AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS GUIDE September 2020
FOR DISTANCE LEARNING
o t K C BA L O O H S CLET’S DO THIS!
Discover the World of Montessori
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children learn best in an environment that demonstrates love, trust, understanding, patience and consistency. Students excel academically while experiencing cooperation, respect, self-confidence and the joy of learning. Contact these local Montessori schools for more information.
“A Montessori Student is a Future Citizen of the World” East County
North County Coastal
MONTESSORI ACHIEVEMENT CENTRE Preschool/Kindergarten
CENTRAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten
10435 Campo Rd., Spring Valley 91978 Rancho San Diego
Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad, La Costa
ENCINITAS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle
MONTESSORI CHILDREN’S HOUSE OF LEMON GROVE Toddler/Preschool Lic. #376614702
Two Locations in Encinitas Encinitas
8121 Braddock Place, San Diego 92114 Lemon Grove
San Diego Central
MARIA MONTESSORI SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle
North County Inland
4544 Pocahontas Ave., San Diego 92117 Serving all of San Diego County from our central location
COUNTRY MONTESSORI SCHOOL Preschool/Kindergarten/Elementary
12642 Monte Vista Road, Poway, CA 92064 Poway, Rancho Bernardo, 4SRanch, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos
San Diego Coastal
Lic # 372006093
BETH MONTESSORI Infants/Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten Lic. # 376700496
8660 Gilman Dr., La Jolla 92037-2202 La Jolla
www.bethmontessori.com MISSION BAY MONTESSORI ACADEMY Preschool/Elementary Lic. #372005444 • AMS Affiliated School
2640 Soderblom Ave., San Diego 92122 La Jolla, Pacific Beach, University City
“Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” - Maria Montessori September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
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Volume 39 • Number 6 • September 2020
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38 ce 1 9 82
in every issue
30 It’s Apple-Picking Season!
10 Staff Page
Don’t miss this fun family outing
12 Short & Sweet News | Notes | Tips
Photo courtesy of @sdfamilybucketlist
26 September Guide to Family Fun
Greyson (2) picks apples at Volcan Valley Apple Farm. 14 Survival Tips for Distance Learning Tips from local teachers, parents and school staff 16 The Extra(curricular) Importance of Enrichment Get kids involved in something!
29 The Marketplace
18 Art Adventures for Kids Boost your child’s arts education with these ideas 20 Your Child’s Education Steps to meaningful engagement, part 2 22 8 Ways to Connect with Grandparents Help prevent isolation during the pandemic 24 Life in Quarantine What will the kids remember?
On the Cover: Kyan (12) of Rolando got his start as a working actor after entering San Diego Family’s Cover Kids Search at age 5. He didn’t win back then, but being a finalist was his inspiration to pursue acting!
DON’T MISS THIS! 2020 Afterscho o Activities Guidel Visit SanDiegoFamily.co m
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Cover photo: Andy McRory Photography
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From all of us at Children’s Primary Dental, we hope your family has a safe, healthy, and successful school year!
September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
on the web Get to know SanDiegoFamily.com, where you’ll discover a plethora of awesomeness for parents.
Resources: Afterschool Activities • Competitive Swimming • Why Music Education Matters • San Diego Robotics Programs
For the Kids: Crafts for Kids • Make a schultuete to celebrate the start of school! In Germany, a schultuete is filled with treats and school supplies and traditionally given to students starting first grade. Making one at home for any grade is easy!
Can’t find what you’re looking for on our website? Enter key words in the search bar and browse our articles.
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To enter these contests, visit SanDiegoFamily.com, go to “Contests”, then “This Month’s Contests.”
What’s the latest trendy family activity for a Friday night? Puzzles, of course! They’re back and are even more fun than you remember. Young kids at home? Work on the puzzle together, stopping for popcorn breaks. Families with older kids can set up puzzle competitions to see which team can complete the puzzle first. Enter to win one of the newly-released puzzle themes below from The Op formally known as Usaopoly. Contest ends Sept. 30. • Scooby-Doo “Those Meddling Kids!”– Join those meddling kids and their canine pal, Scooby from Mystery Inc., in this character-filled, 1,000-piece puzzle. • Harry Potter™ “Dobby”– No socks needed to let Dobby free in this magically detailed, 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. • Naruto “Ramen Time”– This puzzle reminds you to slurp loudly as you put together 1,000 pieces to show the hungry ninja enjoying a ramen bowl.
Get the kids ready to explore the outdoors! Enter to win a Mobo Explorer Balance Bike or a Globber Explorer Trike Series. Children use the integrated footrest of the Balance Bike as they build strength, balance and confidence. The unique, 4-in-1 Explorer Trike grows with children, easily converting from a tricycle to a balance bike without the use of tools. Contest ends Sept. 30.
your FREE copy at Make new friends at Girl Scouts! Looking for a Girl Scout troop, or know someone who is? New virtual troops are forming now! No tech experience needed. Bring the discovery, exploration, fun, and learning of Girl Scouting into the comfort of your home. Visit sdgirlscouts.org/join for our schedule. Questions: contact email@example.com or 619-610-0821 (Se habla español)
Discover the perfect afterschool activities for your kids with San Diego Family’s Afterschool Activities Guide
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In School, Celebrate Grandparents and Apple Picking Many kids are in school (at-home online). Writer/educator Dr. Pieratt is back this month with part two of her article (p. 20) to help parents work through keeping kids engaged with online education. There are tips to finding your child’s reading level, so you can find books of interest. It is also important to help kids stay in contact with friends. If you missed part one of the article, review it on our website at www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/education-directory. What will your kids remember about this quarantine in later years? What were the positive/negative things that happened and how did they handle them? Pull out a journal and have each family member write their feelings about these times. Check out page 24 for more ideas to reflect on. September 13 is Grandparents Day. I have five grandkids, four of them are a lot taller than I am, and I am sure number five will pass me up next year. On page 22 writer Jill Morgenstern gives several ideas to stay connected with grandparents during this time and later. It makes their day to have communication with the outside world and their families. They love seeing their loved ones. It’s time for apple picking! The crops have grown and local farmers have the prefect outing for families—to enjoy picking yummy apples. Look on page 30 to learn which orchards are open. We want to thank our advertisers who have continued to partner with San Diego Family. They help us deliver great resources to you. Please support them! Enjoy your family, keep safe and be patient with all.
