Saturday, March 21, 2020

What to Do With the Kids? Part Two

                               What to Do With the Kids?

                                                   Part Two

I am sharing some ideas from my niece who has two sixth grade girls and a preschooler.  I am adding a few ideas of mine.  I hope these thoughts will help with what looks like a long, "Yea! No School" time.  
During the week try to keep the kids on a schedule.  
Wake up at the same time, wash, get dressed,  and eat breakfast.
 (9:30-10:00)Weather permitting take a family walk or bike ride. Weather not permitting do some exercise in the house.  Make a game of it if possible.  How many times, taking giant steps, can you walk up and down the hallway in three minutes (or five minutes or one minute).  Take everyone's number and find the average.  (Math skill.  Reminder on how to find the average.  Take the numbers. add them, then divide by the number of people participating.). Can also do this by going up and downstairs.  But be careful. No one should go so fast they might skip steps and fall.  Children get excited and may forget safety.
After exercise,  ( 10-11 o'clock) it is Academic Time.  Perhaps things from school, or there are free sites on the internet for math, reading, science, etc. Perhaps a virtual field trip.  There is a good virtual field trip for recycling at Eureka Recycling in Roseville.  
 (11to noon) Creative Play such as Legos, art, dolls, crafts, working on making a play, deciding on costumes, characters, settings, etc, Making stationery and cards to send letters and Thinking of You cards to family and friends, etc. 
Noon to One  Lunchtime. Older kids could help. Clean up, and free time
1 to 1:30  Quiet time, free time,  One person reads to the others.
1:30 to 2:00 Music time- practice instruments, If children do not have instruments could they make some?  An empty container with something to put in it to rattle, a makeshift drum,  makeshift drum sticks, a paper and comb whistle.  You might find other ideas on the internet.
2:00-3:00 Family fun (Game, puzzle, baking, etc- kids take turns picking the activity)
3:00-3:30  Dance practice   Turn on some music and create dances.  Another good exercise.
3:30-:4:00 Chores
4:00-5:00 Fresh air time (Play outside if the weather is nice enough).
5:00-5:30 send emails, make phone calls to family and friends.  Kid friends and adult family and friends like to get US mail so kids could send a letter or Thinking of You card they created in the creative playtime from 11:00 to noon.   The letters and cards can be mailed once a week as a family time by getting in the car and driving up to an outdoor mailbox.  
5:30 to 6:30  Free time  Older kids could help make the dinner.
6:30 to bedtime is dinner and Family time and TV time.

Another craft idea:  If the family has a lot of sewing buttons teach the older children, boys, and girls how to sew on buttons, we all need that skill.  Also, buttons can be sewed on to scrap material to make a design.

Teens often find not being with friends difficult.  Emailing and Texting is normal for them but now it may be too much too often.  If you can sit down with them and talk with them on the necessity of their not being with their friends, as they can get the virus and they can spread it to their family and friends.  Tell them as parents you feel stressed.  You know they feel stressed.  You may have financial concerns.  Be honest.  BUT reassure them the family will stay intact and this time, even if long, will end.  And ASK for their help.  Children of all ages typically want to be a part of the solution.  They want to be challenged.  You could use their help with the chores around the apartment, the house, the yard. They could play games or read with or to younger children.
If the teen was doing a part-time job and can not go to work to earn money, work out a payment with the teen.  This chore will earn you this amount of money.  If you feel you do not want to pay at this time tell your teenager you will give him/her an IOU.  At the end of this Drawing Closer As A Family Season Virus Time,  and things are back to work and paychecks, you will redeem one or two IOUS at a time. As young people can not go out and spend money now anyway, this would be like saving for the future.
I hope your find some help in this.  If you have ideas please share with others.   God Bless  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

What to Do With the Kids?

                               What to Do With the Kids?

                                              Part One

In case you do not know who I am, or I should say was, I was an elementary teacher for 40 years and a substitute for 3 years.  There were days when my lesson plans just flew out the window and I had to improvise and as a sub I went into classrooms without any plans made so it was up to me.  In all those years I never considered myself a baby-sitter or child sitter.  I wanted each child to know more when they left school at the end of the day than when they entered.  

During this unique time where many children, without much notice to child or parent, are now needing to be homeschooled.  This may be a temporary short time or a longer time.  Here are some ideas you can use at home.

