How to Conquer Homeschooling during COVID

By Natascha Pearson

Mother working from home with a kid. Quarantine mode.

January 28, 2021: Parents all over California are pulling out their hair as another semester has rolled up and our counties have not opened up their school districts. As a Humboldt, California resident, I felt safe with our low numbers and the promise of a reopening. With the exception that nothing has changed, here are a few quick tips to keep your child focused while going into the next semester.

Write out a schedule and have your child adhere to it. An alarm clock that is scheduled for Zoom appointments will keep your student’s attendance up, such as the Nument 5 Times Alarm. Let’s say your child has an alarm that wakes them up, and then they have an hour or so to do their morning chores. The next alarm will remind them of their first class.  After their first class, they indulge in homework. An alarm goes off for their second class and after attending they check their schedule and are reminded to do an hour of physical activity (perhaps a list of physical activities that they can do around the house or in the yard,) and then they can eat lunch. Afterward, they attend their third class. An hour of homework or art follows the class, and it is almost as if your student attended a full day of school!

Get posters to hang around their room. Not their favorite television show but Educational Posters to help with homework and further understanding. It might seem like a cheat, but your student will learn by searching the posters and memorizing the information on them. Creating a similar environment as their classroom will put them in the headspace that this is study time, not playtime.

Pre-make their lunch. They don’t have to bring their bag lunch to their bedroom desk but having designated snacks and a lunch to eat will keep your child from asking for food and using it as an excuse to distract them from their studies. During this time where we’re stuck indoors for a great portion of the day, healthy snacks, and lunches are vital to have a functioning mind and body. When you think of the amount of time that you are being taken away from your own work at home situation by your kids demanding food you will find your child being more self-sufficient if you prepare ahead.

Check their work. Every child can be at fault for telling a white lie and now is no different. After the day has finished checking their assignments, particularly tests, to see that their grades reflect that they have been studying. It is easy to click through the answers and move on to the next assignment without receiving a passing grade, there is no teacher after all over their shoulder telling them to keep their nose in the books. Take the time to check the assignments and for every wrong answer have them figure out the right answer. They will be less likely to take shortcuts knowing that they will have to revise the wrong answers later.

Playtime is in the afternoons. Just like when the kids are in school, we don’t let our daughter out to play until after 3 pm. Keeping to an isolated group of friends that are in your “COVID” circle is crucial. This is also a good window for videogames. With the restrictions of not being glued to the screen an hour before dinner seems like a good time to allow your children screen time. Video games heighten hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and releases dopamine, the right amount of which is healthy for our children. 

Go to bed early. Just because there’s nowhere to physically go in the morning a scheduled bedtime will help your child wake up in the morning preparing for the next day of work. A book before bedtime will help the creative mind work within the realm of dreams. If your child is having a hard time sleeping, don’t ignore it. Play music for your child, leave the door open, put on a nightlight, whatever it takes to make sure they fall asleep at a decent time. Make sure your child eats dinner and any dessert at least an hour and a half before bedtime. Eating at night will cause the digestive system to be in action which can be a cause of not sleeping.

By making changes to your home to allow proper space for studying and activities you will find that your child no longer has to come to you for help or to look for a distraction but is focused and self-sufficient. Their grades will reflect their new routine and there will be less obstacles with a thorough studying habit along with a healthy amount of play time. School will become a healthy focus that will give you the space you need to excel in your own work.

Writer’s Exercise

I have been reading Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner. I highly recommend this book to fiction writer’s that fancy tarot cards. Here is my first writing exercise, I’d like to share with you based on the Tarot Card, “The Fool.”


The fool is upside down like his ultimate plan of disaster has a higher consciousness guiding him through his travels. His dog looks at him intently. A guard dog, his companion, is a strong dog of the night. The moon shines behind the fool’s head. His makeup has been done with precision. He holds a staff with a pointed edge for the tough journey ahead. The road is long but promising. The fool is in his best outfit and stands with confidence.

Short Story

How very excited am I, to leave this dreadful town behind. Goodbye milk-maiden and laundry girls who never bat me an eye, I am off to better things. Where the road goes, I do not know, and I am sure my mother will be worried about me so. With these charming looks and my trusty stead there is nowhere but up for me.

