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mendo lake FREE!

August 2020

Mom Blogs

Help you need

Local Fun 24 family events

Safely Social Kids connect Homeschool Veteran’s tips for success

Now more than ever... Don’t delay your child’s vaccines.


(707) 468-1010 Ukiah


(707) 456-9600 Willits


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August 2020

Every Issue 6

Dear Reader


Cooking with Kids Bake Your French Toast


12 Features 10 What Do the Kids Think? The Super asks students about COVID-19.

12 Kitchen Table Lessons A veteran homeschooler offers advice to parentsturned-teachers.

14 Mom Blogs to the Rescue From teaching tolerance to just plain coping, these moms have you covered.

16 How to Prepare for Classes In the time of COVID-19, there are many questions.

18 2020–21 School Calendars All the dates you need to plan your year.

Bits and Pieces


Honor Local Health Care Heroes Make the Most of Virtual Play Dates Help Kids Cope with Stress Learn Yoga and Feed the Hungry at the Same Time Hang Out with Polar Bears JazzFest Offers Kids’ Music Classes

26 Calendar of Events Free Online Coding Instruction for Kids

30 Humor Break Goodbye Comfort Zone


20 Schools Enter the Digital Age The advantages of teacher-student online communication.

22 Rest Well, Stay Well How sleep boosts immunity.

9 4 MendoLakeFamilyLife

24 Safely Social Help kids connect during the pandemic. August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com


THAT DRIVE YOU affordable recreational vehicle loans to fit your budget.

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Dear Reader Going back to school during the time of COVID-19 can be anxiety provoking, for parents and students alike. That’s why this Sharon Gowan issue is packed with Publisher/Editor lots of info—because Sharon@family-life.us we, and you, know that knowledge is power. First things first: Scan the School Calendars 2020-21 (page 18) to plan your year. Then check out “How to Prepare for Classes” (page 16) for advice from doctors on child mask use and mental health. Worried your child may be overly anxious about the start of school? The library is offering a free webinar aimed at helping students stay calm. See “Help Kids Cope with Stress” (page 8) for more information.

with two articles featuring parents-inthe-know. “Kitchen Table Lessons” (page 12), by a longtime homeschooler, details nine mistakes not to make; and “Mom Blogs to the Rescue” (page 14) lists culturally diverse blogs and sites that offer an array of educational activities, crafts, and essays on not just homeschooling, but also parenting— and keeping your sanity—in general.

We wish you the best of luck as classes begin. We’ll be here all year long with empowering information to make sure school and the rest of your parenting life runs smoothly.


have subsidies available to help with child care expenses for qualifying families.

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher renee@family-life.us Warren Kaufman warren@family-life.us

Features Editor Melissa Chianta melissa@family-life.us

Production Manager Donna Bogener production@family-life.us

DID YOU KNOW? will walk you through the entire process of becoming a child care provider in your home.

Patricia Ramos patty@family-life.us

Speaking of staying sane, are you looking for some fun? Our Calendar of Events (page 26) is back! Check out the (mostly) free stuff to do online and in-person.

Perhaps you’ve decided to try homeschooling. We’ve got you covered


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August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Cooking with Kids

Bake Your French Toast Make a Breakie Fave with Ease By Momma Chef


dedicate this recipe to parents everywhere. We’re all working overtime during the pandemic, and we deserve a day off. While this may be a pipe dream, we can still make things easier for ourselves in the kitchen. For instance, my kids love French toast, but standing in front of a skillet for 30 minutes making 15 pieces of French toast is not my idea of a good time. That’s why I love this recipe: prep it in 5 minutes, let it sit, pop it in the oven, and, violà, breakfast is served. My kids like to drizzle syrup on their individual pieces, rather than on the entire casserole. I say go for it. ¶ This article originally appeared on MommaChef.com. It has been reprinted here with permission. Karen Nochimowski, aka Momma Chef, is a mother of three active boys (ages 12, 8, and 5). On her blog, MommaChef.com, find more of her recipes, all of which require no more than six ingredients and six minutes of prep time.


Brioche French Toast Casserole Ingredients • 1 14–16 oz. loaf brioche bread • 1/3 cup melted butter • 2 ½ cups whole milk • 6 eggs • ½ cup brown sugar • 1 tbsp. vanilla Instructions 1. Slice brioche bread into 1” slices and then cut those into 1” cubes. 2. Pour melted butter into a 9” x 13” baking dish and coat the dish well. 3. Layer bread into a greased baking dish. 4. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla and pour evenly over the bread. 5. I like to let this sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or, if possible, overnight. 6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and bake uncovered for 35–40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5–10 minutes before serving. Serves: 9

August 2020

MendoLakeFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

Make the Most of Virtual Play Dates Cynthia Mockel


irtual play dates are here to stay for a while. The children’s advocacy nonprofit Zero to Three offers these tips for making sure they go well.

Honor Local Health Care Heroes

1. Make play dates social, interactive experiences. Try rhymes, songs, dancing, and games like peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek that young children can participate in with their screen buddies.

arenting is hard. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and you’ve got some serious stress­— especially for the folks listed below, who are risking their lives to serve others.

2. Use props. Puppets and stuffed animals are great props for virtual play. Also, sharing a snack together is a favorite among young children.


