A resource for families in Santa Cruz County
Going Forward after an Explosion...
Dear Parents,

I view the seemingly sudden explosion of ideas and changes that are upon us, as an outgrowth of what was simmering in plain view BC (Before Coronavirus). I'm sad for those who have experienced pain, loss of loved ones and businesses or jobs. I admire the efforts of so many to help each other. Covid-19, while horrible, is turning out to be a catalyst for change: a rekindling of family time, dinners together, increased communication between home and school, a change in where and when we work.

How does this relate to Education, a topic of great importance to families? It's as if we placed educators, techies, parents, students, governments and scientists into a mental blender and caused it to swirl, mixing and changing our notions of best practices. After a few months out spilled rebellious, creative, conflicting ideas, enlightened participants with diverse reactions to their recent experiences, newfound empathy for each other's lives, perspectives and cultures. We are re-evaluating what's important to us.

Today I'm sharing with you some provocative art icles on education, provocative in the sense that they discuss a wide range of ideas and opinions. I find that refreshing. If you persevere when reading articles with which you do not agree, if you push through, you may find some new ideas that resonate with your personal experiences. I found so many exciting ways of learning that my brain is buzzing with the positive potential!

Some, not all, camps are opening to groups of 12 children (of working parents) with a dedicated adult plus specific safety procedures. Using our CAMPS 2020 list, visit camp websites and facebook pages or call ones that interest you for their open, delay or closed plans.

Here's the latest news from the Health Department: Most recent County Health Department Release. CDC has a revised statement about how coronavirus spreads and "does not spread so easily."

Have a thoughtful weekend with lots of outdoor time, Parmalee
Parents Blog on SCP
by Jennifer Francis

"Day 62: 8am: As I lie in bed still groggy, most importantly my Husband still snoozing next to me; the boys are already at their desks beginning school work for the day. In all honesty, for the past 2 months, we have thoroughly enjoyed our new schedules and this newfound morning ease!

For the many previous years of elementary/middle schooling and work, our family has always needed to wake up at 6am and rush! Rush! Hurry! Hurry!! Make coffee, make breakfast, make lunches, make sure they hurry and get dressed, hurry and eat breakfast (no easy task for Son #2 who takes 30-40 minutes to eat)… hurry! Hurry, brush your teeth! Hurry!

They needed to be out the door 1 hr 15 minutes after they woke up so early, 7:15am on the dot, not a minute later out the door, hurry! Otherwise, the Hwy 1 traffic backs up and the masses of commuters “short cutting” though our section of rural side roads is not only insanely frustrating, but dangerous. Best to beat the madness, hurry! Then “hurry” in the 1 hr of bumper to bumper traffic, just to get to what would normally take 15 minutes. Hurry! Stress, “are we late?” Hurry!

So, now we do not need to rush out the door and wake at the butt crack of dawn.. It’s been wonderful! I have been able to relax on the bedtime curfews, although I still keep it consistent for the boys…9-9:45 sometimes 10pm, wow! Its late from their normal. This is not to say my own bedtime has been proper… 1am(ish) as I finish another Netflix episode.

The boys get up on their own and get to work.
I hear them in the other room, the little dings of Duolingo and squeaks of their chairs at their desks. They are beginning their day of online learning on their own. We’ve got our routine down now, it took a few weeks and the boys are doing really well with it, if not better in many ways, especially Son#2.

Son#2 will be in his robe until 11ish, looking like a Jedi for zoom classes, Son#1 is already dressed, he’s been up since about 7 and most likely already watched too many YouTube videos. I roll over and take my time. Maybe drift off to sleep again? Sure! But I’m more groggy than tired which is a nice change. The Boys eat when I feel like getting up. They turn the video off while they consume egg sandwiches or they can make cereal… no rush!

This part has been much appreciated!

I don’t feel guilty for staying up late, sleeping in, or rolling back over at 7:45…. eating breakfast at 9:30 and getting dressed at noonish. Our commute is only a click away these days… It’s been wonderful not to force my kids and ourselves to rush, rush, rush, and stress so much. I won’t feel guilty… Our stresses in these days take a much different form and have a much bigger, deeper and more important concern for our current world."

