Posted in Health, Parenting, quarantine, raising kids

Online School versus Wearing a Mask All Day

 

 Girl Writing on the Sofa

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. My next WIP is going well and I can’t wait until it’s done. I really like this story, too.

But enough about that, I’m back today to talk about the issue of school in the fall. Right now, we must let the school know if our kids are going to be riding the bus, so they can set up routes and figure out how many kids they’re going to be transporting.

 

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I’m talking with my kids and my oldest is fine either way, but I’m not. There are so many unanswered questions. My oldest tells me if there’s an outbreak at the school, they’ll  immediately shut it down. That worries me. I don’t want my kids to get sick, so I’m leaning toward online school. I have a feeling we’re going to end up in that position any way.

In conversations with my kids, they aren’t looking forward to wearing a mask all day, but I don’t know of any other way to protect them. There are so many things we don’t know about the virus. I keep hearing rumors of fevers lasting for months and long-term damage to the lungs and heart. The thing with sending them to school is there’s more of a risk for them to be exposed to this virus.

 

Medical Mask - Coronavirus - Free Photos

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Right now, I don’t know what the school has planned. We haven’t been given those details yet. The thing is we have to figure out how much of a risk there is in sending the boys to school versus online schooling. I know that online schooling eliminates the risk, but I’m worried about the isolation factor.  We are human after all, social animals. How is this virus going to affect their social development in this time in their lives when learning social cues is so important?

 

There are no easy answers, that’s for sure. What are your school districts doing? How do you feel about it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in community, current-events, quarantine

What Kind of World are We leaving for our Kids?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of working and writing.  Earlier today, I happened upon a Facebook post. It was one of my friends and she is a mom of young kids. She was complaining about the sticky doorknobs and the mess kids generally leave behind and was asking parents of older kids if they really missed the sticky mess.

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I’d like to answer that question and the answer is yes. I miss all of it. Sure, cleaning up after the kids wasn’t fun, but I kept it in perspective and didn’t beat myself up if my house didn’t look perfect. After all, I had kids, and I wanted them to grow up being comfortable, exploring their world. So, if it was a little messy, I was okay with that.

 

Toys on a carpet

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I miss when my boys were little guys and they would snuggle with me before falling asleep. I miss that baby smell and their giggles and their adventurous spirits. So, yeah, I miss it.

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However, I love each stage they go through, and I love seeing them grow and learn. For example, when my youngest started reading before he started school. I loved that and I was so proud. I loved how he started doing Par-Core and mastered that. I loved when my oldest would come to me for help with his homework and when he started taking Karate lessons. I loved each stage.

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They amaze me with how much they’ve grown and learned. I love their personalities. My oldest for his quick wit, kindness, and honesty. My youngest for his drive, passion, and focus. I love the fact they get along and can compromise with each other. They both have amazing problem-solving skills.

But I also worry. I worry about how cruel this world can be. I hope I’ve helped them develop enough skills so they can survive it. Not only survive it, but to thrive in it. I know that’s what every parent wants, but right now our world is not a happy place.

 

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I wonder what the new school year will bring. I wonder how my kids will be learning and if it will be a good experience for them. I worry about their social skills. They haven’t been using them as much lately because they’ve been communicating with friends online.

Public bus in Granada | Nicaragua

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I also wonder about what kind of world we’ll be leaving behind for them. What’s going to happen with all the chaos going on right now? Will it change anything? I sincerely hope so, but I don’t know. I worry about the problems they’ll be inheriting and how they’ll affect them.

I hope when we’re finished with all this craziness, the world will be a better place. Our kids deserve it.

 

 

Posted in Family, quarantine, raising kids, Reading, social media

Quarantine: Week Two

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My family and I have gotten through another week of quarantine and we haven’t lost our minds…yet. I’ve been putting my story together and I’m getting more and more excited. I’ve written this story differently than my other stories and I really like how it has turned out. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

So far, my family and I have stayed healthy, so the quarantine is working for us. It has also brought us closer together with late night Uno games and binge-watching Netflix. I love hanging with my kids.

 

Photo credit: hannah.rosen on Visual hunt / CC BY

But this quarantine can be hard on people who don’t have a family. People who live alone can become depressed and lonely. So, check on your friends who live alone, send them a text to make sure they’re okay. This is a time to stay connected even if we can’t get together.

