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“Apple Picks" Applerouth's Tip of the Day

Like many parents around the world, my husband and I have found ourselves suddenly and unwittingly homeschooling our children (a 9th grader and a 6th grader). My husband’s PhD and college-level teaching experience and my own 25 year career in education (including a four year stint at a boarding school) have left us woefully unprepared for this responsibility.

Ready or not, there is learning to be done, so last week, we got started. Our 6th grader got to “school” (on time for once!) and settled into his first period class in front of the computer with his classmates and teacher on Zoom. Twenty minutes in, my husband heard him singing and burst into the room to tell him to quit singing and focus on class. Our sixth grader looked up from the screen and said, “Dad, I have Chorus first period.”

Apparently we all have some learning to do as we navigate this brave new world together (but socially distant). In that spirit, the test prep and tutoring experts here at Applerouth have combed the internet and our own experiences to bring to you some of the best ideas for making the most of this enforced ‘family time’ and distance education. Enjoy!

-Ginger Fay, Director of IEC Engagement

Do you have an activity, lesson or suggestion to share? Email

Tip for 5/29/2020

Apple Picks signs off for summer: Mind the Gap!

There is a reason why they call it summer break – summer usually presents a welcome “break” from the routines of school: learn, test, repeat. As students, we tend to think of the break as time “off,” but it’s really the gift of time to choose to spend as you wish. And how we spend time that is our own says a lot about what we value the most. Summer is a chance to investigate interests more deeply as well as try new things…or maybe it is simply time to get a job and save up for something special or make a meaningful contribution to your family’s budget. However you choose to spend your “break,” I hope this time off gives you a fix – both a chance to reset from a school year that ended in a challenging way as well as a chance to spend the gift of time on something you really love. This time of year, some ambitious students find themselves inspired to take a longer break from the routine of school between high school and college and decide to take what is known as a gap year, an interim year spent learning and exploring outside a traditional classroom setting. The excellent team at Dunbar Educational Consultants recently hosted a webinar with Holly Bull of The Center for Interim Programs to talk about the options available to those in the Class of 2020 considering a gap year. Take a listen and see what ideas it inspires for you! 

As Apple Picks signs off for the summer, I was to thank you for sharing the journey of the last two months of inadvertent homeschooling with my family and me. Whether we always wanted to or not, we have definitely learned a lot along the way! And now, I wish you a summer “fix” filled with adventures in learning and life shared with those you love most.


Tip for 5/28/2020

Juniors, are you wondering what you should or could be doing now to prep for college?

Don’t crash and burn – get your college dreams soaring this summer with a crash course in application strategy. Two great programs to choose from… NY-based educational consultant Eva Ostrum will teach you how to “Apply like a Boss” in her weekly workshop series. And Dr. Victoria Tillson Evans (one of my students in the UC Irvine College Counseling Certificate Program back in the day!) and Nora Lessersohn, two DC-based educational consultants, have teamed up to offer a one day web-based bootcamp in July designed to help rising seniors rise to the challenges these sheltering in place times have presented for the college bound. Ready to get started right away? Tonight, Applerouth is hosting a webinar on How to Prep for College during Quarantine. It’s not too late to register and get the inside scoop from experts at Competitive Edge, BestFitU, and WOW Writing Workshop.

Tip for 5/27/2020

It may be too early to start summer reading, but what about summer writing?!

The summer can be a great time of reflection – and that can turn into great writing, which can eventually lay the groundwork for some great college essays when the time comes. Ethan Sawyer, AKA The College Essay Guy, always has some fun and practical tips for getting started on telling your story. If you are looking for a little more direction, the team at Colledge is offering a series of essay bootcamps and webinars to help you get started this summer. And tonight at 6pm Eastern, tune in on their Facebook Live to hear Bill Mullen, English and American Studies professor at Purdue University discuss the enduring value of liberal arts education. 

