Our family is making the best of time spent at home. We’re doing our best to reduce our contact with the outside world and honor the quarantine and social distancing as best as we can. This is not an easy time for any of us, but it is my belief that we can choose our response to situations. I have the absolute power to choose to either be miserable or to be content. My sweet mother-in-law, whom everyone lovingly calls Nana, is 93 and her health and well-being is our top priority during this quarantine. My wonderful parents (although they will not admit to it) are also at risk simply because of their age. While they are both in relative good health and very active, my dad has COPD and my mom is diabetic. We are taking this seriously in our home to keep us all healthy. Here is a list of five things my family is doing to make the best of time spent at home.
Free Range Homeschooling – As of now, we have only received a few worksheets from our “real” first grade teacher. They’re helpful and we are going over some vocabulary and spelling words. But most of our homeschooling is done through living life. For example, while eating chips and salsa as a snack, my first grader asked me about Mexico. That lead to a Google search of “Facts about Mexico for Kids.” I handed over my iPhone to him and he read the list of facts about Mexico. He then jotted down 3 of the facts that he learned in his journal. Bam! Reading, writing, and geography all in one. Pretty much the main thing I’ve been focusing on during this homeschool life is to keep the TV turned off during the day and my phone out of my hands as much as I can. This has led to the most organic way of learning imaginable. Nobody is stressed out and our family is actually thriving in this season.
Spending as much of our time outside as possible – The backyard, the front yard, our neighborhood, the nature trail, the Greenbelt, the park, anywhere else that doesn’t have a crowd or four walls and a roof. That’s where we are. We’re riding bikes, skateboards, scooters, driving RC cars, running, walking, practicing yoga, chasing our dogs, picnicking, giving a friendly wave and yelling “hello!” to neighbors and passersby while maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more. The fresh air and sunshine are exactly the right things that is needed during a time like this. I also cannot help but think how grateful I am that the self-quarantining and social distancing is happening in March in Scottsdale and not in July. Can I get an, “Aww, yeah!” on that? Being outside allows for my boys to exercise and develop their fine motor skills, like hand/eye coordination through playing baseball, balance and core strength by skateboarding and bike riding, appreciation for nature by just spending time in it. Being outside also goes along with our free range homeschool classroom philosophy. We’re learning about nature by being in it. Even if the nature is the citrus grove in our backyard.
Smorgasbord Meals – Find some things from your fridge & pantry and put it all together on a cutting board, put it in front of the people and let them dig in. No plates. No utensils. Minimal cleanup. Everybody gets a taste of what they’re hungry for. Some popular items in our house include Trader Joe’s turkey summer sausage, crackers, plantain chips, seaweed, fruit, cucumbers, shredded carrots, hummus or some other kind of dip or spread. Whatever isn’t finished at lunch is carried over to snack time. Before quarantine living, a big hit in our family is to get a smoked salmon from Costco, which we serve on a large cutting board with crackers, sliced avocado, some other veggies and fruit. We put a large blanket down on the floor, put the dogs outside, turn on a movie, and sit on the floor to eat dinner à la picnic style. It makes for a fun and easy Saturday night.
Nature Hikes – This combines our Free Range Homeschool sessions and being outside all in one. We’ve gone on road trips up to Payson and Sedona to some secluded areas where we can practice social distancing. In Payson, we went up to Willow Springs Lake. In Sedona, we went to the Crescent Moon Ranch picnic area. Both of these locations are typically fairly populated with people, but we went on weekdays when it was fairly cold. That, combined with the fact that people are staying home, gave us the whole place to ourselves. The few people we did encounter were so far away from us that we were able to maintain the 6ft distancing a hundred times over. In both locations, there were so many learning opportunities for my boys and for me. We learned about so many things on these road trips that I can’t even begin to list them all. But most importantly, we talked. We learned about each other and what’s on our hearts.
Netflix & Disney+ – Um, Tiger King, anyone? That bizarre docu-series is somehow saving my life by reminding me that no matter how crazy I feel in this time, at least I’m not Tiger King crazy. I’ve also enjoyed watching Jeopardy and of course re-watching Schitt’s Creek. Moira Rose saves my life regardless of what’s going on in the world. My 7-year-old loves the interactive You Vs Wild with Bear Grylls, which the viewer makes the decisions for Bear to help him survive and complete missions in harsh environments. In one mission, you can direct Bear to wear a pee soaked shirt to keep in cool in the desert. It’s pretty clear why a seven-year-old boy would be into this show. Over on Disney+, we’re pretty pumped about the release of Frozen II (yes, even my boys love this movie) and we cannot wait for Onward to release. We love the DisneyNature movies and National Geographic shows. My four-year-old is all about those Pixar movies.
This chapter of our family life, and American history, is obviously something we’ve never had to experience before, but I think that the number one way we are making the best of things is to just hunker down with each other and keep our eyes open for all the goodness our family is experiencing. No doubt, we’ve experienced hardships, but by recognizing all the fruit we’re cultivating is what we are trying our hardest to focus on. Time spent at home together, being present with each other, no jam-packed schedules, taking things easy, talking, playing and of course, snacking is creating a new family dynamic that we didn’t realize we desperately needed until now.
What are some ways that your family is making the best of things during this quarantine & social distancing?