                                             Math And Reading 

                                           Preschoolers, Kindergartners, etc. 

Young children can help set a table for a meal.  They can count how many people will be eating, how many pieces of flatware, dishes, etc. they will need.  If a spoon falls on the floor, how many spoons are left?  How many spoons are needed to replace what fell?  

The child could count the number of blocks they play with (or some other item).  If someone removes some of the blocks, how many are left?  Do they know without counting? Guess.  Count and check.  If another group of blocks is put close to the first set and are counted, what would be the total?  Count it out and see.  What if some blocks again are taken away, how many are left?  Count to check.

The parent can read one of the books the child has,  one sentence at a time pointing to each word and at the end of the sentence, the child can "read" the same sentence while pointing to the word. 
Many kindergartner children know basic sight words and numbers, so build on that. 

                                                    Older children

Older children, I have often found, like working with maps.  I use road maps, atlases, etc. 
They like to plan trips.  Car Trips: If they start from their city, how many miles is it to another city.  How many miles in a round trip (explain round trip, many of my city kids did not understand the concept).  You can use state and U.S. road maps.
If the speed limit is 55miles the entire trip how many hours would one way be?  How many miles would a round trip be?   If you only want to drive for four hours how many miles would that be and where would you stop?  If you do that every day how many days to get to the destination. 
Plane trips     Use an atlas to find the distance to countries, Check the internet to see how long it takes for a passenger plane to fly, to the county, and again back.  How about country to country?  How about going around the world.  


What is the longest river, next longest, etc, and list by length, and do the same if you can by the widest part of the rivers, and the narrowest part?  

What is the tallest mountain, the next in height, etc? List everything in order.  


Choose a mountain, river, country, state, vacation spot, do the above research and more, such as flora and fauna (good words to look up in an old fashioned dictionary)  and make a diorama, a travel brochure, an old fashioned boring report, a travel guide of places to visit in the selected area. 
Children can also research the native people, customs, clothing, and put that into their diorama, display, etc. 

Newspapers, Magazines:

I always had a stack of newspapers in my classroom.  It doesn't matter how old they were, as they were going to be cut up.

Of course, we always read the comics.  No brainer there.   For reading, the students would read an article, national, state or local, and circle any words they did not know.  Then off to the old-fashioned dictionaries to use guide words, etc (if you don't have one I guess you will have to go to the internet, but think what will your kids do if the internet ever crashes.  That gives us pause, doesn't it?
Later I ask some of the students to tell the rest of us what they read and if they learned any new words.  (comprehension and vocabulary building).

The advertisements were great for math.  If each student had X amount of money to spend what could they buy, would they get change, could they buy more than one thing?  If the add said three boxes of cookies for nine dollars and one box for $3.79 how much would they save if they bought three?
What should a buyer do if three loaves of bread were $12.00 and one loaf was $5.00 and the buyer thought he/she could not eat more than one and one-half loaves before the bread became stale and moldy?   Dilemma! 

There are many ways to teach cause and effect.  Start out with an egg on the floor.  It doesn't need to actually happen just a pretend situation if often enough.    What caused the egg to land on the floor?  What is the effect?  What causes the electric power to go out during a thunderstorm?  What is the effect?  And so on.

This blog is getting to be lengthy and I promised I would not burden people with long blogs.
So I will end it here but I will blog in another day or two about organizing the day and etc.  
One final thing before I go. Please, Please, whatever you do try to make the activities fun, or interesting.  And reward the children in some way.  A special treat, food, or activity,or game, etc.  
They're being home is not a punishment and they should not feel they are a burden.  Parents are stressed out and money is a concern but that is for adults not children to think about.  
If your children know about the financial problems you face, certainly it does not hurt to discuss it openly with older children but also reassure them that the family will stay together and all their friends are going through the same thing.  If there are cutbacks in the family's budget it is only for a while and it is a great and creative opportunity to find other ways of doing what needs to be done. 

Stay home, even the teens who love to be active.  Protect your family by not bringing the virus home on your skin or clothing.  God Bless and I'll blog soon.  Pat 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Nightingale Floors

                                   Nightingale Floors

                                      I have Nightingale Floors.  Do you?