Community members have nominated these parents to be honored in our pages for their work as health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To all of you from all of us at Family Life: Thank you for your service. Christina Obenyah, who was nominated by Alice Langton-Sloan, has been serving as a nurse at Adventist Health. She and her husband are raising three children and also do volunteer work, bringing health services, water, and education supplies to a community in Africa. Cynthia Mockel is a family nurse practitioner for MCHC Health Centers. She was nominated by Kelly Marie Lentz Hansen, who says Mockel “recently helped us through a family emergency. Though she didn’t have to, she came to the hospital to visit our daughter in person. She called us multiple times to see how our daughter was and helped translate what the…doctors were saying into information we could understand and act upon. She was invaluable.” Nominate your own Health Care Hero at mendolakefamilylife.com. ¶

8 MendoLakeFamilyLife

3. Be the “hands and heart” of the person on-screen. When the screen buddy “tickles” your baby’s tummy, give your child’s tummy a tickle, too. When a friend leans toward the screen for a “hug,” you can give a real hug to your child. 4. Explain any technical difficulties. Tell the child why the call dropped, or why the visiting friend may appear to “freeze” on the screen or not be looking directly at them. Explaining these experiences in simple terms helps children better understand both the technology and the interaction. 5. As they grow, let children take the lead. For example, toddlers can learn how to touch the green button to call or red button to hang up. ¶

Help Kids Cope with Stress


tarting school is stressful in normal conditions. But in a pandemic, kids may be feeling extra anxious. The Sonoma County Library’s free webinar Managing Stress aims to help. The 30-minute class, presented by Tutor.com’s Learning Design Manager Dr. Amy Dietzman, will cover time management and organization, wellness strategies, and support resources. It will be held on August 5, 9:30–10 a.m.; register at events.sonomalibrary.org/event/4415746. ¶ August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Learn Yoga and Feed the Hungry at the Same Time


hen kids dance and move we know they are helping themselves stay healthy. Thanks to UNICEF’s Kid Power program, they can also help others stay well, too. Every time kids view a set of the program’s free movement videos, children around the world receive emergency nourishment. The videos feature yoga, dance, and other exercises, and are meant to serve as a short break during children’s learning day. See kpop.ukp.io to register. ¶

Hang Out with Polar Bears


very year the snowy, barren landscape outside of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, becomes home to migrating polar bears— animals that most of us will not see in their natural habitat. So Discovery Education and Polar Bears International travel to this Arctic land and use YouTube to bring the bears to us. The virtual “field trips” feature both on-site discussions with scientists as well as videos that document the bears’ lives and how climate change is affecting their survival. Check out “Experience Polar Bears on the Tundra” at youtube. com/watch?v=3pI22Seiqag. See discoveryeducation.com/learn/ tundra-connections for engaging ways kids can discuss and integrate the information the videos share. ¶

JazzFest Offers Kids’ Music Classes


Keith Terry


usic of all kinds helps children connect to and express themselves. But the pandemic and other restrictions, such as financial circumstances, may keep budding bards from fully blossoming. The Healdsburg Jazz Festival aims to make music education easier with its Virtual Jazz Village Campus for K–5, a free series of children’s classes taught by educators, multi-instrumentalists, vocalists, and dancers with decades of experience. Among the instructors are Maria De La Rosa, who will teach kids about son jarocho, a music genre from Veracruz, Mexico; Bryan Dyer, who will introduce the rhythms of New Orleans; and world-renowned percussionist Keith Terry, who will show students how to turn their bodies into drums. The classes are free and may be viewed multiple times. For more information and to register, go to healdsburgjazz.org/virtual-jazz-village-campus. ¶ August 2020

Bryan Dyer

Maria De La Rosa

MendoLakeFamilyLife 9

interesting to hear from the students themselves, so I asked several of them to share their thoughts, to tell me about teachers they appreciated, things they liked about school, and what they would change if they could

What Do the Kids Think?

They made no secret of the fact that they were struggling in the midst of this pandemic, but their resilience shined through. wave a magic wand. I spoke with inland and coastal students from public and charter schools, boys and girls as young as fourth grade and as old as a junior in high school. Here’s what they told me.

By Michelle Hutchins, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools

Teachers Do an Amazing Job Every student could quickly name a teacher—often several teachers—who’d had a positive influence on them.


A junior from Redwood Academy said her history teacher, Mr. Cimmiyotti, brought historical figures to life by sharing anecdotes that made them real (and often made her laugh).

Students Talk about Distance Learning he COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges none of us could have imagined a year ago. As confirmed cases rise in Lake and Mendocino Counties, school boards are forced to choose between unpleasant options: distance learning or a return to the classroom with unprecedented restrictions. Both choices make it harder for teachers to teach and students to learn.

Information about how COVID-19 spreads changes as scientists around the globe share new discoveries. One day, the data suggest we can safely return to the classroom and days later, public health experts tell us we cannot. It’s frustrating for everyone—families, teachers, administrators, and employers. In addition to worrying about everyone’s health and safety, the 10 MendoLakeFamilyLife

inability to plan has strained already frayed nerves. The general consensus of educators, backed by scientific research, tells us that in-classroom education is by far the best for most students— academically, socially, and emotionally—unless being in the classroom puts them at risk of contracting and/or spreading a deadly virus, of course. I thought it would be

A fourth grader from Oak Manor Elementary School said, “I liked Mr. Butler because in kindergarten I was a goofball. I was really funny, and he came in and he was exactly the same….I learned a lot—a lot, a lot. At the end of the school year, he made a treat for us of chocolate pudding. Then he crushed Oreos like dirt, and then he put in gummy worms—so then it looked like soil because [during a class project] we planted a seed and watched it grow.” A freshman at Ukiah High School appreciated his middle school science

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

teacher, Mr. Percy, who started a band and invited students to practice after school until they were good enough to perform at a school rally. The student also loved Mr. Percy’s hands-on science projects “like rockets and CO2-powered cars.” I heard example after example of teachers connecting with students, finding ways to engage them through humor, hands-on projects, and common interests. The students I spoke with felt seen, heard, and cared for, and this helped them learn. Students Miss Being at School Whether students reported liking school or not, every single one wanted to return to “normal” school. They missed their friends; they missed

Every student could quickly name a teacher— often several teachers— who’d had a positive influence on them. having a distraction-free environment with the tools and technology to do assignments; and many of them missed interacting with their teachers. Yet, when I asked if they wanted to go back to the classroom based on what they knew, they said they felt more comfortable with full distance learning. They worried that returning to the classroom would put them and/ or their families at risk. Kids Happy with School When I asked students what they would change about pre-COVID school, given the option, many said they wouldn’t change a thing. They talked www.mendolakefamilylife.com

about how their schools made them feel safe and welcome, using examples like Oak Manor Elementary’s Buddy Bench, where students sit if they don’t have someone to play with and other kids immediately invite them to join in. They talked about how much fun they had with their friends and how much they learned from their teachers.

