Home Learning in Lock Down: Tips & Tricks

It’s the end of the school holidays and we are now back into the school term. It’s time to begin learning again. We have the tools set up for us by the teachers and now it’s up to us as parents to make it happen!

For many of parents this is a tough challenge because school generally does the teaching but right now in lockdown, the tables have turned. We have to work together to make the best of a tough situation. We may have to work from home ourselves so we need a good plan and stick to it.

CREATING A ROUTINE

We don’t want to compromise on a lot of stuff but if we set up a routine for the school week and treat it as a school week, this will help us get the best out of it. Plus, we won’t feel like we are crap parents 😊 if we give it a go!

When creating your routine, just remember, this is your child, you know them best and you know where their strength sit best. Your child’s teacher will have some ideas on how to engage your kids in their school work which should make it easier for you 😊 probably some cool ideas for distance learning.

I actually set my alarm each day. Nuts eh?! Really, there is going to come a time when I will have to go back to school so at least this part won’t be too hard. Don’t get me wrong, I still sit around in my pj’s a lot longer than usual but I am up and out of bed. I think we can become complacent, forget what time it is and at times I even forgot what day it is. Setting up a good routine to mimic what you would normally be doing if you were on a regular day out of lock down certainly takes the edge of it a little.

Ideally to get started, you can email or message your child’s teacher for tips and the best way to move forward. They will have an idea of how much time realistically we can spend on ‘school time’ with our kids. The biggest thing is that there wont be anything new, the kids will most likely be practicing skills they have developed already. There may be new challenges like an inquiry but your teacher is there on the end an email or phone call. We like to keep it easy, as teachers know how hard it is for you in this transitional period. It’s about keeping up with what they already know.

I can give you a few tips that may work as a guide to creating a good routine for you at home through the lock down. The best way for me to do this is to share with you what we are doing at home to make it fun. I try to get in different tasks for the kids based on what they have in their learning cache from school. We keep the real formal stuff like math and literacy to the morning and then have the fun stuff in the afternoons.

I began by setting up their rooms to accommodate easy learning goals. They can go there to work on their tasks and are away from each other for small breaks. This helps prevent the fighting and arguments that can occur at times 😱🙄.

Miss HD teachers have set up her learning through online forums so she is completing much of her work through the computer.

Miss HD working from the comfort of her room!!

The Karate Kid has a learning grid that he is working through which has paper based and online tasks to complete.

He has his boom box connected to host some tunes as he works.

What I then did was set up a time table for them. It’s pretty basic but it seems to work. I will change it up each week to give them a chance to try different things but we are quite flexible. I just put it on our fridge calendar 📅 and they check it each day.

This weeks calendar of activities

Setting it up this way gives them the chance to work though the core subject tasks but also being able to change it up so they can have fun stuff!! Their fitness could be shooting hoops, practicing karate or dancing or even just bouncing on the trampoline. We do regular food breaks. They can focus on their tasks but also have some fun. I also throw in baking or cooking for math/literacy. I get them to google science projects. They complete art work or play a game together. They are actually enjoying it!!

SOME APPS OR WEBSITES TO HELP

A neat little Lego challenge to stimulate creativity and keeps them busy for hours!!

I can recommend a few learning sites or apps to help break the cycle as well. Download some games to their iPads that stimulate math skills or spelling. Most apps are great for kids because they LOVE 💔 devices and it promotes hand eye coordination. They are still being challenged but through play. We do WORDSCAPES and SUDOKU. They love the challenge.

Another great tool for promoting reading is EPIC which is currently free for parents to join over the Covid 19 period. They have all sorts of books for different stages and levels of reading!! Audio books are great!! Let them explore!!

PRODIGY is another fabulous web link you can join for your kids. It’s math based and online. Easy as!!

For littlies there are heaps of apps that help them with their spelling or site words. I also started a bit of a journal with my two but for younger kids you could have them draw a picture of something they enjoyed today and then write about it! keeping those skills going so they don’t ‘forget’.