Tip for 5/26/2020

School’s Out for Summer – with Apple Picks soon to follow 🙂

Today is the official start of summer – time to break out the white shoes, people! It has been fun to share new ways of learning during this time of sheltering in place and inadvertent homeschooling, but Apple Picks is looking forward to going on summer vacation at the end of this week. Before I sign off for summer on Friday, I wanted to share a few ideas from educational consultant colleagues around the country who have rounded up some great ways for students to spend some of their free time this summer. Today’s suggestions come from North Shore College Consulting – some clever ideas for how to pivot your original summer plans to safely socially distant options.

Tip for 5/25/2020

Remembering Veterans on Memorial Day

Today is the day we remember those who bravely lost their lives defending our freedom. On Memorial Day, I always find myself feeling inspired and grateful for those who are selfless enough to choose a career of military service. For students who might be so inspired as to consider applying to a military academy or ROTC Scholarship, I wanted to share the recording of a webinar we offered last Tuesday evening. Atlanta-based educational consultant (and Air Force veteran!) Lisa Hillhouse joined me for a conversation “Answering Your Questions about Applying to the Military Service Academies and ROTC Scholarships.”

Tip for 5/22/2020

Forget graduation cake: let them eat STEAK!

Ruth’s Chris Steak House has a special offer for 2020 graduates – a complimentary fillet with the purchase of two entrees. So, let your parents treat you to a meal that celebrates what you have accomplished, together. Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Your “senior spring” may not have been anything close to what you imagined, but I do hope that it has brought you some special time with your family that will be a treasure when you are finally off on your far-flung adventures.

Tip for 5/21/2020

A grad gift that gifts you back

Starting today, the first 5000 customers who purchase a graduation-themed gift card from Chipotle will receive a coupon code for a BOGO entree. Looking for a little more ‘bread’ than burrito? They are also holding a $25,000 scholarship contest on Instagram. Now, that could buy a lot of burritos…

Tip for 5/20/2020

Two for the Class of 2020

Need some extra fuel to get through AP and final exams this week? Jack in the Box to the rescue! Order through the app from today through May 26 and you’ll get two free tacos added to your purchase. Taco ‘bout a deal that’s nacho average…okay, I’ll stop.

Tip for 5/19/2020

Giveaways for Graduates – Donut Edition

As someone who grew up in North Carolina, I have a strong affinity for Krispy Kreme donuts. I still have fond memories of a nursery school field trip to their Winston Salem flagship store where the workers picked the hot donuts coming off the line with straws because they were too hot to handle. As Homer Simpson would say, “Mmmmmm… donuts.” Krispy Kreme has announced a real treat for 2020 high school and college graduates – show up at your local store today in cap and gown (something that proves you are a member of the Class of 2020) and they will give you a Free “Graduate Dozen.” Talk about a way to sweeten the raw deal the Class of 2020 has gotten this spring!

Tip for 5/18/2020

The Gifts of Graduation

In honor of the Class of 2020, this week Apple Picks is featuring some fun food giveaways that graduates are eligible for this spring. The Today Show recently reported that in honor of completing a “fruitful” education, Edible Arrangements is giving 2020 graduates a free Celebration Dipped Fruit Delight if they post a video on social media (#EdibleMoments) with their name and how they are celebrating. If you aren’t graduating but want to celebrate a grad, the fruit bouquet is 20% off until June 5 with the code GRAD2020.

Tip for 5/15/2020

On your mark…get set…go!

Two months after quarantine (and inadvertent homeschooling) began, today marks the end of the school year for some students with more to follow in the coming weeks. Congratulations to all on how far you have come – without leaving home – and a special shout out to those in the Class of 2020 about to graduate from high school. Oh, the places you will (eventually… hopefully…) go! Some students are probably feeling like they were born ready for college while others are less certain about the transition to independence that college demands. For those who are not quite ready, the team at College Success Plan has put together a summer transition program for rising college freshmen (and transfer students) to help them enter their first semester in a new environment (whether it is online, on campus or some combination) with confidence and excitement.

