One month ago, our world shut down. Children were sent home from school and all social activities were canceled. Our SUPER. BUSY. STRESSED OUT LIFESTYLES came to a screeching halt. Now what? Many parents are now laid off or working from home with their children right by their side.
We are living out history. When the next set of America History textbooks are written, guess what? WE WILL BE PART OF IT! They will be writing our story for the next generation to read about. So how are we going to document this pandemic from our point of view? How do you feel? What are you doing to stay sane? How are you coping? As a family unit, how are you passing the time? A picture is worth a thousand words, and as a photographer, I have been taking more pictures of my kids this past month then I have in a long time. Join me as I share how to document your family Co-Vid 19 style.
Please note, I am not making light of the seriousness of the situation. As a home school mom of three, I am used to being home ALL THE TIME. We lost all social outlets as well, but we are making the most of the extra time we are spending together. My studio is closed till this is over with and I can’t snuggle newborns. My heart hurts for those sick, have lost loved ones and working the front lines.
There is so much you can do as a family and it is so easy to capture pictures with your phone. Make a scrapbook, photo album, write in a journal and add prints when this is all over with. This too shall pass.
So grab your board games, movies, baking ingredients, art supplies, crafts, books, garden hoe or whatever you need to make your time at home with your family the best that it could be! Below are some adventures that I did with ours.
- The great outdoors is still open despite many city parks here in Fulton and Oswego being taped off. Hiking trails and backyards are the new playground and can be made into any adventure. My girls and I have trampled through Great Bear in Phoenix, and there are plenty of acres to support social distancing. We take turns picking trails, wandering, racing, collecting pine cones and wading in the river (it is still cold!). On these outings, I bring my camera and just go for snapshots. I grew up in the middle of the woods and love the wooded scenery. I want to share this love with my children.
Speaking of dirt, another fun way to grow together as a family, is start planning a garden. Now is the time to plant indoors to get your seeds transferred outdoors after the spring frost is over. We used up a large bag of potting soil in 7 plus flower pots plus the start of my vegetable garden.
- April Fool’s Day only comes once a year. My husband is grateful for that. 2 weeks shy of our 6-month dating, I played a cruel and incentive April Fool’s trick on him. He has never trusted me since on that day. But my girls still want to play jokes. With it falling on a Wednesday, we seized the day and had a Wacky Wednesday / April Fool’s Comedy Club. The girls are only had a couple hours to prepare, but they each came up with several skits that were incredibly silly and had us in stitches. I was seriously doing the ugly laugh so hard during Rachel’s puppet show. During this moment, I caught genuine smiles of my family having a good time together. My girls decided this is going to be an annual tradition.
- Parents this one could be for you since I am doing it for myself. Dig up an old passion and master it. If you are home now and have extra time and you have been wanting to practice that guitar, or paint that picture, or learn photography, we all know that YouTube is our best friend and good teacher. Just do it. Your children will see your determination and what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. Another source offering free classes for one month is thegreatcoursesplus.com. When we are asked how we spent our time in quarantine, we can respond with great confidence, “I learned how to ____________.” You, friend get to fill in the blank.
If you are wondering what I have been doing, is I have been catching up on lots of unfinished online photography workshops and retaking Triplett’s Piano Course. My poor brain may be fried by the time we can enter back into society.
- Easter was another great opportunity to document. I am sure you caught some moments there. How did you spend it differently without being able to be with family, church, or neighborhood egg hunts? Did you dress up? (We so slacked in that, but we coordinate for photos!) Dyeing eggs and egg hunts with your kids are great moments to share. Did you do drive by to families? Did you gather and sing a hymn? For me, Easter was hard. I am used to Easter service being the biggest service of the year.
- Probably my biggest take away from the quarantine experience is I want my children to remember that we thrived. They did not see fear and panic. They saw parents levelheaded work their way through this scary time and figure out the next move. For the first 3 weeks, rules were changing daily, and we had to conform. One day it was ok to go to the park, now the swings are gone, and we are told not to play on the playground. That is hard on child when the weather is finally warm. They cannot see grandparents, friends, or cousins, how are we as parents going to make the most of this experience? My girls are aware that there is a contagious virus out there and that is why their social world is shut down.
As the rain beats down on my house, I remember the story of Noah. He was quarantined in a boat with 7 other members of his family (way to keep it under 10!) for not just the 40 days and nights it rained but for a total 371 days. Mind you it was a floating ZOO!
My friend, you are resilient. You are creative. You have got this. So, as we take this quarantine one day at a time, remember to make it fun for you and your children. Make art portfolios, play music and dance, learn something new and use what you have in your house. Show your children that you are a rock and you will not be weathered by this storm. And do not forget to take pictures to document this period.
Just to add, I have been blown away watching parents do exactly this. They are using their abilities and creating a positive atmosphere for their families. If you have any tips, questions, and/ or great stories to share please do so below. I would love to read your comments. If you have questions on homeschooling, I will do my best to answer them! Do not be afraid, you got this!