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10 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
We’ve had the pleasure of connecting with a number of local moms who love to share their family adventures on Instagram. We encourage you to follow them and start making some discoveries of your own!
Tina Horn of San Carlos @SDfamilybucketlist In Tina’s quest to keep her kids (Kennedy, 6, and Greyson, 2) active but safe this summer, she started seeking out lesser known trails and beach spots all over San Diego County. They’ve been adding to their family bucket list ever since and look forward to inspiring other families to do the same! Follow their adventures @SDfamilybucketlist.
Victoria White of East County @thewhitepartyoffive Victoria is a Marine spouse and mom of three kids ages 11, 9 and 5. She enjoys exploring and sharing tips to help parents have a seamless experience. Having children doesn’t stop your fun—you just gain extra people on your adventure team. Never stop exploring! Follow @thewhitepartyoffive.
Tony/Sept 2020/cr Experience e to what it’s lik esome have an aw career with animals!
HELEN WOODWARD ANIMAL CENTER
HELEN WOODWARD ANIMAL CENTER
SEP. 20 | OCT. 10 | NOV. 14 9 am – 3 pm • Ages 9 – 17
Visit animalcenter.org/education for registration & details. *If changes arise due to COVID-19 restrictions, registrants will be notified/refunded accordingly.
Safe & reliable day camp while you work!
Sandra Page of Rancho Santa Fe @playdatesandpints Playdates & Pints is a motherhood and lifestyle blog focused on exploring and having fun with littles while still enjoying what you love. Sandra, Jimmy and their twin girls love exploring San Diego and sharing all that it has to offer. See what they’re up to @playdatesandpints.
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LITTLE FISH COMIC BOOK STUDIO EXCITING NEWS ced
noun Will be an soon, for
Specifically for students aged 7-11, this class focuses on the creation, magic and collaboration of comics! Spots are limited so email us today to hold a spot!
Lindsay Maphet of Coronado @sdadventuremom Lindsay loves to get outdoors and explore San Diego with two daughters, ages 2 and 5. When they’re not at the beach, Lindsay shares new locations to play via Instagram @sdadventuremom. She loves to inspire others to explore San Diego.
ALL CLASSES AR E MEETING DIGITALLY AN
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(619) 356.1103 • WWW.LILFISH.US
Ages 2.5 - 11
Enrolling NOW for On-Site Preschool and Kindergarten Call for a tour! 858-673-1756
CountryMontessori.org 12642 Monte Vista Rd., Poway, CA 92064
September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
Short & Sweet
Get Connected with Cox Who to Call When You Need Help Need help with an internet connection? Cox is offering Did you know you can call 211 for a free phone support to eligible families in need who have children consultation with a clinical social worker who can also in grades K–12. Sign up by Sept. 30 to receive two free provide appropriate resources or a nearby referral? months of internet service and two free months of remote Or, if you need a free over-the-phone assessment of desktop and how you’re feeling right now, call San Diego’s Access phone support and Crisis Line 24/7 at 888-724-7240 to speak ($9.95/month with someone who has a Masters in Psychology (or afterwards). To higher). If you are in a life-threatening emergency or learn more about the are a danger to yourself or others, call 911. Connect2Compete If you’re feeling OK and just want more program and apply for resources, visit the Life Necessities and service, visit Behavioral & Mental Health sections of www.cox.com/c2c. Flourishing Families at www.SNRFSD.org.
A Must-Have for Families Who Want a Diverse Bookshelf Every family needs a copy of the book Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Don’t let the beautiful, vibrant illustrations distract you from reading the meaningful poetry in this engaging and relatable collection of mini stories. Touching on themes like belonging, loving the skin you’re in and even growing up in a single-parent household, it’s profoundly deep in a whimsical, childlike way. The book is a must-have for families building diversity on their bookshelves. Check to see if your favorite local bookstore has it in stock!
12 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
Photo courtesy of @sdadventuremom
Parents of Preschoolers! Ask Ms. Lydia We’re launching a new column called “Ask Ms. Lydia”, geared for parents of kids ages 2–6. Do you have questions about preschool or parenting young children? Are you experiencing any behavior or sleep challenges and need feedback? Ask Ms. Lydia! Lydia Smith has a degree in Developmental Psychology and was a preschool director/owner/ teacher for 25 years, so she’s full of great tips on caring for littles. Submit questions to email@example.com; please put “Ask Ms. Lydia” in the subject line and be sure to tell us the age of your child. Including your name is optional.
Share Your First Day-of-School Photos We know that the first day of school looks different this year, but it’s still an important milestone to celebrate. Keep your family’s back-to-school tradition alive with a firstday photoshoot. Find our free printable sign at www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/ education-directory; take a photo of your child holding it, then enter our Instagram contest for a chance to win an awesome prize! Check IG @sandiegofamilymagazine for contest rules and directions.
Deadline to complete your 2020 Census
SEPTEMBER 30th, 2020!!!
My2020census.gov (844) 330-2020 All languages supported!
