Preparing for the School Year at Home

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For those whose children will be taking classes online or participating in remote learning this school year, keeping the following tips in mind will help create an at-home learning environment that prioritizes health and learning, while being able to adjust to this year’s unknowns.  

A home cannot fully replace all that a formal school classroom has to offer. However, what it lacks in traditional classroom appeal it makes up for in comfort and familiarity. Prepping your home to take on this additional role will help set your child up for success during what will be a unique academic year for many.

 

Set the tone

One of the best ways to set your children up for success this school year is to get them excited. It is important to communicate that this school year, even with all its unknowns, is an exciting opportunity for new and creative ways to learn and grow. Helping your child understand the unique learning possibilities your home provides will get the school year off to an enthusiastic start.

 

Create a space 

Establishing a designated space for school at home is important for a child’s ability to focus and to associate a space with learning. How you create a classroom environment will depend on your home and your needs. If your child is most comfortable in their room, try incorporating their classroom setup there. Depending on your child’s age, it may help to have toys or familiar room objects nearby. However, if your child is distracted by their own room, it may be better to set up elsewhere to help them focus, such as a nook or office. 

Allowing your child the freedom to make the space their own will help stimulate their imagination, which is vital to their learning and enjoyment of school. 

Wherever the home classroom is, be sure that area has minimal distractions, maintains a strong internet connection, and is well-stocked with school supplies within reach at all times.

 

Back to school

To maintain a sense of normalcy, keep your family’s back-to-school traditions intact this year, such as picking out school supplies, back to school clothes shopping, and everyone’s favorite first day of school photo. These ceremonies of preparation for the school year will build excitement while bringing some familiarity to those final days of summer.

Establish a routine

Just as adults have discovered new routines to parallel the shift to remote work, children need a shift in their daily flow to mirror the change to remote learning. The rigor of their school schedule will determine how much flexibility you have in putting together a routine. 

Stay active, incorporating movement breaks throughout the day to make up for the lack of physical activity. Plan out times away from their computer screens to differentiate between work and play time.  It’s recommended that children move at least 60 minutes a day, so prioritize exercise and movement, going outside when possible. This change of scenery is a helpful intermission for children. It gives their eyes a rest from their screens and returns them to their learning space feeling refreshed and revitalized. 

 

Granted, your ability to facilitate your child/children’s preparedness and monitor their continued learning is based on various factors like your work schedule and what resources your school district is providing for at-home learning. No matter your household’s situation, taking these factors into consideration where possible will help set your student(s) up for success.

Windermere Foundation Has Raised over $825,000 This Year!

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The first half of 2020 has brought uncertain times and unprecedented change, and across our network, our agents and offices have rallied with their communities through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen offices come together in support of their neighbors by providing meals to frontline workers, donating to local food banks, and giving their time in support of low-income and homeless families impacted by COVID-19. So far this year, we’ve raised over $825,000, with over $500,000 coming in second quarter alone, bringing the total raised by the Windermere Foundation to $41.8 million.

 

Here’s how some of our offices have served their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

 

Sedro Woolley & Mount Vernon, WA

Over the course of the first half of the year, the Windermere Sedro Woolley and Windermere Mount Vernon offices have donated more than $5,000 combined to the Helping Hands Food Bank to help their mission of providing local families with healthy meals through the pandemic.

 

Gearhart & Cannon Beach, OR (Windermere Realty Trust)

In a joint effort through Windermere Realty Trust, the Oregon Coast offices of Cannon Beach and Gearhart raised $2,000 for the organization Food 4 Kids. Food 4 Kids’ goal is to supply elementary and middle school students in the Seaside School District with supplementary weekend meals during the school year, currently feeding 235 children.  

 

Penrith Home Loans 

Earlier this year, Windermere’s mortgage partner, Penrith Home Loans, donated a total of $12,000 to the Windermere Foundation. 

“The Windermere Foundation’s dedication to supporting low-income and homeless families in our communities aligns with the personal values of the employees who make up Penrith Home Loans,” said Maya Dartiguenave, Marketing Manager at Penrith Home Loans.  

Penrith’s donations supported the organizations Hopelink and Share Vancouver. Hopelink was chosen by Penrith because of their holistic approach to helping people out of poverty and its mission “to promote self-sufficiency for all members of our community.” Share Vancouver was chosen because of its commitment to making Vancouver, Washington a home for everyone in the community. Examples of their work include employing an outreach team directly on the streets of Vancouver, providing emergency shelters, offering free meals to hungry children and subsidized housing to low-income families.

 

 

Neighbors in Need 

Between April 21 and May 5, the entire Windermere network came together to support local food banks through our Neighbors in Need fundraising campaign. Offices were challenged to raise $250,000, to be matched by the Windermere Foundation, for a total goal of $500,000. While coping with increased demand and a bottlenecked pipeline of food supply due to COVID-19, food banks were—and continue to be—desperate for funds to continue to serve those in need. Neighbors in Need surpassed the original goal of $500,000, raising a total of $690,000, and helping hundreds of food banks.

“I’m incredibly proud of how our offices and the community came together to raise much needed money and awareness to help food banks keep up with unprecedented needs,” said Windermere Foundation Executive Director, Christine Wood. “I hope we inspire others to do the same.”

These are just a few examples of how the donations flowing through the Windermere Foundation propel us forward in our mission to support low-income and homeless families in the communities across the Western U.S. If you’d like to help support organizations and programs in your community, please click the Donate button. 

