Links I Liked 1

These are some of the articles that interested me today.

Links I Liked - 6 aug 2020

Five-Minute Coronavirus Stress Resets – NY Times – From cool water to hyperventilating, this article includes some easy, fun, and zany ideas.

For breathing, I’m currently testing the Wim Hof method, also featured on Netflix’s Goop series.

Admittedly, the Wim Hof method might be risky for anyone with asthma, breathing or heart issues, health challenges, and so on.

If you decide to try it, I recommend watching the tutorial first, because Wim includes tips you won’t find in his other videos, including his beginner video. (I’m starting with just one 30-breath cycle, and building up, slowly.)

Food Shortages? Nope, Too Much Food In the Wrong Places – NPR article. In many cases, climbing food prices and shortages result more from supply-chain issues, and not actual food supplies. We can fix this!

How a discovery in an Iowa factory led Cargill to work with Goop – Red Lake Nation News.

After discovering that some factory workers’ immunity was really, really good – and it was because they worked at Cargill – the company expanded their R&D efforts to make this resource available to the public. … Be sure to note that Country Life (especially their Gut products) is among the vitamin companies that got on board with this immunity booster.

Lately, you may have noticed my rants about Facebook allowing altered, cruel videos of Nancy Pelosi to remain on their site. But, to be fair, Facebook took down one of Trump’s posts. (CNN article.) I’m not sure they get much applause for that, but I felt like I should go out of my way to be as balanced as possible, as I still avoid Facebook most of the time.

Meanwhile, watch this closely if you’re relocating to work remotely in a different state from your employer: You might owe income tax in two states (CNN article).

And, getting back to bliss… I kind of love this video showing someone building tiny worlds, by hand:

Jobs? Employment? Preparing for the New “Normal”

We’re in a rapidly changing world, and have no idea what the new “normal” will look like. In addition, many people are out of work. And some have gone through two cycles of layoffs/furloughs, now.

Smart people are looking ahead, and covering as many bases as they can. They want to be ready, and in the right place at the right time, when things really start to reopen, and jobs (with good pay) become available.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re at home and hoping for a new or better job in the future.

Can you write?

jobs - employment - new normalShort-term, I’m enthusiastic about writing… mostly fiction, especially short-ish fiction, because that’s what many readers seem to crave at the moment.

There are many resources. Chris Fox is one of the best, as is the Facebook Group he created, 20BooksTo50K. Join it if/when they’re open to new members.

Chris’s Write to Market book is a modern classic. Even if some of the info isn’t entirely new news now, I still tell people to read it to understand the basics of indie publishing.

Also, Chris’s YouTube channel is filled with all kinds of great advice. Just don’t get overwhelmed by it, okay?

Many friends have – like me – been impressed with Neil & Jen Bakewell’s 21-Day Course that takes you from “gee, I’d like to write a book” to actually published in 21 days… if you follow their schedule. (I won’t pretend that it’s easy, but it is something you can do if you have a couple of free hours each day, plus extra time on the weekends.)

If that link doesn’t work, check back in a couple of months. I’ll post a fresh link when the course is open again.

Also, Sterling & Stone provide useful advice, as well.

Can you learn?

So many formal and informal education resources are offering free courses, I can only list a few here.

Ivy league universities and others are offering free courses, and many of them can help you acquire the credentials you’ll need to compete in the new job market. I mean, really, if you’re going to study anywhere (online), why not aim to impress your future boss?

Here are some useful links:

Or, if you’re interested in a creative career, CreativeLive offers free courses every week. They may help you start a fresh career, or build on talents you already have.

Watch trends!

Watch for clues about the future. One way is to read Lifehacker and follow links in their articles. Sure, their articles are useful, but the links can be the real pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. Choose a topic that interests you, and proceed down every winding path you find. (Some will be better than others.)

Here are some mailing lists that can take you even further.

  • Exploding Topics – weekly trending topics (Again, follow the links!)
  • Wunderman Thompson – quirky, but read between the lines to see interesting developments
  • Non-Obvious Newsletter – another weird, sometimes-fascinating newsletter that highlights very odd things. Some get a raised eyebrow response. Others are more connect-the-dots material. And a lot of them are just blink-blink for me. (Meaning: I do not get it. Are they on the same planet as I am…? <- Rhetorical question.)
  • The Prepared is mostly about manufacturing. I read it anyway. Odd, interesting things turn up among the topics and links.
  • Movements is about… well, movement. In other words, transportation, personal and commercial. Understanding where transportation is going (literally and figuratively) can highlight where the jobs will be… again: literally & figuratively.

I’ll add to these lists as I notice fresh, useful resources.  Meanwhile,  Pocket offers specialized articles, and – of course – Medium can be well worth browsing.

Homeschooling Insights & Resources

I homeschooled my three children for many years. (See Why We Homeschooled.) Each of them also attended public schools for a year or so, and two briefly tried private education, as well.

All three went to college. And all are living lives they’ve chosen, some more unusual than others.

This may be important: I homeschooled while pursuing a writing career (under several pen names, for book publishers and magazines), as well as my work in art journaling (as Aisling D’Art).

So yes, you can do this. Really.

Two Important Points

Passionately curious - homeschoolersIf your children are suddenly at home, and you’re in blink-blink mode, almost overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling, here are two things I want to say:

First, don’t try to fill a full school day with activities.