September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
r o f s p i T l a v i v Sur
Distance ing Learn
School looks really different this year, and for many families, includes some (or all) distance learning. In the spring, COVID-19 put a spotlight on our children’s socialemotional and mental health, schoolwork habits, learning styles, time management and perseverance. We can make the most of distance learning this fall by improving upon what we learned. Here are tips offered by local teachers, parents and school staff about how to make distance learning more successful moving forward. Open, Optimistic Communication
A harmonious home is key to an optimal schoolwork environment. To strengthen family communication, Donna Atherton, nurse at Lewis Middle School in Allied Gardens, highly recommends the evidencebased Strengthening Families Program. It is free to download and includes excellent tips and tools that teach important interpersonal skills such as assertive communication, optimism and achieving goals. Learn more at www.strengtheningfamiliesprogram.org. Atherton reminds parents to model positivity: • Stress kindness and exercise patience. • Communicate openly and honestly about emotions. • Reassure kids this [temporary phase] will pass. • Establish routines that provide structure. Set boundaries for the whole family when it comes to electronics. “Parents need to ensure they are having face-to-face conversations with their teenagers,” says Atherton. “Sit down together for dinner and don’t
14 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
allow electronics to replace quality family time.”
Be Proactive with Mental Health It’s important to acknowledge that the pandemic is having negative effects on everyone’s mental health and self-care is a priority. • Get outside daily; enjoy nature as often as possible. • Make exercise a priority to release endorphins. • Get adequate sleep. • Engage in mindful activities such as a gratitude journal, prayer or meditation. • Boost mood with music. • Schedule family fun. • Find time to recharge, decompress and do something you love. According to Atherton, teens may have an especially hard time coping during quarantine. Be proactive to ward off mental health struggles and seek extra support from a pediatrician if there’s concern. San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) recommends visiting www.healthychildren.org/ English/health-issues/conditions/chestlungs/Pages/Signs-your-Teen-MayNeed-More-Support.aspx for tips and resources. SDCOE also recommends teens use apps such as: • Done – Create healthy habits and quit bad ones.
• My Life Meditation – Mindfulness techniques that help with sleep and anxiety. • Virtual Hope Box – Helps cope with overwhelming emotions; can be used in partnership with behavioral health provider.
Set Up for Success • Agree on workspace(s). • Create a daily schedule with blocks of time. Allow input from older kids. • Use email and the teacher’s messaging app to ask for what you need. • Install apps to receive updated information from the school district and class notifications from teachers. • Thank teachers. They’re working hard; gratitude goes a long way during these challenging times.
Be Flexible According to many parents and teachers, the key to academic engagement is to be flexible. Seeking every workbook or worksheet on the market turns kids off. Use hands-on projects, podcasts, YouTube channels and books to engage children and keep them motivated. “Families that do the best with distance learning are the most flexible,” says Tami Bromley, a kindergarten teacher in Coronado. She suggests short bursts of schoolwork mixed with movement, play and breaks. “As much hands-on exploration as possible always helps.”
things she loves (art, dance, walking the dog),” says third grade mom Anessa. “She likes crossing things off, and the list isn’t overwhelming when it has the ‘musts’ and the ‘loves’ on it.” “I help my daughter get through boring online sites with the promise that she can play a game on Prodigy afterwards,” says third grade mom Jessica. “We don’t pay for A’s, but we do set weekly goals with rewards like a book or [choosing] a family activity.” “My kids stay motivated knowing that we check their work periodically, and that we care they are doing it,” says Coreen, mom of a seventh and ninth grader. “We were home [in the spring] to help when they had problems, so we were very lucky. We also try to keep a regular sleep schedule.”
• Get the whole family involved in media together to facilitate social interactions and learning. • Preserve unplugged family time. Make meals and bedtime routines screen-free. • Use parental controls if your children have phones. “I highly recommend that all electronics be charged in the parents’ bedroom, so kids and teens are not up all night when their phone is beeping,” says Atherton. “I can’t tell you how many students are exhausted during the school day due to being on their phones at night.” v Cherie Gough is a local freelance writer and mom of two. The Strengthening Families Program mentioned here is one of the best parental tools she’s ever seen.
Social (or physical) distancing should not mean social isolation. Even kids who attend school in person will find fewer opportunities to connect at lunch and on the playground. If using online tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts, try regularly scheduled online meet-ups with friends or classmates. Having an activity to do together while online helps spark conversation and interaction. My kids do Mad Libs, read from joke books, and play card and video games.
Manage Screen Time • Set expectations and consequences ahead of time. Think about whether your child’s technology use helps or hinders participation in other activities.
Amanda, whose daughter just finished kindergarten agrees, “When she got tired of the online lesson, we went outside, had a snack and then got back to work.” “Our best survival technique for distance learning is making a daily list of what has to be done and letting our daughter do it in any order, including September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
The Extra(curricular) Importance of Enrichment this Fall After months of quarantine, kids are going back to school –– remotely. Although we obviously want to keep our young ones safe, many parents agree that this is a less-than-ideal situation. Some are increasingly concerned their children will fall behind academically; others are worried they’ll no longer have access to essential needs such as meals or special education services; some have noticed signs of anxiety or depression in their kids; and pretty much everyone is wondering about future health consequences of all of this on today’s youth. According to the CDC, “Schools play a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just the academic achievement of students.” So with schools closed, how can parents help children navigate not only academics, but also physical, social and emotional health? Extracurricular activities have always been important, but with COVID-19 continuing to disrupt normal school days, what kids do during afterschool 16 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
hours may be more important than ever. Fortunately, extracurricular activities come in many forms and offer some key opportunities at this time. Whichever ones you choose, remind children to help reduce the spread of disease by washing hands frequently, maintaining a six-foot distance from others when possible, and wearing a face covering outside of home. Some of the many benefits of afterschool activities include: Academic enrichment: If you are concerned about your child’s learning, you’re certainly not alone. After all, not every child has the resources or drive to thrive in school remotely. To bridge any learning gaps, extracurricular academic programs can offer fun ways to better grasp educational subjects like math or writing. Or, for advanced kids who don’t feel challenged by virtual classes, enrichment programs may improve overall engagement.
