were online all the time now. People were coming up with awesome, supportive things to cheer up each other. Putting up Christmas lights in the windows and displaying teddy bears for kids to do bear hunts were just some of the things I’ve participated in my neighborhood to connect during these strange times. But it also reminded me and started to feel like something else.

secretannex

Outside of the Secret Annex, the building the Frank family hid in during WWII. ID 100750106 © Fedecandoniphoto | Dreamstime.com

I first read Anne Frank when I was eleven. I couldn’t put it down, and I cried endlessly when I got to the end wondering why she had to die. This touched off a lifetime of questions about WWII and the Holocaust. I have since been to the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam, stood outside Auschwitz (which was unfortunately closed on the day I visited), and have read many books about the behind the story about the Secret Annex, the helpers, and people that knew Anne.

I turned now back to these books, finding that there were even more memoirs, more information in regards to the hiding saga that has touched so many people. I’ve dived into some recently new memoirs and biographies involving people with the hiding of the Frank family and the other hiders. I’ve never felt more closely in experience with Anne before. She wanted to be a writer. She hid for two years, and I had tried to imagine before what it must have been like for her. I have more of an idea now.

It is strange to say that reading about Anne Frank and the hiding saga that took place almost 80 years ago brings me comfort during a pandemic, but it does. I’ve always had the question of what it was like for Anne. I’ve stood in the Annex in Amsterdam, touched the sink where they washed dishes, and listened to the clock bong the hour. That made the story so real for me tears started to form. And again, I still seek the answer, what was it like for Anne? What did she go through while hiding? Well, I’m living it right now. We all are.

There are some parallels that make Anne’s story true for us today. No. I don’t have Nazis looking for me. But the fear that some invisible enemy is out there is part of my thoughts.  My routine is constantly to clean and try to keep myself safe from it. The anxiety is awful. She must have felt some kind of similar anxiety about being discovered.

I do have helpers bringing me food in the form of delivery services. But the fear is different because the invisible virus could be on what they bring me and I have to wash everything. Of course, this could be akin to the fear of discovery, the attention to keep yourself safe, and to do what was needed to stay safe. I do have to ration and try to get the food I need, always trying to hit the delivery window online, which sometimes can take days. And I have to plan to get the food in advance. It’s like a combination of being a helper and a hider.

This outbreak shows the continued cycle of the struggle for humans to survive and that we can adapt to it all. It has a similar truth that Anne’s story has. And we’re living it together. If we hang in there, we might still have that hope shared with Anne in her writings. She was always positive, and still thought the best about humanity.

I spend my days writing, adult coloring a calendar I got for Christmas to relieve stress, and taking care of my husband and cat in a small, one bedroom condo. I am more fortunate than many, I know. But my mind just can’t help but imagine the similarities between Anne’s, her family’s and the others with them hiding experience must have been like. It is similar to what a lot of people in the world might be experiencing now, together. Trying to stay sane within close quarters of living with others.

There is one thing that is also clear. Anne had no way to know how her ordeal would end. She hoped it would be after the war that she could write her dairy finally as a book. But that never came to pass since she passed away from typhus at a concentration camp after her family and fellow hiders were betrayed, arrested, and sent to the camps. But while she was hiding, she had the most incredible hope. Hope that she would get through everything and have her dreams. Hope that everything would be alright when the war was over. She is quoted in “The Diary of a Young Girl” as saying:

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.

And that’s why I’ve related with her all these years, and so much now. Her life was so similar to ours until it was changed by the war, her family was forced into hiding, and she spent two years waiting for a more positive outcome than what she received. I hope for all of us, we all have a more positive outcome. That we all stay safe, we survive this pandemic together, and live through to the other side to still see the beauty in the world.

Please, do not lose hope. And if it helps any, read “The Dairy of a Young Girl” that was Anne’s dream to publish, but was unable to in the end, and her father made her dream come true. Then, here are some great follow up books that give different perspectives of the hiding experience:

  1. Dairy of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

2) Anne Frank The Untold Story: The Hidden Truth about Elli Vossen, the Youngest Helper of the Secret Annex by Jeroen de Bruyn & Joop van Wijk

3) Holocaust Memoirs of a Bergen-Belsen Survivor (Classmate of Anne Frank)

By Jeannette Blitz Konig

For more information on Anne and the secret annex where she hid, visit the:

Anne Frank Foundation/Anne Frank House Website

So, I invite you to read not only Anne’s story, but that of all the people she touched. It shows how one life can be so special, and how even in the worst of times, kindness can prevail. Like now. Maybe that’s why I’m turning to these books right now. We need the wisdom. We need the guidance of those that have gone through tougher times like our present pandemic situation. And what better resource than the books that survive them all.

If you do choose to read them or would like to talk about them after, please leave messages in the comments. I’d love to hear how you are dealing with the Corona Virus Lockdown, and maybe people in the future will use our stories of struggle for their own inspiration.

-Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and appreciate the little things,

-Tiffany Turner

Isolation & Psychological Fallout During Corona Virus Pandemic: Poem and Journal Activity

Standard

I want to thank everyone that has been following along in my blog for the last week. I started self isolating on March 12 due to the fact I’m over 50, and have a heart condition. I went through a battle to get back to health through most of 2015, and I really don’t want to go back there. I’ve been through an induced coma, pneumonia, septic shock, all due to my heart blood clot. But I’m not sure if my body could survive COVID-19. So, I isolated or how it feels to me, am hiding from getting this disease.

Then, I saw this poem today on Facebook being passed around. So many people are sharing their art. I would like to share it with you.

“History will remember when the world stopped.

And the flights stayed on the ground.

And the cars parked on the street.

And the trains didn’t run.

 

History will remember when the schools closed.

And the children stayed indoors.

And the medical staff walked towards the fire.

And they didn’t run.

 

History will remember when the people fought.

For their old and their weak.

Protected by the vulnerable.

By doing nothing at all.

 

History will remember when the virus left.

And the houses opened.

And the people came out.

And hugged and kissed.

And started again.

 

Kinder than before.”

By Donna Ashworth

The poem above helped me this morning. Creating art, blogging and writing,  is helping me. But I also feel like I’m waking up in the middle of a dystopian novel each day, and it’s making all the zombie shows and apocalyptic shows more real. I guess this is because I live a lot of the time in my imagination which really helps my writing self. But for a real pandemic, it is creating a fear that I have to face daily.

But now, reality is partially like fiction these days. That makes it kind of weird. Like expecting the vampires and zombies to show up next. I’m sure marshal law is just around the corner like in the Handmaid’s Tale, and too many things in fiction are making an appearance in real life. Maybe the jokes on me, because I imagine all this and write stuff down. Some of it has go to come true, right?

I’d like to give credit to Donna Ashworth and say thank you for the use of her poem. I contacted her on Facebook after I read it, and can see the story of how her poem is spreading and helping others. I’d like to present you with some journaling questions for parents and children in use with the poem to help with journaling on this subject:

  • How are you feeling about being in isolation or the soon to come shelter in place for your area?
  • Write down some of how you’re feeling about the corona virus in your journal. How are you feeling? What fears do you have? What experiences have you had over the past few weeks?
  • How does art help you?
  • What kind of art can you create to express your feelings or experiences about being in isolation or fears of the corona virus?

Feel free to comment below. If you like, you can talk with your children and see if they would like to use the poem above as an inspiration to write in their journals today or create some art. They can paint, write a poem, story, a song, dance, or create what they feel is right.  I taught on 9/11/01 and the days that followed, and I had my students journal their feelings as that disaster in our nation’s history unfolded. This is another time where journaling our feelings can be helpful.

Feel free to use the questions above or even add questions below in the comments. This can be a discussion for my blog community following along with my novel study and homeschooling activities. I’d love to hear how you are feeling.

Take care, and be kind to each other.

-Tiffany Turner

(Mrs. Turner)

For more information on Donna Ashworth, please visit her website/blog:

Ladies Pass It On.

 

Tips for Parents During Long Distance Learning During Corona Virus Crisis

Standard

166286Pencil2Greetings all parents that are in need of some support, advice or even a hand to hold right now. I’ve been an elementary teacher for over 20 years in California. I can see in my own neighborhood the need to help parents during this time. So, I’ve been blogging all week a free novel study for the first book in my fantasy children’s series, The Lost Secret of Fairies. It’s taken me 12 years to finish the series, and I was able to teach a novel study in my classroom before medical issues made it difficult to continue teaching and I had to retire early.

Now, I see a need that I can’t let go by, to lend my expertise to help all the parents out there to help with distance learning that has been thrust upon you during the corona virus outbreak. Through a series of blog posts, I’ll offer advice in how to tackle this challenge, starting with tips on how to create a learning environment at home. Many teachers do this, establish the rules and structure of the classroom in the first two weeks of school. And that’s all you need to do at home now. You need to establish:

  1. routine
  2. schedule
  3. school time rules
  4. reward/discipline system

It might seem crazy, but all these four things need to be in place for a child to learn. Children, and in fact humans, excel at having a routine and structure. Right now your kids have been thrown out of their daily routine and structure. You need to create a new one for them. You might already be realizing this, and may have started to take steps. If you haven’t, you may be wondering why they get easily distracted or want to do something else. Well, let’s get started getting these kids working by getting them into their new schedule by creating it for them.

Step 1: Create a schedule for your child. Work with them to create a new routine that will get them use to their new classroom at home. Have a place that will be their “school area”. I would suggest their already used homework area. They are used to doing school work there already.