Tip for 5/14/2020

Now that you have spent some time reflecting, it’s time to start telling your story.

The Common Application has added a short answer (250 word) question which invites students to reflect on this unusual time: 

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. 

Feeling inspired? The experts at the WOW Writing Workshop have some great suggestions for how to get started on essay writing when you are ready to tell your story.

Tip for 5/13/2020

What have you learned about yourself while you have been learning from home?

Earlier this week, Annie Tulkin, Founder of Accessible College, and Adrienne Frumberg of Lighthouse Guidance co-hosted a webinar about how students with differences (be they learning differences, physical disabilities or mental health concerns) might want to approach their college search a little bit differently, too. Now that every college visit is a virtual one, it can be both harder and easier for differently abled students to navigate this process. I found it a welcome reminder that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all learning experience. One of the things students have gotten a chance to learn during this homebound time is more about themselves as students. Do you need external motivation to keep your eye on the prize? Are you an avid reader, content to disappear into books for days on end? Are you a problem-solver who takes broken things apart just to see how they work? As the end of the school year nears, take some time to reflect on what you have learned about yourself – and what that teaches you about the place where you want to learn next.

Tip for 5/12/2020

Can’t tour colleges this spring? Let the colleges come to you!

Any student who has ever worked with me (and there have been over 1000 by now…) knows how much I value college visits. After all, it was the Great American Family Road Trip (from North Carolina to New Hampshire with a stop at what seemed like every accredited four-year college in between) the summer between my junior and senior years in high school that introduced me not to the college I would ultimately attend but my career path. So, I am especially sad that this spring and summer, students will not be able to enjoy that particular rite of passage (“Mom, why do I have to wear a blazer when it is hot as blazes and I’m only going on a tour?!”). So, we at Applerouth decided if students can’t get to the colleges, we will bring the colleges to them! A fantastic group of current college students (all Applerouth “alums”!) volunteered to share their stories with current high school students. Tune in tonight at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific to get the scoop! Register here or join us on Facebook Live. Looking for more advice on how to make a remote college visit work for you? Check on this article from Inside Higher Ed or make a free account at CampusReel. Our friends at International College Counselors also recommend YouVisit. There are lots of ways to virtually visit colleges right now, just make sure that the connection is personal even when the method is distant.

Tip for 5/11/2020

Need some summer plans that aren’t just the ‘samer’ as schooling at home?

The countdown to summer has officially begun at our house (10 school days to go!) and as students are getting excited about the freedom that awaits, parents like me are starting to worry about all that free time. Bob Carlton at College Matchpoint compiled a really helpful list of virtual summer opportunities to help families get started on planning for a summer that takes our ‘new normal’ into consideration. Stay tuned for more helpful suggestions from educational consultants around the country this week as we look forward to a webinar where we discuss what to do now on Thursday, May 28 at 8pm Eastern.

Tip for 5/8/2020

TGIF and Thank Goodness for Teachers!

As strange as these times are, I still am thankful for Fridays (at least when I can remember what day it is!) and the promise of quiet (and video meeting free!) time that the weekend brings. Today, as we wrap up our week of celebrating teachers, I wanted to offer a TGIF/TGFT combo – a DIY relaxation idea you could share with your favorite teachers: edible face masks! And if it feels like your mom and your favorite teacher are one in the same at this point, remember that Mother’s Day is Sunday ;-).

Tip for 5/7/2020

‘Prech’ Your Teach

Our oldest is a 9th grader at The Galloway School here in Atlanta and we have been so impressed and grateful for the way the Upper Learning teachers have embraced the move to distance education this spring. While gift cards (think no contact options like a food delivery or pick up service) or a special delivery (think flowers or gardening tools for a teacher who loves botany, for example) are always welcome, the class parent volunteers sent some suggestions for free, socially distant ways to say thank you to teachers that I wanted to share here in case you (like me!) could use some inspiration before the week is out.