Social interaction: Because the carefree days of classroom friends, recess play and afterschool gatherings are currently on hold, kids are missing out on quality time with peers. Extracurricular programs can help children reconnect with others in safe, supervised environments. Physical activity: For physical and mental health purposes, it’s critical to keep kids moving around. Because program availability is limited right now, this might be the perfect opportunity to try something new. Consider outdoor activities with limited contact, such as swimming, tennis, golf, walking, running and biking. If you can’t find an active program in your neighborhood, consider a virtual dance class— just be sure to set aside additional outdoor time. Supporting a special talent or interest: Perhaps your child loves
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music or is a budding artist. Encourage these passions and talents outside of school. Many local organizations have found new ways to support creativity this year. For example, Hot Spot Studio offers a socially distanced camp, private lessons via Zoom, or outdoor table reservations for your household group. Improved time management: Along with keeping kids busy, participating in enrichment activities encourages them to better manage their time. You may notice that homework, for instance, gets completed more quickly when it needs to be done before sports practice begins. Take care not to overschedule, since downtime is also important for healthy development. Sense of community: The longer this pandemic continues, the more isolating it can become. One way to give children a sense of belonging is to allow them to work with others
towards a common goal. This can be achieved through a number of different extracurricular activities including training for a team sports competition, creating an online musical ensemble, or completing a volunteer project that benefits the entire community. v Lisa Pawlak is an award-winning contributing writer, mom of two boys and resident of Encinitas.
Find awesome in-person and virtual extracurricular activities by flipping through the pages of this issue or accessing our 2020 Guide to Afterschool Activities at www.sandiegofamily.com/ resources/afterschoolactivities.
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ScrippsPerformingArtsAcademy.com September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
Art Adventures for Kids
With most San Diego kids starting the school year virtually, now is a perfect time to boost up your child’s arts education. Engagement in the arts is not only an important avenue to creative expression, it also helps improve math, reading, verbal and problem-solving skills. There is a plethora of local art classes, at-home projects and online arts enrichment opportunities at your fingertips. This round-up offers something for everyone. Thank you to local art teacher Alyssa Navapanich for contributing the project ideas, fun videos and websites.
Local Art Classes Little Artists www.mylittleartists.com Currently offering in-person and online drawing and painting classes for kids ages 4-18. In-person classes are available at five locations across the county. Little Fish Comic Book Studio www.lilfish.us Learn how to write and illustrate your own comic book at Little Fish Comic Book Studio! Choose from a variety of in-studio and virtual comic art classes. The Hot Spot Pottery & Painting www.thehotspotstudio.com Create your next great masterpiece at The Hot Spot in Del Sur and Liberty Station. In-person art classes are available by reservation or drop-in at both studio locations. Private group canvas painting classes also offered via Zoom. The New Children’s Museum www.thinkplaycreate.org Join The New Children’s Museum’s Friday Toddler Time every Friday at 10 am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Families can also access previous Toddler Time videos and activities at www.thinkplaycreate.org/ learn/toddler-classes/toddler-time.
At-Home Creative Art Projects Create drawing prompt cards. Using scraps of paper, make one stack of “object” cards (people, animals, things), one stack of places (landmarks, cities, states, local hangouts), one stack of verbs (running, swimming, eating, etc.) and one stack
18 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
of art adjectives (colors, textures). Pull a card from each stack and create a drawing based on those cards. Examples of what you might get: “Blue llama eating pizza in Paris” or “Fuzzy turtle running in the grocery store.” What a fun way to practice vocabulary, sentence structure and art simultaneously.
Turn trash into treasure. Search the recycling bin, grab some scissors, tape and markers or crayons and start creating. Make a car for a superhero or a collage using words and pictures from food packaging and old magazines. Make snowflakes or papel picado from advertisements or newspapers.
the color is dark. Use a cotton swab or a piece of sponge clipped to a clothespin as a paintbrush and create a masterpiece. Teach kids art vocabulary, then use the new terms to inspire creativity. • Primary colors: red, yellow, blue • Secondary colors: green, purple, orange • Cool colors: blue, green, purple • Warm colors: orange, red, yellow • Neutral colors: brown, white, gray, black
Make texture rubbings: Place an item (coin, leaf, piece of string, button) under a piece of paper and rub a crayon or colored pencil over it gently; fill in the remaining areas with other colors if you wish. Paint with coffee or tea. Using leftover coffee grounds or a leftover tea bag, steep in warm water until
San Diego Family has tons of fun, engaging art and craft projects at www.sandiegofamily.com/for-the-kids/ crafts-for-kids. You can also put Art with Alyssa in the search bar for a list of awesome projects from our local teacher and contributor.
