Small Things#26 – Distance learning on the go!

The third trimester in the U.S. schools is from April to June, when education is in full swing but this year, Covid 19 has changed everything.

Educators are scampering for smooth running of distance learning programs to complete the courses. Their efforts are laudable in reaching out to every student through apps like Seesaw, Starfall and Epic.

But really, onus is now on parents to coordinate and make sure that kids are doing their tasks rather than exploring stuff on the tablets and iPads – the devices that were once banned at homes.

At my place, the distance learning was a little haphazard with mixed up activities and responses in the first week but this week it is better. I believe, homeschooling kids would be tough for working parents (working from home due to coronavirus) who might have to to balance work while making sure the kids are doing their job in between meal times and other duties.

Parenting and distance learning are now going side by side. Task it is, but it’s for the sake of our kids, right? So, I am thankful and have started getting a hang of how homeschooling works.

Teachers post activities on the Seesaw app and communicate through emails while students are expected to respond and answer. There is also a timetable that divides the time to what they are expected to do every 30 minutes. It is hard to enforce the time table at home, so it is made flexible and that is a relief.

Also, the principal and teachers are posting some videos to make it all look normal to the kids. And they are asking for feedback and help to make it work. Great effort!

There are a few glitches which we need to handle because I believe this distance learning will last till the end of the term or may be more than that.

As for me, I am learning to handle my third graders math problems in the way he has been taught (which is so different from what I learned decades ago).

It should be remembered that there are no prescribed text books or answer copies in the U.S. Students do not carry books and notebooks to school. It is all hands on learning, which is different from how I studied.

I am also learning to manage the learning apps with my kindergartner. I am trying to make it all work. I guess, the distance learning is also educating me, in a different way.

Education is a shared commitment among students, educators and parents. In the current scenario, I feel, enthusiastic involvement of parents is required more than ever. “Children are the priority, change is the reality, collaboration is the strategy.”

The great thing is – We are in this together!

Images courtesy Google

 

 

 

 

 

Ram Navami Special – To you we surrender!

This year, the festival of Ram Navami brings immense hope and light to our world, which is being ravaged by disease and sorrow.

We all need a break from the continuous news of distress and hopelessness due to Covid 19. And Ram Navami has arrived just in time to remind us of the value and benefits of surrender.

Just the sight of the lotus feet of Shri Ram assuages all fear and problems regarding the future. We are reminded that He is there, He will take care of the world. Ram, to you, we surrender completely!

I wish you all  Sukh (happines), Samridhi (wealth), Shanti (peace), Saubhagya (good luck) and Swasthya (health) on the birthday of Sri Hari. May with the blessings of Shri Ram everything works out well for you, your family and our world. Jai Shri Ram!

(Images courtesy Google)

 

 

A PAUSE…in the History of Time!

‘London Statue STOP’ – the denner would yell and all of us would stop, statue-like in whatever positions we were.

Those who moved would be out of the game, some would nudge and poke, some would hastily change positions, while many would simply enjoy the pause. But that pause was for a game and this pause amid Coronavirus is for…life itself. Distressing, funny, confusing, unprecedented…

India has locked down completely, USA is in turmoil with more than 3.8 million unemployed people, Spain and Italy are under great pressure, countries are taking desperate measures.

For the first time in history, no one is in control of the situation. And humans don’t like not being in control. Who is the denner? When will he say – Go?

This sudden pause…a break in our fast paced lifestyles is toppling, wrecking, shaking and affecting many lives. Many people have readily halted while many are still coming to a screeching halt. Each one of us has been affected in some way or the other.

Suddenly, everything we ever knew has paused. And there are grim realities and uncertainties to deal with – life, family, jobs, education, salary, food…! And moreover, there is no end in sight to this ordeal.

Yes, for the first time we realize no one has control over this situation. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Leaders, Millionaires… no one.

And no one knows how this crisis will come to an end – may be a cure, or unknown cause or certain steps would work. But one thing is for sure – we will prevail. Until then, we have to pause and wait.

And in this pause, there are great questions and realizations –

Where did we go wrong?

We need so little to survive, so why the greed?

What were we running after?

Has anything ever been in our hands?

What’s the use of power, wealth and luxuries when an invisible, dead virus can threaten it?

What is the most important thing for us, right now?

Who are the people in our support system? Are we taking care of them?

If we are to die tomorrow, what would matter most?

What selfless deeds have we done?

Where does our hope lie?

How important are we to others?