I also made it even more fun by sitting with them at 3.30 and asking what they did today 😱🤣 they almost everyday say ‘nothing’.

Well I think I may have given away some of my secrets today but I hope it can help you shape it up so you get the best out of this time. Enjoy it, have fun with your kids and watch out for my scavenger hunt ideas!!

Keep safe peeps

Rosie 🌹

Cleaning 🧼 Tips #2 The Kettle

If your kettle builds up on calcium and what not there is one quick and easy solution.

What you need to descale your kettle:

1/2 cup of white vinegar

Warm water

Empty your kettle. Add half a cup of vinegar to the empty kettle. Swing it around for a few seconds then fill with warm tap water. Boil your kettle with the vinegar solution. Once boiled, empty your kettle and refill with cold water. Boil again and then empty. Refill your kettle with cold water.

Your kettle is now descaled!

Give it a try and let me know if you have other tips of the trade!! Let’s keep making our life easier

Enjoy next cuppa 💜

Rosie 🌹

Cleaning 🧼 Tips #1 The Oven

OVEN CLEANINF

Someone asked me other day what I use to keep my oven racks shiny snd fresh looking.

It got me thinking that perhaps I should share some of my wise tips that I have collected over the years. I will start today with how I keep my oven shiny and fresh. It’s super quick and easy!!

Normally I don’t like using chemicals as The Karate Kid gets quite a few chest infections so we try to keep clear! At times though, we need to bite the bullet. So for my oven I use Mr Muscle cleaner. I prefer the odourless one myself but you may have another tip or idea.

Spray in the oven and leave for half an hour, wipe clean and tahdah!! One fresh oven.

I have tried the vinegar solution too but it’s too time consuming and I don’t feel it really gets that greasy grime off!!

Now for the stainless oven racks I actually pop them in the bath with my soaker. I use friend or vanish. Just fill the bath to a level that covers the racks. Add a scoop of your soaker and leave your racks there for a couple of hours. When my kids were little I used to do this overnight so I didn’t have to worry about the kids falling in the bath 😊

Again, this is easy as to do and doesn’t impact on other things you may need to do. It’s just the soaking time. After a couple of hours I bring the racks out one by one and wipe them down and the grime just wipes away from the racks easy as!! Before you know you have shiny stainless racks again. Your oven looks a million dollars 💵 when your done!!

I usually clean my oven once a term. It keeps it up to date and the racks are easier to keep clean this way. You can soak in vinegar solution too but I find that my soaker does the job perfectly!!

I am sure that you may have some wise tips to share too so please just add them in the comments below! It’s great to share!!

Let me know if you try this!! Have a fabulous day x

Rosie 🌹

Today

Today is day 12 of self isolation or the COVID 19 lockdown. I have to admit that I am actually enjoying this time at home. Normally I am itching to get out and about but hanging out at home with the kids has been cool. Usually we are dropping someone off here or picking up a kid from there. It doesn’t seem to end so this break from the norm is welcome!!

We have eaten really well and I have time for baking and cooking. I am developing a keen interest in the latter and have been trying some new ideas. Not eating out has been fabulous for us as a family. How is it for you?? What do you miss? Me, well not much to be honest. I never really did much for me so nothing to miss there. I am however enjoying my books. I have read the series called The Chronicles of Kerrigan . A real gripper to be honest.

One thing this has done is set up a new routine of balance. I don’t know about you but I have managed to achieve so many things in this time at home. One of my goals was to read more so I think we can tick that off the list. I also started a list of jobs for the week…about 5 items each week. I managed to get through quite a bit but the first few days of lock down were school days so I was online working through stuff with my students, touching base with me and posting in our online forum.

Currently, its our school holidays so I can actually get some jobs completed at home. I managed to complete my list of jobs this week and now I will have to change up my list for next week. Funnily enough, the kids are still working through their daily time tables which include school work LOL. They have been helping a bit but they are so not into cleaning windows or spring cleaning the house. That’s on me. They are just chilling out and getting through their school tasks which is fabulous BUT they are also having fun.