  • Write a real thank you note – even if you don’t have a stamp at home, you could take a photo and email it; the effort of a handwritten note is always appreciated, no matter the delivery method!
  • Create a piece of art, write a poem, or record a piece of music that celebrates your teachers (especially great for a music or art instructor)
  • Design a virtual award for the World’s Best Teacher
  • Record a video of yourself saying thank you and sharing why you think your teacher is awesome (use your TikTok skills for good!)
  • Share a list of your favorite things that they might enjoy, too – a book to read, an album to listen to, a recipe to try

Tip for 5/6/2020

Thank you, Teachers!

Today’s teacher shout out comes from my colleague, Melissa Pluchos, who writes: “It is fitting that Teacher Appreciation Week falls just prior to Mother’s Day as like moms, teachers seem to be always looking out for everyone but themselves. Parents have fallen in the world of homeschooling, but here in our house, I am calling myself a facilitator as it the teachers who are doing the heavy lifting with planning and setting up tasks and projects to keep the students on track. What has humbled me over the past weeks is not only their dedication to the students but their continual pursuit to teach the whole child in this new environment. I recently had my breath taken away when the teachers asked how we as parents were doing. What? Shouldn’t we be asking what we can do for you? Oh yea, like moms, they are continually thinking of others and I’m honored to be their facilitator of all things academic, at least for now, that is.”

Tip for 5/5/2020

Teacher Appreciation Week Continues!

When I was two years old, I walked into the local library and asked the librarian for “a pink book with a bunny on it.” Without a moment’s hesitation, she went right to the shelf to pluck one (The Velveteen Rabbit, of course!) and in that moment was born both a lifelong love of reading – and the certainty that librarians are the smartest people in the world since they know where all the answers are. Teachers and administrators like my beloved librarians may not be where we usually find them, but they are still proving they know where all the answers are. In this Huffington Post piece, teachers share their favorite websites and apps for making learning fun. Don’t forget to take a moment and thank your favorite teacher, librarian or parent today! #tagyourteacher

Tip for 5/4/2020

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! #tagyourteacher

The brilliant and hilarious Shonda Rhimes tweeted it best when she wrote back in March, ”Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.” This is Teacher Appreciation Week and parents who have been homeschooling for the better part of two months now are extra appreciative of the work teachers do. So, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Apple Picks encourages you to take a moment this week to reach out to a favorite teacher of yours to say thank you. I’ll start by thanking my favorite teacher of all time, who does happen to be my mom: Maureen Fay. While I never had the pleasure (or torture… she was notoriously strict in the classroom and I would have been mortified at the time) of having my mom as my own classroom teacher, she taught 4th grade at the K-12 school where I went to high school, so I did get to experience some of what her students did while also being her pupil for life. My mom is the one who taught me to seek out the intersection of things that I love – like writing and education (hello, Apple Picks!) – in order to find real joy and meaning in my work. It is a lesson I have endeavored to share with each of my own students over the years.

Tip for 5/1/2020

It’s my birthday, and I have a present for you! Well, John Krasinski does.

If you aren’t already subscribing to John Krasinski’s weekly gift to the world, Some Good News, now’s your chance to catch up. Each of the five episodes so far is bound to make every homebound person smile as he gathers some of his famous friends to surprise fans with fun ways to while away the quarantine. Perhaps John’s generosity will inspire you to make or spread some good news of your own – to celebrate the surprises that have come our way during quarantine instead of the things we are missing. Case in point. This weekend was supposed to be my high school reunion (Go Bengals!), so instead of meeting in person, I am enjoying connecting with some old friends remotely. And I’m thinking in particular of two of my high school friends who used to make wacky videos like Krasinski’s (long before Al Gore got around to inventing the internet). One wound up a Blue Man (as in the Blue Man Group) and the other is now a college professor who has written two books and toured with a rock band that almost made it between high school and college. So, you never know what good news of your own might come from getting creative with a video camera.

