As New Zealand comes to grips with unusual times, families such as the Lombergs in Hastings are finding they don't need to stray from the lifestyle they've embraced for years.
"Absolutely," says Sundeia Lomberg with a reassuring smile hours before the midnight Covid-19 coronavirus lock down kicks in. "Kids not able to go to school, parents not able to go to work and where is the money going to come from."
Sure, the Lombergs are having to adapt to a life that curtails their excursions to communal centres but they haven't had to make too many tweaks to a life she, husband Kelvin and their two children, Hana and Serena, have become accustomed to.
The 34-year-old couple find they can continue for the best part within their confinements.
"I didn't panic but the closest I came to that was when — right after the initial announcement when I asked someone what was said — I asked if we were still allowed to walk the dog or go past our gates.
"But very quickly I found out they weren't very sure and we were allowed to go out with social distancing so all those worries were gone," she says.
The most important thing is to have a plan but be flexible, advises Lomberg. What their daughters are learning is, no doubt, different from how most other families go about in a mainstream environment.
The next month or so will stray from the norm and they, too, will not be able to access communal leisure and recreational spots.
"We go swimming and the library facilities are closed," she says. "We go to the public parks and use the outdoors a lot and there's the piano lessons so a lot of what we do in the week are not happening at the moment."
As a Porse educator, she does in-home care so her children are part of a home-schooling group.
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That didn't stop Lomberg and husband Kelvin nutting out a blueprint to provide some structure and routine to their lifestyle.
They feel it's a blessing to venture out for walks as a family with the dog.
Having experienced a year of home schooling as an 8-year-old in Auckland, Lomberg and Kelvin had no qualms employing those principles to raise their children.
"I think every child is different and some children are more suited to the school environment than others."
They even notice that in their offspring. Serena thrives in the listening and absorbing process prevalent in schools while the other child, Hana, is a "kinesthetic learner". The latter excels in an environment where carrying out physical activities takes precedence over lecture theatres or one-way demonstrations.
"She learns by joining in and she loves to be really involved," she says with a grin of 7-year-old Hana. "If there's a pile of mud she'll be painting herself with it."
Serena's ability to learn in a lecture habitat came as a surprise to the couple — the 5-year-old replicates while watching her elder sibling connect with adults.
The knack to listen to library CD books and memorise stories has provided her a template to read.
"If she hadn't been interested in it [reading] earlier on it wouldn't have been something we were going to push because she's still little," says Lomberg.
The girls did have a phase with play centres early in their pre-school years.
In the Porse set up, her children spend time with peers but also travel to other homes to assimilate while honing social skills.
The parents are in touch with the Ministry of Education and adhere to any national standard it establishes.
"We are keeping them up to a standard where if they were to go to school one day they wouldn't be behind," she says.
The Lombergs aren't averse to mainstream schooling and actually like what it offers.
"Whether or not they go to school or where they go is still very much a question as well but at the moment we and the kids are loving it so we're just playing it by ear," she says.
"We don't have any clear plans so we're making the most of the times we have together because it's so special to have every day with them."
Lomberg studies lifestyle medicine online through a college in Sydney so the girls have "daddy day" with Kelvin.
"That's the one thing that is the same right now in my life — it's carrying on, regardless," she says in trying to accumulate 10 hours in a week on the holistic graduate certificate course. It encompasses the disciplines of helping with stress management and exercises to thwart chronic diseases.
With Kelvin working online from home as an information technologist with Fishpond, the Lombergs relish a family stove-top environment where all the burners are switched on. The different facets of life often dictate what should be on the main element at any given time, as it were.
"It gives our family a lot of flexibility to go away for the weekend or without checking with schools if we can have a certain day off," she says.
The Lombergs have made "a very conscious decision" not to have television in their home.
Kelvin, who is South African, watched TV growing up with his family in Johannesburg but Sundeia could only do so at 11 with her whanau in the Big Smoke.
"Even when I got to watch we could only choose one programme a week," she explains. It helped Lomberg that as a teenager she wasn't so keen on TV. Kelvin embracing and championing those values has made the transition into their new family an easy one.
