How to survive homeschooling? PART 3

INVEST (MONEY OR TIME AND EFFORT) 

If you can, invest some money to help you with homeschooling and I’m not talking about a fortune but literally a few pounds a month. Unfortunately, different clubs, activities and classes are closed at the moment but instead you can use this money to do things online or get some things delivered to your home! 

I decided to subscribe to the Twinkl website because I can download a lot of great materials there from PP presentations, posters and cards to worksheets. I also receive books on a monthly basis and I can use their educational materials on apps on my mobile, laptop or PC, so that’s a bit more variety than using just workbooks. What I liked on Twinkl is it also gives you many ideas on how you can use a messy play activity tray and I have one of those so the ideas can be used for my toddler. 

I also subscribed to Brilliant Brainz as they seem to describe important topics such as the body and mind, animals, the senses, and a lot more, in a very interesting way. The magazine is super colourful and attractive for children. And they cost only £3.99 a month! I read a bit about The Weekly Junior magazine and it looks great too as it covers different topics on politics, society and other serious and important issues, but is explained in rather plain language. However, this is something for slightly older children than mine but this may be useful for you. 

Another great thing seems to be subscription boxes. I never used them before but decided to try something that could help to make homeschooling more fun. There is a huge variety of topics and price ranges. Lots to choose from. I decided I will try an art & crafts box as we love these kinds of activities. There must be hundreds of art & crafts subscription boxes at the moment! In our first one there is a gift so we will get two boxes for the price of one. I could pick the topics and I decided to choose learning and doing activities about planets and also woodland animal puppets with a stage that my child can build to perform her plays. 

The other box I fell in love with is called Geo Journey and I really look forward to the delivery of this one! In the first box my child will get some nice luggage, a travel journal, a map, a passport and I think a few other smaller bits. Then once a month Geo the owl and her friend the puppy will send my daughter personalised letters. The animals travel the world and each month send a pack about one of the countries they visited. There is then a letter, photos, stickers, a souvenir and some cards with facts about the country. I saw some children getting packs about Egypt, France and Australia, and this really looked like fun and can teach little learners a great deal. Surely a better idea than reading about countries and trying to remember all the theories and facts. 

Of course, I understand that not everyone can invest in these things but then there are always a lot of free books (check out, for example, Oxford Owl website!) and online resources (education.com has many free resources) that you can use to make the homeschooling experience more interesting.

You don’t need to pay for Geo Journey if you don’t want to but you can borrow the idea and create a similar project! So you could decide that once a month or even once a week you make a themed day. Let’s say it’s Italian day! You could make some pasta for lunch and tell your child what Italian food is like. Find some interesting facts about this and surprise your child by telling them e.g. that Italians don’t eat their pizza with ketchup or mayo, or any other kind of sauce! You could play some Italian music and a video or two about Italy for kids on YouTube. You could also show what the Italian flag looks like and even ask your child to watch a basic Italian tutorial online and learn 3 or 5 basic words or phrases such as ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you’? Then you could give them a print out or read them facts about the famous people who come from Italy and what they are famous for. You can cover other topics such as what currency they use, how many people live in the country and perhaps a few facts from their history. You can actually make a pack with these facts and give it to your child in an envelope, just like in the Geo Journey style. Maybe you can also ask your child to do a quiz about Italy once the activities finish.

I’d like to finish this post with a beautiful quote I found in Forbes:

“(…) some parents may discover that learning outside of schooling benefited their children and strengthened their family. (…) They may realize that education without schooling is not a crisis but an opportunity” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerrymcdonald/2020/03/11/the-worlds-homeschooling-moment/#584aac7b550c)

How to survive homeschooling – PART 2

https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/

Many parents may be worried about their teaching skills, especially when most of us forgot almost everything that we learnt in school. However, nowadays there are plenty of fantastic, creative and interactive resources that can help you to prepare some simple and effective lessons for your child. You may be surprise how beneficial homeschooling can be. Hopefully, these statistics will make you feel better:

  • “Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income”
  • Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.”
  • “Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.”
  • “Research facts on homeschooling show that the home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development.”
  • “Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.” https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/
Photo from Pexels

HOURS AND BREAKS

Homeschooling doesn’t mean that your child needs to spend 4 or 6 hours a day studying at their desk. Most days 1 to 2 hours would be just perfect. I’ve read interviews with mothers who homeschooled for years and I even managed to speak to some of them; and they say that the best parts of learning take place not during ‘school hours’ at a desk but actually while visiting places such as a forest, staying in the garden, using a trampoline, reading a book, or discussing things during a car trip. 