       Many years ago, I won't say how many but let's say less than a century, I was in Japan for two weeks. While there I signed up for a tour and one place we went to see was a warlord's home.  It was like the Japanese homes you see on the television with the sliding panels and thin walls and take your shoes off at the door. 
         To maintain his power he invited the warlords. and their families, who were possible threats to visit him.   (Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.) When they all arrived he gave them an elaborate feast, with music and entertainment.  They each had to return the gift with their expensive feast and entertainment, so as not to lose face.  It was set up so the visiting warlords had to spend so much money they could not hire soldiers to raise a coup against the host warlord.
        As the visiting warlords and their families slept in the main house, the master warlord had all the floors in the sleeping area made to squeak when they were stepped on.  No one could get up at night without alerting the host.   He called his floors the Nightingale Floor.

      My hallway floor squeaks.  I like it, especially at night when I am settled in bed.  You might think, You live alone, why would the floors squeak?   First, I don't say the floors squeak I say they tweet or sing like a Nightingale.  They tweet because the characters in my books come at night to speak to me about themselves.  They have a tale to tell and they want me to write it for them.
      After they leave, sometimes I fall asleep a bit sad, but mostly I drift off with chuckles under my breath.  I get such amusing pictures of the characters from what they say that I have to laugh.  For instance, these characters have not been placed in a book yet but here is the tale they told me.

I was almost asleep when a tweet, tweet, tweeter tweet, tweet, woke me up.  I looked at the door and of course, I didn't see anyone as I don't see people who aren't there.  I am not crazy.

"All right, what do you want?  Tell me quick so I can get some shut-eye."

A male voice spoke, "We are here...."

"We?  Who are we?" I asked.

"I am a Lutheran pastor, next to me is a Baptist pastor, next to him is a Methodist pastor and at the end is the Presbyterian pastor.  We are from the same town and we have a huge dilemma and want you to solve it."

"I don't solve anything.  I write."

"If you solve it you could write about it, so it is in your best interest to listen."

"Okay, if I listen, not promise to solve anything, but listen, will you go away?"


"Spill it."

"The problem is...."

 "Me," said a female voice.

"Who are you?"

"Ceilia Silliphant. And I am causing the problem. I am a Presbyterian."

"How is that a problem?"

"I have a little shop where I make and sell hats.  Hats for ladies, for little girls and babies. I sell a lot of hats as people like my designs."

"That is true, Pat.  I am the Lutheran Pastor and my wife buys our little girls their Easter hats at Ceilia's shop."

"Yes, and all the ladies in the Methodist congregation wear her hats," said another voice.

"So what's the problem?"

"I make hats people like all week and I do enjoy it.  I really do. But on the weekend I create a truly original one for me.  One that only I would wear.  And I wear it on Sunday to church.  Every Sunday for a month and each month I create a new one."

Another pastor spoke up.  "That's the problem.  The first Sunday of the month all the people in our town, men, women, and children all go to the Presbyterian Church service to see her hat.  No one goes to the other three churches.  We work hard on our sermons and no one is there to hear them.  But they hear the Presbyterian pastor's sermon and then they talk about Ceilia's hat and his sermon all week.  We don't like it and want it to stop."

Another voice spoke.  "Cecilia, tell Pat what your hats are like."

"Well,  last Sunday I wore a hat that had a stick poking up about 12 inches from the top with a large flamingo feather on it, pink it was, and on the stick  I had multicolored ribbons winding around and then at the brim I had children figurines holding the end of the ribbons as if the pole was a Maypole."

     "Tell her the rest," spoke a voice in the dark.

     "The children did sort of,   kind of,   maybe,   looked like  several children in the town."

     "Yes, and all the ladies were sure they saw their child on the hat and it started several arguments."

     "I am sorry, but I just can't give up making my original creations. And I have to show them to everyone as I am proud of them, and my mama always said to wear your best to Sunday going-to-meeting service.  So I have to do it."

     I heard her pathetic sigh. "I have no answer for you, especially at this time of night.  I will pose this dilemma to my Pat's Snippet Friends and ask them to submit their ideas.  So please leave, tweeting the floor as you go and let me sleep.  Good Night."

     "Good Night, Pat.  Sweet dreams and don't let the bedbugs bite."

     What a thought to go to sleep on.    

     You may meet these characters, someday, in one of my books.

       I  love the tales the characters tell.

        Please solve the problem and submit your suggestions so the characters do not come back to disturb my sleep again.  I need your input.    HELP!