"We don't have a TV or any iPads in the house, either, but we both have our computers."
Consequently she believes their children tend to cultivate a creative mind.
"Just the other night they were playing kings and queens where they dressed up and they're building boats from [cardboard] boxes where they play in them for ages."
Kelvin finds he tends to spend a lot more time with the children, especially with daddy day.
"We can do activities they might not do with mum," he says. "For example, we have outdoor sports and games like soccer, tennis or other mini-ball games. Music and singing is also a big passion of mine."
Lomberg says literacy skills, such as writing and reading, tend to kick in.
Having attended Rudolf Steiner School in the early years of her life, she is mindful learning isn't always confined to reading and writing. If anything, she believes international research shows boys better off starting formal learning at 6 or 7 rather than at 5.
"We were never going to be in a huge hurry to rush our kids into literacy."
With Hana a little shy, the Lombergs have been exposing her to other teaching/learning relationships outside their network, such as piano teacher Wendy Hunt and swimming instructors.
"She speaks probably 80 per cent of what's said at home so she's just a little bit slower to warm up but once she is, she's fine."
A network of about five families gathering on Fridays bolsters their social skills although that's on hold now with Covid-19.
"Our children have a lot of time to spend with families who have children aged babies through to adults."
The Lombergs, who travelled when they were younger, also host international visitors who expose their children to myriad cultures and languages.
"The people we have here most of the times are usually on working holiday visa and they tend to come here to do local seasonal work such as picking apples," she says, emphasising the orcharding industry embraces strict hygiene practices.
Momentarily at the height of hour-by-hour announcements, she did reflect on how things were going to be managed in a house of eight people with a dog and cat. (Lomberg's mother lives with them, too).
The family operates a bicycle hire business but that's also frozen amid the lockdown.
Fortunately online shopping is still operating so Kelvin's employment remains their main source of income, which provides stability.
Physical activities are paramount. Lomberg becomes the walking billboard after having conquered Mt Erin and Mt Kahuranaki for the first time early this month.
"It was the first time for me on a river crossing, the first time to walk 37km at once so the longest previously was walking the Tongariro, which I like to do twice a year and that is 19.4km," she says.
Lomberg, who gave birth to her daughters in their home, finds her recreational choices tend to rub off on the kids.
Serena has attained her "10 park-run certificate", having completed 11 of the 5km runs or walks. Hana has accomplished eight. The latter is working towards going to the sunrise hut when the Covid-19 blows over. She's proud to have tamed the 5.5km trek up Te Mata Peak in 2h 10, five minutes earlier than recommended.
"Fitness is a very important part of our lives because it's part of the lifestyle medicine thing."
Four years ago Lomberg was feeling the pressure of a home-based lifestyle but now the children are relatively independent so she is enjoying a more relaxed parenting phase.
"I definitely felt overwhelmed quite a lot of the times because — I don't know — they [children] don't come with a manual so, I think, the biggest factor in those days was sleep loss."
A healthy balance has helped alleviate those constraints and her tertiary pursuits are pivotal as a mental stimulation and distraction.
The couple are members of the Hastings Seventh Day Adventist Church, following Christian principles before they were married.
"Prayers and bible stories and things like that are part of our curriculum," she says, adding it's a foundation of their template.
"My husband and I work on things together as a team and take into account how it affects our children."
Lomberg says parents sharing ideas as a community through digital platforms is ideal, especially when they find themselves in a fight or flight mode.
"It's really hard to engage that logical brain and kind of go, 'Right, what are those rational steps we can take right now'."
She doesn't think "don't panic" is the best advice.
Lomberg lauds the teddy bear hunt on windowsills around the country which will involve children during walks. Hana has made a cut-out teddy bear and stuck it to the letterbox because their home is tucked behind another in a quarter-acre section.
"There are lots of people coming up with ideas that adds fun to a [difficult time]," she says.
Lomberg cautions against gravitating towards TV, especially younger children who can find it difficult to process streams of information.