Some of the mothers said that the freedom they have regarding scheduling learning time is precious and that homeschooling does not mean, as many people think, making sure that your child is at the desk between 9a.m. and 3pm. doing reading, maths and science. One mum said that she does 2-3 hours of school time a day four times a week and that her child learns a great deal because a lot of this time the child gets 1:1 attention in the form of teaching, feedback and discussions. 

The standard school hours don’t apply for homeschooling at all and can make things frustrating! And actually homeschooling can be a great opportunity for bonding and building a better relationship with your child. 

It’s a simple piece of advice but we may forget about regular breaks for our child if we are busy with our own work or with other children. If your child seems tired or not in the mood, maybe it’s better to take a longer break or to give them a day off so they can recharge their batteries or have a bit more fun. Be flexible and allow your child to study in places they like sometimes, like the sofa, kitchen or garden, rather than only at their desk. It can be very difficult for a child to sit for longer periods of time like that, with no friends around, and not have enough outdoor time and activities. 


LET YOUR CHILD DECIDE!

Let your child feel important and ask them sometimes what they would prefer to learn on a particular day; or if you print materials out from the Internet ask them which ones they would like to do. It’s good to involve your child in these decisions as much as possible. They will surely learn more and enjoy the experience. 

I also found it interesting being led by my child in terms of choosing some topics for learning. So she was not making plans but out of the blue she asked me or her dad why dinosaurs died, what slavery means, what the brain looks like or what’s inside the Earth, and I tried to use this interest in the topic she came up with to provoke some discussions and I showed her short videos to explain things even better. We have some great books about the Earth, nature and animals and sometimes I’d randomly pick one and tell her: Wow, did you know that… xyz? And most of the time she would jump up next to me excitedly and ask questions, and ask if I can tell her more about tornados, the penguins that visit Brazil every year, or the first toys that were found by archaeologists. 

How to survive homeschooling Part 1

When someone first envisions homeschooling, the first thought is often a family replicating the school environment at home. Lessons start promptly at 8:30am, with children working studiously around the kitchen table until a break for lunch at noon. After the lunch break, lessons continue until 2:30pm. Then the homeschool day is over. But, for a large and growing number of families, homeschooling looks absolutely nothing like this. For example, homeschooling families who identify as unschoolers make no distinction between living and learning. Children learn from the day they are born. You can’t stop them. Other homeschooling families believe in incorporating some structured academic activities into their days and weeks. Even so, these families tend to have a lot of free time to play, explore, and go on adventures compared to families with children in traditional schools.” ( You can homeschool in less than two hours per day)

Some parents seem to be quite frustrated with the homeschooling that they were suddenly asked to do during the lockdown. They don’t feel prepared, and sometimes not qualified, to do this and are not sure how to motivate their children to learn at home where they normally only had play time rather than school time. 

I must admit it was difficult for me in the beginning as well and I tried different approaches and made various schedules and I was wondering how many hours a day or a week we should do the homeschooling. I also wondered how to make it a bit easier, and more fun and interesting for the child. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Now, after weeks of trying out different methods and materials, I feel a lot more confident with this and most of the time we are actually enjoying our homeschooling experience. Therefore, I thought it may be good to share my thoughts on this topic. I hope that it can help some other parents because, if I had more instructions and advice at the beginning, I think the transition and the process of learning at home would be a lot smoother and easier for us. 

The best thing about homeschooling is that there is just so much FREEDOM and FLEXIBILITY and a huge room for CREATIVITY. There is no one perfect way to do this because different things will work for different people. And that’s beautiful about it!