Tip for 4/30/2020

Make boredom disappear – with magic!

Looking for a new hobby that’s best practiced for hours home alone but then dazzles everyone you know a few weeks later when you can safely be together again? It’s magic! Yes, magic. Perfecting even the simplest slight of hand card trick can take hours, so now that you have nothing but hours on your hands, why not try your hand at a little magic? Penn & Teller is one of my personal favorite magic acts of all time and while you may not be able to see their fantastic Vegas show right now, you can take a Masterclass with them or check out their YouTube collection of magical friends.

Tip for 4/29/2020

Need some space after six weeks stuck at home? Let off some STEAM with NASA.

As you have probably noticed, this week’s Apple Picks are all about finding creative ways to explore your interests (or find new ones) while you are practicing safe social distancing at home. If you are a math and science person who needs to let off some STEAM, the Jet Propulsion Lab at CalTech and NASA’s “Learning Space” (get it?!) has some great ways for you to experiment at home without blowing anything up. There are activities for learners from kindergarteners through high school seniors, so log on and learn up.

Tip for 4/28/2020

It’s spring! Paint some happy little trees.

I’m old enough to remember watching Bob Ross generously teaching us all how to paint – and to turn mistakes into ‘happy little accidents.’ It has been fun to watch our 9th grader discover the joys of Bob Ross a generation later – not just the joy of painting (our 9th grader really does love art), but also his life lessons of trying to find joy in recovering from something that seemed like a mistake at first. The importance of being able to change our attitudes seems more important now than ever, so treat yourself to a little time painting along with Bob Ross on his YouTube Channel this spring, or seek out your own way to express yourself, appreciate nature, and make some happy accidents along the way.

Tip for 4/27/2020

Starting to lose your marbles? Race them instead!

If you watched our webinar on The Impact of COVID-19 on College Admission and Testing last Tuesday, one of the things you heard from the Admissions Directors at UT, GT and GW is the suggestion that students use this time to find new interests or more creative ways to explore old ones. Student-athletes who love team sports are probably struggling the most with that effort, so why not check out the new sport of competitive marble racing? The Washington Post had a great piece to introduce you to this fun (shiny) distraction. The first season of “Marbula One” is available on YouTube. My money is on Starry.

Tip for 4/24/2020

Calling all citizen-scientists! NASA (and penguins) need you.

When home starts to feel a little too cozy a month into quarantine, you and your family can look to the most remote corners of Antarctica or even far reaches of space for something to do – and learn. is always chock full of interesting ideas and information, but they recently chronicled two great ways you can get your space jam on without changing out of your jammies. Count penguins for Zooniverse’s Penguin Watch or try your hand at classifying galaxies as part of the Galaxy Zoo project.

Tip for 4/23/2020

Need help cooking up a plan for helping a senior transition to independent living?

A few summers ago, I decided that I needed to be sure that our children would be able to survive in the wild – read: be able to prepare something for breakfast, lunch and dinner so they won’t starve when they leave home in a few years. The lessons ended when they decided that mac & cheese in a box works well any time of day. Whether you want to up your own game or help a graduating senior get ready for the real world, Rouxbe, which trains professional chefs via their online platform, is surely a better teacher than I was and the first 30 day trial is free.

Tip for 4/22/2020

You’ve heard of stealing a scene – what about stealing the whole story?

My colleague, Charity, and I have been swapping stories about working from home while our children are, too, and she reminded me of one of my very favorite forms of entertainment for kids which her daughter has recently discovered: Story Pirates. The Story Pirates take stories written by actual human children of all ages (from preschool through 12th grade) and turn them into hilarious short plays. Check out their podcast (it’s free!) or try your hand at a story or two. Older teens interested in creative writing might also want to check out TeenInk, a website that’s like a literary magazine for the whole world.

Tip for 4/21/2020

Stay at home orders ‘dragon’ you down? Roll 20 to escape the dungeon you call home.