We often discount the wisdom of children when we shouldn’t. They did, however, have some recommendations to improve distance learning. In a nutshell, they asked for a consistent schedule and more interaction. Many of them said they feel lonely and having a routine with more interaction would help. They also noted that distance learning made it harder to keep track of assignments and that poor Internet connections sometimes made online interactions feel disjointed and frustrating. Let’s Take a Page from Their Books After speaking with these students, I felt so encouraged. They made no secret of the fact that they were struggling in the midst of this pandemic, but their resilience shined through. They didn’t blame others or point fingers, and they enthusiastically jumped in to brainstorm ways to solve problems. As a society, we often discount the wisdom of children when we shouldn’t. They are listening and learning from us all the time. If we were smart, we’d spend a little more time listening and learning from them. ¶ August 2020


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Kitchen Table 9 Homeschool Lessons Mistakes to Avoid By Kerrie McLoughlin


ost parents were thrown into homeschooling when COVID-19 struck. But I’ve been doing it for 14 years with my five children. So let me share some of the tricks of the trade and keep you from making some of my mistakes. Here’s what to avoid, should you choose to homeschool your kids this fall.


Playing copycat. There’s a temptation to try to recreate every nuance of a public or private school, complete with desks, chalkboard or smartboard, uniforms, and a rigid schedule. But since you are the teacher, you have

12 MendoLakeFamilyLife

permission to be flexible and do things differently.


Homeschooling 24/7. The school day doesn’t have to be seven hours long. Consider shorter chunks of teaching/learning time along with occasional days

off to go to the zoo, take a nature walk, hit the library, watch some documentaries, or just snuggle up and read. For older kids, volunteering or working a part-time job certainly counts as real-world education.


Doing lots of desk time. No need for kids and teachers to sit in chairs all day. We all learn and teach differently. Sometimes I’ll read to my kids while one is doing art, another is playing Minecraft, and I’m doing squats! I also include my kids in daily activities, such as errands, cooking, household chores, budget planning, and more.


Keeping up with the Joneses. Don’t compare your family to other homeschoolers or other conventionally schooled children. I might beat myself up because my kids have not learned cursive as readily as my neighbor’s children, while my

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

neighbor laments that she doesn’t do as many educational outings as I do. It’s great to bounce ideas off of a homeschooling tribe, but competition doesn’t help anyone, least of all your child!


Shelling out big bucks for curriculum. There’s no reason for elementary school to cost anything at all when there are so many free sources of information, such as the public library, ABCMouse.com, and Khan Academy. Also check out California Virtual Academies (cava. k12.com), which provides free online, teacher-monitored schooling to kids.


Not following your child’s lead. It was a sad day when I was in a homeschool store and heard a kid ask his mom if he could study a certain topic he was excited about and she said, “No, these are

the books that we are working on this year, and we aren’t going to stray from them.”


Sticking with something that isn’t working. Switching curriculum halfway through the year is not uncommon.

Don’t compare your family to other homeschoolers or other conventionally schooled children. If a certain workbook makes you and your child cry and want to throw it across the room, don’t power through until the end of the school year! Find something else that works. That’s the beauty of the freedom of homeschooling.


Doing everything with and for your child. Children often figure something out when we aren’t looking over their shoulders.


Trying to be perfect. The longer I homeschool, the more I enjoy telling newbies about random mistakes I’ve made. The relief I see on their faces when they realize they don’t need to be the World’s Greatest Homeschooler makes sharing my stories so worth it.

If you realize that missteps are totally normal, you might be easier on yourself and have more fun on this shorter-than-you-think journey with your kids! ¶ Kerrie McLoughlin has been homeschooling her five kids since 2006. You can read more about her family’s fun antics at thekerrieshow.com.

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Cherish360 is the baby of Jennifer Borget, a part-time journalist who writes about homeschooling a child with dyslexia and teaching kids about diversity and inclusion. She put together a great list of 30 websites to help

Mom Blogs to the Rescue Help for Entertaining and Educating Kids By Jan Pierce


hese past few months have been some of the most abnormal of our entire lives. Nothing is on our usual schedules and many of us are home with our children all day long, every day. For those of us who are choosing to homeschool, this will remain true even after summer break is over. Wondering how to fill the long hours? Ta da! Mom blogs to the rescue. Check out these.

African-American Homeschool Moms has all kinds of resources, including a list of apps for homeschooling parents and innovative ideas for extracurricular activities in the COVID-19 era. Buggy and Buddy is a fantastic, user-friendly site run by an elementary school teacher who shares art, science, STEM, and 14 MendoLakeFamilyLife

STEAM projects for toddlers through teens. She includes a great section on activities based on children’s books. Busy Toddler offers a gazillion ideas for cool activities to do with your toddlers—from sensory play to tasks highlighting fine motor skills. There’s also a homeschool preschool curriculum called Playing Preschool.

Busy Toddler offers a gazillion ideas for cool activities to do with your toddlers. parents homeschool and also has a collection of 20 children’s books with African-American protagonists. Cool Mom Picks has a huge selection of activities for kids of all ages. Check out the back-to-school “mask self-portrait” art project and the review of the Anti-Racist Baby board book. Then dive into the extremely informative “8 Things to Think about If You’re Homeschooling Because of COVID-19 This Fall.” The website creators’ also have an award-winning podcast, Spawned. The Dad Lab is a bit of a work in progress, but it does have some great kid/parent science projects. The mother lode of science projects, however, is in The Dad Lab book, to which the site links. Indigenous Homeschoolers is a private Facebook group to support Native families. See the “Native American Homeschoolers” page on a2zhomeschooling.com for other resources, such as the Native Child Curriculum. Mommy Maestra features homeschooling advice and

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com


children’s activities specifically geared for Hispanic families. See the “A Comprehensive List of Spanish Curricula” post for educational materials in Spanish, or, if you want your child to learn Spanish, see the “Master List of Spanish Learning Resources.” Also check out Cinco Puntos Press for

Jennifer Borget writes about homeschooling a child with dyslexia and teaching kids about diversity. bilingual books. Want community? Join Monica Olivera, the blog’s founder, in her new Hispanic and Bilingual Homeschoolers Facebook group, which has already garnered more than 10,000 members since it started in June. Mommy Poppins has a section, found under the “Virtual” tab, dedicated to free or low-cost virtual classes, parties, camps, and programming for kids. No Time for Flash Cards focuses on crafts, books, and all sorts of educational activities—all searchable by age. If you are schooling at home, there is a section for teachers. Untigering is the voice of an Asian-American momma who debunks common expectations of unschooling and gives you the scoop on topics like how kids can learn math in the real world. ¶ Jan Pierce is a freelance writer specializing in education and parenting. Find her at janpierce.net.