 

 

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit WindermereFoundation.com.

How to Improve Your Curb Appeal

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When it comes time to sell your home, first impressions are crucial. Improving your curb appeal helps to make the most of a buyer’s first glance and sets the stage for their interest in purchasing your home. The following projects are simple and inexpensive ways to enhance both your home’s first impression and its value.

 

Landscaping

 

  • Lawn: A healthy, well-tended lawn goes a long way towards improving your curb appeal. Clean up all weeds, leaves and debris, and consistently water your lawn to give it that fresh green look. If you live in an arid climate, consider grass alternatives like artificial turf for the best lawn aesthetic.
  • Plant colorfully: Adding color variety to your front yard will grab buyers’ attention. Align smaller plants, like groundcover and flowers, neatly within your flower beds, aiming for symmetry when possible. Use larger plants and trees to frame in your entryway or walkup. If your front yard doesn’t have flower beds, try adding hanging planters or window boxes.
  • Lighting: Landscaping lighting boosts your curb appeal during nighttime, accentuates your shrubbery, and adds a welcoming touch for visitors as potential buyers, lighting the way to your door.

 

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Porch

Front porches set the stage for all your home has to offer. Improvements here will play a significant role in how comfortable potential buyers feel about the property and how inspired they are to explore the inside of the house. 

 

  • Door: Your front door is an opportunity to make a tasteful statement. Look at bold color choices that are within or slightly stretch your home’s exterior color palette. Take time to prepare the surface for a fresh coat of paint to make the color pop as much as possible. Try stylish doorknob options that accentuate the aesthetic to give your door some added flair.
  • House numbers: New and stylish house numbers are an easy, eye-catching touch to the look of your porch. Look for styles that match with your exterior color palette and any exterior lighting fixtures.
  • Go for comfort: Incorporating classic front porch elements like a porch swing, sitting bench, and other outdoor furniture gives a welcoming aura to the front of your home and creates a sense of comfort for prospective buyers.   
  • Shutters: Windows are the gateway to the inside of your home. Shutters of delicate fabric will bring elegance to your front porch, while wooden shutters deliver a solid, cozy vibe.

 

Other

These miscellaneous projects will add the finishing touches to your home’s curb appeal and get it in prime selling condition.

 

  • Quick maintenance: Small chores and minor fixes like cleaning gutters, repairing chipped paint, and cleaning windows are important for buyers with a detailed eye.
  • Staining: Instead of replacing fences or garage doors, look into applying a fresh stain. This brings a refreshed look and is much cheaper than a full renovation or replacement.
  • Power wash: Power washing your walkways and driveways makes a significant difference in curb appeal. If buying a power washer is outside your budget, explore rental options from the big-name hardware stores.

Your Guide to Going Solar

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For homeowners looking to reduce their home’s carbon footprint, increase its sustainability, and add value to their property, going solar is an obvious choice. Understanding how solar works and how to maximize its benefits are key first steps in your journey to becoming a solar energy-producing household.

 

How does solar work?

 

The technology that turns your house into a solar energy-harnessing hub is called photovoltaics, more commonly known as PV. PV works by fielding direct sunlight and absorbing its photons into the solar panels’ cells, which then creates electricity that provides energy for your home. This energy reduces your home’s output of carbon and other pollutants, which translates to cleaner air and water.

 

With the sun as the power source, the majority of the power generation occurs during the middle of the day, making summer the highest producing season. But don’t worry, it all evens out in the end.

 

Rooftop panels work best when they are exposed to sunlight, free of shade or shadow from nearby trees or structures. Given the sun’s east-to-west path, south-facing roofs are best-suited for maximizing your solar power. To see if your roof is set up for success, consult a mapping service or solar calculator to establish your roof’s suitability. If your roof isn’t up to standard, there are options such as ground mount solar installations and community solar gardens that you can explore.

 

Components

 

  • Solar panels: Capture the sun’s energy
  • Inverter: Converts the sun’s energy to a form that powers devices
  • Racking: The foundation that holds your solar system in place
  • Batteries: To store the energy generated
  • Charge controller: To control how quickly the batteries charge

 

What are the benefits of solar power?

 

  • Sustainability: Having a renewable source of energy coursing through your home reduces your household’s carbon footprint and increases your eco-friendliness.
  • Savings: How much money you save by going solar depends largely on how much energy your household consumes and the energy output of your solar panels. The cost of going solar has continued to decrease every year, so you are more likely to save as time goes on. For information on state incentives and tax breaks, explore what options apply to your home by visiting DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency).
  • Utilities: Whether your utility company charges a flat rate for electricity or charges variable rates throughout the day based on electricity production—i.e. higher rates in the afternoon, lower rates at night—solar power offsets the price you are charged for electricity. It becomes even more valuable during those higher-rate periods or during seasonal fluctuations in utilities costs.
  • Sell it back: Homeowners can sell their solar energy back to utilities through “Net-metering” plans. When your power generation rate is greater than your household’s consumption rate, the end result on your electric bill is a net energy consumption. Refer to DSIRE for region-specific regulations and policies.  
  • Home value: A recent study by The Appraisal Journal found that homes with solar PV systems increased their sale price by an average of 3.74%, equaling a premium of $14,329.  

 

Although the right solar solution looks different for each household, what remains true across the board are the environmental benefits and increased home values that solar power brings. Taking all this information into your research will improve your home’s renewable energy and reduce your carbon footprint.