There’s a variety of ways you can stay connected in this trying time. Social Media is a great way to stay in touch and make sure everyone is okay. There’s also program’s like Skype and Zoom where you can video chat with your friends. At the very least, you can pick up the phone and give them a call.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another way to fight depression is to stay busy. I’ve been working on my book, so it doesn’t register that I’ve barely left the house in two weeks. Hubby has a couple of major projects going on around the house that’s keeping him busy and the boys have their video games where they communicate with their friends. I’m letting them have more screen time because playing video games is another way to fight depression.

They’ve been reading every day and their school has a website set up where they can do some assignments. I think it’s great, but I’m not forcing them to do it. I believe they’ll be just fine when they get back to school. The school must adjust to the students needs and I believe they will.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

So, that’s how were dealing with the quarantine, working on our own projects and having more family time and staying in touch with my single friends. How about you? How are you combating depression in this crazy time when you can’t leave the house? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Stay at Home versus a Working Mom

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while. Life sure has been busy. 😊  Next week is back to school for my kiddos and I’m just as bummed about it as they are. Summer was way too short this year. At the end of July, we had a great vacation up north. I love that area and it was awesome to get away and relax, and I got a lot of vacation writing done. I love that!

Photo on VisualHunt

However, enough about that. Today, I’d like to reflect on the difference between being a stay at home mom and a working mom. Both are hard work and stressful, but I believe being a stay at home mom is harder. Why? There are many reasons.

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I’ve found that since I’ve been back to work, I feel better about myself. Delving deeper, I realize I’m getting many more positive affirmations from my co-workers and my boss than I did when I was a stay at home mom, but it’s not only that. It’s nice to have co-workers to chat with. Being a stay at home mom is isolating and it’s rare to get any acknowledgement of the hard work you do. I loved being home with my kids, but there were times when it would’ve been nice to have another adult to talk to.

Another reason being a stay at home mom is harder is because you’re not bringing home a pay check. There’s the guilt of not helping provide for the family, but I feel I made the right choice even if it was sometimes a struggle. I have a great relationship with my kids, and I wanted them to learn the value of relationships and how they’re more important than money or possessions. I hope I accomplished that. That being said, I do enjoy bringing home a paycheck again. I’d forgotten what that little piece of independence felt like and boy is it sweet.

Photo on VisualHunt

Also, I get a break from my job. I get to go home after eight hours and hang with my family. A stay at home mom never gets a vacation. Even when she goes on vacation, she’s usually taking her family with her. She is on twenty-four/seven for at least the first five years of her child’s life.  Once they start school, she gets a little bit of a break and believe me she deserves it.

There are usually no positive affirmations either. No one says thanks Mom for cleaning the kitchen three times a day, or for picking up the toys in the living room three times a day. Stay at home moms tend to forget to take care of themselves. They put their needs last. So, it’s no wonder that sometimes they get a little depressed.

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I remember those years. I was exhausted the entire time, but oh the memories…it was definitely worth it.  So, when I look back would I do it all again, even though there were days of loneliness and major exhaustion? Absolutely.

I miss my kids every day when I’m at work. I want to hear about their day the moment they get home from school, but I also want to send them to college, so they don’t have debts to pay off when they’re done. A compromise must be made, and this is the time to do it. They’re enjoying their independence and pulling away from Mom. This is to be expected, however, I want them to stay my little boys just a little longer.

They still tell me things and when I’m late coming home, they wonder where I’m at and that’s nice, but I miss those baby hugs and the way my oldest used to play with my hair when I fed him his bottle or read him a story. I miss how my youngest was so rambunctious and quick to learn. I remember that moment when he started reading by himself and how we would sit and read an entire book (chapter book) in one sitting, because he wanted to impress me. I remember how proud he was of himself and how proud of him I was.

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I was there for all of it. I’m so excited to see the men they will become. They are such great kids. I know life is going to throw them some curve balls. I hope I’ve taught them to be resilient and strong during those times, and I hope I’ve given them enough good memories so when tough times come, they’ll remember those hardships are temporary and good times will be back once they weather the storm.

In conclusion, staying home is the harder of the two. So, if you are a stay at home mom, it’s important for you to take care of yourself and make sure your spouse understands your needs. He needs to give you some accolades and support when you’re having one of those days. Also, you need to take time away from the kids and get adult time. It’s essential to your mental health, but you probably already know that. 😉

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, do you agree with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in author visits

Author Visits are the Bomb!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Yesterday, I had a day off work and I spent my morning in my hometown conducting an author visit with third, fourth, and fifth graders. As I drove toward the school, I noticed some of the streetlights in town were out, and when I arrived, I found the school was without power as well. That certainly made my presentation more interesting. LOL!

