In a matter of a few days, the whole world we knew hit “pause”. And for good reason. As we stand up and fight against this terrible virus by staying at home, we have all been given this gift that we seldom have – time. For many of us, this gift is being spent on entertaining our young children. And in hundreds of ways, parents everywhere are quickly recognizing and appreciating the work teachers do everyday (stay tuned for a blog on this topic!).

If you find yourself with a little bit of spare time over these next few weeks, I hope this blog serves as a resource of entertaining and stimulating ways to occupy it.

Dive Into a Good Book

I absolutely love to read. But, with being a parent to three young children and managing a full time job, it has proven to be quite difficult to devote time to a good book. So if you’re finding even a little time to read, here are some book lists I have found helpful.

If you have been looking for a bit of motivation to further your professional development, check out this book list from educationdegree.com. If you are looking for inspirational reads, check out these book recommendations from leaders in different fields, compiled by Inc.com. Or, if you are looking for a way to escape reality and get whisked away within the pages of a good book, check out this list of novels compiled by bustle.com.

Take an Online Class (for Free!)

Ever thought about taking an online course, but didn’t want to spend the money? Well, now is the perfect time to try it out without having to put forth the funds to do so. This site walks you through how to take advantage of some of these classes – and one of the coolest features is that most of these online classes are through Ivy League schools.

Learn a New Language (for Free!)

While we may not be thinking about traveling abroad anytime soon, it may be a good time to learn to speak a new language. This site by Inc.com has compiled a list of nine virtual places to learn a new language — and all for free! Vèrifiez-le!

Listen to Podcasts

So, let me tell you about my newfound interest. I used to spend most of my commute time listening to my favorite tunes. Lately though, I have switched that up and tuned into something different — podcasts. Here is a list of several great educational ones that are out there. But, if you want something that veers away from education and captivates you on a different level, check out this list compiled by goodhousekeeping.com. Want to know a couple of my favorites? Check out Radiolab and Adulting.

Get on Twitter

While we may not be in our classrooms for an extended period of time, we can stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the teacher world – and beyond. While Twitter can be a huge timesuck, it can also be a great way to stay professionally relevant. If this is something you have contemplated, but haven’t yet taken the leap, check out this YouTube video by Techboomers on how to get started. And who knows, in a matter of days, you may find yourself with hundreds of followers — and I’d love for you to follow me @jmacpherson4!

Looking for ways to keep your kids occupied during this unusual time?

Check out this resource that we put together at Van Andel Institute. Educational? Check. Fun? Check. Engaging? Check. To put it simply — just what parents and teachers are looking for!

And teachers – one final note. As a parent who is at home with three energy-filled, inquisitive, always-needing-to-be-doing-something kiddos — THANK YOU. It simply doesn’t seem adequate, but I want to shout it from the rooftops – you all are nothing short of AMAZING.