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Family time includes virtual zoos, indoor gardening and arts & crafts

Keeping up with the Joneses

Like pretty much all families, Lori and Jay Jones began home quarantine figuring things out on the fly, wondering what to expect and for how long.

Lori said it started with a struggle, because she was still working at her job in a pediatric dental office during the first week, and swapped childcare with a friend.

Arionna Jones shows off a somewhat modified ‘first day’ board (courtesy photo)

“Since I have been off, we have come to a decent routine, and spend our morning doing some school stuff,” said Lori, whose daughter Arionna attends kindergarten at Cedar Trails Elementary. “She loves to utilize the online resources with i-Ready and Khan Academy, but we mix in some physical paperwork as well. We already had several math, writing and comprehension workbooks, and are just finally putting them to good use.

“We try to mix in something with scissors to keep those skills improving. We have done lots of crafts like painting a T-shirt and a new picture, making hugs (see below) and drawing and painting some ceramics.”

The Joneses’ other daughter, Courtney, an eighth grader who attends school in another ISD, lives with them on weekends.

“They grow up too fast, and something to make us slow down and smell the flowers is a great reminder of that,” said Lori. “With that being said, it is really hard explaining and constantly reinforcing why they aren’t allowed to play at the neighbors that they have always hung out with. I’m finding that fine line to explain good hand washing, not touching their faces and how important it is without scaring the kiddos.”

Lori said her children have many questions, like why they all can’t go to the grocery store or eat in restaurants right now.

Arionna Jones writes in her journal during home quarantine (courtesy photo)

“The hardest part has been lack of contact with friends and family, although we do almost daily video chats with at least one school friend or family members and sometimes we get several all at once.”

Lori said she worries about many things, including whether Campus Kids Child Care will be open when she returns to work. She also worries about how the family will be able to adjust if a second wave occurs.

“Is this going to spike in the fall like the flu does? The whole thing is kind of scary on how we proceed coming out of this pandemic, until there is a vaccine available.”

A kindergartner’s thoughts about this time period away from school: “I don’t like it,” Arionna said. “I do like spending time with my mom, but I miss my friends. I can’t go to school or play with my friends.”

A bright spot: “I like to video call them with silly filter faces sometimes.”

Her favorite activities at home: “We are making hugs — life-size cut-outs of upper body with arms outstretched — to send to my family, and have painted new pictures for my room.”

Keeping up with the Joneses
Some Home Quarantine Ideas

  • Bake
  • Plant garden seeds
  • Use a globe to learn about different places and where family members and zoo animals live
  • Study the sun’s effect on the seasons, and how the Earth turns and moves
  • Spend nice days outside enjoying picnics, swinging, playing in the sand box, riding bikes/scooters, and playing catch, basketball and tetherball
  • Learn about springtime through nature and by taking walks (The Joneses talk about and explore their fruit trees)
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Color a stained-glass picture on the driveway
  • Draw an obstacle course on the driveway
  • Watch the Cincinnati Zoo Live every day to learn about animals and enjoy activities for kids
  • Read before bed, “but sometimes we’re just too worn out from the day,” Lori said.
  • Designate a slack day: For the Joneses, that’s usually Friday because dad is home — and of course, Saturday and Sunday are as well. Jay has been working at Rieth-Riley Construction Co., getting ready for road construction season.
  • Play family board games like Uno, Skip-Bo, Monopoly, Dominoes trains and their favorite, Aggravation
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Cris Greer
Cris Greer
For more than three decades, Cris Greer has been a wordsmith, working in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Much of the past decade, he helped grow the MLive Statewide High School Sports desk as a supervisor, editor and reporter, which included eight newspapers in Michigan and mlive.com. Cris also was a freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press, The Advance and On the Town magazine for many years. A good portion of his early career was spent building and managing the copywriting team in the advertising department at Meijer, Inc., where he oversaw copywriting for print ads, mailers, brochures, signage, several dozen in-house magazines per year and much more.


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