Have you noticed how, quite often, the simplest times with our grandkids are the sweetest? One of my grandsons spent the night last week and we had the best time reading through his graphic Bible and learning about Jesus in the temple, playing Hangman together (where I used some of the words from our Bible time, along with animal words from our time learning about Orangatans with the Wild Kratts), and laughing hilariously at the photos he snapped of both of us with his favorite iPhone camera app – CamWow! You didn't know that I"m part-alien, did you?. 🙂 (It's actually what Camwow did with my two hands holding an iPhone.)
We then enjoyed sending some of those photos to his parents via email and saving most of them for my computer screensaver for both of us to enjoy for years to come, not to mention planning to use a couple of them for a Christmas Smilebox for some beloved long distance senior relatives. I gotta say, I do appreciate my iPhone and its grand apps! It's so handy for all of us in the Sandwich Generation, not to mention our grandkids! And talk about delightful times full of learning, laughter, and love – sweet family memories, indeed.
School is starting for some of our grandkids and has already started for others. For those of us babysitting grandchildren often, we may also be involved in helping with different aspects of their education – from tutoring after traditional classes to being involved in homeschooling projects. It can be a big help for our families and great brain exercise for all of us. And it can even be downright fun to learn new things along with the grandkids!
Some of the ways I proactively work at helping with my grandkids homework are:
- I find out if they have a list of books they have to read and include those in our reading times together. I've even been able to do this with my long distance grandkids – either reading to them over the phone, or even more fun -during FaceTime with an iPhone or iPad. Then you can even show them the pictures. One caveat on that – if the book doesn't hold their attention well, they are more likely to get bored via phone or FaceTime then when we are cuddling together so you may need to read in shorter spurts over the phone.
- As my schedule permits, my kids know I am available to be a backup volunteer for field trips.when their parents can't make it. This was especially helpful when little brothers and sisters were about to pop out any day as well as when work scheduled kept parents from being able to help.
- I made "homework help times" a regular part of my grandkid time from the beginning. I've found that as they grow older, they are used to that and it's easier to work with them when the homework gets tougher. The hard part is when their homework gets tougher than granny nanny can handle. 🙂
- I always watch the "back to school" sales (going on RIGHT NOW) and stock up so that I have plenty of school supplies like pencils, pens, markers, glue, paper, etc. on hand for homework AND for times they spend the night before going to school the next day. Makes for much less stress during the visit – especially last minute visits.
- I keep locker, class schedule, and other pertinent information in a file in Evernote. That way, if an unexpected need arises for me to pick up a grandchlld or drop off items or pick up schoolbooks on a sick day, I am much better prepared. I also keep any calendars there so I don't miss important dates like Grandparents Day at the school. (Now if I could just add a jet planet to Evernote so I could attend the long distance grandparents day festivities…)
- I keep my iPhone loaded with the best educational iPhone apps I can find like Hangmath for the younger grandchildren and a cool graphing calculator for the teen dealing with algebra. It may be a bit above my head (I was NEVER great at math) but that calculater should be a big help.
- For that matter, I also have some helpful resource books in my Kindle for English grammar and math, along with a good dictionary and thesaurus. It can definitely pay to be prepared even when you are not at home.
- Also, any time the grandkids have any kind of CD with info that they need to memorize, I add it to my iPod and play it regularly in my car to help them with their memory work.
- I love setting a positive example for my grandkids. They cheered my on when I earned my AA a few years ago. Now they see me studying a textbook for a nursing assistant class that is proving to be a wealth of information for caring for aging parents not to mention a big help for general colds and bugs, as well as any special needs that may arise in any of our families.. And when they complain about hard homework and tests, I can truly empathize yet point out if this here aging grandma can do it, their young brain cells certainly can too. 🙂
- As with most, if not all. grandparents out there, I'm a mega cheerleader for all my grandkids – sharing with them practical reasons for learning the various subjects at school and encouraging them to keep working hard and learning lots and cheering at all they do and accomplish.
Well, those are some of the ways I get involved with helping the grandkids during the school year. Got more ideas? We'd love to hear them. And to all of us grandparents, in AND out of the Sandwich Generation – HAPPY SCHOOL DAYS!
While my senior mom was resting yesterday and I was playing checkers with my grandson, I also kept a close eye on my iPhone weather apps. Storms were headed our way, with the possibility they might be severe and I wanted to make sure I stayed on top of the situation so we could unplug computers if necessary.
As I did so, I realized I should share the most useful iPhone weather apps and resources I've found (and I've tested a bunch, believe me!). My current faves are:
- The Weather Channel
- Storm Spotter
- NOAA Radio
- Facebook – I follow Severe Weather Net, Tropical Weather Net, and some local weather groups – both local TV news and private pages (one way to find ones in your local area – type your city or area along with the words Severe Weather into the Facebook search space).
- Three local TV station weather apps – I usually just go to the apps search box and type in the local radio news stations to find those.
Whew! The major part of the storms bypassed our areas. But if they had headed our way, these apps and resources would have kept me posted. Since my computers are still plugged in, though, that means we can join in the fun at Pink Saturday instead. A fun way of destressing and "taking care of the Sandwich Generation caregiver," don't you think? Have fun. Have a great Pink Saturday. Let us know if YOU have some great iPhone weather apps or resources. And…
Oh my! Our hint of autumn went straight back to summer with record temps, just in time for a fun outdoor art club meeting for some of my grandkids and me. But with the help of baby wipes and water bottles, we survived the heat and enjoyed the class and the fun get-together immensely.
Now we're back to under-norm summer coolness – hooray! I'm telling you, the weather has definitely been doing pogo stick jumps a LOT this whole year, hasn't it?
But our Sandwich Generation family is hanging in there in spite of all the wacky weather. Thanks to the new treadmill, my senior mom is able to walk again which is great, in spite of the weather and air quality. And when the heat gets too much for the grandkids, those fun iPhone apps for kids definitely keep coming in handy.
Today, I had another grandchild and one of his friends over for a couple of hours. We enjoyed a few minutes of HOT dodgeball outside, then headed inside for some cooler fun with the big boxes along with scooters in the garage. Then it was time to head home so we decided it was definitely time for some very cool iPhone apps from Grandma's cell phones. Their faves today? The exciting Power Rangers Samurai Steel for my grandson while his bud enjoyed checking out the building games, Tiny Tower and TowerBloxx. I keep those in my LEGO apps file as they reminded me somewhat like LEGO building.
The kids were thrilled and enjoyed the day thoroughly, making plans to get together again soon. My senior mom enjoyed watching them for a bit before resting. It was definitely a fun time, in spite of the wacky hot weather.