Tag Archives: COVID-19 lockdown Madrid

COVID-19 -Homeschooling what? A few recommended online resources

There’s a reason why I’m not a teacher. And that’s not going to change. However, during times of crisis we all have to deal with things that take us out of our comfort zone, for example, not being able to leave the house with two little kids…

Honestly there are so many online resources, web pages with information, educational sites for kids, etc. that what is most difficult is to find good ones. Or ones that don’t make you pay before you use anything. At my older son’s school they didn’t send us any work this last week to let other people catch up from previous weeks, and next week is Easter “holiday”, so we won’t have anything either. I’ve been scouring the internet myself to try to find things to print out to put together some sort of homework pack for the week.

Although it’s not a long list, here are a few resources that I’ve used that have been helpful:

1. https://www.verywellfamily.com/best-free-educational-websites-for-kids-3129084 This web has a list of 17 web sites with a mix of educational information, games, etc. So far from what I’ve seen there are a lot of interesting things. Some are a bit too old for my 6 year old, but again there’s a good mix:

2. www.pbskids.org Any American will know PBS from when you were little. My 6 year old loves this site. It has a lot of easy, interactive games for little ones and videos.

3. https://www.education.com/home-learning/?cid=10.177 This site is generally pay, but they are offering a lot of great, free resources now. I’ve printed out a lot of the Independent Study Packs and used the worksheets to put together lessons. They have from pre-school to 5th grade and by subject. There are also a few easy, interactive games and guided lessons

4. https://es.ixl.com/math/infantil This one is in Spanish. It’s full of short, interactive exercises that your kids can do on the computer to practice math and reading. So far I’ve used it for basic math.

My last reco isn’t a web site, but we printed out “Happy meal box templates” that we found online and made homemade happy meals, complete with chicken nuggets, french fries and of course a small toy (make sure you have this before starting). There are tons, but here’s just one example:

And here’s how they came out 🙂

I have to say the kids really loved this one. I would definitely recommend it!

Good luck!

COVID-19 Lockdown Day 12: the kids are alright; it’s the parents who aren’t. Two things keeping my sanity.

Cue The Who: The kids are alright. Lots of talk about the poor kids not being able to play outside and memes with kids escaping or having meltdowns. They’re going to be so upset… the truth is that the kids are quite alright! It’s the parents who are going crazy with this lockdown. I’m the one who’s going to be hitting myself in the head with a toy gun soon.

Maybe it’s just in my case – please I’d love to hear feedback from others – but my two little kids don’t seem to be bothered in the least that they’re home playing all day….in fact I think it’s going to be tough to take them out of the quarantine. School? Wait, what’s that?!

For sure the ones that are going crazy being stuck in the house are the parents. From time to time I silently put on my jacket and sneak out to “the outside” to buy bread at the gas station. I feel like a delinquent.

Two things that are keeping me sane during these times:

  1. Exercise. For years now I’ve been an outdoor runner since that’s really the easiest and fastest form of exercise with little kids. Cut to quarantine – I’m becoming a big fan of Hiit/Cardio videos on Youtube. When you’re given lemons, make lemonade. Some of my favorite channels that I’ve found so far, although really there are endless free ones:
  2. Music. The best way I’ve found to take a little breather and zone out mentally is with music. I’ve always liked music, but there’s something about it these days that helps to have that little bit of mental escape. (you can put on your headphones, turn up the volume and tune out screaming kids :)) The best I’ve found so far is this one: every day from 14-15h (Spain time) Bob Sinclar spins a streaming live awesome mix through his facebook channel. It’s great, if you like that kind of music. I’m still waiting for David Guetta to get into the mix. Definitely open to hearing any other suggestions or channels!
Bob Sinclar live session today

Bob Sinclar live session today

Keep calm. The end is near…

Madrid COVID-19 quarantine – Day 7

Spain just announced that the official lockdown has been extended until April 12th. So, in the best-case scenario we’re looking at another 3 full weeks inside until things can potentially get back to “normal”. This isn’t surprising – they announced last night that we can only expect the overall situation to get worse in the coming weeks. Hey, if this is what it takes for things to get better and finally get back to “normal” then it’s what we need to do.

Just to clarify, when I say official lockdown I don’t mean the kind where there are recommendations for social distancing and staying at home to flatten the curve. I’m talking about not being allowed to leave our houses. You can get fined by the police if you’re out on the street without a justifiable reason. No complaints here – while we stay healthy and safe I can’t complain.

And on a positive note my sense of smell/taste is finally starting to come back, slowy but surely!

On another positive note there are so many different entertainment options available online these days it seems the real problem is not having enough free time with the kids around to be able to take advantage. Some cool ones I’ve seen so far have been live concerts that artists are putting on from their homes, like Alejandro Sanz, Chris Martin, Bob Sinclair. Not sure about David Guetta but I’d love to see him. For the kids our house has converted into a 24 hour arts and crafts gallery/lego making station. Hey, whatever works.

At night we’re still continuing with our solidarity applauses and cheers at 8pm from our balcony. For the kids its the moment when they get excited to put on their jackets and shoes and go outside to see all the neighbors and lights. I hope this will continue and keep everyone’s spirits up. I just spoke to some friends in Italy who told me that this has kind of died out over there where they are at least (now they’re already on 2 weeks of quarantine),; hopefully we can keep it up here, at least for the kids’ sake, and as a bit of motivation for all.