Online Art Enrichment Discover 40+ paper airplane designs, including printable folding instructions and video tutorials at Fold’NFly: www.foldnfly.com Learn how to draw during “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems,” author
of the Elephant & Piggie book series for early readers. Tip from Mo Willems: Put butcher paper down on the table and have a family dinner doodle! Tune in at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=9tVfVvmJP7E. Art with Mati and Dada. Learning meets creativity and imagination when Mati and Dada are transported into the lives of famous artists in these animated videos. www.youtube.com/ channel/UCR2NlUr0yPuqRxZN_7ItHog Art for Kids Hub is a collection of family-centric videos featuring step-by-step drawing instructions. www.youtube.com/channel/ UC5XMF3Inoi8R9nSI8ChOsdQ Explore dozens of popular and unique careers in the arts, such as toy designer, voice over artist, architect, production designer, photographer, culinary artist and so much more at www.theartcareerproject.com/careers. Find a dozen easy origami projects at Origami for Kids: www.origami-fun. com/origami-for-kids.html. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has great art project videos on their #metkids page: www.metmuseum. org/art/online-features/metkids/videos/ channel/MetKids-Create. v September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
Dr. Jenny Pieratt
Your child’s education
Steps to Meaningful Engagement Part 2 of a two-part series Parents had a rare opportunity to see their children as students last spring. Combined with this unique insight was a novel sense of partnership with school and a newfound empowerment to speak up if something didn’t work. In our household it meant saying “no thank you” when a class video call wasn’t possible due to work commitments or “let’s try something else” if a lesson with the best intentions didn’t seem to be the right fit for my kids. I learned quickly that juggling a small business in the wake of a pandemic while homeschooling two kids meant that weekends were spent reviewing work and modifying assignments as needed. I also realized that not all parents have the background knowledge to make modifications that ensure meaningful learning at home. This two-part series is for those parents—parents who want 20 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
to build their toolkit and be active participants—including those who are banding together to form supportive learning pods. Missed Part One in our August issue? Read it at www.sandiegofamily.com/ resources/education-directory. It’s not uncommon for student learning levels to be “all over the place,” but even more so now. Virtual learning makes it difficult for teachers to provide content to more than one learning level (in teacher speak we call this differentiation). As a result, content may continue to be focused on “the middle.” When schoolwork is either too difficult or too easy for a student, it impacts his ability to stay engaged. If your child isn’t engaged in learning, he may benefit from assignments being modified to better fit his needs.
Do you know how your child learns best? Read about all seven learning styles in our article “What’s Your Child’s Learning Style?” at www.sandiegofamily.com/ resources/education-directory/ kids-unique-learning-style.
Clues that a Student Is Not Engaged in Learning There are several explanations as to why a student may not be engaged in learning. Schoolwork being below or above a child’s learning level is one possible reason. • Staring at the computer screen • Slumped shoulders • Avoiding assignments with offtask behavior • Feeling bored • Misplaced frustration
Tips to Help Children Work at their Level If you suspect (or discover) that schoolwork is not at your child’s level: • Build agency. In our household we follow the “see three before me” rule, in an effort to build agency (control over actions and consequences). This means that they must check three other resources (such as reread directions, ask a classmate and access designated online classroom resources) to get help before they ask me or a teacher. If kids are still stuck, then they can enroll the help of an adult. I encourage my kids to attend teacher office hours when available (even if online only) and I taught my kids how to email their teachers for help. • Identify trusted math support. I lean on two resources for math support: Prodigy and Engage NY. Prodigy (www.prodigygame.com) reveals which math standards students have mastered and where help is needed. As a parent, I love Prodigy because many resources are free, but the paid version provides an entire dashboard of grade level content for kids in grades 1–8. For any “holes” or necessary supplements, lessons can also be accessed at Engage NY (www.engageny.org), designed for parents and teachers in any state implementing Common Core standards. Khan Academy video tutorials are another excellent tool. • Get books at your child’s reading level. Do you know your kids’ reading level? My quick assessment includes asking them to read a paragraph from a designated book out loud—if it sounds like it’s slow or a struggle, then it’s probably too high. You can also ask the teacher what your child’s Lexile level is and search Scholastic for books at that level. • Create a book club. Still not sure if your kids are reading at the right level? You are not alone! To support my kids with reading in the spring, we did “book clubs.” This entailed
getting two copies of a book (one for my child; one for me), creating a reading schedule, having organic discussions about the text, and finding questions and activities online that support comprehension of the book. By being “in it” with them, I really got to know them as readers—what skills they lacked and what they enjoyed. This format will also work well in a learning pod. Want to start a book club with friends? Get tips in our article “How to Start a Mother-Daughter Book Club” (the tips work for sons, too!) at www.sandiegofamily.com/parenting/ big-kid/six-steps-to-starting-amother-daughter-book-club.
Clues a Student Needs Help Depending on how a teacher structures the distance or virtual learning model, it is possible that there are days without live interaction, which means kids could do schoolwork incorrectly for a while before a teacher realizes it. Signs students may be on the “wrong path”: • Finishes a task in a freakishly short amount of time • Appears to be working at a snail’s pace on an assignment • Isn’t able to articulate what the assignment is • What they are doing doesn’t seem to match the assignment or child’s ability In all of these scenarios it is important to advocate for the child so he can continue to learn and grow. If a teacher is struggling to “close the feedback loop”, below are ideas of where kids can get additional help or feedback to continue to grow and learn.
