Lockdown Week 2: Homeschooling, Bikes, And Making The Best Of Things


Hi folks!  It looks like I’ve managed to survive a second week of full-time homeschooling and SAHD (stay at home dad) life!  It’s been quite a week, but the kids are now starting to settle into this “new normal” routine.

I can’t believe I’m calling this normal now…  Life certainly does bring many interesting turns.

Unfortunately, this lockdown means I have a lot less time for blogging.  Posts are going to be a less frequent, but my goal is post once a week while we’re under this COVID-19 quarantine…  (no guarantees are expressed or implied!)

Expect these posts to be a lot more picture heavy and a lot less ‘wordy’.  Homeschooling two boys takes a lot of time!

study time

With more 1-1 instruction, I can give the boys a little more challenge than they would get in a standard classroom environment.  They vastly prefer their old teachers and school (it’s easier), but they’re adapting fast.

Our daily school study schedule looks something like this:

  • 8:30AM – 9:00AM Breakfast and tooth-brushing.
  • 9:00AM – 9:45AM Reading for 45 minutes.
  • 9:45AM – 10:45AM Switch to writing and spelling practice for roughly one hour.
  • 10:45AM- 11:45AM Math Time!  Again, roughly one hour of individual work here.
  • 11:45AM – 12:30PM Science Documentary time.  Thanks Youtube!  This gives me a chance to prep lunch.
  • 12:30PM – 1:30PM Lunch time!  Eat and then brush teeth.
  • 1:30PM – 3:00PM Run errands with the kids, or house cleaning.  Usually grocery shopping fits in here.
  • 3:00PM – 5:00PM Outside play time and project time.  I try to get the kids outside for at least one hour a day.  More details about our projects in a upcoming post!
  • 5:00PM – 6:00PM Dinner prep time.  Kids get free-choice time.

 

Even with all this “school-time” I’m still trying to maintain the same level of quality for our home cooked meals — meaning something delicious and made from scratch every day.  Here’s a picture of yesterday’s dinner: Sausage and bean soup.

bean and sausage soup

Honestly, I think we’re starting to get sick of staying indoors so much.  I’ve instituted a mandatory outdoor time (when the weather is decent) in the afternoons.  The kids usually play in the yard, driveway or cul-de-sac.  Initially this generated lots of whining about “when can we go inside?“, but I think they’ve started to understand that outside time means “fun” and inside means “studying”.

One Bonus: All the extra outdoor time with the kids has given me a chance to teach Tako Jr. #2 to ride a bicycle!

bike rider

It took about a week to learn how to start, balance and stop the bike — but now he’s going full solo!

solo rider

Other than that, this lock down feels like a really weird holiday — One where nobody is terribly happy, and everything but the grocery stores and pharmacy are closed!  Even the library, and public parks are closed in our area.  I can’t even take the kids to the playground!

Fortunately, national parks and state parks are still open (for now).  It’s easy to keep 6′ of distance on a hiking trail, so I’ll probably take the boys hiking as the weather improves this spring.

For now, we’re just trying to do the best we can under the situation — Staying at home, keeping occupied, and trying to stay as cheerful as we can under the situation (i.e. not murder one another), and avoiding other people whenever possible.

Thank goodness for Lego!

lego time

With any luck, this lock down/quarantine won’t last forever.

 

Investing Update

Lots of people have been asking how things have been going for me on the investing front — and the honest answer is: pretty shitty.  My portfolio has been doing terrible this year, just like everyone else’s.

I honestly don’t know if we’re in for a Japanese style lost decade or not.

As I said in my last post on the topic — Who knows what the future may hold?  I’m almost certain this event will change popular culture, not unlike the Great Depression.  How it will change human behavior is still up-in-the-air however.

I continue to hold a ton of cash right now — as I believe we won’t be seeing any “good investing news” until the number of infected cases starts to level-off and herd immunity develops, OR a vaccine is developed.   According to Goldman Sachs, the coming months will be very very bad news for our domestic economy, with a GDP drop of 24% expected this quarter.

This is not a investable economy.  It’s a dumpster fire.  This is why stocks continue to drop at unprecedented rates.  The world needs to ‘unlock’ again before the economy might begin to function at levels anywhere close to where things were in 2019.  That might take awhile.

It’s also tough to be optimistic when you hear information from the media like “Unemployment might hit 20%”, or “Most airlines, entertainment venues, and travel firms will be completely insolvent by the end of the year”.  