Classrooms aren’t an ideal way for teachers to provide the one-on-one attention many students need.

So, curriculum materials include lots of activity sheets, workbooks, and exercises.

They keep children busy – and learning – with minimal supervision.

That’s so teachers can have a few minutes with each student that needs personal attention.

In other words, you don’t have to keep your kids busy from 9 AM to 2:30 PM, or whatever their usual schoolday schedule is.

I’ve seen various schedules for  Covid-19 homeschooling. Jessica McHale, the photographer, offers a great one.

Here’s another by Erica, aka Confessions of a Homeschooler, though her day is far longer and more structured than would have suited me.

At the other extreme, here’s one “unschooler’s” schedule, by Bridgett Tulloh. In my opinion, that kind of schedule might work with very little ones or teens, but the in-between years… maybe more structure might help.

Rachel Wolf’s unschooling rhythms may suit many families better than anything else I’ve listed here. Take a look at it before you decide where to start.

In general, like the idea of an hour or two of formal study in the morning, and an hour of educational activities – or independent study – in the afternoon.

During the rest of the day, if you’ve inspired your kids to learn, and given them a strong sense of curiosity, I think they can pursue their own academic interests.

Second, don’t try to do it all. Especially when you’re starting out. 

Schools have resources you probably don’t. Like science labs and equipment. And gymnasiums. And music rooms. And so on.

Do what you can with what you have. You may like suggestions at this Washington Post article: Veteran home-schoolers share tips for parents...

Parents can shine in some areas, and the attention – and educational freedom – they can provide… that can make a huge difference.

Homeschooled children can achieve great things, academically.

If you’re anxious about your kids missing out on something important, read this: Three Harvard students on lessons of homeschooling. (In fact, read it even if you’re not anxious. It’s a great article with powerful insights.)

How to Find Time for Homeschooling

When I homeschooled, I saved time in the kitchen (as well as saving money) with once-a-month cooking.

Whether you cook for a few days, a week at a time, a couple of weeks, or the full month… well, batch-processing meal-related tasks can save a lot of time.

I couldn’t have homeschooled and prepared good, affordable meals at the same time. Once-a-month cooking worked well for us.

For household chores, I’m still a fan of the old-school approach of the Sidetracked Sisters. (That’s the book I used, and yes, that’s an Amazon affiliate link, so you don’t have to wade through a bazillion similar books.) A popular alternative, available online: FlyLady.

Basically, you’ll set a firm schedule and – unless something unusual requires immediate attention – you’ll stick with your schedule.

For example, I currently vacuum on Mondays and Thursdays. If someone drops a few cookie crumbs on the carpet in the meantime… the crumbs stay there until the next vacuuming day. (Well, unless it’s a true disaster that needs immediate attention.)

Meanwhile, no guilt, and my house remains relatively clean.

My schedule works best when I have one Big Cleaning Day (laundry, vacuuming, trash collection, etc.) and one Light Cleaning Day, each week. Your mileage may vary.

In-between those two cleaning days, I have a few daily chores, such as spritzing all doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, faucets, light switches, etc., with a cleaning solution that includes a little water, a little dishwashing soap, and a lot of rubbing alcohol. And then I let it dry, as-is, unless there’s visible dirt. (If there is, I clean it and then spritz-and-let-dry.)

But, the key to having time for homeschooling is to maintain a schedule as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect… just as regular as you can make it.

And be sure to include time for yourself, every day. That’s important.

Some Resources

These are some resources I’ve listed at my personal Facebook page. I’ll keep adding to these as I find more fun & useful links.

Free crossword puzzles, Sudoku, Kenken, etc. – best for older students.

Free coloring pagesHere’s one of mine, and you can find more links at Facebook group: Rose Meadows, and at Rose-Meadows.com.

Storytelling (books read to children) – St. Luke’s UMC Bedtime StoriesFreebies at Audible.comFrozen’s “Olaf” (Josh Gad) reads stories, too.

Art classes –  Mo Willems lunchtime doodles (great for little ones, too.) – Cathy Johnson’s watercolor sketching (best for older students & adults) – Lots more links to art classes & related resources

Science – Check the many livecams at Explore.org and use them as starting points for lessons about nature.

Fitness – If you can think of a fitness or dance class you’d like to include in your daily routines… YouTube probably has one. I especially like how calming Tai Chi is, and Don Fiore’s 20-minute video for beginners & seniors is a great starting point for all ages. https://youtu.be/HSk2ZCmeQHs

Creative CareersCreativeLive streams free classes, usually related to creative hobbies and careers, such as photography, Etsy shops, blogging, and so on.  These can be so helpful if you’re building (or starting) a home-based business, and the classes may appeal to teens, as well.

Entertainment – This could be a very long list, but here are a few to get you started. Marion Cultural and Civic Center offers The Empty Concert Series. The Paris Opera House is streaming concerts and rehearsals.

For those who love Disney (as we do), why not visit some Disneyland attractions via YouTube…? Best on TVs, with the volume up good & loud: SoCal Attractions 360.

You can also visit 12 famous museums from around the world, via online tours and exhibits. And you’ll find lists of national parks and other attractions you can visit, via the Internet. See Travel & Leisure’s article with lots of links.

Regency romance divider

If you discover additional resources, I hope you’ll link to them in comments, below. I’ll check them out and approve the ones I like best. (In other words: Since this blog attracts spammers, I manually check all links before the public can see them.)