Turn your home into Hogwarts: Super simple ways to make e-learning magical!
The Harry Potter movies have been playing in my house non-stop since we started #stayinghome and when they're not playing, I usually have a Harry Potter inspired ambient room playing on a screen near my workspace. (I'll explain more about the ambient room thing in a minute) I have also been reading about ways all of us are dealing with our entire families now staying home with kids of all ages e-learning. It can be overwhelming! Since I work from home and surround myself with my fandom things all day to keep me motivated and inspired, I thought I'd share some ideas that you can really easily add to your (and your kids) days at home!
Sort everyone in your house into their Hogwarts House!
On the official website for all things Harry Potter (wizardingworld.com), you can go to the 'sorting hat' and have your house chosen for you. From there, you can theme some fun activities around the house traits and do things like House Pride days where everyone wears something that's in their house colors!
Pretend you're studying or working in the Hogwarts Library or your House common room
I do this almost every day. I have two screens on my desk and on the side screen I pull up YouTube and find my favorite Harry Potter inspired ambient room. I find that music or TV is often too distracting when I'm working but these ambient rooms have background sounds that are soothing and relaxing. For your kids, you could pull up YouTube on most smart TVs (and I know we can through Comcast Xfinity as well) and have these ambient rooms playing on the big TV while everyone is studying or working! It's such a fun way to bring Hogwarts right in to your house and make you feel like you're there. I have made a playlist of some of my favorites. ASMR Weekly even has a 7 hour video that runs through a dozen or more Harry Potter locations!
Rename classes, work and chores with magical names
This costs nothing and takes so little time, but I think it could be super fun. If you're helping your kids organize their days and get through each subject, give those boring subject names a magical twist! Time for science? It's Potions Class! Math work to do? Join Hermione in Arithmancy class! Language arts = Defense Against the Dark Arts! Dishes to do? We could turn that into cleaning the cauldrons! (ha! Ok they probably won't buy the last one, but it's worth a try.)
Take breaks to practice wand movements and spells
Speaking of classes, set a timer and have everyone in the house take regular breaks to do a little spellwork! It's a fun way to take a break and add a little magic. On the inside back cover of our Harry Potter undated Celestial Planner, there is a pattern with a lot of the different wand movements for spell casting. Or I'm sure you can find illustrations and references online too, but you don't even need to do that. You could make up your own spells and wand moves!
Have them wear cloaks if they have them
Does anyone in your house have a Harry Potter cloak or even anything from Halloweens past that can be used as one? It's just like cosplay at home: have everyone wear their 'school uniform' when they're sitting down to get to work.
Pretend the dining room or kitchen is the great hall
For meal breaks or even studying, pretend you're all gathering in the Great Hall. I grabbed some Halloween decorations I had and put them on the table, along with a Polyjuice Potion mug I picked up from Meijer (but Box Lunch has them super on sale!) I also just found that Target.com has ceramic cauldron soup mugs and my mind is blown! This doesn't need to be a lot of work, just calling it the Great Hall and having everyone sit together is fun alone! For a special end of week treat, you could order the ingredients for some homemade Butterbeer (recipe linked) and pretend you're running to the Three Broomsticks!
Finally set a schedule and make a plan
Making a daily routine in this new staying home situation will help everyone feel more focused and in control. When we have a plan, even when times are completely out of hand, we can bring ourselves a sense of purpose and routine that helps elevate our mood and motivation. Create blocks of time and begin your day like you are getting up and getting ready for work/school. It doesn't need to be a 6 am wake-up call, just any routine schedule works even if it's more relaxed/later than when you're leaving the house. If all family members work on their own plans and share them, it gives each member a sense of control in this very out-of-control world. We have Harry Potter planners (they're over 60% off right now, you know I had to share that!) for every witch or wizard of any age and a slew of stickers to add some creativity and fun.
These are just a few of the ideas I had for bringing some magic in to our homes every day! I already do most of this list in my work-from-home life, but I'm really feeling we need a Butterbeer break on Friday! If you have more magical ideas or want to share what you do incorporate into your day, I'd love to hear about it! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and show me what you do!