Tips to Help Students Get Support • Continue to develop agency. Ask kids to send a draft of their work to the teacher via Google Docs so they can get feedback via the comment feature. • Loop in their friends. Have kids share their work with a few friends and
provide specific questions for them to answer. Students often struggle with giving peer feedback, so I offer sentence frames that pertain to the assignment. For instance: • What part of the story do you like? • Is there anything in the story that is confusing? • Does the order of the story make sense to you? • Enroll an expert in the feedback process. You likely have a family member that can be reached via FaceTime that could serve as an “expert” to provide feedback on student work. Perhaps a friend who is a potential end-user of a child’s invention; a member of an audience who may read their published book; or an architect or engineer who can critically look at their model. Leverage your network to help extend your child’s learning. • Uphold accountability. Be sure to hold kids accountable for applying feedback they receive to drafts of their work! Ask them to create a second draft and highlight the changes they made. With everything that is happening with education right now, creating meaningful learning experiences for children is more critical than ever. Many factors go into student engagement, including ensuring that work is at the appropriate level and providing frequent feedback. Unfortunately, these factors may be overlooked in virtual or distance learning. It’s going to take a continued partnership between home and school to make this happen. v Dr. Jenny Pieratt is a native San Diegan, award-winning author, speaker, business owner and mother of two. She loves sports, yoga and adventure. To learn more about her work visit www. craftedcurriculum.com and follow her on social media @crafted_jennyp. September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
Help the kids make and send a customized long-distance hug to grandparents! Learn how at www.sandiegofamily.com/ for-the-kids/crafts-forkids/diy-send-a-hug.
Ways to Connect with Grandparents
Pandemic Jill Morgenstern
22 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
As a child I was jealous of kids who
could visit their grandparents after school. Having grandparents who lived close by seemed like so much fun! But when physical and social distancing is necessary for everyone’s health, maintaining connection can be a challenge, even for grandparents who live just down the street. If you’re looking for new and inventive ways to maintain close relationships between generations, try these ideas.
Social Distancing Dinner Have dinner outside when schedules permit, spacing chairs more than six feet apart and enjoying time together. This is an easy way to stay connected with grandparents who live close by. Consider a regular weekly dinner date.
Read a Book Together My mother calls my 8-year-old daughter at the same time every
morning to read another chapter of The Borrowers. This not only keeps her connected with her grandmother, but also offers the benefits of reading aloud, such as building vocabulary and creating a positive attitude towards reading.
Play Online Games Just because you can’t get together in person doesn’t mean game night is out of the question. Try online games such as Scrabble Go or Spyfall, or apps such as Together or Houseparty. Just as playing traditional board games offers educational benefits, online games can help develop skills such as vocabulary and math.
Text and Email Have kids text and email grandparents. It’s a great way to practice writing, while putting a smile on their faces.
Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept. 13. Discover ways to celebrate (even from a distance) at www.sandiegofamily.com/things-to-do/ seasonal-happenings/celebrate-grandparents-day.
Utilize the Post Office Receiving personal correspondence in the mail always brightens someone’s day. Sending mail is easier than ever— TouchNote is an app that allows families to create and send photo cards from a phone. As an added bonus, kids can learn the conventions of letter writing.
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Video Chat If you’re not already, consider using Zoom and FaceTime to keep grandparents and kids connected. “We have lots of FaceTime calls with our 1-year-old granddaughter in Arkansas,” says Jen Morrison. “Usually it’s when she’s eating dinner because that’s the only time she’s pretty stationary. She likes the entertainment while eating—and it’s a great way for us to keep up with her.” My own family has a weekly Zoom call with my parents, brother, nephews and children all on the same call.
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Take an Online Class Together Find a local online class that interests both kids and adults, such as a yoga or dance, and register to take it together. Or check www.outschool.com for a variety of classes that appeal to different age groups, such as a themed cooking class. Or, encourage the grandparent or child to be the teacher (children can often give lessons on how to use technology)! Gabrielle Nidus discovered a resourceful way to keep her son’s and mother’s relationship close. Her mother gives her son daily piano lessons over Skype. “It’s all virtual. They play piano and then talk, which my son insists on,” says Nidus. “She’s all by herself so I think she appreciates the company. I am so grateful to her for learning how to Skype and sharing her love of music with him. It is a new bond between them.”
Create Online Artwork Together Zoom has a screen-sharing option that lets kids and grandparents create artwork together. What a fun way to connect! v Jill Morgenstern is a freelance writer.
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Parenting with Purpose
Jody Lee Cates
Life in Quarantine:
What will the kids remember?
If your kids someday write a memoir about what life was like during a global pandemic, what will they remember and tell the world? 24 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
Juggling family life during
quarantine has been tough. Working from home, schooling the kids, managing Zoom meetings and daily routines is plenty to contend with. Add underlying anxiety about the
new school year and dwindling patience—this is a period of time your family will never forget. A pivotal, formative time that will shape kids’ memories and their worldview for life. What impressions do you hope will last?
If the answer makes you cringe, it’s not too late to make adjustments to your routine. Here are some simple strategies (and how to put them into practice) to help families make meaningful memories for every chapter of a child’s quarantine story.
How We Served Make a lasting impression by including kids in activities such as writing letters to friends, teachers and senior citizens, donating to (or volunteering at) the local food bank, and learning to sew masks or make dog toys. Make an even bigger impact by talking to kids about why you serve others. “Once kids can verbalize things in detail, they’re far more likely to remember them,” says Lise Eliot, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School. Help kids remember these experiences by telling stories of how your family and others around the world are serving one another.
How We Entertained Ourselves There has likely been more screen time than ever before, but you’ll make favorable memories by turning up your family’s creativity and imagination. Create a record of what life in quarantine is like by keeping a family diary. It could be written, video recorded, or even documented with artwork displayed on a gallery wall. Or make and bury a time capsule. Include a letter from each child to her future self, describing a typical day, what schooling is like right now, and what she hopes to do in the future. Encourage older kids to keep a journal to capture memories and express feelings. A child’s journal may someday be a valued family treasure
If this is not your reality.
providing a first-person account of history in the making. Make a game out of mastering life skills by setting up a reward system for learning how to do laundry, cook meals or plan a budget. Get creative!
and don’t try to fix or erase sadness or disappointment. Know that when a child hears a parent say, “That is so hard,” she will remember that the parent listened and understood what she was feeling.