One thing I have found quite welcoming, is having time for me. I reckon once we get back to normal most of us will itching to get our fingers stuck into the good old times. For me, I will be reflecting on what I value the most and start to make a plan soon for the things that are important to me and that I will get back into or recreate. I love that I am getting my fitness goals back and really working towards my goal for each day which is at least 30 minutes a day of something. I dusted off the treadmill, found my weights and stretch bands. The kids have been joining with some of this too but after a few days they got bored with that one so they’re off bouncing on the trampoline or shooting some hoops.

I love that we can just be us for the moment. The best thing is that we are just working out what we do day by day. So for today, I will say see ya soon and keep safe peeps.

Rosie 🌹

Sibling Pets

Do you have pets? Do you have pets who are siblings?? We have three cats and the two little ones are siblings. You would have heard the story before so I will spare the details. They are now about eight months old so still very much kittens. They have grown heaps and are as cheeky as anything.

I can tell you that there are days when they play fight which is often funny, then we have the meowing through the house in the middle of the night, bringing in bugs because that’s what they are into right now and then we get this…the really cute lets cuddle up together. This warms my heart!! I think no matter what happens, we will continue to see more of this…..

Enjoy the little moments in life!!

Kia Kaha

Rosie 🌹

Lock Down 2020 ~ The First Week

Who would have thought we would all be stuck at home on a lock down?? Not me!! We’ve been locked down for 7 days now. We made it through one weekend and although we still have a way to go, its going quite well at our end. Honestly, I understand why we are doing this and secretly enjoying the stay home thing. However, I do miss some of the things that kept me sane, like going to work. I LOVE my job!! I do miss it but lucky for me, I can work from home through digital learning forums with my kids and the students of my class.

My hubby on the other hand, is the one person who would dearly love to be at home tinkering around in his shed or sitting around binge watching TV. Sadly, he works for a company who supports our essential services in New Zealand, so he has to go to work each day. If i could switch places, I would but I can’t so we take what we have and work with it.

On the down side of this new living agreement, I have ended up with a fair bit of laundry but hey it’s not like I have too much else to do. 😍😍 Time just seems to pass by each day and before we know this will be behind us. Until then, well we just get on with it and make the best of a rotten situation.

The kids and I are looking after ourselves and keeping busy! The first few days were a bit of a novelty to be honest so we just chilled out a bit. They needed time to process what is happening because really, they will feel the pinch more than us. They are the social bunnies of the world so I had to give them a day or two to get used to being housebound. Saying that, the handy thing about being a teacher is that you enforce the home learning rules!! Miss HD, the Karate Kid and I had a nice old chat on the weekend where we talked about how we could make this work for us all. The end result is that we created a schedule for us ALL to follow.

On a technicality, this is actually the school holidays but as the kids pointed out, its not like we can actually do very much and we are limited on what we can do. I gave them time to think about how we could structure our day. It’s about making it fun for them so as I explained to them, it’s not rocket science, just using the noggin’ to keep us active in this crappy time!

So in case you need help with kids, let me share our routine with you!! We talked about how we could make it fun, so the kids asked for a schedule that would work like the school day. Now, remember my kids are older, so this works well. It just might help break up the day.

7am to 10am — Wake up, get dressed, breakfast, make beds, hang out on social media or play station. A time for us to chill out and see our friends on video links or games etc.

10am to 11am — Fitness time where they practice their skills in dancing👯‍♂️ or karate 🥋. Then we try something else, like YouTube videos (yoga, mindfulness), the treadmill, a walk, the bikes and then morning tea.

11am to 12.30 — School work – their choice from their schedules. Both have plenty of stuff to do. The Karate Kid has a learning grid with heaps of digital learning tasks from study ladder, epic (reading programme), inquiry, fitness, art, science and prodigy (math). He has something that covers all areas of learning. Leave me a comment if you want to know more!!!

MIss HD‘s programme is different again as most of her tasks have been emailed to her so she just gets on with it. This kid is missing school. LOL.