According to a recent BBC article, approx. 50% of parents decided not to send their children back to school even though they were eligible to come back to their classes on 1st June (in England). This is of course a hot topic nowadays and usually whatever your side and opinion is on this there are always some that will criticise you. You are sending your child to school? Wait, that’s not responsible! The fight against covid-19 is not finished yet and we don’t have the situation under control! You are leaving your child at home? What? Wait, this is crazy! Fewer people die of covid-19 now than some weeks ago and we must go back to a normal life. How long do you think you can be hiding like that?

It doesn’t matter on which side you are – you won’t win. So why not try to respect the decisions of others? I know some of you decided to keep the children at home but you are still struggling with the homeschooling so I thought you may get some ideas for improvements after reading this post. 

FUN AND VARIETY

Try to make it fun. Yes, as you read more of the post, you will see that it can be fun. I give my daughter some arts & crafts activities, nearly daily, and I also call them homework so she can associate this word with something that she likes – painting, play dough, drawing, making origami, etc. not only sitting and doing maths tasks. 

I think it’s important to change the formats of the learning materials to make sure the child doesn’t get too bored with the learning. So, worksheets are great but there are also a lot more methods many of which are interactive. There are documentary videos, themed songs, PowerPoint presentations (ready to use on websites such as Twinkl, or you can do some on your own once in a while; copying and pasting some images and information from different websites is quick and easy). 

Recently, my daughter had a task sent to us by her school about the animal kingdom and we decided to do some more learning on this topic. I played two videos for kids on YouTube so she could better remember the differences between reptiles and amphibians. I also asked her to cut out animals from magazines and some old cards that she had, and then to group them into animal group categories. We made a poster about different animal groups too and put it on a wall for some time so she could remember things better. 

Remember about PE too. It doesn’t have to be a 30-min workout with famous instructor Joe if your child doesn’t feel like doing it. Maybe you can make a deal that it’s okay to do five minutes skipping with a rope instead. This is a very intense exercise and can be done quickly. Trampoline, bike, scooter, Zumba or Yoga for kids on YouTube – there is so much choice for your child. My husband gives our child some taekwondo lessons sometimes. Maybe your child could join you for an online fitness class.  You could ask your child to do the exercises every other day and each time it could be a different type of exercise. It will surely make it more fun. 

How your twenties launch the rest of your life.

Finally it has arrived…

Released just a few weeks ago in the genre of personal development it’s The Rocket Years – How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life by Elizabeth Segran. I bought it as a present for someone in their twenties and I really hope they will read it. I wish I had got this informative and thought-provoking book when I was in my twenties! This period of our lives can really be challenging, influential and sometimes confusing. It can be a real roller-coaster. I love the message that the book sends out – that we have the power to create a meaningful life. 

The book discusses topics such as career, hobbies, fitness, family, friendship, politics and faith. So much variety for one book, isn’t it? The book draws on many recent findings and discusses each topic in combination with the author’s own personal observations of life. The writer explains why politics or friendships are important in one’s twenties and what impact they have later on our lives. It’s such an inspirational and interesting book. I actually thought – I’ve always loved to dig in various research findings about health, personal development, or fitness – why had I not yet collected the most important research findings from at least the last decade for myself and my family? It would be great to know some of these things years earlier, ideally… in my twenties!

If you are interested in the book, it can be bought here: https://amzn.to/30kc4mr

A few quotes from the book:

“I’d assume that an “exit to adulthood” sign would pop up somewhere in my twenties, pointing me to the moment when my decisions would suddenly matter. But that never happened. In the midst of all that carefree adventure, I made choices that shaped almost every aspect of my present reality. My life as a writer, wife, and mother is the direct result of how I reacted when my dream career went up in flames and my romantic relationships fell apart. And somehow, while I wasn’t paying attention, I built a tribe of friends, formed habits and routines, and cultivated values that will serve me for the rest of my life.

I wish there had been some sort of guidebook to help me navigate the choices that lay before me in those years… I wish I’d had a framework to help me wrestle with the existential questions that occasionally drifted into my mind, catching me by surprise…Is there really such a thing as a dream job? What about a soul mate? What will I do with my… precious life?… What will it take to create the life I… desire?