How We Handled Frustration
How We Laughed
Children’s memories are also profoundly affected by their perception of how parents handle anxiety and uncertainty. Help kids form memories of feeling loved, safe and secure by staying positive and practicing gratitude. Consider keeping a jar handy that contains strips of paper where family members have written down what they’re thankful for. Pull one out to read every day—or when things get strained.
Practicing fun family rituals is an excellent way to make lasting memories. Tell dumb jokes before leaving the dinner table, choose one day a week to dress up in a designated theme, or make up a silly song to start every family Zoom call. Repetition helps memories last, so don’t be afraid to stick with what works to make everyone laugh (or older kids groan).
Learn how to make a Thankful Jar at w w w.sandiegofamily.com/for-thekids/craf ts-for-kids/thankful-jars. Make a “Looking forward to…” poster where your family keeps a running list of what they want to do when health and safety is more stable.
How We Handled Disappointment Memory is more than a mental picture. “Explicit memory is generally associated with recalled details such as time and place,” says Nora Newcombe, a professor of psychology at Temple University. “Implicit memory is more of an emotional recollection causing certain feelings to be attached to a past event or time of life.” Since children have implicit memories based on emotions, it’s important that families express feelings and show empathy toward one another. Share daily highs and lows
The stress of isolation and loss of income has led to higher incidents of domestic violence. If you or your children are in danger, contact the Center for Community Solutions 24/7 crisis hotline at 888-3854657 or 858-272-5777.
How We Loved Each Other Investing time in relationships is golden for making memories with kids. “I won’t say it’s a time to slow down,” says Kelyn Hsu of Oceanside. “With no babysitters and no preschool, it’s not slower. There’s just more time with nowhere else to be. I don’t have to rush with my girls because there’s nothing else to do.” That means they can appreciate having Daddy home every day to eat lunch, followed by a new daily ritual for their 4-year-old daughter, Emerson. “He picks her up, they sing and dance around the house, and then he puts her down for a nap,” says Hsu. “Before [quarantine] she didn’t get that special time with her dad.” Use this time to express love with little acts of kindness like serving breakfast in bed, hiding small handmade gifts or scheduling a daily hug-it-out session. Or let each family member choose an activity for everyone to do together. Make it a child’s time to shine as she leads the family in a backyard campout, screens a favorite movie or teaches a new game. In all the logistics and anxiety of managing this unique period of time, parents can help kids make meaningful memories that will create stories to last a lifetime. v Jody Lee Cates is a local mom and awardwinning writer who blogs about healthy relationships at www.jodyleecates.com September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
Looking for our calendar? While businesses are still opening, we’re highlighting fun activities to keep kids engaged and entertained!
Jennifer A. Burman
Guide to Family Fun Activities and Events Take the fun with you, whether you’re home or out and about. Check out this month’s exciting mix of virtual and in-person activities that kids and families will surely love. Please check individual websites for the most up-to-date information.
VIRTUAL ACTIVITIES SCIENCE & NATURAL HISTORY Students of all ages can join Fleet Science Center’s monthly Virtual Science Club that offers exciting challenges and hands-on activities using materials found in your home. Sept. 17, 11:30 am. Registration required. Find more details at www.fleetscience.org/ events/science-clubs. Visit San Diego Natural History Museum’s The Nat @ Home page which features online resources and at-home activities. Check out Nature Bytes, an online library of three-minute videos on natural history
Photo courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center
26 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s annual dog surfing event is going virtual this year as it features a surf contest, a freestyle contest, the Couch Surfing Pet Photo Contest, cool prizes and more. After registering, please submit a video of your dog’s best wave. All video footage will be compiled into an official Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon video which will be released for viewing on Sept. 13; winners will be announced at that time. Deadline to submit videos: Sept. 6. For entry guidelines, fees and to register, visit www.animalcenter.org/ surf-dog-surf-a-thon.
topics, visit the Explore the Region from Coast to Cactus website to learn more about the plants and animals that call this region home, and join Digital Nature & Me Story Times (visit www.sdnat.org/ events for updated info). www.sdnat.org/ education/education-resources
PLAY/ENTERTAINMENT Little ones enjoy music, movement and delightful activities during Toddler Time at Home, courtesy of The New Children’s Museum. Fridays, 10 am. Find more information at www.thinkplaycreate.org/ learn/toddler-classes/toddler-time. Catch Virtual First Friday at the ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station featuring local artists as well as online exhibits, music and dance performances, live kids’ events and more. Sept. 4, 5-9 pm. www .libertystation.com/events/First-FridayARTS-DISTRICT Travel back in time with Xavier Riddle to meet some world-famous heroes at San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum’s KPBS Kids Event. This special event includes a live reading with a surprise craft at the end for you and your family to do at home. Sept. 24, 12:30 pm. Find more details about this event and other virtual activities at www.facebook.com/sdcdm.
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NEW ONLINE GIFT SHOP The San Diego Model Railroad Museum has launched an Online Gift Shop, full of train-themed toys, games, books, and museum apparel. There are even books and DVDs that will help you learn how to build and improve your own model railroad layout! All your purchases directly support the museum and ensure we can continue to serve the community and share our passion for model railroading.