Be safe everyone! xoxo - Shelley
Staying Home: Planning and Staying Motivated
First we just want to say that we hope you are all safe and well. This is such new territory we are all on and it's scary, unsure footing.
Some of the ways I've been coping have been planning my weeks and days consistently, just like I did before the virus hit. I have also continued to journal. I'm doing my writing in my Castiel bullet journal now and doing less photo/memory keeping, but I think the date progressions will be important for us in years to come as we reflect on this unprecedented time. When I think of historical journals and diaries that we have from long ago and how they give us such deep insight into those people and times, it has occurred to me that we are also experiencing a moment in history that is journal-worthy.
I am not an expert on planning or journaling but I wanted to share some of the things I've been doing in hopes that it can help you as well. With everyone at home (my kids are 17 and 21), my first goal was to maintain my schedule. So on Sundays, I sit down with my planner (and my daughter does as well in her Hufflepuff planner, she's an elementary ed student teacher working remotely) to plan my week. I write in calls and e-meetings and important to-dos to keep myself on track. I treat these tasks just like I did the errands I used to run. I am also making sure to include fun stickers that make me laugh. As my grandma used to say, it's no laughing matter but it's no matter if you laugh.
Speaking of meal planning, before my last trip to the store where I bought just enough for about 9 meals (making sure not to take more than we needed), I sat down with the kids and said "ok, what are 9 meals we can have over the next two weeks" and came up with a list. With eating leftovers, sandwich nights and continuing to support local restaurants with delivery, I think we will have at least two weeks. I write the meals in my planner, I have them listed in bullet journal for memory keeping and I put them up on a chalkboard in my kitchen so we all know the plan.
One silver lining in all of this is the time I am getting to spend with my kids. I love it. We have so many board games from my years at Gen Con (we've played a lot of Munchkin and Shit Happens), that even now we aren't getting through all of them. I also bought us two big Lego sets right after Christmas with some of gift cards: Hogwarts Great Hall and Boba Fett's ship. So there is a lot of building to do together! With games, puzzles to do, movies to watch, shows to binge, Legos to build, I am like a kid in a candy store: "What do we do NEXT!" So I wrote down the list and when we can't decide, we'll roll a die to see which one to do.
In my bullet journal, I have been doing quite a bit of writing to chronicle the events. But I am also planning to put photos in here of the puzzles we've completed, the games we've been playing and some of the other fun things we've been doing. I'm hoping this will show not only the hard and scary part of this situation but also the times of being together and being happy.
I know many of you have kids of all ages at home who are trying to navigate e-learning and get organized. I find that when my kids create their plans and I create mine, that we are focused and feel a little more in control. Just because we aren't going out doesn't mean we can't have a plan for ourselves and our family. All of our Supernatural and Harry Potter planners are on sale now for over 60% off and these can be a fun way to stay on schedule and be less like a chore.
Please be safe and well!
Setting up your 2020 Planner: Alana King's Plan With Me
If you're new to planning or just getting started in your new ConQuest Journals 2020 planner, one of the fun things you can do is check out "Plan With Me" videos on YouTube for tips and ideas (and also search on instagram for #planneraddict and #plannernewbie) Alana King has made a new Plan With Me video, sharing how she set up her Supernatural 2020 Weekly Planner with her goals, motivational planning and weekly set up!
Flipping Through Our New Planners on YouTube!
I am OBSESSED with decorative planning! This hobby is one of the most fun, engaging hobbies I have ever had. I love it so much! I have found that YouTube and Instagram are the main places that Plan With Me and other related accounts share their tips and ideas. I have been more active on both our Instagram and YouTube channels and have made flip through videos of our new 2020 planners that are available for pre-order!
And check out Alana King's Plan With Me - she shows how she decorates and uses her 2019 Supernatural Planner!
If you don't already subscribe to our YouTube, please do! I'm going to be making some Plan With Me videos too and sharing a lot more content there!
Do you have favorite YouTube channels for journaling and planning ideas? Let me know in the comments!
Harry Potter 2019 Planner Giveaway!
We have one Harry Potter 2019 weekly planner left that we are giving away! It's dated January to December of 2019, but you can always go back and do memory keeping on the weeks that have passed! You can't buy these in stores or online, they have been sold out since January. Enter here!