We want to know what you think. • What did you like in this issue? • What do you want to see more or less of? • Know a teacher, coach, or special person who makes local family life better? • Know of an upcoming event or fun family outing? • Want to write stories or recipes, or blog for Family Life?

e-mail melissa@family-life.us

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“Drop the [second] mask into your child’s lunch bag and tell them to switch to a new clean one after eating,” says Reddy.

How to Prepare Physicians’ for Classes Top Tips “D By Cheryl Maguire

o I have to wear a mask all day?” My 12-year-old daughter asked me this question when we recently discussed going back to school. She had many other questions, too, as did her peers and their parents. I turned to pediatrician Sumana Reddy, M.D., for guidance. Face Coverings Schools are going to require that kids and teachers wear masks. How do you help your child get used to wearing one? Reddy suggests that, before school starts, kids wear masks at home at least once a week. “I also suggest offering kids incentives and rewards for not touching their faces,” she says.

In addition to getting used to masks, children should learn to replace their masks at lunchtime. Masks can pick up COVID-19 from the surfaces 16 MendoLakeFamilyLife

“I recommend that all kids do a telehealth check-in with their pediatrician.” —Sumana Reddy, M.D.

on which they are placed, such as school lunch tables. So Reddy recommends that kids take two masks to school, one to wear before lunch and one to wear after it.

And what kind of mask should a child wear? “Although any mask is better than none, a tight weave cotton in layers is better than a single layer of jersey or similar stretch materials. Also, the nose should have a metal bridge piece to minimize airflow from above,” says Reddy. If your child has trouble wearing a mask, then she suggests using a face shield.

Reddy recommends that kids take two masks to school, one to wear before lunch and one to wear after it. Schedule a Check-Up or Well Visit If your child has not already had her or his yearly check-up, it is important to schedule one. Children should get all the CDC-recommended immunizations, including an annual flu shot. “This year, the flu shot is even more important,” says Damon Korb, M.D., author of Raising an Organized Child (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2019). “We want to reduce the common cold because, when noses start running, we all touch our faces. That is a recipe for disaster with COVID-19. Getting the flu shot may actually reduce the likelihood of catching and spreading COVID.” Reddy agrees: “The more families that get the flu vaccine the better it will be for everyone.”

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

If you don’t have insurance, the federally funded program Vaccines For Children (cdc.gov/vaccines/ programs/vfc/index.html) will provide vaccines for free. And if you do have insurance there should not be a co-pay for receiving the vaccine. “The Affordable Care Act requires private insurance companies to pay in full for vaccines recommended by the CDC,” says Reddy.

If your child has trouble wearing a mask, use a face shield.


There might be some insurance companies that are exempt, Reddy says. Look into your coverage before getting your vaccine. Telehealth Check-In Kids that are going back to school either remotely or in-person are likely to experience more anxiety than usual. Your pediatrician can help address this and any other mental health issues your child may be experiencing. “I recommend that all kids do a telehealth check-in with their pediatrician before going back to school to discuss the transition. Often parents think their kid is fine, but you want to have a chance to talk about stress and anxiety,” says Reddy. ¶ Cheryl Maguire’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Your Teen Magazine, and many other publications. You can find her on Twitter @CherylMaguire05.


YEARS as the #1 resource for local families

magazine • web • email • events August 2020

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2020–21 School Calendars Lake County Holidays for all schools: Sept. 7, Nov. 11, Jan. 18, May 31

First Day


Winter Break Presidents’ Days Spring Break

Last Day Other Days Off

Kelseyville Unified

Sept. 8

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15

Konocti Unified

Aug. 10

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 4

Feb. 15–19

Lake County International

Unavailable at this tme.

Lakeport Unified

Aug. 12

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29– Apr. 2 May 28

Lucerne Elementary

Aug. 12

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 18–Jan. 1

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29– Apr. 5 May 27

Middletown Unified

Aug. 13

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15, 19

Mar. 29– Apr. 2

Upper Lake Unified

Aug. 12

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 18–Jan. 1

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29– Apr. 5 May 27

Mar. 29– Apr. 2 June 18 Apr. 5–9

June 4

Sept. 28–Oct. 2

Sept. 4, Oct. 12, Mar. 12

June 4

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Mendocino County Holidays for all schools: Sept. 7, Nov. 11, Jan. 18, May 31