Jen and Bill are local parents of two boys who attended elementary and junior high schools prior to the SIP orders. With all of them at home 24/7 they have weathered the new arrangement with humor, grace and adjustments.
More Blogs about Family Life
Virtual Events
Ballet Folklorico for Ages 5+ May 15 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Graciela Vega will be offering a virtual Ballet Folklorico class every Friday, Details

Through exploration, experimentation, and experiences outdoors the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History hopes to inspire future scientists. Join us to discover a passion for nature, learning, and community. All Nature Explorers camps connect campers to their environment in fun and exciting ways that engage their natural sense of curiosity while supporting academic success.
**Nature Explorers camps will run in compliance with state and county guidance for health and safety. See our camp page for more details.**
Tech Talks are not your typical computer class. These are hands-on workshops to help you know your mobile device. This event will be taking place on the online Zoom meeting platform. Registrants will receive Zoom meeting instructions via email 24 hours and 1 hour prior to the event. Thurs, May 21, 11am-12pm
Complete List of California State Parks Open in Northern California Ready to go camping, but where?! Over last weekend, California State Parks quietly began opening parking lots to parks as the state dips its toes into Phase 2 of Covid reopening. The parking lots to 27 state parks were opened without announcement, with most of them only holding 50 percent of usual capacity. Details
SCPL offers several storytimes throughout the week. Bring a Librarian into your home for virtual storytime. Songs, crafts and tales at the click of a keyboard. Details
May 22 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
  • Free Attend this FREE virtual workshop to learn and share tips for:Common reasons why children and teens refuse to cooperate or follow instructions
  • How to prevent disobedience and increase cooperation
  • How to respond calmly and consistently when your child or teen refuses to follow directions
Prepare to be Flexible
When I saw the title, " Big Picture History: Chinese History in One Lesson ," I clicked on it and reached Outschool.org. "Outschool connects motivated learners, parents, and teachers together to create great learning experiences." Next I turned to a page of class offerings . The classes were fascinating and varied. As a teacher I could never have mastered all those topics, much less have condensed Chinese history into a half hour unless I was steeped in the entire history and well qualified to do that. Curious about how this online learning business was set up, I clicked on About and scrolled down to Meet the Team. I read each one's bio.
That's when I was struck with an understanding, a glimpse into a major educational trend, the convergence of the information age/technology and sciences with traditional learning in schools, teachers with degrees in teaching, teachers with degrees in specific subject areas + teaching methods, homeschooling, 24/7 accessible resources and professionally produced virtual learning. These young (to me) creators are not only fascinated with and dedicated to teaching, they come to it with an amazing assortment of backgrounds and credentials.

Bring together all these skills, talents and knowledge, expose millions of children, parents, traditional administrators and teachers to new educational approaches fueled by technology, mix with the natural desire of children to learn together with friends & teachers, add in the needs of working parents to go to work while their children go to school --and what will you have? Change, experiments, innovation, hybrids. If I were a sci-fi fanatic I would probably come up with even more far out ideas!

This was just one of many new online educational resources for all ages. We knew about it all along but were so busy with our busy lives that we just didn't foresee the explosive, international paradigm shift. Prepare to be flexible.

Photo: Virtual Fractions: Orange Oatmeal Cookies scaled down by a half, Mount Madonna School
Topics for the Times
Is swimming in pools safe?

By Julie Kennedy and Kylie Alsofrom
Rocketship Public Schools, a high-performing public charter network with elementary schools in California, Nashville, Milwaukee, and DC (and soon Texas), launched distance learning at most schools in a short turnaround and only one day of teacher training for all 9,634 students.

An interesting mix of history and opinion with links to additional articles espousing a variety of approaches and critiques of historical periods of education.

"More than one billion students around the world are currently missing school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trying to look at it positively, what is gained? There is so much learning that can happen this spring, within families and outside of a conventional classroom."

"Government is wholly unsuited to teach America’s students.
February 1, 1993 but full of interesting history, data" (and opinion)

"The lockdown has required many teachers and students to adapt to unfamiliar technology, and while it has also forced institutions and school districts to address issues of unequal hardware and Internet access, it has ultimately shown that education can continue outside of the traditional classroom setting for a very large number of people. This dramatic shake-up has some reappraising long-held ideas about education, and has helped to shine a light on other potentially disruptive ideas in the space. One that’s poised for widespread take-up in the wake of the lockdown is blockchain certificates for qualifications."

Someone asked me recently if I could wave a magic wand and do one "thing to improve American education what would it be. Without hesitation, I replied: Eliminate state compulsory schooling statutes. Stripping the state of its power to define and control education under a legal threat of force is a necessary step in pursuit of education freedom and parental empowerment."

It is not just about homeschooling. It is about state power over i"ndividuals, families, and children." This May 1 event has passed, however, read the article to understand the homeschooling movement and implications for future education models.

Science fiction and fantasy gets a bad rap - but ... recent research suggests it can help kids bounce back from adversity.