***

“…perception of my peers’ success may have been the trick mirror of social media at work; career twists and turns in your rocket years are actually the norm… But… the data reveal that most people will eventually find deeply satisfying work. It just takes longer than you might expect. The road there is almost always filled with turns, detours, and long periods of being stuck in one place, unsure of where to go next. If you persist, though, there’s a very good chance that you will nab your dream job.”

***

“A 2015 medical study suggested that hobbies could be an intervention for improving health and well-being in daily life, after finding that people who practiced them experienced more happiness and less stress...Surveys have found that 20 percent of the population have no hobbies at all. A quarter has a single hobby they practice regularly. And a little over half the population has multiple hobbies. [However] research shows that leisure time is effectively shrinking. Today’s twenty somethings are on track to have less time for hobbies than their parents and grandparents did. “

How to survive homeschooling? PART 4

BALANCE

While preparing tasks and lessons think how you can create some balance so you can spend some time teaching your child and explaining things to them, or checking their work and giving them feedback. However, it is also a good idea to ensure that your child can learn to some extent on their own – by reading, doing exercises, watching documentaries, creating projects or researching. They learn how to become more independent and you can have some time for your work, chores or for quiet ‘me time’. 

I think a more relaxed and flexible approach is working best for my family as long as we try to show our children that learning can be something that can be enjoyed, something that gives us satisfaction when we see our progress. That’s what personal development is about, isn’t it? It would be great to use a bit of this homeschool time to make your child enthusiastic about personal growth.

I did quite a bit of research about homeschooled children and… What surprised me a lot is that according to many different research studies, homeschooled children are doing better at tests such as GCSEs or A levels. They also seem to be more mature, think more independently, cause less trouble and have more knowledge than their colleagues who attended school. What’s more, homeschooled children tend to watch a lot less TV than children who go to school. 

Unfortunately, homeschooling parents tend to face a lot of criticism as the phenomenon is not very well understood yet. There are a few thousands families homeschooling in the UK (*and over 2 million in the USA) at the moment but many parents say there is little support from outside. One of the main criticisms is about socialising. However, studies show that many homeschooled children go to universities and do not have trouble socialising with others. Actually, they are more likely to vote, volunteer and do different projects for various organisations! The most important thing to remember is that homeschooling doesn’t mean sitting within four walls and getting weird.

There are many styles of homeschooling such as worldschooling, roadschooling, wildschooling, and the classical, eclectic or Montessori approach. I think if this is completely new to you, it is definitely worth doing a bit of research and reading more about it in depth. Some ideas are brilliant and can contribute a lot to your child’s well-being and help them to achieve their potentials. Homeschooled children actually learn a lot of practical things. They also have more time to go out on trips, and to do different classes such as dancing or martial arts where they meet lots of people and make friends.

One recent survey showed that 23% of British parents have noticed the benefits of homeschooling, which include being in control of what the child is learning and creating better family bonds, and consequentially they are considering homeschooling after the lockdown has finished.

Homeschooling can be challenging sometimes but it can also be turned into a great journey when you spend some really good quality time with your child learning things from each other. Children can also teach us a lot – 

– to care more

– to be more spontaneous,

– to be more passionate

– to worry less

– to forget about the phone, work and laptop sometimes and enjoy life more

– to laugh and smile more often

– to be kind

– to not be scared to ask questions and keep being curious about life!

And what’s also a great benefit of homeschooling is that we as parents tend to research different topics for our children and learn things with them.

I hope I persuaded you that homeschooling can be valuable and fun. Remember, you and your child are not at school so you can apply your own rules and schedules, and it is all up to you. You can control it and change things as you like. If you think it’s difficult and boring then it will be this way. If you believe it can be a fantastic opportunity and experience – then this is how it’s going to be!

Would you recommend any resources that have been helping you with homeschooling?