First Day


Winter Break Presidents’ Days Spring Break

Last Day Other Days Off

Anderson Valley Unified

Aug. 11

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 8

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29–Apr. 2

June 3

Charter Academy of the Redwoods Aug. 18

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 12–19

Mar. 29–Apr. 2

May 28

Fort Bragg Unified

Aug. 19

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 4

Feb. 15–19

Apr. 12–19

June 11

La Vida Charter School

Aug. 31

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15

Apr. 1–9

June 8

Laytonville Unified

Aug. 24

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 18–Jan. 1

Feb. 8, 15

Apr. 5–9

June 10

Mar. 15, May 21 ***

Manchester Union

Aug. 24

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15, 16

Apr. 12–16

June 10

Mar. 26, May 28***

Mendocino Unified

Aug. 31

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15–19

Apr. 12–16

June 18

Oct. 12

Point Arena Schools

Aug. 19

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15–19

Apr. 12–16

June 11

** See below ****

Potter Valley Community

Aug. 24

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 18–Jan. 4

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29–Apr. 5 June 10

River Oak Charter School

Aug. 19

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21– Jan. 1

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29–Apr. 5

June 3

Oct. 12, May 28

Tree of Life Charter School

Aug. 17

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 4

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29–Apr. 2

May 27

Nov. 2, Jan. 4, Mar. 1

Ukiah Junior Academy

Aug. 19

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 15

Mar. 22–26

June 4

Ukiah Unified

Aug. 17

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 12, 15

Mar. 29–Apr. 2

June 3

Nov. 2. Apr. 5, May 28***

Willits Unified

Aug. 31

Nov. 23–27

Dec. 21–Jan. 1

Feb. 12, 15

Apr. 5–9

June 11

Mar. 19***

Sept. 14, June 2

Oct. 8 & 9

** Oct. 16 (AE), Mar. 19 (no school) *** Emergency Closure Days **** Mar. 26, May 28 Emergency Closure Days

Accelerated Achievement Academy


ful learning experience full of discovery with: • Exploration of own interests & abilities • Experiential learning with field trips, arts • Respectful and caring learning community • Peace education and mindfulness • Earth stewardship

Grades 4-12 Focused on the future of each child  FREE public charter school

Tree of Life Charter Free Montessori Elementary Education for Children Ages 5 through 13 OPEN ENROLLMENT January For application and more information: 707-462-0913 treeoflifeschool@pacific.net www.treeoflifeschool.net www.mendolakefamilylife.com

 Highly qualified credentialed teachers  Small class sizes  Free college classes  Distance Learning o Daily class instruction o Individualized support for struggling students o Focused on 1-2 core classes at a time in grades 8-12 o Grades 4-7 have only one teacher for all core classes to improve communication and streamline instruction

Enroll today for 2020-2021! (707) 463-7080 1031 N. State St.

August 2020

MendoLakeFamilyLife 19

up-to-date about a student’s behavior. Be as responsive and cooperative as you can, regardless of the issue. Remember that even good kids can act badly and that there is no such thing as a bad kid; there is only poor behavior. Calm collaboration and a focus on finding fast solutions can help teachers and parents get students cheerfully back on track.

Schools Enter the Digital Age Embrace Online Student Communication By Christina Katz


hanks to technological advances, things have changed dramatically since parents were in school. Here are a few types of communication to expect as your child progresses from elementary school through high school. Parent-Teacher Emails There are two types of teacher emails: group and individual. A teacher may regularly email all at once the parents of students in one type of class. For example, the choir teacher may send out mass emails to announce upcoming concerts. Swiftly ask questions and then add any pertinent info to your family calendar. If you notice any errors in communication, such as an incorrect date or time, kindly point out the error to the sender. However, do not offer grammatical

20 MendoLakeFamilyLife

advice or draw attention to innocuous typos. No one appreciates that. Teachers are busy people and they occasionally make mistakes, just like the rest of us. A teacher may also privately reach out to the parents of one child. Don’t be alarmed if you get an email about your child’s behavior. You want to be informed when there is a reason for discussion, and your child’s teachers will let you know if there is. Don’t take teachers’ emails personally. Instead, see them as a way to keep

Many schools encourage the use of Google Classroom. Teacher Blogs Some teachers like to use blogs to post lessons, deadlines, and online resources. Teacher blogs are usually housed on the district’s website and are generally a safe, secure way for teachers and students to communicate. Blogs can be especially helpful if your child is trying to learn good organization habits, or if she or he misses class because of an illness or field trip. If the teacher is not using a blog, make sure your student has a planner and knows how to effectively use it. Flipped Classrooms A flipped classroom means lessons are learned at home via videos or audios posted to a teacher blog or online classroom. Instead of the traditional model, where students use homework to practice what they’ve learned in class, students can practice in the classroom what they’ve learned on their own and thereby get more teacher support. It may take some time to adjust to this approach. Give it a fair chance; try to temper any automatic resistance you or your student may have to it. Don’t be surprised if your child ends up preferring this method in the long run.

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Google Classroom Many schools encourage the use of Google Classroom, a versatile online platform that helps students express themselves and collaborate. Google Classroom is a password-protected service that makes everyone’s role easier by creating a paperless environment for the creation, sharing, distributing, and grading of assignments. Included in the online platform is Google Drive for the storage and distribution of documents; Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for document creation; Gmail for communication; and Google Calendar for scheduling. Using Google Classroom allows schools to consolidate a lot of class work into one universal online service. Some students will start using this platform as early as elementary school,

so it’s wise for parents to watch online tutorial videos to familiarize themselves with it.

Drama club officers might use the group to post announcements for upcoming outings and events. Parent volunteers might use a sign-up service like Sign-Up Genius to rally donations or fill time slots. The directors of upcoming plays or musicals can create subgroups of students and parents in order to share specific information only with relevant audiences. Consult your student handbook for your school’s social media policies, and encourage your student to be a good digital citizen no matter what methods of communication are in use. ¶

Social Media Groups Social media groups are a convenient way to broadcast information and quickly communicate on an ongoing basis. For example, a high school

Some teachers like to use blogs to post lessons, deadlines, and online resources. theater department may have a private Facebook drama club group that is administered by the school advisors and composed of current club members and member parents.

Christina Katz has cheerfully embraced technological advances since childhood. She received the very first iteration of the Macintosh computer when she matriculated college and has not looked back since.




















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needs a standing 7 p.m. date with his bed. A teen who can stay awake for 16 hours and needs to get up at 6 a.m. needs to fall asleep around 10 p.m. Nix nightlights. You may love the way your child’s smile lights up a room, but when it comes to sleep, the best light is no light at all. Nighttime light disrupts melatonin production, and even a small nightlight or the light from electronics or a baby monitor can be enough to prevent deep, restful

Rest Well Stay Well W

Support , Immune Systems with Sleep

By Malia Jacobson

hen it comes to staying healthy, all the hand sanitizer in the world won’t make up for lost hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep supports a healthy immune system, while sleep deprivation handicaps your immune response, leaving you, or your night-owl children, more susceptible to viral illness.