Our 12 year old has recently discovered what a wonderful escape fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons can offer during a stressful time like this one. I knew nothing about how to help him get started, but lucky for me, I work at a company full of smart people with interesting interests and I found Kyle, a tutor in Seattle who was willing to help our son and his friends organize an online D&D game. Now, every week, they look forward to a gaming session with Kyle, their dungeonmaster – I mean, tutor. Check out all the great, free content Dungeons & Dragons has made available online, and if you want a dungeonmaster of your own, give Applerouth a call at (877) 249-3503.

Tip for 4/20/2020

Looking for an excuse to eat marshmallows? Try this experiment.

Our CEO, Natalie, just told me about a friend of hers whose daughters have been listening to the Wow in the World podcast from NPR, which is fun enough in and of itself (check out “Two Whats and a Wow”). The girls heard a story that convinced them that they were more patient than their grandparents so they set out to prove it using the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. The result was the longest half hour of their lives, but no matter how the experiment goes, there’s a marshmallow at the end. When it comes to science experiments at home, everyone can be a winner!

Tip for 4/17/2020

Are you the next Scorsese? Calling all aspiring filmmakers.

Friday night is often movie night at our house. We order pizza, pull out the old TV trays and snuggle into the couch for a show. If you like movies so much, you dream of making your own someday, check out the At Home program at The Picture Show in Pelham, NY. They invite aspiring filmmakers to watch a short film and then engage in a number of activities that will both help them interpret the work and perhaps inspire their own.

Tip for 4/16/2020

Art History 2020: Pose three objects, pets or people to recreate a famous work of art.

In case you missed it (I almost did… I, ahem, don’t get out much you see…), the Getty Museum issued a challenge to their patrons: recreate a famous work of art using three objects (or pets or people!) you find lying around your home. The results have been equal parts clever and hilarious and by waiting this long to catch up to this trend, you and I can enjoy more of the world’s best submissions, including my colleague Katie and her dog Margot in “Dog Creates Woman.”

Tip for 4/15/2020

Beware the Ides of April – and interrupting students.

It’s Tax Day and while we have some relief on filing our taxes this year, there are plenty of things taxing our time and attention these days! Like many of us, Lori McGlone, Founder of Tractus Education, went from working parent to homeschooler overnight a few weeks ago. In her professional life, Lori has been working on technology that makes it easier for families to tackle the college search, but as a mom, she has found new challenges in working from home with her husband and children doing the same. The mantra “three before me” has been a lifesaver at their house. The idea is that before asking for help, a student needs to try three ways to solve their own problem or answer their own question. For example, a student facing a challenging Geometry problem could (one) rewatch the video lesson their teacher posted, (two) text a friend to ask for an alternative explanation, and (three) try a similar problem in the textbook before asking for help from a parent. (Of course, they could always reach out to their Applerouth Tutor for help…!) “Three before me” is a practice that helps build students’ resilience and self-confidence in less socially distant times, too!

Tip for 4/14/2020

Missing your spring sports experience as a player or a fan? Esports to the rescue!

As a long-time Duke Blue Devils fan, March just wasn’t the same for me this year without the “madness” of the NCAA Mens and Womens Basketball tournaments, but as my husband and our youngest cheered for the Atlanta Reign over the weekend, I was reminded that there are some college athletes still playing their hearts out as the spring season comes to a close: esports teams! Esports has become big business in the sporting world and many colleges have been fielding their own teams (complete with scholarship athletes!) for years. Want to get in on the action? Front Office Sports has the scoop on how several conferences are continuing their esports season online.

Tip for 4/13/2020

There is no disguising the power of positivity in action.