12.30-1.30 — LUNCH (as usual for both of them)

1.30-3 pm — School work or chores. I shake up the school work with boring stuff to creative projects. Makes it more interesting!! I try to encourage them to have some fun while they are learning.

3-6 — Free time

6-7pm Dinner & Family time

Then it’s just our usual night time routine of chilling out until around 8/8.30. Bed by 9 (realistically 9.30 as they phaff around so much. Kids these days, eh!!

This routine is working really well as it is keeping us all focused, I help them where they need it and I also get time for fitness, working challenges or blogging as I am doing now. I think that having a routine is helpful in giving structure to your days. We can work away and make sure the kids get through all their work, I don’t want them to get behind. Most people, will read this and think, far out, slave driver but to be fair, I don’t want my kids to get lazy therefore we have decided to keep their learning going.

At the end of the day, this whole situation isn’t anyone’s fault but a decrease in my kids learning abilities would be mine. Your kids have been sent home to keep them safe. They have been given work to keep their learning going. Lets be fair, the teachers have put in a lot of time and effort for our kids, particularly now and I think that it would be rude if we did nothing and then expect them (the teachers) to move heaven and earth at the other end of this. We owe it to our kids to encourage them to do something each day. They are at school for around 6 hours a day but the context of learning at school is completely different to that at home. At home we learn life skills, we learn about empathy, we learn about love and what its like to be part of something. That comes from us, the parents. So in my words of wisdom, I am continuing my parental role by encouraging my kids to spend at least 2 hours a day on school work.

Saying that, this new routine is working out really well. They are enjoying the structure and having the chance to share their learning with me as well. I can see what they are doing, how they are doing it and we are also doing cool stuff in between. The biggest thing about all of this is to keep things as normal as possible for them. Its a tough idea to get used to but they are learning self management skills as they work through their tasks as much as we manage our tasks as a mum, a dad, an employee or a home owner/renter. There is always something to be done. Getting the kids involved has helped make things run much smoother.

We have a few more weeks of this to get through, so we are making the best of this new routine!! Hopefully you guys are making the best of it too. If you need some ideas or hints for websites for learning or fun stuff, check out study ladder, epic, prodigy, cool math games. There is something there to keep the kids engaged so you can take a breath.

Take a breath, take a minute for you and remember, you are not alone in this journey! Reach out to someone, we are here to help each other!! We may be social distancing but we are not anti-social!! Take time to appreciate the little things in life…….

Kia kaha friends

Rosie 🌹

Arrrgggh

Being a parent is tough. Life can deal a few tough blows as well. Like most people, we have had our fair share of illness but the biggest surprise was just last week when I had my daughter👧🏼 home for a week with the shingles.

The shingles of all things! What the heck?? She is like, 13 years old for crickey’s sake. It was a surprise. Like you guys, I have been avidly watching the news, learning more about this Corona Virus 🦠 that has hit the world 🌍 The shingles was not on my list of approaching illnesses.

I can’t tell you how scary this was. I was really worried that if she is sick, her immune system would be taking a hit. 3 sets of antibiotics and cream later and we are on the up side. There is nothing more worrying or stressful for a parent than a child who is in pain and there really is not a lot you can do. Now that my friend is scary frightening. I can’t flee you how many night we were up just sitting there with a hot drink in the night. The hardest few days I’ve had for a while!

Lucky for us, she is back to her normal self. Quick action and no messing around, getting her to the doctor was really what made the journey less painful for her. Miss HD was gutted to be away from school last week and she missed inter school athletics and the school social! 💜

I am really pleased we made the week go by quickly. We washed everything!! I honestly was doing about about 2-3 loads of laundry each day just to keep on top of things!!!

Advice- well all I can say is be safe out there! We just don’t know what is going to happen but we can manage ourselves so keep safe and healthy!!

Kia Kaha

Rosie 🌹

A New Journey

It’s officially the start of a new school year and term 1 which means the kids go back to school.

Miss HD has already began her next step in life as a high school student but at boarding school. She had her first week of school last week which was by all her accounts- fun!! She is boarding because this school is an hour away from our home. It’s too much for her to travel each day and besides, it’s a great experience!! I believe this will set her up for life.