During sleep, the body releases proteins called cytokines that play a role in fighting infection. During periods of sleep deprivation, infection-fighting cells are reduced. Chronic sleep loss can even make vaccines less effective, according to research. Here’s how to build a better bedtime and a stronger immune system, starting tonight. Do the math. A healthy sleep routine starts with bedtime. According to sleep expert Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., late bedtimes cause many 22 MendoLakeFamilyLife

childhood sleep problems, because overtiredness makes it harder for children to get to sleep and stay asleep. But figuring out when to put your child to bed isn’t easy. To find your children’s bedtimes, first determine how many hours of sleep they need in a 24-hour period. This will determine how many hours they can comfortably stay awake per day. For example, a one-year-old who needs 14 hours of daily sleep can stay awake for 10 hours per day. If he gets up at 6 a.m. and naps for 3 hours each day, he

Late bedtimes cause many childhood sleep problems. sleep. Dim the house lights after dinner and install effective blackout blinds to get the bedroom truly dark. Embrace boring. Sleep doctors agree that an effective bedtime routine is one that’s absolutely set in stone: the same things, in the same order, every night. “Our bodies love routine, and this is especially so with children and bedtime,” says Teitelbaum. Performing the same events in the same sequence before bed cues a child’s subconscious for sleep. Shut down media mayhem. Bright lights, fast-paced activity, and over-stimulating content are bedtime don’ts. So television, which pours out light and stimulation just as kids should be winding down for sleep, has no place in a bedtime routine. Numerous studies have linked television-watching with poor sleep in children, yet it remains a common evening activity in millions of households with young kids. Shut off screens an hour before bedtime and

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

use the time before bed for reading and other quiet activities instead. Serve sleepy-time snacks. The best bedtime snacks contain sleep-inducing tryptophan along with complex carbohydrates to help tryptophan cast its sleepy spell. Nut butter on whole-grain toast, cheese on whole-grain crackers, and cereal with milk or soy milk are great, healthy options. Be sure to serve the snack an hour before bedtime—sleeping on a full stomach can contribute to poor sleep and nightmares.

Start sunny side up. For a better bedtime, start your child’s day off the bright way. Strong morning light helps set your child’s internal clock so they’ll fall asleep more easily come nightfall. Open their curtains to let the light shine in and serve breakfast in a sunny spot. A morning walk offers beneficial light exposure to help regulate your child’s circadian rhythm. Avoid nap traps. Naps can help keep babies and toddlers from becoming overtired, and new

Sleep & Kids: How Much Is Enough? Is your child getting enough sleep to keep the immune system strong? Take a peek at these general guidelines. If your child is falling short, move bedtime earlier by 20–30 minutes per night. This small change adds up to a couple extra hours of sleep per week. One to Four Weeks Old. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15–16 hours per day One to Twelve Months Old. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14–15 hours per day One to Three Years Old. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12–14 hours per day Three to Six Years Old. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10–12 hours per day

research from Emory University shows that they help babies learn and retain new information. Tired teens and older children can benefit from short, 20-minute power naps. But napping all day is guaranteed to make your child nocturnal. To promote healthy naps while preserving nighttime sleep, babies and preschoolers should end afternoon naps four hours before bedtime. Older children who no longer take afternoon naps should limit catnaps to the morning hours. Move it! A body in motion is one that’s primed for sleep, because exercise helps children fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Aim for at least 60 minutes per day of vigorous activity. Babies need lots of time on their tummies and backs to roll, wiggle, and work their muscles, while toddlers and older children can run, jump, climb, and stretch their way to sounder sleep. ¶ Malia Jacobson is a nationally published sleep and health journalist and hosts the Sleep Well, Stay Well

Six to Ten Years Old. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–11 hours per day Ten to Eighteen Years Old . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–10 hours per day podcast.

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August 2020

MendoLakeFamilyLife 23

3. Get (video) chatty. Kids can still meet “face to face” thanks to video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger. Katie D.’s four kids craft, watch a show, or exercise, all via video chats. 4. Rediscover snail mail. Older folks, especially, love to receive packages and handwritten letters. Not sure what to do with that pillowcase made in a socially distanced sewing circle or the picture frame constructed

Safely Social

There are so many ways to stay in touch without touching.

7 Ways to Play and Keep COVID-19 at Bay

during a video chat? Send them off to a relative. What Grandma doesn’t like a kid-creation in her mailbox?

By Kerrie McLoughlin

5. Play with words. Texting, emailing, blogging, oh my! There are so many ways to stay in touch. And emailing and blogging hone kids’ reading, writing, and typing skills, too.


he pandemic has delivered us a new normal. Bye-bye haircuts, dinner parties, and plane trips. Hello masks, temperature checks, and Wal-Mart battles over the last bottle of hand sanitizer. The dramatic change has been disorienting and frustrating—especially for kids, who have found themselves spending lots of lonely time at home. But there are ways for children to safely socialize.

1. Hold a drive-by birthday party. Is your child’s special day around the corner? Ask a group of her or his friends to secretly meet at a close-by location (like a mall parking lot), and then collectively cruise by your house. Let rowdiness rule as everyone honks, waves balloons and streamers, and yells out birthday greetings. To add to the festive mood, decorate your cars with crepe paper and signs. Friends and family can drop off presents or cards, too. But if you are hardcore about avoiding germs, 24 MendoLakeFamilyLife

ask them to give nonperishable gifts that can be set aside for up to 72 hours. 2. Stay together—apart. Unfold comfy camping chairs on the driveway or in the yard for some masked, six-feet-apart chat sessions. Need an occasion to gather? Consider a kid-friendly book club or sewing/ knitting circle. Melissa R. says her family does meet-ups at nature spots. The kids use FaceTime so they don’t have to yell at each other while social distancing.

6. Visit Marco Polo. Check out the Marco Polo app for a FaceTime-meetsvoicemail experience. Leave, receive, forward, and—here’s the cool part— save video messages. 7. Online activities. If there is a silver lining to the COIVD-19 madness, it’s that families have access to newly online activities across the country. Google “online activities for kids” and “virtual tours” for access to museums and performances you otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see. I also know families who are continuing activities such as ballet, Irish dance, and karate online—and loving it. ¶ Kerrie McLoughlin’s special kind of chaos can be observed at thekerrieshow.com.