I have to tell you these author visits are the bomb. I enjoy working with these kids so much. I like to run an interactive, informal presentation, and I also reward the kids for participating by giving prizes at the end of the presentation. These prizes certainly motivate them to participate!

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The teacher who organized this asked me to talk about my passion for writing and dealing with revisions and rejection. So, I started out the presentation by asking the students about their own passions and the discussion took off from there.

The students who spoke up had some intriguing passions. One girl wanted to be an actress, another wanted to be a soccer player, and still another wanted to be a gamer, and then there was one shy little girl who wanted to be a writer like me. 😊

I get just as much out of these author visits as I give. The kids’ enthusiasm is intoxicating, and you can’t help but become infected with it. They’re at that age where all they see are possibilities. They don’t see the obstacles and rough roads ahead and for that moment, I feel the same way.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Visualhunt / CC BY

I also explained to them about constructive criticism and just plain old bad criticism. I told them that if someone doesn’t like your work, they need to tell you why. Just saying they don’t like it isn’t enough. If someone can’t give you constructive criticism, then don’t listen to them and don’t let them influence what you’re doing.

It is so rewarding to talk with students and learn what they’re dreams are. It makes me young again and realize I can still accomplish all the goals I want to achieve. I just have to keep working at it. After the visit, I drove through my hometown and noticed the changes and the things that have stayed the same, and a bubble of nostalgia swelled up inside of me. At that moment, I figured out an ending to the story I’ve been rewriting for the last year. I can’t wait until this project is done because I also have two other projects in the works and I came up with another idea while sitting at a stop light.

Sometimes, I accomplish so much without writing a single word down. 😊

 

 

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on Visual HuntCC BY-NC

How about you? What do you do that takes you back to the time of infinite possibilities? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe, Uncategorized

Weekly Reflections: A Slice of Life Post

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. My boys and I are enjoying our mid-winter break. We have two days off of school, so I’ve gotten a lot of writing done but housework…not so much. 🙂

Yes. I’ve been feeding my addiction. I’ve been writing. What else can I do during these rough winter months when I can’t get outside?

Photo credit: peaceful-jp-scenery via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

I did meet a friend for lunch over the weekend, though. Someone I went to high school with. We weren’t close in high school, but we connected on Facebook and found that we lived close by. Isn’t social media wonderful that way? I’ve been in touch with people I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s so interesting to see the different paths everyone has taken.

I miss those friendships from my school days. We had so much fun. I don’t think women are close like that in adulthood. We get married, and we devote all of our time to our families. I do believe you can have those close friendships in old age, though.

I see my Great Aunt Josie in her retirement home and she’s as spunky as ever. I want to be like her. She’s so full of spirit. She was close to my grandmother, and I love to hear tales of them growing up. She has friends she gets together with in their community room. I love the fact she has companions. I’m so thankful she’s not lonely.

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When I think of my Aunt Josie. I think of this awesome poem. My grandmother gave it to me in a frame one Christmas, and I’ve kept it ever since. Here it is:

When I am an Old Woman

I shall wear purple

with a red hat which doesn’t go,

and doesn’t suit me,

and I shall spend my pension on brandy

and summer gloves and satin sandals,

and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired…

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain.

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

and learn to spit…

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

and pay our rent and not swear in the street

and set a good example for the children.

We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I should practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly

I am old and start to wear purple.

Author: Jenny Joseph

          This is what I want to be like in my old age. How about you? Have you ever thought about it? What do you want to be like when you’re old? And what is the definition of old these days?

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!

To read other Slice of Life Posts, click the link below:

Slice of Life

Posted in Family

Success! We made it through the first Week of School!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. The first week of the new school year is under our belt at the Orchard household. It seemed to go smoothly and there were no tears the first day.

I interpreted this as a good sign, although I’ve found something very interesting. Boys don’t seem to like school as much as girls do. I remember when I was younger I loved school, getting back together with friends and buying new school clothes. Unfortunately, my boys don’t have the same attitude.

Therefore, I tried to find out why and this is what I’ve found:

My boys don’t like the structure of school. They love being able to choose what they want to do with their time and when they want to do it.

I’ve also found that they think school is boring. They’re not interested in what the teacher is teaching them. This is unfortunate because these are the years where they learn the building blocks they’ll need for future endeavors when they will be interested in learning.

These are the two main issues that we’re facing right now. To combat this I’ve tried to find books the boys enjoy reading. I was fairly successful in getting them to read every day for at least ten to twenty minutes over the summer (minus vacation time). The books they enjoyed were “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, “The George Brown Class Clown” series, and  “The Michigan Chillers” series.