I’m aware that there have been some problems with leaving comments under blog posts recently. I will check if I can sort this out from my end but if you would like to speak to me or share any resources that are helpful for homeschooling please email me:  hello@mindset4progress.com

2020: New book releases in the field of productivity and personal development

Let’s have a look at a few new books releases that seem really interesting: 

1. 10 Days to Overcome Procrastination Addiction: Take Action & Get More Done by A. Andrews

10 Days To Overcome Procrastination Addiction: Take Action & Get More Done by [Alexander Andrews]

This book was published this month. I think sometimes there may be a fine line between recharging your batteries and procrastination. However, even procrastination can sometimes be quite good for you and, according to scientists, it is a natural and normal developmental stage in teenage years. It can lead to creativity and make our life better as we can find solutions to problems more easily, re-consider our goals, and so on. Of course too much procrastination isn’t good for us. 

In January this year 1,000 people participated in an online Google survey. Nearly 30% admitted that they procrastinate sometimes … which seems fine, right? A little over 22% said they do it often and approximately 20% of people do it every day. That’s a bit more than we would like, I guess. 

What’s interesting is that around 22,500 people a month ask Google ‘How to stop procrastinating?‘. There are many others who look for answers in books or perhaps ask for advice from a friend or family member. It is a common thing, nothing to be too ashamed about but as with everything else we need a healthy balance. If we feel like we procrastinate too often, this book may be very helpful. 

2. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by Bj Fogg.

See the source image

It’s true, isn’t it? Many of us know that small changes can make a huge impact in our lives. This book will take you through various topics such as motivation, ability, emotions and other aspects that have an impact on creating habits. The emphasis in this book is on the word ‘tiny’ so it seems doable and not overwhelming. 

Most authors agree that we need 30-60 days to create new habits; however, it’s worth remembering that according to scientific studies (e.g. P. Lally) it can even take up to 254 days! I’m not saying this to discourage you, but rather so you bear in mind that quitting shouldn’t be the best solution if the new habit doesn’t seem to be formed within a month or so. We may give up for a day or two as it may be hard to continue doing something that is new to us. However, if it is important for us, we should re-consider if there are any other ways of doing things (maybe instead of running 30min every day it would be better to start with 3-4 x a week?).

3. The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Home Organization and Storage Guided Journal for Making Space Clutter-Free) by C. Aarsen

The Declutter Challenge: A Guided Journal for Getting your Home Organized in 30 Quick Steps (Home Organization and Storage Guided Journal for Making Space Clutter-Free) by [Cassandra Aarssen]

I’ve included this book in the list, because having an organised space and environment around you makes life so much simpler and work so much more productive that it can reduce your housework by… 40%! If you can’t find things you need, and you feel like you have a million things at home and many don’t have their proper dedicated space, then it will draw lots of your energy and you will often feel frustrated, angry, guilty, anxious and stressed! Organised space can make you feel much calmer and more energised. Think of all the extra time you’d have for your family, projects, hobbies, work or simply for yourself, your personal growth perhaps. This book by C. Aarsen is out since 14th May. 

4. TimeCrafting: A Better Way to Get the Right Things Done by M.Vardy

The author promises that time-management does not have to be complicated and complex. He offers a method focusing on Mindset, Method and Mastery. The book is filled with real life examples so it may be easier to identify with some of the scenarios and see how the method can best work for us. The title will be released on 30th July and it will cost £16.95; however, if you’d like to see what the author has to offer you can also check out his e-books which are only £0.99 (Beyond Trying and (Pre)Productivityism). 

Do you feel you may find one of these books useful? What topic in personal growth and productivity fields interests you most?

* Sources: organizedinteriors.com, amazon.co.uk, microbizmag.co.uk

Interesting statistics on organisation and de-cluttering!

concentrated-woman-carrying-stack-of-cardboard-boxes-for-3791617

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? I’m a big fan of her method which encourages people to … well, throw most of their stuff away and turn more towards minimalism (Of course, there are some rules about getting rid of things if you check her books out). I’ve partly tried her method (partly, because leaving only 30 books on my shelves would look a bit sad, so I still keep a lot more than that) and I got some great results. I find her series on Netflix and Marie Kondo’s Facebook groups motivating and inspiring! Seriously, when I think I should organise some space around me and clean my house but don’t feel like it and would prefer to procrastinate, then I watch or read a bit about Marie’s method – e.g. how other people deal with de-cluttering and what amazing results they achieve if they put in a bit of effort; it gives me a motivational kick. Marie’s method made such a big impact on my life that I like to see now and then what other authors offer on this topic.

