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Images by © Wild Soul Weddings © 2020 Style from the Sticks

I just want to preface this post by saying that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing when it comes to homeschooling. I am winging it like you all are. I'm hoping to post what I do with the kids for their schoolwork soon here but mostly for my own record. Maybe it'll give you some ideas?

I do, however, have a ton of experience with staying-at-home. But in no way do I want any of these corona posts to come across like I know it all. Because I fail every day, in many ways.

Welcome to my world of being at home. While this is not normal, I do get out and about as much as possible in a typical work week, I am home a ton. And have been home for 14 years. I'm used to spending many hours home and it does come as an adjustment.

When I first started staying at home with my son, I didn't hardly know anyone in my town! My husband and I both worked out of town and we barely knew our neighbors. I was in so much isolation at the time and it was very hard for me. But we gradually met some friends, I started going to some moms groups and my son had play dates. It helped me tremendously. I also had no family in town and my husband was getting his masters online at the time and so he was either at work or on the computer. Which left me the mom 98% of the time. I finally found a lady who would help watch the kids (by this time) when I needed to get out and she is our second grandma.

Many of you have heard all of this before. My point, it takes some adjustment to staying at home. You have to know your limits. I cannot stress a few things that really help when you're new to this.

1) Exercise. It's for your own mental health. Carving out a half hour for yourself is super important. Right now, you can do it with the kids because it's good for them too. Or if you'd rather, do it alone. You don't have to do boot camp or HIIT workouts and kill yourself to exercise. Walking, yoga, lots of videos on YouTube are simple ways to start. The point is to get moving and hopefully sweat a little. Do it for you.

2) Keep up your hobbies. If you like to paint or write or craft, whatever, keep doing them. Let a little creativity out. Again, you can do this with or without the kids but keep that outlet to what you enjoy.

3) Make your bed. It's like one day just leads into the other if you don't. And it sets the day as "I'm going to get sh*t done." Trust me on this one, it's imperative.

4) If you're working from home, best of luck. It's really tough, especially with little (and big!) kids around. I know, every summer, I go a little bonkers trying to manage a work schedule and also run the kids to all. the. things. It's doable but it isn't fun. If there's two of you working from home, try trading off the quiet space in the house- one goes in the morning, the other in the afternoon- to keep the kids out of that space and be able to focus.

5) I love to clean on Fridays. Because I can, and it gives me a head start on the weekend. I don't have to spend Saturday doing it when we are typically gone. It feels great to start the weekend with a clean house!

I'm sure there are lots more tips I will think of during these next few weeks. But I hope these ease you into life at home every day.

I have been thinking about some ways to make life more fun, even when we are homeschooling, working from home and generally stuck in the house.

Here's 10 Things to Do to Make Life More Fun

10) Tonight we had frozen pizza for supper. I've been cooking up a storm, three meals a day and it's nice to have a night "off." I thought I'd make it more fun by cooking three different frozen pizza brands and having everyone choose their favorite. A frozen pizza cook off, if you will. For me, nothing tops Piccadilly's. Maybe that's just my Iowa coming out. Do this for anything you're cooking tonight.

9) Since takeout is not off the menu, we thought about going for a drive to get some special ice cream treats. Makes us feel more normal to be in the car going somewhere and who doesn't want ice cream?

8) For homeschooling, we will do field trips every few days because I'm funding it. :) We took a field trip for music class this week to see Phantom of the Opera (on my big screen at home).

7) Some fun things I remember from my childhood for my kids were setting up all kinds of toys, like Lincoln Logs, Barbie Houses, boxes decorated like stores, very much Buzz and Woody-esk type, to build a huge town to play in all kinds of toys in.

6) Don't over estimate the power of tea parties and puppet shows. These can be a ton of fun and can even be part of homeschooling- have the puppets explain a story they've read.

5) Speaking of putting on shows, have the kids do some theater. Serious family memories can be made here.

4) Need some friend time, my bestie had an idea to Facetime and have a cocktail and chat. No, it won't be the same as meeting with her, but I'm sure it'll do something for my sanity!

3) What about a date night? My idea, have the kids make you supper (worry about the mess later) and serve you like you're at a fancy restaurant, candlelight and everything. Maybe put on some music after and dance.

2) If you have to resort to videos for the littles, be sure to check out the children's book section on youtube. You can read The Snowy Day (my favorite) or If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, etc. Any audio books will do as well. As a kid I loved my record player and the books that were read aloud. We lived in a remote area people. Not too many kids to play with!

1) This weekend, I proposed to my daughter who lives for this stuff to have a girls/boys sleep over night, with just us parents. So my sons and their dad separately and my daughter and I separately would sleep together in the same spot and do silly sleepover things like watch movies and braid hair. The Mr. says they'll get all hopped up on Mountain Dew and be gamers. :) She is really excited about this and when she can't have friends over, I guess mom will have to do.

I have more ideas, so let me know if you need them. Like planning your family vacation when we all bust outta the house. :)

Just remember, we're going to make it through this. And when you're feeling really crazy, go talk a walk or a drive by yourself. Get some perspective. Nature doesn't care that there's a crazy virus going around. And hopefully sooner than later, we won't either.

With all the craziness of the past week(s), I am in a reflectful mood tonight about what this all means.

What I Hope Will Come From This

The hand wave and a smile return every time people pass each other on the road.

The porches are full of families and friends, chatting with passerbys.

Biking riding as families, gangs of biking kids are the norm.

Libraries are full of people checking out books, real books, to cuddle up with a night.

Gardens grow all summer long, full of food that people share and save.

All ballgames are packed full of people sitting in their folding chair who just want to eat a hot dog and popcorn and cheer on the hometown boys/girls.

Courthouse squares are a gathering place for the community to listen to music deep into summer nights.

Kids spend more time outside catching fireflies and putting them in jars to watch their lights.

Families grow, babies are welcomed because having a sibling is having someone to play catch with, someone to talk to, someone to share a room and a life with.

Couples spend time holding hands, walking, talking, looking each other in the eye.

Everyone has a new appreciation for their grandparents and grandchildren and the elderly.

Churches are full every Sunday for fellowship and worship the One who is most important.

We all slow down just a little and remember when life is slowed, what is really important.

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