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com



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Calendar of Events

Free Online Coding Instruction for Kids


ot a budding computer scientist in the family? Take advantage of the variety of free online coding classes for kids offered by code.org, Khan Academy, and Swift Playgrounds. And then there’s Code Monster, which isn’t even a class but more like a game. It features a little, one-eyed blue cartoon monster that offers simple prompts to demonstrate how numbers can translate into geometrical figures. Check it out at crunchzilla.com/code-monster. ¶

Our calendar is back! Note that most

events are virtual and, on the upside, free.

Monday 3 FREE Transition to Co-Parenting.

Four-session online workshop. Helps parents adjust & manage the transition of separation & divorce. Presented by Child Parent Institute. Aug. 3, 5, 10 & 12. 5:30–7 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/y5g7sxqu. Also see: calparents.org.

Tuesday 4 FREE Virtual Jazz Village Campus.

Online music classes for grades K–5, taught by world-class teachers. Donations accepted. See website for schedule of classes. Registration required: healdsburgjazz.org/ virtual-jazz-village-campus. FREE Sesame Street in Communities. Online

activities for ages 0–6. sesamestreet incommunities.org. Noyo Headlands Virtual Race.

Run/walk whenever & wherever you want, even on the elliptical or treadmill. Submit your best time. $20–$40 marathon packages. 26 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Winners determined Sept. 5. Register: runsignup.com/race/ca/fortbragg/ noyoheadlandsrace. Lakeport Auto Movies Drive-In.

$15 (one ticket per car) plus $10 food permit (if you bring own food/drinks). 8:45 p.m.: The Purge. 10:15 p.m.: Army of Darkness. 52 Soda Bay Rd., Lakeport (behind Lakeport Cinema 5). Tickets may only be purchased online: lakeportautomovies.com. FREE Parenting Your Teenager.

Three-session online workshop. Explores normal teenage behavior, communicating with teens & strategies for managing behavior. Presented by California Parent Institute. Aug. 4, 11 & 18. 6–7:30 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/ yxdbdv75. Also see: calparents.org. FREE Mother-Wise Online Workshops. Aug 4: Routines. Aug.

11: Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month. Aug. 18: Breastfeeding Benefits, Barriers & Solutions. Aug. 25: Pumping & Returning to Work. Online Tuesdays. 1–3 p.m. facebook. com/pg/motherwiselakecounty/ events/?ref=page_internal.

FREE Virtual Job Fair. Mendocino

& Lake Counties. Find out about current opportunities, get tips on getting hired & learn how to apply. Via Zoom: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Register: zoom. us/webinar/register/1115952886804/ wn_lhtau1pprh62apf09qxsna.

Wednesday 5 FREE Ukiah Hazardous Waste Collection. Daily load limit of 15

gallons (measured by container size) per vehicle per day. For detailed list of items, go to mendorecycle.org. Aug. 5, 8, 12, 19 & 26: 8 a.m.–1 p.m. at: MendoRecycle. 3200 Taylor Dr., Ukiah. FREE Storytime in the Park.

Participants must register & receive a confirmation before being allowed to attend storytime. Only 10 families are allowed at each program. Everyone older than 2 must wear masks. Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays. 10:15 a.m. Library Park. 200 Park St., Lakeport. Registration required: lakecountyca.gov/government/ directory/lake_county_ca__library/ events/storytime/storytimerequest.htm.

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Mendocino Coast Botanical

FREE Middletown Makers Faire.

Gardens. Visits by reservation

Facemasks & physical distancing are required. Fridays (except Aug. 21). 5–8 p.m. Middletown Art Center. 21456 Hwy. 175, Middletown. middletownartcenter.org.

only. $10–$15. Facemasks & physical distancing is required. Wednesdays–Sundays. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. 18220 Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg. Purchase timed tickets at gardenbythesea.ticketspice. com/mcbg-admissions.com/ events/196640334992288 /?event_time_id=296240185032302.

Thursday 6 FREE Discover Nature Webinar: Emerging from the Ashes.

How fire-shaped communities are responding to the Tubbs & Kincade fires. Ages 13 & up (youth younger than 13 welcome with adult supervision). Via Zoom. 10–11:30 a.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/ y2hcxbzk. FREE Need Diapers? Curbside pick up or contactless delivery of diapers. Limited to 30 diapers per child in need. Thursdays. 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Action Network. 39144 Ocean Dr., Ste. 3 & 4, Gualala. tinyurl.com/yx9otn6l. FREE Children’s Museum of Sonoma County Virtual Storytime.

Sharing live & filmed videos. If any special app is needed, guests will be notified ahead of time. Facebook Live: Thursdays, 11–11:30 a.m. Must RSVP to event: tinyurl.com/yyb4y5vr.

Friday 7 FREE Positive Parenting in the Midst of a Pandemic. Webinar

with child & adolescent psychiatrist Sara Heron, M.D. Learn the signs of childhood mental health issues. 11 a.m. Register: tinyurl.com/y5jp4dht.


Monday 10 How to Draw Snoopy. In

this online class, artist Mary Shyne will teach kids how to draw Snoopy. For ages 8 & older. $10–$15. Presented by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Via Zoom. 1–2 p.m. Register at tinyurl. com/yy4nr82f or call 284-1272.

Tuesday 11 Under the Sea. Use

a variety of media to draw, paint & color underwater environments & animals. Three-day online session for ages 8 & up. $60–$75. Presented by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Via Zoom. Aug. 11–13. 10 a.m.–noon. Register at tinyurl.com/y4p9a7k5 or call 284-1272.

Friday 14 FREE I Hope You Dance.

Transcendence Theatre Company. Featuring dance numbers from some of Broadway’s greatest musicals. Aug. 14–16 & 21–23. Fridays: 7:30 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: 7:30 p.m. & 2 p.m. Register & receive an email link 24 hours before the event. transcendencetheatre.org.

Wednesday 19 FREE Minds Behind the MIND Webinar. Psychologists will review the symptoms of anxiety in autism & offer practical back-to-school strategies. Presented by UC Davis

August 2020

MIND Institute. Via Zoom. 5:30 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl. com/y2xccb47.