For example, there is a new book release coming up soon. Found in the personal development/time-management section, it is Beyond Tidy: Declutter Your Mind and Discover the Magic of Organized Living by A. Brogan. I wonder whether this book may give me some new perspectives, surprisingly simple and creative ideas, or advice I haven’t come across before. Or will it just be a rehash of what I already know?Why is it so important to have an organised space? Of course because it makes us happier and more relaxed; but why would it make us feel this way?

Studies reveal that we only use 20% of what we own. Meanwhile, we will each spend on average about 3,680 hours in our lifetime searching for misplaced items. It is also worth noting that if we could rid ourselves of clutter we would eliminate about 40% of housework.

I’m wondering what you feel is the most problematic area of your home. What part would you most like to declutter and organise? Or have you tried this already and feel that it was successful?

Some surprising facts about Lockdown

I read an article on the BBC website called CoronavirusEight things that have kept us going in lockdown. You may be interested to know what they were, so let me briefly summarise with some examples:

* socialising virtually (47% of people admit they are on social media more now than before the lockdown),

* watching films (by approx. 5hrs more a week!)

* spending more time with people we live with and helping neighbours,

* exercising (about 52% of us believe that exercising outside aids with mental health),

* cooking, gardening, reading,

* doing DYI, spending more on home comforts, and one in 10 of us are learning new things. 

acoustic-adult-close-up-fun-346726

That sounds great, inspiring and really positive, doesn’t it? And the most interesting sentence I read just at the end of the article was:

“YouGov polling suggests fewer than one in 10 people (9%) actually want life to return to ‘normal’ after the coronavirus outbreak is over.”

Wow, that’s a big one, isn’t it? I’m curious what you guys think about it!

Many people catch-up with their housework, refurbish their houses, learn new things or spend more time on things they love. Yet many seem to feel that admitting that the temporary lockdown may be a good thing is somehow not right or moral. There are so many people suffering and dying, so many of us feel it isn’t right to be happy at this time.

I believe we should count our blessings and live in the present moment, and if we can be happy then that is definitely good and the right thing to be. The world has countless problems. We can’t be depressed because the world is suffering. We should try to turn some bad into good if we can and use this time well. There is already so much negative thinking and coverage in the media.

Being happy that we are healthy and have more time for our family and catching up with things or learning new things is not just beneficial, but amazing, don’t you think? Whatever we feel about it, whether we feel confused, scared, depressed or relieved, let’s try to make the most of this unusual time as the likelihood it will repeat is very small. Let’s use this as an opportunity.

LET’S BE THE ENERGY WE WANT TO ATTRACT!

We are all part-time residents of the future! – and this is not a science fiction post. 

We are often told to live in the moment. However, we are also aware how important it is to spend some time on planning our future and working on our present self so our future self is happier and more successful.

Future planning happens in the frontal lobe of the brain. And guess what? That’s where anxiety is born too. Actually, if we think of it, this seems right because our future is unknown and can create some anxiety:

* we might be afraid to go for an interview
* we might be counting our finances and worry that they won’t stretch till next pay day.
* we might be scared that we may lose our job due to the pandemic, regardless of how secure our job may seem in reality.

adult-displeased-businesswoman-with-papers-in-light-modern-3808822

I recently came back to reading a great book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. The author mentions how once doctors used to remove frontal lobes to make patients calmer. The anxiety was gone. Brilliant! Although they soon realised that planning skills were gone with it. If you asked a person who had their frontal lobe removed or damaged what they would do in the afternoon or tomorrow they would probably answer, “I don’t know.” And this is not because they hadn’t made their plans yet. They said it because they saw even the near future as we see infinity: far too abstract and confusing to grasp.
What I find very interesting is that our frontal lobe is the slowest to mature when we are little and also the first that deteriorates in old age!