Sit down and construct a schedule. It can look similar to the school schedule or they can maybe add when they would like to do different subjects. Choose a period of about one hour to do each subject for children fourth grade and up. For younger children, make a work period for one half hour. Have a work period for reading/language arts and a work period for math. Add lunch to the end of the morning, and have an hour for science or social studies in the afternoon. Or this could even be a choice period, like art, dance or a fun activity. There are a lot of online workshops that seem to be given these days by helpful authors, artists, and others online. Try a search and see what you can find.

Step 2: Once you have a schedule for when Reading, Math and Science/Social Studies/Art will happen, post the schedule in the area where your child works so they know how their day will be structured. You can even add a recess between 10-15 minutes between Reading and Math. You can offer a snack, and your child could play in the backyard or other area nearby for exercise. Many children are used to a recess in the mid-morning, and it helps with concentration. Of course, lunch will be the favorite time slot, I’m sure. Include that on the schedule as well. It will reassure your child that they will be having a similar day that they would have at school.

Step 3: Now, it’s time for the rules. I will offer a simple rules list that can used or you can come up with five rules that your child needs to follow during school time at home. I suggest five since more than this might be hard to enforce.

  1. Stay in seat/work area for each period.
  2. If questions, raise hand or use signal.
  3. Work period is for schoolwork only.
  4. When work is complete, use supplement materials and learning games until work period is over.
  5. When the timer goes off, recess will begin.

I’m also including a download of the rules above and a blank version that can be used to make school rules with your child, if you prefer.

At Home School Rules

**Go over each rule with your child. Choose a signal you would like to use. A bell, rattle or something that makes noise is something that is good to use if your child has a question. If you are able to see them as they work, hand raising or some other visual signal will work too.

**Also, having a timer nearby so they know how long they are working will help them get used to their routine. Have materials or an activity they can do if they finish early. It can be a electronic learning device, online tutoring or extra help program, etc. Try to make it fit the subject they are studying as well. I’ll list some helpful support resources at the bottom of this post.

marbleinjar

Small marbles or other objects in a jar are a great behavior system to have at home during this distance learning time.

Step 4: Reward/Discipline System

-A great way to motivate your child is to reward them when they do a great job, and have something in place if they are not following the rules. A simple system you can use is a “marble/object in the jar”. Keep a jar or container in your child’s work area. Every time you see your child doing a “Good Job”, put a marble in the jar. Of course, the object could be something like a lego, bean, or or multiple amounts of something you have on hand too.

Set a goal that the child will earn when the jar is full. You can even label it on the jar. Goals can be decided by your child, but approved by you. Suggestions are: extra video game time, gift card, favorite treat, etc. Make the container large enough that it could be filled in a week. Later, you can get a bigger container that would take longer to fill with a bigger goal.

-When your child isn’t following the rules, then you take a marble out of the jar, and they have to earn it back. Remember, they do need to earn the objects to fill the jar more than they lose them to make this all work. Plus, it will give them a structure to regulate their behavior.

And that is about it! This will give your child some structure to help them continue their learning during this crisis. Check with your local school district in how they will be supporting distance learning during the corona virus outbreak. They may already have a schedule for you to follow or have online resources ready for your child.

If by chance, they haven’t been able to organize the materials yet, this will at least give you a structure to get through until you are able to get more resources. Below are some great additional resources that can be used online to help with learning.

Math:

Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/

Mostly run through YouTube. These videos can be looked up by math concept covered and used to support what is being studied. I used them to introduce concepts in the classroom.

Xtra Math: https://xtramath.org/

Online math fact practice program

Typing: https://www.typing.com/

This was one of the typing online tutorials that helped teach the standard of typing that was part of 4th grade. It’s a great refresher for kids 4th grade and up. Third graders could start this now to get ahead.

**Plus, try doing a search for cursive practice worksheets or for printing. Children from kinder to 3rd grade need to practice their writing. Practicing writing is a great way to add extra activities to reading and language arts if your child needs more in their day or more activities for language arts.

Plus, if you’d like to look over more activities, such as my free novel study, here is the link to the first day of the study and other resources that I’ve written are listed as well.

Reading: First Day of the Lost Secret of Fairies Novel Study

Full FREE online Spooky Story Writing Unit on my blog.

My online store at TeachersPayTeachers with free lessons for writing and literature studies.

I’ll be posting more tips and suggestions next week, along with further days in the Novel Study. Plus, look for more author interviews of featured authors and their books.

We’ll get through this! You’re child will learn and enjoy this new opportunity to learn with structure, a schedule, and rules. And remember, you can do this.

Feel free to post comments or questions below. I’d love to know if this helped and answer any questions you may have.

-Tiffany Turner

Mrs. Turner has been an elementary teacher of 20 years. She has experience teaching in the public school classroom in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. She currently has been working at a local tutoring center for 3 years. She is also the author of a children’s fantasy middle grade series called The Crystal Keeper Chronicles. The Lost Secret of Fairies is the first book in the series and was first published in 2007.