The answers to this questions are humbling and point out to all those things that are truly dear to our hearts. Just that much is really required for life.

Rest of the things are just extras but the people, ideals and things that matter to us in times like this form our core.

And in this pause there is great understanding. Just like the silence after AUM is as powerful as the mantra itself, similarly, this pause is profound. Who knows the human race might change for better after experiencing this crisis!

So let’s be there for others, practice gratitude and be loving, sensitive and kind… for we never know what others are going through.

One day, the denner up there will say – Go. And life will start running and go back to normal. We will return to our ordinary existence but the way we endured and handled the crisis during this extraordinary time will stay with us forever.

Heroes are not always those who fight and win but those spirited people who brave the crisis with courage, determination, cheerfulness and dignity.

This pause is an opportunity to realize and be our best self. We owe this to us and to all other living beings. Let’s make the best use of this PAUSE.

(Image courtesy Google)

One virus that not just impacted health…

I saw them all falling victim during this peace time war-like situation…

A little, broken boy who depended on school meals…

An assistant teacher who had been saving for college tuition…

An old lady who picked leftovers from empty racks at her grocery store…

One sudden layoff that left a family in a lurch…

A single mom who got released from her job in a closing restaurant…

A sick girl who had been waiting for Spring to play in the park…

A housewife who struggled to keep kids quiet as the husband worked from home…

A family that had saved and booked for a vacation…

A student who wanted to pass an exam to support his family…

A family whose visa needs demanded travel during hazardous times…

Parents who had made plans for their daughter’s wedding…

A niece who wanted to visit her dying aunt in a different city…

A family stuck in another country waiting for this ordeal to pass…

So many lives have stopped, changed and jolted as coronavirus continues to spread around the world…

But I have immense faith in the resilience of the human spirit. Hang in there, this too shall pass!🙏🏻

(Image courtesy Google)

Coronavirus Scare – Unavailability of hand sanitizers

Today, my husband went shop to shop from Cub, Walgreens, Target, Dollar Tree to CVS until he found the last bottle of hand sanitizer in one of the Cub stores at a different location.

Using hand sanitizers are currently the best bet against Coronavirus.

The racks are running empty as people are stocking up sanitizers, masks and other grocery items. Even online, the prices of hand sanitizers are going high. We checked Amazon.

This episode made me realize how actively people are taking precautionary measures in Minnesota before the virus actually spreads.

We have a tendency to not take things seriously but this quote on the deadly virus made me realize to make a move before things go out of hand – “Everything we do before a pandemic seems alarmist. Everything we do after will seem adequate” – M. Leavitt.

Coronavirus is a pandemic and the old saying still runs true – precaution is better than cure.

Do stock up things which you will need in the worst-case scenario.

Wishing you health and happiness!

Just a thought – Tulips greeting the spring?

These are my husband’s Tulips and they are blooming now! Does this mean Spring is here? Is it good-bye time for long, harsh winters? Are we getting the colors back on the white canvas that Minnesota is now?

Tulips shyly smiling, greet the spring
Tightly closed when at 
First we meet
Tulips slowly opening, begin to sing
Gaining volume 
Ever sweet

No longer shy, as days grow longer
Raising their heads
They begin to flirt
Tulips dressed in many a color
Breezes swirling
Each floral skirt

  • Mary Havran

Looking forward to seeing colors back on this landscape!

Paw Things#4 – A blog by a Dog (cute pics included)

 

Hi, there! I am Happy. It has been long since someone wrote something about me. Hmmm…so, I took the liberty to post my own Paw Things with many selfies and pics.

I am all grown up now, but still have that cute puppy face. Don’t you think so?

In January, I was unwell for about a week and there seemed to be a major health issue. It scared my family. But all turned out well in the end.

I am all hale and hearty now. I love to run in the snow and sniff around. I probably scare off the hibernating rabbits and squirrels. But what the heck, Spring is coming…they should gear up!

No, snow does not bother me at all. I love to eat a mouthful every now and then, when no one is watching.

There is something about the lake. I love to meditate near it.

This is my favorite spot. And my favorite thing in the world? Sleep Yoga!

I always wait for the boys to come from school. It is super exciting when they get down from the bus and run towards home.

I had fun sledding with the boys!

Yesterday, the boys enjoyed adding effects to my pic. Hmmm…do I look grumpy? Grumpy-Happy Dog!

Hope you enjoyed my pictures. I think Spring is around the corner and we will have more outdoor activities. I will share more pics soon. Till then, bye from Happy! Love Bark!