Thursday 20 FREE Lake County Community Blood Drive. 10 a.m.–3:15 p.m. Community Center. 500 Main St., Lakeport. To schedule a donation: 877-258-4825 or visit vitalant.org.

Friday 21 FREE Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off. Household hazardous waste is collected from Lake County residents the third Friday & Saturday of each month. Most items accepted are free. Aug. 21 & 22. 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Lake County Waste Solutions Transfer Station & Recycling Yard. 230 Soda Bay Rd., Lakeport. facebook.com/ events/1005670486470192.

Wednesday 26 FREE Zoom with the Lake County Library Director. Learn

about library services, ask questions & share suggestions with Library Director Christopher Veach. 12:30 p.m. Register: 263-8816 or email christopher.veach@lakecountyca.gov. FREE Positive Parenting All Ages. Intro

to the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. This online group class provides a toolbox of ideas to support families who are sheltering-in-place. 10–11:30 a.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/ yygmu3au or see calparents.org.

MendoLakeFamilyLife 27


April 2019

Free to Grow Sleepover camps

Easter Fun Local egg hunts

Tidy Up Get inspired

Cyber Bullies Protect kids

mendo lake

mendo lake

Back to School

Districts’ calendars

Lactation 101 A breastfeeding primer

mendo lake




August 2019

September 2019

January 2018

Protein Power Fast breakie Morning Madness Winning strategies

Success in Sight

Beat learning probs

Disaster Prep Help for special needs

Brains for Hire Find a tutor Less Whine, More Shine After-school strategies

Private Schools Local guide

Fire Heroes Nominate a neighbor

DIY Foosball Build a game SAT vs. ACT How to choose

To Our Readers

We are grateful to be able to provide trusted resources for parents in Mendocino and Lake Counties during this unprecedented time. Now, more than ever, we understand how important it is to come together as a community, which is why we would like to offer you a copy of our upcoming July issue, delivered directly to your email inbox. Please sign up today for your copy by clicking the link below. We truly value each and every one of you!

—The staff at Family Life


August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com


James Innes



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hen the pandemic forced the shutdown of Dalmarnock Primary School in Scotland, its French teacher, James Innes, fought back and started a YouTube channel, French with Mr. Innes. The aim was to offer videos that, with humor and engaging graphics, made learning French easy and entertaining for kids. Apparently, Innes’ approach works: He earned 1,100 subscribers in just 11 weeks and now has more  than 1,300. Check him out on youtube.com/frenchwithmrinnes. For kids who want to learn Spanish, check out the wacky Spanish with Mr. Vega on YouTube at tinyurl.com/yxfv25cf. ¶

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taring up at the stars, one might see Mars twinkling the faintest of reds. Ever wondered what its surface actually looks like? Those who are curious can log on to Access Mars (accessmars.withgoogle.com). Thanks to photos taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover’s seven cameras, visitors to the site can click through a 3-D digital representation of the surface of the red planet. In addition to the graphics, there’s also information about Curiosity, various landmarks on Mars’ surface, and how the 3-D image was created. ¶


Lake - Clover Valley respect, andUpper peace

www.ncoinc.org Head Start

August 2020

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Find critical COVID-19 info plus lots of free kid-friendly activities. MendoLakeFamilyLife 29

Humor Break The author’s daughters fishing during their RV vacation

It wasn’t R&R. The chance for that was lost when I, screaming kids in tow, had to help my husband back the RV up a hill into a camp spot situated between two huge trees. (I’ve officially unfriended RVs.) It wasn’t to sleep well. That became clear at midnight when we were playing a losing game of musical beds during which I was trying to co-sleep with a 16-month-old who had never co-slept before.

Goodbye Comfort Zone Lessons Learned in an RV with Kids

By Jessica Guerrieri


n an attempt to travel safely during the pandemic, we rented an RV. I picked a campsite an hour away, where my husband and I could take our daughters—a school-aged child, a preschooler, and a toddler—to experience the great outdoors.

The kids loved the RV right away. Seventy percent of childhood pleasures seems to consist of elevated or confined spaces. So it’s no surprise that the older girls adored the rig’s bunk beds, and the storage containers, which they used as secret hideouts. There was even an indication that toddler Josephine’s older sisters were including her in their girl gang: “This is Josephine’s first vacation in our family,” my four-year-old said to me before we left. Wow, you finally accept your little sister, I thought, letting her words trickle through me like a hug. 30 MendoLakeFamilyLife

But warm, fuzzy mom-feelings aside, my “fun” barometer definitely had to be auto-tuned. It’s just a fact that everything about traveling with young children requires lowering expectations. Moms always spend more time prepping and unpacking than enjoying themselves. The sheer volume of stuff required for a family trip of any kind is ridiculous. If you’re like me, the laundry machine runs for 48 hours nonstop before and after any venture. And then there are the inevitable obstacles—in our case, four items we forgot to pack, three major inconveniences, two meltdowns per child, and one unexpected detour. When it became clear that I was going to be lucky to get five hours of sleep, it was only natural that I asked myself what I was trying to get out of this “vacation.”

It wasn’t to increase my squat and hover strength or brush up on entomology. Though those skills were surely challenged when we tried to hook up the RV to a water line and were treated to liquid running all over the floor. Off to the open-air bathrooms we went, and there, mid-hover, I happened upon a bug that was the size of my foot (please keep in mind I wear a size 12). Then around 16 hours in, it hit me. I was sitting on the beach letting Josephine cover my legs with rocks (the closest thing I’ve had to a pedicure in 120 days) and watching my husband and two older girls gleefully splash in the reservoir when I became aware that it all felt exactly right. The effort, coordination, worry, money, and sleeplessness had absolutely nothing on that feeling. It’s those kinds of moments—the ones that become memories that we can call up in the darkness—that we are here for. Experiencing them is just a matter of traveling out of our comfort zones and letting the meaningful minutes speak louder than the challenging ones. Find Jessica Guerrieri at witandspitup. com and on Instagram @witandspitup.

August 2020 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

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Mendo Lake Family Life August 2020