-The Fool

Oh, look at that fool. He is leaving everything behind and when I was going to set him up with that beautiful broad coming to town to live with her mother and her new step daddy. Now I must devise a new plan. Oh shamats, Dwiddle, where is my paperwork! The fool has made a move! He has left his safe haven and now wonders down the path surly to be eaten by the wolves. I can’t have another one of my men die so young, I must find a better plan for him. Yes, a great plan, indeed! I will stir up a potion, make a concoction, and I will see that this fool makes it to Olympia so he can compete… with the gods! Scrawny, yes, I’m aware. Dimwitted, self-absorbed, melancholy by nature I see. I can work with this. I will turn him into a man, Dwiddle, just wait and see.

-The Creator

Diadromous Fish in Humboldt County

By Natascha Pearson

January 8, 2021

As the rivers fill with rainfall and fish fill the once empty streams, fishers cast their lines and enjoy catching Humboldt County’s gorgeous aquatic creatures. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife clearly states their fishing regulations ( but why are these rules important to follow? For various reasons that span from extinction/ overfishing and protection during spawning, fish also help transport energy and marine-derived nutrients to the forest and ecosystem. These fish are called diadromous fish and they help keep our forest healthy similar to how the omega and other nutrients in fish keep you healthy. Diadromous fish spend an equal amount of time in the ocean as they do in freshwater, their bodies transition to survive the different environments.

Fish in Humboldt County that are diadromous fish include Pacific lamprey, Pacific salmon, steelhead (trout,) Pacific herring, and American shad. The nutrients come from a lifetime of fish-eating nitrogen-rich food which is dispersed by their waste and decomposing bodies. Diadromous fish load up on nitrogen 15 while living in the ocean and they bring these nutrient backs to freshwater which is later distributed into the surrounding ecosystem.  The salmon need the forest to canopy their breeding ground. After they spawn their life cycles end and their bodies will find solid ground and their nutrients will go back into the earth. When fish die and sink to the bottom, mass fungus and bacteria grow over the carcasses and dead flesh attracting bugs and other aquatic life that eat the fungus and bacteria. When the fry hatch after their parent’s spawning, they eat the bugs and algae that accumulated from the bacteria from their parents then return to the sea bringing with them these rich nutrients. When the river is flooded it spreads these nutrients throughout the forest. When the beds are dried up the richest soil comes from these streams. Like the seagull will catch fish and its waste or the fish carcass will find land, other animals such as wolves and bears who eat up to 600 fish (per year), catch them out of the river and distribute nutrients into the forest. The bears distribute the fish into the woods only eating certain parts of the fish like the brain, guts, and eggs. Therefore, they leave room for other animals to feed and disperse the leftover carcass until finally the maggot’s consumer what is leftover and eventually become food for the birds returning in the spring and further disperse the nutrients to the north and south continents.

         While many fish are abundantly available through hatcheries some of these same fish are hardly surviving in the wild. For example, the “Lingcod has an estimated 92.5% decline in the population [in North America},” according to American shad, Pacific herring, and Pacific salmon all face a natural and human-induced decline in population. These fish are essential to our ecosystem. You can find all fishing regulations for Humboldt county here: Thank you for reading and enjoy your local wilderness.


  1. Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Diadromous Fish Species. The University of Maine. 
  1. Garwood, R. (2017). Historic and contemporary distribution of Longfin Smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) along the California coast. California Fish and Game 103(3): 96-117
  2. California Department of Fish and Waterlife. (2021). Finfish and Invertebrates. Wildlife.CA.
  3. J. A. Musick, M. M. Harbin, S. A. Berkeley, G. H. Burgess, A. M. Eklund, L. Findley, R. G. Gilmore, J. T. Golden, D. S. Ha, G. R. Huntsman, J. C. McGovern, S. J. Parker, S. G. Poss, E. Sala, T. W. Schmidt, G. R. Sedberry, H. Weeks, and S. G. Wright. (2000). Marine, Estuarine, and Diadromous Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction in North America (Exclusive of Pacific Salmonids). Research Gate.
  4. Bland, A. (Dec. 10, 2019). What’s Behind the Decline of the West Coast’s Herring? 

East Bay Express.

  1. Bohlen, L. (July 6, 2007). Water Nature Wildlife. Pixabay.
  2. 7. Robin, C. (Nov. 14, 2019). Animal River Water. Pixabay.