My friend and colleague, Monica James, usually spends April helping seniors choose their colleges for the fall and helping juniors start to think about what career paths they might be interested in pursuing as they start their college searches. Most of them don’t list sewing at the top of the list, but this year, she has turned many of her students into crafters as part of the Buckhead Mask Project. If you are here in Atlanta, you are invited to join the effort, which goes directly to the heroes working at Piedmont Hospital, but no matter where you are, you can turn your idle time and hands into action for others.

Tip for 4/10/2020

Your arts requirement is a great excuse to make a mess.

I have been amazed and inspired by the creativity I have seen emerge from the necessity of these odd times. If you are looking for a way to unleash your own creative spirit, check out the Artist at Heart Paint Party every Monday through Saturday at noon Eastern, live on YouTube and Facebook. They will teach you to paint with whatever supplies you happen to have on hand.

Tip for 4/9/2020

Make anytime storytime.

Before the library closed, my colleague Melissa managed to score a win by checking out the Harry Potter series on CD – 17 discs of screenfree entertainment for the whole family! The voice acting on those recordings is amazing – I know because it was the only thing that got us through one summer with a concussion a few years ago. Students with dyslexia, like my own 6th grader, have long known that one secret to making reading fun can be listening along; now every student can take advantage of listening and learning. Check out your local library’s online collection of audio books as well as Audible’s current offer for children. Need help picking a place to start? RadioTimes has some great suggestions.

Tip for 4/8/2020

My new ‘coworkers’ and ‘classmates’ are a little distracting…

Remember that poor dad trying to conduct an interview on CNN when his adorably curious children stole the show? Now, we all feel his pain! Whether it is your kids shushing you so they can Zoom into their class without you embarrassing them the other way around, noise-cancelation technology can help! Right now, all students, teachers, hospital and government workers worldwide can get unlimited Krisp for free.

Tip for 4/7/2020

What’s for lunch? (and breakfast…and dinner?)

When the shelter at home plans started to unfold, a friend from DC texted me that she wasn’t sure how she and her partner were going to manage making three meals a day at home on top of full time jobs and now full time homeschooling responsibilities. Bari Norman, an educational consultant in New York, came up with a great solution: on Tuesdays and Thursdays she makes and packs lunch as though her children are going to school so they can help themselves to a healthy snack and balanced lunch when the time comes. Need some ideas for getting creative with the odd mix of ingredients you have in the pantry these days? Munchkin Fun can hit your inbox every morning with a new suggestion. Try the unicorn bark; it’s delicious!

Tip for 4/6/2020

I’m missing getting to blow stuff up in AP Chem. Does the internet have a good substitute teacher for me?

Calling all STEAMers! Former NASA Engineer Mark Rober is hosting a live weird science class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1pm Pacific on his YouTube Channel. Mark has the answer to life’s big questions, like… Why is the sky blue? Can sharks really smell blood? and the all-important: Does tooting make you weigh less?

Tip for 4/3/2020

Happy Birthday to you! It’s time to wash your hands. Again.

OK, so maybe it’s not really your birthday, but if you are tired of singing the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself to make sure you wash your hands long enough, an Atlanta Magazine reporter put together a list of 20 second song alternatives. Check out the story behind the story on WABE.

Tip for 4/2/2020

I finished my assigned work, but I am not finished learning for today.

When academic work is completed but a bit more educational activity is needed, take in a virtual livestream offered on various topics, for a variety of ages. Some videos are recorded on You Tube or Facebook Live for later viewing, but you can also set a schedule to keep your body moving and mind engaged throughout the day.

Tip for 4/1/2020

Throw the Ball against a Wall is getting a little old…My ‘PE @ Home’ class could use some inspiration.

Your family may not be big enough for a rousing game of Dodgeball (and after two weeks stuck together at home, the game could be seriously dangerous!), but here’s your chance to try a sport you might never be brave enough to attempt in public! Ashley Bouder, principal dancer with New York City Ballet, is offering advanced ballet classes and workouts for free through her youtube channel.

Tip for 3/31/2020

They say ‘the show must go on’ but my end of the year school show surely is not. What should I do with all my creative energy?

