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As unfortunate as the events are that have led to schools being closed for face-to-face instruction, this is an opportunity for students to continue their studies using online classes at their own pace and on their own schedule. For many students, being able to do schoolwork at a time of the day that best suits their energy level may improve their ability to master objectives. The key is to establish a schedule and stick to it. Below are steps to help you get on track with home study.
- Set aside an hour each day for each class that you are expected to complete. For high school students, you may need to bump this up to 1.5 hours especially if you are only taking 3 or 4 classes.
- Be sure to schedule some breaks into your at home school day. A fifteen minute break between classes will help you be refreshed and ready to go for your next lesson.
- Decide what time of the day you want to get started. If you are a morning person, start early in the day. If you have a higher energy level later in the day, you may want to begin classes in the afternoon and work into the evening.
- Schedule some time into the week to communicate with your teacher or school. You can use your smart phone to text images of completed work, or screen shots of your progress.
Spring Cleaning Just remember to pace yourself. We all have different levels of anxiety when it comes to housekeeping. Yes, staying on top of wiping down doorknobs and surfaces is more important than ever, but don’t work yourself into a ball of nerves trying to control the situation with a sterilized home. Be diligent, step up your cleaning routine, remind everyone in your family to wash hands often, clean up behind themselves, take their shoes off before entering the house, etc., but be calm and purposeful in your tasks.
Grow Some Plants Now is an excellent time to plant a small garden or even just a few herbs in your kitchen. Many of us rarely have the time to indulge our green thumbs when we are on our normal work schedule, so take advantage of the time you have on your hands for the moment. Many grocery stores have plants for sale, and so do some of the big box stores that are still open.
Learn Online Even if you are not a student, now is an excellent time to expand your knowledge base or learn a new skill. Many online courses are available for a one or two month free trial. Check out these sites https://www.skillshare.com/ , https://www.udemy.com/ , and https://www.coursera.org/ . There are many other course services out there, just be wary and avoid paying large fees for courses that you could probably find elsewhere for low or no cost.
Practice Your Cooking Skills Just be careful that you don’t practice cooking so much you outgrow your wardrobe! Now is not a good time to go shopping for clothes. All kidding aside, if you are used to eating out more than in, brush up on the basics. If you are an accomplished cook already, step out of your comfort zone and try some new dishes or techniques.
Catch Up on Your Reading If you really want to step up your game, turn your love of reading into an opportunity to earn some extra money which we could all use right now. Search online for opportunities to be paid to review books, write and publish books on KDP.com, or even get paid to narrate books for other authors. Check out https://www.acx.com/ to see if narrating a book for audible might be right for you. Another idea, if you have graphic arts skills, is to go on Fiverr or Upwork to see if you can snag a job designing a book cover for an indie author.
Improve Your Exercise Routine Get outside as much as you can, warm weather and sunshine are good for your mental health. Even walking around your yard or up and down your apartment stairs has health benefits. Keep moving, don’t wallow on the couch for the next few weeks.
Practice Some Art Therapy Creative endeavors such as art, music, making videos, podcasting, etc. are a wonderful stress reliever for many of us. You don’t have to be artistic to get these benefits, either. Grab some colored pencils and a coloring book. Even older students and adults can find something of interest for them to color. I have even published a couple of coloring books myself, and am working on a third. You can find them at amazon.com/author/jennynewberry.
Do Some Yard Work If you are lucky enough to have a yard, count your blessings. You at least have a little more room to roam than many people at this time. If you don’t have a yard, make the most of a patio or balcony. Turn whatever outdoor space you have available into a comfort zone. I’m not talking about spending money, just using elbow grease, the tools you have on hand, and a bit of creativity to energize your outdoor living space.
Play Games as a Family You have a choice. You can spend this time stuck at home with whoever lives with you being miserable, petty, and bored, OR you can make the best of it. Pull out some board games, do karaoke, work on a jigsaw puzzle, play charades, whatever, just be nice to each other.
Rest Part of staying healthy is to get adequate rest. None of us have the energizer bunny for a dad, so we need to make getting rest a priority. Take time to move away from the computer, turn off the TV, and turn off your phone for at least a while everyday.
Go for Walks Walks aren’t just for exercise. Sometimes it is good to just take a walk to focus on observing the many wonderful things around you that are very right in the world. If you are so full of doom and gloom that you can’t see anything good, challenge yourself to make a mental list of at least 10 things that don’t stink at the moment.
Keep a Journal It would be easy to give in to the overwhelming emotions we are experiencing at this time. A good way to release some of that mental tension is to write it down. Sharing your thoughts with others is great, but sometimes, we just need to express our thoughts to ourselves in writing to help us gain clarity. Also, think what a treasure you would leave to your future generations if you document this monumental worldwide crisis from your own perspective. If you don’t like to write, keep a sketch journal, a scrapbook, or a photo album. For some, these work equally well for getting out of your own head.
Improve Your Spiritual Well-being Although most places of worship are inaccessible at this time, your core beliefs are never farther away than your own heart. Take time to pray, meditate and strengthen those parts of you that are eternal. Remember, too, that the church is not a building, it is a body of believers and we can still reach out to each other in many ways. The mail still carries letters, the internet is still up and running, phones still work, and there is nothing wrong with talking over a fence or from balcony to balcony as they did in Italy. Just keep your physical distance, not your emotional distance.
Reach Out to Others Virtually Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are pretty common places to catch up online with friends. But have you considered meeting up with your friends in a video conference using an up such as https://zoom.us/ .
Stay safe, stay well and STAY HOME! This will pass, but it will pass sooner if we stop passing the virus.