VISIT WWW.SDMRM.ORG/SHOP September 2020 • SanDiegofamily.com •
Photo courtesy of San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Explore Birch Aquarium’s online learning space designed for families, teachers and scientists of all ages. Find science activities, ocean crafts, coloring pages for kids and adults, and more at www.aquarium.ucsd.edu/ teachers/online-learning/activities. Also, visit their YouTube page at www.youtube.com/birchaquarium for behind-the scenes peeks as well as videos including fun animal facts and tranquil underwater moments. See beluga whales, southern sea otters, African penguins, California sea lions, piranhas and other incredible creatures of the sea through Georgia Aquarium’s live web cams. www.georgiaaquarium.org The Living Coast Discovery Center offers encounters with animal ambassadors, workshops, crafts, trivia and story time through Living Coast in Your Living Room hosted by Educator Ashley. www.youtube.com/thelivingcoast; www.thelivingcoast.org/virtual-wildlife-encounters
VIRTUAL EXHIBITS Don’t miss San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s exhibit, 75 Years of Thomas, that celebrates the creation of the Isle of Sodor and its colorful population of engines. Commemorate these train’s history including how the TV show was created, watch videos featuring Thomas and Friends stories, and get the chance to create a mystical train island of your own. www.sdmrm.org
IN-PERSON EVENTS Take the family camping at Lake Poway. Set up your tent and check out the fun-filled activities that the park has to offer, from hiking to fishing. Sept. 11-12 & Sept. 2526, 1 pm-10 am. $25 per car. 14644 Lake Poway Rd., Poway. To register and for safety guidelines, visit www.poway.org.
Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND California Resort
Visit the Old Town State Historic Park and Heritage Park for some open-air sightseeing, then head to your favorite shops and restaurants during Old Town Summer Nights. Through Sept. 27. Thurs.-Sun., 3-9 pm. Be sure to wear your
Be transported to some of SeaWorld’s amazing animal habitats, explore the animal kingdom through videos, educational activities and free online resources, and relive the thrill of your favorite park rides through first-person coaster videos at SeaWorld@Home. www.seaworld.com/at-home
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS Enjoy a panoramic tour of Mount Rushmore, one of our nation’s famous landmarks, located in South Dakota. www.nps.gov/moru/learn/ photosmultimedia/virtual-tour.htm Travel to Asia and marvel at a majestic, 360-view of the Great Wall of China, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. www.airpano.com/ 360photo/china-great-wall
mask as you stroll through the streets and parks. For a full list of open businesses, visit www.oldtownsandiego.org. The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego hosts the free Read 3X3 virtual event featuring three children’s authors who will each entertain kids with a book reading and a craft activity. Sept. 12, 10 am. Also, enjoy more freebies at their contactless Book Bag, Book & Craft Pick-Up on Sept. 9, 4-6 pm. Registration required for both events. www.eventbrite .com/e/115791719149 Soak in some Vitamin D at the Cabrillo National Monument as you take scenic
Explore the most famous cities in the country including New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. in Miniland U.S.A. at LEGOLAND California Resort. This hugely popular attraction is open to LEGOLAND Hotel guests, pass members and customers of The Big Shop (with $25 minimum purchase). Sat.Thurs., 10 am-4 pm; Fri., 10 am-6 pm. Entry to Miniland U.S.A. is through The Big Shop. www.legoland.com
28 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
hikes, explore the tide pools and learn about the life and discoveries of 16th century explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on the West Coast. For current park hours, visit www.nps.gov/cabr/index.htm. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere as you walk through the 12-acre Japanese Friendship Garden featuring rock gardens, bonsais, koi ponds and more. Open daily, 10 am-6 pm. $10-$12; ages 6 & under free. Balboa Park. www.niwa.org Meet friendly camels and farm animals including miniature sheep, donkeys, exotic birds and turkeys during a private, 45-minute tour of the Oasis Camel Dairy. For tour dates, fees and reservations, visit website. 26757 Hwy. 78, Ramona. www.cameldairy.com/privatefamily-tours Bring your lanterns for some night fishing at Santee Lakes. Sept. 10 & 24, 5-11:30 pm. $4 parking and fishing permit fees apply. 9310 Fanita Pkwy. www.santeelakes.com It’s apple picking time! Find the best spots to pick apples on page 30.
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It’s ApplePicking Season!
Did you know that apple-picking season typically starts in September? It often ends in mid-October (or when orchards run out of apples), so now is the time to plan your family’s fun “u-pick” outing – a perfect activity while social distancing.
Below are orchards in Julian (about 40 miles northeast of San Diego). Check each orchard’s website or social media page for up-to-date information, including important details about visiting and when apples are no longer available.
Crosscut Farm and Orchard 1209 Farmer Rd. (just below Volcan Mtn.) www.crosscutfarm.wixsite.com/crosscutfarm 605-431-0136 Estimated opening for apple picking: Oct. 1. Group reservations only.
Julian Farm & Orchard 4444 Hwy. 78 www.julianminingcompany.com 951-312-9940 U-pick apples (and cider pressing) on Saturdays and Sundays starting Sept. 19. Check Instagram @julianminingco_and_ julianfarm for updated info.
Peacefield Orchard 3803 Wynola Rd. www.3803wynolaroad.com 310-902-6321 Pick apples Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am-2 pm (and by reservation) beginning Aug. 29. Visit website for orchard updates, pricing and special offers.
Volcan Valley Apple Farm 1284 Julian Orchards Dr. 760-302-4574 Open for apple picking starting Sept. 11. Friday thru Monday from 9 am-4:30 pm. Check Facebook @julianapplefarm for pricing, admission fees (kids 5 & under free) and updates. *Please be mindful of social distance protocol while apple picking. Always wear a mask and keep six feet away from anyone outside of your household. Find tasty recipes for all those freshly picked apples in our Apple Recipe RoundUp at www.sandiegofamily.com/thingsto-do/dining-and-recipes/apple-reciperound-up. Photo courtesy of @sdfamilybucketlist
30 • SanDiegofamily.com • September 2020
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