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7 Free DIY Mask Patterns You Can Make During the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 4, 2020

*featured image photo credit to: @purzlbaum

I love to sew. When I travel with the kids, I miss my Juki sewing machines. Unfortunately, I am without access to my machines or supplies during lockdown in France. This means I can’t use a machine to make any protective, non-surgical masks to give, gift, or make for my family during the COVID-19 – Coronavirus – pandemic.

However, this hasn’t stopped me from deeply admiring the mask making efforts that many sewers, artisans, and first time sewers are doing to support the medical profession, emergency personnel, essential workers, individuals at risk, and communities. So much respect to you all. And thank you.

I’ve noticed during my ‘free time’ during confinement that there are some really great, FREE mask patterns online. While I haven’t had the chance to try these patterns, I’m listing some links here so hopefully you or someone you know can make one (or many).

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) now advises “the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”  According to the CDC, “Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

7 Free DIY Mask Patterns

If you have a fabric stash, an old pile of scraps, or some old clothing that you’re willing to cut up, and some simple materials, you can quickly whip up a mask (or several) using the free patterns, templates, and tutorials below.

I would love to see your creations, tag your photos @wanderschooling on Instagram

  1. Center for Disease Control Sew and No Sew Face Cover Making Instructions. For the CDC’s sew version you only need two rectangles of cotton fabric, two elastics, rubber bands, hair ties, cloth, or strings, needle and thread, scissors, and a sewing machine.
  2. Erica Arndt’s Tutorial on YouTube. Her tutorial shows how you can quickly make a mask in minutes.
  3. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center’s Free Mask Making Instructions. Print out this instruction sheet and get to work sewing!
  4. Today’s Show Mask Making Instructions. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll get some easy instructions for making a mask at home.
  5. Greenmatters How to Make Your Own Mask. Tells you how to make a simple mask, explains what a N95 is, explains what are good materials to avoid/use, and how to clean reusable masks.
  6. Joann’s Fabric Mask Making. Offers a page with several mask making patterns and tutorials, including a shaped denim face masks. Perfect for doing something with your old jeans! Here is also a Joann’s pattern, which you can print out and quickly stitch together.
  7. Freesewing Offers this ‘Open Source’ Face Mask Pattern. I like the PDF pattern because it offers different sizes, so you can make one for smaller faces easily, like for your kids.

Keep in mind some fabrics may work better than others, and some have reported ways to increase non-surgical, handmade mask virus protection by integrating a filter of some sort, including a layer made out of vacuum filter bags, or waterproof layer sandwiched between fabrics. I know of one company that is selling masks to the general public that has announced a filter pocket in their masks that allows you to insert your own ‘filter’ of choice. Sort of like a bra that allows for insertion or removal of a pad.

As always, remember that masks aren’t a substitute for social distancing or an excuse to ignore stay-at-home/confinement orders.

Wishing you, your loved ones, and everyone in this world good health,




5 Secrets to Raising a Teen Who Isn’t an Entitled, Spoiled Brat

April 2, 2020

First, a big thanks to my teen, who is definitely NOT a brat, for this post idea and title. And a big thanks to my other three teen/tweens, who are also definitely NOT brats, for without all of you I couldn’t write this post.

Secrets to Raising a Teen Who Isn’t an Entitled, Spoiled Brat

Raising a teen isn’t easy. But then again parenthood hasn’t always been a walk in the park, right? Somehow pregnancy and labor woes turned into temper tantrums, which later somehow transformed into phone/device/time management arguments, and disagreements over friends or relationships, money/allowance, complete with stair stomping, slammed doors, and broken rules.

But I’m going to be completely honest here and you may not like it at all. If you and your teen are in a constant state of struggle, the blame falls largely on you–the adult. (I’m envisioning teens retweeting that sentence now, as ‘I told you so, Mom/Dad.’). And if your teen behaves like an entitled brat, a big chunk of the blame also falls on you.

There is such a thing as peaceful parenting. There is such a thing as having an awesome relationship with your teenager. There is such a thing as being good friends with your teenager, and not just when he/she wants something or when you need something. There is such a thing as having (and showing) mutual respect. It is completely possible to raise a teen who is not a brat.

In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t grow up in a perfect, flaw-free family household. My childhood was at times messy and it wasn’t always easy. Like most families, there were dysfunctional elements and unhealed adult wounds or needs that spilled out into my childhood.

Though I remember telling my mother, probably during a heated teenage argument, that I’d never have children, I eventually had four. I promised myself that I would be the best version of myself for myself and for my children. I would do my best to give my children a childhood that would instill strength, resilience, self-confidence, and self-reliance, and most importantly, encourage them to be uniquely themselves, hopefully with minimal baggage that would later require ‘fixing’ in adulthood. I would raise happy, well-balanced, appreciative, self-confident, loving, and kind humans.

For those of you who follow Wanderschool, you already know that my kids are homeschooled — unschooled. Just like I said I would never have kids, I also said I would never homeschool my kids. And then, like magic, my kids were homeschoolers (it was challenging at first, but now it’s AWESOME and I would never not homeschool my kids, unless of course, there was absolutely no other option. So, I think homeschooling has a lot to do with why my kids are awesome, kind, outgoing, and grateful, NOT brats. I also think raising my children in a travel, somewhat nomadic, lifestyle has much to do with it.

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Blog Homeschool Styles & Philosophies Popular COVID-19 Posts

Stop Trying to Homeschool and Start Unschooling

April 1, 2020

If you’re struggling to homeschool your kids or ‘quarantine-school’ your kids during the COVID-19 crisis, maybe it’s time you stop trying so hard and start unschooling.

What is Unschooling?

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling. It’s legal in the USA, and it’s a recognized approach in other countries, too–even in rule-loving France, from where I’m now writing during strict lockdown.

Unschooling is a form of learning that recognizes, respects, trusts, and encourages a child’s self-led interests and natural curiosity. While unschooling families are not all the same (some are seemingly more ‘radical’ than others, especially from the view of non-homeschoolers), it is generally understood that unschooling puts a child in the driver’s seat of his/her own education and learning experiences. To many, including my own family, unschooling is about so much more than academics, it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle where learning never stops. Where everyone in the family is free to pursue their passions and discover at their own pace.

Unschooling allows children to follow their own interests and passions, sometimes to the point of exhaustion–I’m thinking about my own unschooler who would spend 24/7 programming and learning advanced coding if I didn’t periodically remind him to take a break to eat, shower, brush his teeth, and get sleep.

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