I’ll leave with this image, drawings my son put up on our terrace this morning to share with the neighbors. #wecanbeatthis:

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COVID-19 Lockdown in Madrid – Day 4

Another day – check! T- ???

Two important things I learned today:

  1. Cardboard boxes (especially if they’re big) are the solution to everything. Next time we have a birthday or occasion for gifts I’m definitely going to think twice about buying anything

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2. 8pm is now one of our favorite times of the day. It started as a spontaneous moment the first day of the official quarantine at 10pm where everyone went out on their terraces to clap in appreciation of the medical staff and support who are working around the clock to fight this. Now this has turned into a nightly 8pm clapping ritual with kids. After the first day it was announced that the following day at 8pm we would repeat so that kids could join. Now it’s a routine, jackets, shoes and all, to go out on the terrace and join our neighbors in clapping. The kids love it. Today someone in an apartment not too far away started playing what sounded like the drums. I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

COVID-19 lockdown in Madrid – 5 thoughts

We’re now officially on Day 3 of the government-enforced quarantine here in Madrid. I never would have imagined something like this happening a few years ago. Actually,  I never would have imagined something like this happening a few months ago, let alone a few weeks ago, but here we are. We’re at war with an invisible enemy.

Every time I see the news there’s something new: Spain is closing its borders, Western Europe is closing its borders, the number of cases in Spain is almost at 12,000 (a few days ago it was roughly half)… I’m thinking about trying to not watch the news for a little bit, although that will probably be hard to do. What’s also startling is the economic impact that we’re already seeing and will probably see for many years. In Spain a number of large companies have already announced massive temporary layoffs to thousands of employees. If companies are completely shut down and don’t have any income I guess there is no other viable option, but it’s still startling nonetheless.

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Here’s a picture of the supermarket the day people went crazy and thought a zombie apocalypse was coming.

And here is the supermarket the next day stocked up and ready to go. Clearly this was a false sense of security that things were under control as this was 2 days before 100% quarantine.

 

On a personal note, I can’t remember the last time I spent so much uninterrupted time at home, especially without having any defined end in sight. In my opinion this is definitely a necessary step that the country is taking. When the government in Madrid decided to close schools for 15 days last week, this resulted in the public parks, bars, restaurants, etc. overflowing the following day and multiplied cases- clearly this wasn’t going to work without some sort of formal enforcement. I’m not going to tell the US to watch out; I think even since starting this post it’s gotten more serious there. I’m the first one who thought this was all overblown and a bit crazy a few weeks ago..

Quarantine is a challenge! Especially when trying to balance working from home and having two little kids in the house all day. (We can’t even go downstairs to the common area in our apartment complex). The challenge is trying to organize activities, schoolwork, routines, playtime, etc. and work at the same time without everyone going crazy – ideal, but most likely not 100% possible. Work-family balance has gone out the window.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Feel lucky to have such uninterrupted family time. When was the last time you can think of that you were with your children, spouse (or both) for an extended period of time? In this day and age we tend to complain or worry about not being able to spend enough time with family due to work and other commmitments. So take advantage of this time. At some point (hopefully in the not too too far away future), playing endless games of Go Fish and Candyland will just be a memory.

Now, imagine if we lost internet access as well…  is it just me or has anyone else noticed an increase in the amount of mobile phone usage? (well, in your household since you can’t observe anyone else really)

2. Find humor where you can; it’s the best medicine as they say. Everyone’s in the same situation, so we might as well try to find ways to laugh. Memes are great. Within minutes of any of the more-confining public announcements there were more memes. There are too many too post and almost all are in Spanish, but trust me – they made it a little easier the first day. Here’s one of my favorites:

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3. Exercise, but with caution. I’m an avid outdoor runner, so of course one of the first things that came to my mind when the quarantine was announced was “what am I going to do if I can’t go out for a run, let alone leave the apartment?” I’m a firm believer in the importance of exercise for not just physical, but also (and almost more importantly), mental well being. Of course there are a ton of online exercise channels, but I had never been one to try this out. Now came the time.

My word of advice: don’t overdo it! The first day in quarantine I decided to do an intense Hiit cardio workout thinking it would be too difficult since I’m used to running. Wrong: the workout was great; great until I couldn’t walk the next day…

4. Buy bread. Thank goodness buying a fresh baguette is sacred here in Spain! This is one of the few “necessary” reasons why you can still leave the house, but only one person at a time and maintaining your distance if you see anyone. Yesterday I went out to buy bread at the gas station up the street. Everyone had to leave a distance of at least 2 meters between other people in line, and you had to buy the bread through a little window.

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Buying bread at the gas station

On the way back the UME (the Military Emergencies Unit) drove by me. Good thing I had the big loaf of bread or they would have asked what I was doing out. Definitely weird, but at least this is one way to get a little fresh air if you can’t take it anymore (unfortunately not for the kids though 😦

5. Take advantage of your apartment terrace if you have one. Who knew terraces could have so many uses? We’ve been living in our current apartment for almost 5 years. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve used our terrace for leisure. Usually it’s just to get something we have out there in storage or to hang up clothes on the clothes rack. It’s time to be creative. Over the past few days the terrace has been converted into a workout studio, picnic station, chalkboard, disco and weak leak to the outside world. I am counting my lucky stars now that we have the terrace!

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Pretending to go out for a run

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The terrace. Sans bikes for now

Check out this great article in thelocal.es about what some people are doing from their terraces: TheLocal.Es article. I’m waiting for our apartment complex to get on board.

To be continued. This looks like it will likely go beyond the 15 days…