Yikes!  While the stock market fluctuating is a perfectly normal event, insolvency means a permanent loss of capital for investors.

It’s scary, and could put a big dent in my portfolio.  To stay sane, I simply tell myself that the media likes to scare people.   These are not yet facts.  They are simply educated guesses that may or may not turn out to be true.  Government bailouts and stimulus packages are probably going to happen, and they will (hopefully) alter the economic landscape for the better. (knock on wood)

Until that happens of course, it’s anybody’s guess how 2020 will turn out!

Good luck everyone, and stay safe out there!

 

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30 thoughts on “Lockdown Week 2: Homeschooling, Bikes, And Making The Best Of Things

  • March 21, 2020 at 2:48 AM
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    Junior looks pretty badass on that bike! He has now just begun a healthy passion that will serve him well for his entire life!

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:24 PM
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      I hope so! He took a tumble this week and got some road rash. Hope it didn’t scare him away from the bike!

      Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 7:13 AM
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    Belgium has been in lockdown for almost a week now: our local library has switched to a twice a week drop off, pick up policy. Next week will be the first time thay will try it out. We’ll see how it goes.

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:25 PM
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      Oh, that’s nice your library has at least some facilities in operation. We’ve got zilch right now, which is pretty terrible.

      We really rely on our local library!

      Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 8:35 AM
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    Sounds like your doing the best you can with what you’ve got – that’s all you can do! Hang in there and nice job with Tako Jr. #2!!

    And are you saying I should sell all my stock now or wait until the market goes lower first? 😉

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:26 PM
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      Could go either way I suppose! I’ve only purchased a little in recent days, because I’ve started to see a few bargains, but the broader market doesn’t scream “cheap” right now.

      “Fairly valued” seems appropriate, giving the giant downturn we’re looking at in the next few months.

      Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 8:39 AM
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    Our spring break was the week prior, but it was rainy, so we got stuck indoors. This last week was the official school close, so we did work on a little bit of homeschooling now that I realized we’ll be closed for another 3 weeks. She’s only in kinder, but I feel likes she’s already learned so much and we need to keep up with it. We’ve been able to go outside walking, hiking, biking, and playing at the park, but it still feels so isolating and claustrophobic, maybe just thinking about it is the problem. This whole social distancing is hard, since my daughter is an only child, there’s no playmate. We’re staying away from friends that we usually hang out with. We just try to make “recess” and PE fun. We’re very fortunate that I’m a SAHM and my husband can work remotely, but I know it’s a juggle and a burden financially for many families with this shutdown. Hopefully we can flatten the curve, and the lockdown end soon.

    Reply
    • March 25, 2020 at 11:27 PM
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      I hope it ends soon. The world turned upside-down in only a matter of days…it’s been quite the adjustment for our family.

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  • March 21, 2020 at 10:14 AM
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    So impressed that you haven’t bought anything yet. I bought VXUS to diversify my mostly US holdings, then watched it fall another 10%! Oh well. I wanted to diversify anyway so better to buy on sale.

    I don’t think the air lines will disappear because they are necessary. They will be propped up by the government (us) but hopefully will impose restrictions (lower CEO pay) and not pass the buck to the consumer in the form of higher ticket prices.

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:29 PM
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      I confess I started nibbling a few stocks today. Maybe not the cheapest prices, but still some pretty decent prices if we assume there’s going to be a tomorrow (and people find a way to struggle onward).

      Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 11:19 AM
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    Wow, you’re working your kids hard. For now, we only spend 1-2 hours/day on education. It’s spring break anyway. We’ll ramp up to 2-3 hours soon if we don’t get any guidance from school. I think it’s okay to lower expectations a bit during this crisis. It’s much harder for high school and college kids.
    Stay safe!

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:31 PM
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      I think my main job right now is just to keep the kids out of trouble and still learning something. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but we try to touch on all the major subjects.

      I never wanted to be a homeschool Dad, but now I’m forced to be. We don’t always get what we want in life, so I’m making the best of it.

      Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 11:21 AM
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    Looks like you guys are trying to get the best out of the current situation. The weather has been nice so the kids could run around our side. Hopefully it’ll stay nice for a while. Stay safe.

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:31 PM
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      Thanks Bob! I hope you and your family are safe and healthy!

      Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 12:08 PM
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    Mr. Tako –

    Nice schedule with the children, something I should take note of/look back on when I hopefully have some of my own!