The karate kid and I are starting a new journey too!! We are going to the same school. As I got a permanent job at a local school, it made sense to bring him with me. He is going to have the most amazing teacher this year – ME!!

I can keep track of his learning and it’s takes a burden away from the days when I haven’t been able to go to sports events or be there to see other cool things because I couldn’t get time off work!! It will be a process but we will get there.

So while I have my first day back at school (teacher only day) the Karate Kid has to wait until tomorrow so he gets one more day to hang out with his Nan and Grandad!!

So if you’re heading back to the usual routines and kids are going back to school too – ENJOY!!

Until next time, be safe

Rosie 🌹

Am on my way……

I have that song stuck in my head now. How about you?? LOL.

Yep, well I am literally on my way in just a few days. I am going home to see the. parents and siblings. Sitting talking to hubby about this just the other day and it has been FIVE years since we were there. Really?? I didn’t think it had been that long but there you go! Funny how time flies.

Really what have we been up to? I suppose looking back at 5 years is a bit harder. In the last 2 years I have had a lot of change with jobs and kids have transitioned from one school to the next. We are now onto the next transition in our lives where Miss HD moves to college. Karate Kid will transition with me to a new school….and I will be his teacher next year. LOL lets hope we both survive this one.

This next journey for me is an independent one. Yes this one is to see my parents who are not keeping so well. Mum was diagnosed with Dementia a while back and it seems to be further on than I had thought. I felt it was a good time to get home and see them both before things turn pear shaped.

You know when we moved here 13 years ago, we knew this part of the journey would pop up but as a kid, you just think your parents are indestructible. They’ve always been there and you just think they always will be. Don’t get me wrong, I am not the girl who pines for home, nope my home is here in New Zealand but I am the kid who does miss things. I miss my family (sometimes) and particularly when my kids were little. They only knew 2 aunties instead of the 8 or 9 they do have. My kids have had the best time. There is a saying that goes – you don’t miss what you don’t have.

When we went to Scotland 5 years ago with. the kids, it was the busiest time ever. I really don’t think I have visited as many play parks as we did on that holiday. They loved it!! They met their grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and great aunties and uncles. They knew they had all these people in their life but we are a blink and. nod away from everything. What we gave them from that trip were the best memories. You’re probably wondering why I am not taking the kids. We don’t want to change those memories for the kids and with Mum’s memory on the blink, we didn’t want to. tarnish the memories. they do have with sad ones.

So in a few days I will be off on a plane on my lonesome (first time for a very long time). Hopefully I remember how to do that!! My travel documents are sorted. Places to stay are sorted. I am hoping to catchup with one or two people while I am home but this trip isn’t about a massive party….its about seeing Mum and Dad. Its seeing where things are at and what I can do to help improve it.

So wish me luck….. as I journey on my own and bring on some new memories and learn how to be cold again. Scotland can be an unforgivingly cold place that chills you to the bone but luckily the weather here isn’t that hot so I should be good.

Hopefully I can flick a quick blog post in and share some of the new memories with you, but until then, keep safe peoples and think of me as I travel from one corner of the earth to the next!!

Be safe

Rosie

End of Year

So we have almost reached the end of another year. It seems as though they just fly by these days and at times I also feel like I haven’t achieved much. This year however, so much has changed.

I began this year teaching as a reliever and ended it in a full time fixed term teaching role. I am proud to say that I secured myself a permanent teaching post starting in February 2020. Seriously stoked about that!!

Now here we are getting ready for Christmas 🎄 I don’t know about you but I am ready for this break. I actually head overseas for some of this holiday. I will drop a story or too from there. Nothing like sharing the love.

I want to find a better balance of work and home. I know next year is going to be busy with one kid in college and a new job but we all make changes and survive.

Change is good!!

Well I think today I will leave it here. I have a million and one things to get through before we even hit Christmas. I am looking st things differently for now, hope you are too!!

Have an amazing day and I will touch base soon.

Be good and keep safe

Rosie 🌹

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