Broadway stars are encouraging students who are missing their spring musical performances to post rehearsal videos online. Even Lin Manuel Miranda requested to be tagged in posts so that he can support young artists! Local arts organizations are starting to move their offerings online during this time of social distancing. For example, Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts is now offering scheduled performances and workshops at no charge that folks can participate in from home. Dig out the craft supplies and get that creativity flowing!

Tip for 3/30/2020

Need a reason to keep up with your French Horn practice? Check out some free streaming concerts.

The bad news is that the concert or show you were so excited to go to this spring is cancelled (read: my family is holding out hope that we will somehow still get to see “Hamilton” at the Fabulous Fox Theater someday…). The good news is that many artists are offering a peak into their home studios and sharing their talents through streaming services. So if you are feeling like you have exhausted all the good stuff in your Nexflix/Amazon/Hulu que, check out the list of online concerts TV Guide has assembled. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to keep up with your music lessons – or take up a new instrument altogether (may I recommend the oboe?!).

Tip for 3/27/2020

I’m missing my usual extra curricular activities. What will I have to put on my resume when it is time to apply to college?

While filming of many of our favorite shows and movies have halted, some production companies are moving up the streaming release dates of recent blockbusters so you can enjoy them from the convenience of your home. But a movie is a lot more fun with popcorn and friends sharing snarky comments ala Mystery Science Theater 3000. (Shout out to former Applerouth Program Advisor and Tutor, Emily Marsh, who starred in the stage production of MST3K that toured the US recently!) Enter Netflix Party. Now you can remain distant but get social with a group of friends and talk or text your way through the movie with no one three rows over shushing you or sending you dirty looks. You have officially started your own Virtual Film Club. Break out the Junior Mints!

Tip for 3/26/2020

We are running out of toilet paper…is there an engineer in the house?

In my time as a college counselor, I tried to help identify students who might find their passion in engineering. They are easier to spot the older they get – they are the ones who love Calculus and love Physics and love them the most when they get to do them at the exact same time. It can be harder to identify a budding engineer before the end of high school, which can be too late for it to impact their college search. Sometimes their love of Legos and K’nex will give them away. A burning desire to take apart broken things is another tell-tale sign; but if you are out of toilet paper, then a small DIY project just might answer the question and solve your TP shortage issue at the same time: build your own bidet!

Tip for 3/25/2020

I’m stuck at home, but I know there are worse places to be stuck; how can I help others during this time of need?

Nothing gets me out of my own funk better than trying to do something kind for someone else. While the battle against COVID-19 rages, I am reminded that troops are serving all over the world and could use a little cheer while they are so far from the comforts of home and family that the rest of us might soon grow sick of! Enter Operation Gratitude. You can become a “virtual volunteer” by making a paracord bracelet or writing a letter. And you thought social distancing was going to keep you from completing your service learning hours this year!

Tip for 3/24/2020

Getting a little stir crazy? Time for a Virtual Field Trip!

As some communities face sheltering in place, the four walls of your home can start to feel a little dull. So, why not stare at some other walls instead? Google Arts & Culture worked with hundreds of museums all over the world to put their collections online. Americans may not be able to travel to Italy right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” at the Uffizi in Florence. Looking for more inspiration (or inspiring things to look at?)? Check out this article in USAToday. You might not be able to study abroad this semester, but that doesn’t mean you can’t open up your world.

Tip for 3/23/2020

I hear Penn has a class on Gamification. What is that and how can I take it? 

The time you are saving by not commuting to work or school, not waiting in line at the store and not watching a movie on the big screen could be turned into the chance to learn and even master something entirely new, a skill that might set you apart when application season rolls around again. Class Central has compiled a list of over 500 FREE classes you can take from Ivy League colleges like Harvard, Yale and Princeton thanks to the MOOC movement (Massive Open Online Courses). Read more about the program and options in this article from Who needs extra curricular club meetings when we have the internet?!