    Further, I agree with the market. So many are asking for what I’m doing and what advice. I stay consistent with automatic investing in some areas, but definitely agree in building up a larger cash position.

    Stay safe and healthy out there!

    -Lanny

    Reply
  • March 21, 2020 at 10:32 PM
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    Good luck Tako-san.

    We have made it a week of home-schooling, and the district is going to roll out curriculum next week. Will be interesting to see how much is actually learned, versus them ticking the box to say they’ve completed a year of “study.”

    We’re sitting on cash too, but I’ve already started dripping some of it back into the market. I’m having trouble picking stocks, though, so I’ll just look for index ETF’s for now. I agree it’s impossible to say what the market’s going to do, and this may be one of the worst downturns ever. But I’ve been complaining about insane valuations for a while now and hoarding cash, so I guess I need to step up. I’ll still keep a year or two of expenses just in case, though 🙂

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    • March 22, 2020 at 10:05 AM
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      It is difficult to know when to wade back in. In my experience, the Shiller PE ratio has always been my friend. It still shows we’re well above fair value. In fact we’re still at 2017 levels. Things seemed pretty strong back then so we could be in for even more significant drops. Be careful and good luck.

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:37 PM
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      Well, valuations are certainly better than they were in January, but we must assume there’s going to be a giant haircut in business this year.

      I’m currently assuming revenues decline 50-70% in my projections. Some industries will be worse. Maybe next year business will continue to pick up a little. Maybe 10-15%.

      Considering these big declines in revenue and difficulty in firing people, profitability is going to hit the rocks for a couple years. Actual capital losses may be incurred in a variety of industries.

      I try to dial that into my expectations. So, while valuations are a bit better, neither are they very stellar.

      Reply
  • March 22, 2020 at 2:17 PM
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    Wow, very impressed with your ability to crush those dad duties. Right now, we’re just trying to help the family maintain and not go entirely insane (though have thrown in some SAT prep for the kids every now and then). I imagine if things continue this way, this will definitely need to change.

    We actually bought gradually as the markets declined this past week. Holding on to the rest to see what happens.

    Hoping your family stays healthy and safe.

    Elise

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:38 PM
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      I think we’re going to be sitting pretty for a couple of months. Hope I can hold it together that long!

      Wish me luck!

      Reply
  • March 23, 2020 at 7:25 AM
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    Kudos to you and your family during this crisis.

    I am glad my son is all grown up and in military college. It certainly is never easy to
    parent two young children let alone at this moment.

    Hopefully the time will pass fast and everyone reading this blog will be safe and better off in
    rest of the year.

    Take care and thank you for your blog.

    Mike

    Reply
  • March 23, 2020 at 1:06 PM
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    That sausage and bean soup looks good. Any chance you could post the recipe? Maybe there is a business opportunity for you – husband cooking school. My husband does not take instruction from me but he might from a man.

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    • March 25, 2020 at 11:43 PM
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      The original recipe for the sausage bean soup is here : https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pasta-Sausage-and-Bean-Soup-836

      I’ve made a few slight alterations over the years, but it’s still fairly close to that original.

      As for your husband, many husband’s don’t want to cook or even want to learn to cook. They feign ignorance, or ineptitude in the kitchen. In my experience at least.

      I can only speculate as to why, but the real problem isn’t ability — but motivation.

      Reply
  • March 24, 2020 at 6:22 AM
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    These wild swings in the market are giving me some serious whiplash! As someone who is a newish investor and more recently discovered the FIRE community – this is my first bear market. I feel fortunate to have a large amount of cash to put in while prices are down. I see that you’re still holding on to see how things progress with the market. Are you waiting for a specific number before you go in? I’m looking to make the most out of this buying opportunity and finding it very hard to sift through all the noise.

    Thank you for your blog! I’ve found all of your info very helpful 🙂

    Reply
  • March 25, 2020 at 11:46 AM
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    Bought some BA after hearing about backstop. Nibbling at O, AVGO.

    Reply
    • March 25, 2020 at 11:46 PM
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      Good luck Brian! I know BA is a pretty vital company for the government. They’re unlikely to go bankrupt, but there’s going to be some pretty tough years ahead. I hope existing shareholders don’t get wiped out.

      As to the others, good luck! 🙂

      Reply
  • March 27, 2020 at 8:51 AM
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    Are you going to be looking at preferred stocks again with the coming recession? Curious what your thoughts are on this. Thanks

    Reply

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