How much time do you think we spend “in the future” per day on average?

man-in-blue-crew-neck-shirt-wearing-black-framed-eyeglasses-3905604

“When researchers actually ‘count’ the items that float in the average person’s stream of consciousness, they find that about 12% of our daily thoughts are about the future. In other words, every eight hours of thinking includes an hour of thinking about things that have yet to happen … which is to say that in some very real sense, each of us is a part-time resident of tomorrow.”(Stumbling on Happiness, D.Gilbert)

There is surely a lot to think about in the present already so why do we spend so much time on thinking about the future? Of course, conscious planning is a fantastic skill as long as we plan in details no more than a week ahead, and if we make daily plans it’s best to include a few items a day rather than a long list of things that must be done. Lengthy to-do lists create anxiety; they are not always doable because we don’t allow time for interruptions and emergencies that require flexibility.

Planning is good but so is daydreaming. It can help us to relax. Life is always better in our daydreams: getting the work we want, looking better and feeling happier, having more energy. It’s a good way to recharge our batteries. Daydream for too long, though, and you may waste a lot of valuable time. It’s all about balance.

We now know that we tend to think approximately 12% of our time about the future, which is quite a lot considering how busy many of us are. Maybe that’s a reminder for us to stop focusing on the future so much, especially when many of these thoughts are worries and what-ifs , and are not necessary in most cases. Dealing with this issue can help to create some extra real time for ourselves.

And this has just given me an idea to one day write a post about dealing with “what-ifs” more effectively. Please let me know in the comments if this would interest you.

Full of new ideas and inspiration!

It must be tough for many of you trying to function normally when most countries are under strict lockdown due to Covid-19. It must be extra hard for vulnerable people such as the elderly, especially if they live on their own; or families with small children, particularly those without gardens. It’s really weird and also sad that we cannot go out to meet friends or other family members, or go for a trip, or even go out to buy craft materials, books or clothes and so on. I know we have Amazon and eBay but it’s a different experience and I like to see my books or clothes before I buy them.

I still follow the news but not so much as in the first weeks of the pandemic. And I feel so much better. I’ve decided to focus on family life, hobbies and health instead. One of the things that helps me feel really good is exercise. Finding the motivation to do it was hard at first, but I decided it must be done in the morning as early as possible (Although experience has taught me I have to have a light breakfast first! Once I fainted at the gym because my sugar level was too low and paramedics had to be called!). So, yes, early morning exercises or I probably won’t manage to do them. I don’t really enjoy these workouts but to motivate myself I think about the feeling and energy boost I will have during the day because of them! And it’s been working well!

I’m pretty busy with two small children and a part-time admin job that I do from home. I’ve had to put my photography business on hold for now but there is always something to do in the house. And if you know me in person you know that I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t use this time to do something creative.

This is how Papers or scissors has been created. It is not something entirely new. I actually had a page on Instagram with children’s activities some time ago but then I guess the demands of life intervened. I abandoned my projects for some time. The lockdown has become a way for many people to start or return to creative activities. And that’s what it means for me as well. Partly not to get crazy I guess, and partly because I need to entertain my children more than before, we started a Facebook Page, and modified a few bits on the Instagram Page. What do we do? Simple delicious recipes, experiments, short Polish and Portuguese lessons, fun stuff, crafts – all this you can find on Paper or scissors on Facebook and Instagram now.

I have a sentimental attachment to this blog and I recently re-opened it, while I was looking for a new name for my children’s activities page… I read some old blog posts and regretted that I didn’t carry this on… Happiness, science, new releases in the field of self-growth, and other topics that are so interesting! I always tried to include as many reliable and accurate scientific findings as I could, not just giving obvious advice such as “get motivated!” and “try not to check your phone so often” but something extra, with statistics, facts, and more in-depth details rather than general well-known facts. I may not be here as often as I used to be but, hopefully, when I am, you will find some valuable and interesting stuff on the blog! I have lots of new ideas for inspiring posts!

Watch this space. More coming soon! 😉