Trying to Find Normal: Summer Projects

We have now made it to July. If you can believe it, it has been FOUR MONTHS since all of the craziness of Covid-19 started. Four months later, people have cabin fever and everyone has an opinion of what is happening and how all of us should be handling it. All of us wish that we could be on the same page, but with millions of people in our state, there are millions of opinions of what is right. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong at the very same time.

With Encore, we are evaluating almost daily what is to come when school reopens on September 14th. In the meantime, what can our very active students be doing this summer to make sure that they are not losing their muscle mass, their intellect, and just their overall sanity?


Whether or not you took part in Distance Learning during Encore's shutdown from March until June, all of the recorded Zoom sessions are still on YouTube. You can visit the list of teachers on to choose the classes that you would like to take to enhance your life this summer. Go back and take classes that you missed, try something new, and keep on your toes mentally by working on your academics this summer. Brushing up on math and English is a great idea for all of Encore's students.


In a prior blog post, we shared with you some of the top reads for the summer. The more you read, the stronger your vocabulary becomes and it does help you when you get to college. Reading is an essential part of education so the more you practice, the better you get at it. Plus, you get to learn some amazing things and have fantastic experiences through the eyes of a book. Encore's suggested summer reading is in this blog post.


It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. (Insert debate here.) While we are all doing our part to help the world and the world is largely shut down, now is the time to put this theory to the test and see if you can get to 10,000 hours to be an expert. Rather than taking this time to lose some of the training that you have received, dive in and work to spend an hour or more every single day mastering your craft. If your craft requires tools that you do not have access to (like a trapeze for instance) improvise. Circus artists should be masters at planking, push ups, hand stands, and hand balancing by the time in person school resumes.


While Covid-19 could actually become the number of pounds that everyone has gained by the time the new normal starts to resemble the old normal, artists need to work against that. You don't need a lot of space to exercise, but you do need to exercise every day. Encore's Cirque Instructor, Ms. Kylee has some aerial stretch classes on the recorded sessions and the other cirque and dance instructors also have physical classes that you can take. There is also just straight exercise too. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Do the 50 at 50 challenge. Run. Since we have extra time right now, this is a good time to build new routines. Try not to make your routine binge watching an entire series in a couple days while drinking soda and eating Cheetos. (No judgement is implied here. This was month two of stay at home orders for me.)


During Covid season this year, I planted a garden that is a lot bigger than the small garden I planted last year. What I have learned so far is that I can grow pretty much anything (except broccoli) and that I really enjoy the surprise to see what I will be able to harvest from my garden on Sundays when I become "One with the dirt." (Thank you to a former band teacher that suggested I find something to do that puts me back to nature.) I found that I really enjoy the thrill of seeing if what I plant will grow. You have a lot of extra time right now so you have an opportunity to try something new. (Cucumbers, squash, corn, carrots, green onions, pumpkins, tomatoes, and watermelon grow well in the high desert by the way.) Something new can be a variety of things. Maybe it is time to learn how to mix and record your own music. Maybe you can finally learn how to hip hop dance. Take up that pencil and try to draw something that you would never draw. Write a book. Write a poem. Write a script. Make a film. Finally learn how to ride a bike, skateboard, or rollerblade. Learn how to IRON YOUR CLOTHES. Learn how to cook. Learn how to clean a house (you're welcome mom.) It doesn't matter what you do, but by learning something new you are expanding your brain and your critical thinking.


Postmates should not be the one making all of the money during this time. You have time and you are bored anyway. This is a great time to learn how to cook and if you already cook, use your skill. This is a great time to try to learn how to cook healthier or make harder food. (Mr. Griffin is preparing to try Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington). Cooking for your family is a great way to get back to the "good old days" and take time to enjoy your family while you are all under the same roof. There will be a time when that is gone and you will be happy that you took the time to cook with your family.


This is a time when people can feel more alone than ever. Even when we are apart, you need to know that you are in our thoughts and our hearts. Try not to isolate yourself and try to take time to connect with people digitally when you are not able to be there in person.

If you need help because you feel like you are all alone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You are important to us.

With our extended summer time (I am not calling it a vacation until Disneyland reopens) there are so many opportunities to make lemonade out of lemons. Stay positive, stay connected, and keep on learning.

#thisisencore #newskills #summer2020 #encorehighschool #indpendentstudyprograms #homeschool #hybridschool #distancelearning #highschool #artschool #learntocook #fightboredom #peteythepirate

Denise Griffin, CEO is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public performing arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Encore offers full time, hybrid time, and independent study programs. Encore offers transporation from the Inland Empire and the high desert. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredited. Copyright 2020.

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