 

I know some of the books at school are outdated and the topics don’t interest my boys. You know how boys are they want to hear about burping, farting, and anything funny. 🙂

I wish the school day could be a little more flexible for my kids. I’ve always given them choices and I feel that if kids were able to choose when they did math as opposed to being told to do math, we might see some happier boys at school. I know this is hard to do with thirty students in a classroom, but it’d be interesting to see if it worked.

I’ve also heard of schools that are geared more toward boys. One school near me takes the kids on walks to view nature and discuss science. They also spend a tremendous amount of time outside, which I find beneficial for boys.

These are just a couple of ideas I had. What do you do when your child doesn’t want to go to school? Do you have any tricks that work for you? I’d love to read them so leave a comment!

 

 

Posted in Holiday Posts

Labor Day Ramblings

IMG_0315Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today is Labor Day, the last day of summer vacation for my boys. They’re not happy about this. They love summer and all its possibilities. My boys love the lack of structure that summer vacation brings, the spontaneity of being able to pick up and take off at a moment’s notice. I loved that too back when I was a kid, and I have to confess, I still do.

As I look back on my life, I realize I’ve always had an aversion to structure. I see it even in my writing. I’m a “seat of my pants” writer, which means that I don’t follow an outline. I sketch out my characters and then I figure out how I want my story to begin and end. From there, I let my characters take the wheel. It’s fun to write this way, because it’s exciting to see where the story goes.

I see this in my youngest as well. He has faked being sick so that he can stay home from school. During one of those sick days, he wrote a thirty-two page story about tornadoes. He was in first grade at the time, but it was amazing to watch him do this. Each page had a couple of complete sentences and illustrations as well. He stapled the pages together and handed it to me, wanting me to read it. He was so proud and I must say so was I.

I’m excited for this new school year. I can’t wait to see how my boys grow and develop. My oldest has more confidence and that does my heart good. I hope my youngest will develop that same kind of confidence. I hope it comes with age.

With my kids in school, I’ll be able to devote more time to my writing. I’m working on a Young Adult Coming of Age Novel and I’m really enjoying it. My beta readers have given me the thumbs up on it, which makes me extremely happy. It has a great message for teens. One that I wish I had learned in my teen years.

Labor Day is kind of like a new beginning for me. I imagine other parents feel this way with the new school year looming. I’m more motivated during this time and I believe this has to do with all those years in school. We’re conditioned this way from Kindergarten on. It makes me wonder about the whispers I’ve been hearing about year round schools and online schools for elementary and middle grade children.

I wonder what will happen to our educational system if these online schools take off. Will it have a positive effect or a negative one? I can see where online schools will save money, because there won’t be a need for those brick and mortar buildings anymore. However, I wonder what the effect will be on the learning process. I wonder if it will make our kids too passive, sitting in front of a computer to learn.

Going to school offers quite a bit for kids, in my opinion, there is the social aspect of it. If we convert to online schooling, will our children miss developing the social skills that they will need in future job markets?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my Labor Day Ramblings. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about online schooling or anything else for that matter, I’d love to read them. So, leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to get your Child interested in Reading

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. Last week was my blog tour and it was exciting. I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to my next one. Thanks to all the bloggers who participated and all the wonderful people who left comments.

This week I want to talk about how to get your child interested in reading. When both my kids were babies I started the habit of reading to them before bedtime. I would read the fun nursery rhymes and the cadence of the rhyme would lull them into sleep mode.

I continued this pattern and still do it today, but now I let them pick the books they want to read. It’s amazing what they’re interested in! They’re interests range from the weather, to spiders…and even Transformers. J

Now, I can handle the weather and even spiders, but Transformers? Give me a break! J But because my sons were interested I bought them some Transformer books and I’ve got to say I’ve had to read them a million times.

I know everything about the Decepticons and the Autobots and the fall of Cybertron. Do I really care about these things? Not one wit, but my children do and if it keeps them reading I’m all for it. And here’s the thing my youngest was reading to himself before he started school. I attribute this to his strong drive to learn but also to the Transformers that became his passion during this phase of his life.

So when you’re trying to get your children interested in reading, pay attention to what their interests are. They’ll enjoy reading more if they’re reading a book that they’re interested in. You, on the other hand, may be sick of the topic. But you’ll have to pretend that it’s the most exciting topic in the world, because they are seeking your approval. J   And what better way to build self esteem in your child? Giving them approval or permission to enjoy they’re own interests.