Tag Archives: education

Grow a Reader this Summer!

20 Apr

Have you already started mapping out your summer plans?  If you have kids who haven’t learned to read yet, consider using this summer to teach them!  All you need is a few minutes every day and this fabulous book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. In approximately the duration of your child’s summer vacation, you can teach them one of life’s most valuable – and fun – skills!

When my son (now 6 ½) was 3 ½, I wanted to start teaching him how to read.  He knew most of his letter sounds, and he would sit still for any length of story I would read him.  It seemed like the right time to get going.

But where to start?  I didn’t know the first thing about how to approach it.

At the recommendation of some moms I know, I bought the book mentioned above.  It’s a very specific method of teaching reading to children.  (The book states that it’s designed for 4- or 5-year-olds, but can also be taught to bright 3 ½-year-olds.)  Its huge size seems a bit daunting at first, but the layout is very easy to follow.

Just do one lesson a day (or every other day, whatever your child can handle and your schedule allows).  Each lesson is presented with exact instructions, down to a teaching script so you know what to say with each task.

Every lesson includes writing practice, and the whole thing only takes about 10-20 minutes to complete.  By the time you reach lesson 50, your child will be reading an entire paragraph!  This amazing book completely takes the guesswork out of this process.

One thing you MUST do before you start teaching your child with this book: read the parent instructions.  It is imperative that you have an understanding of how the lessons work before you begin teaching, or you will stumble around and lose your child’s interest – which we all know is the kiss of death!

An added way to make the lessons fun (and to incorporate a bit of math, too) is to make a chart of squares numbered 1-100.  Each time your child finishes a lesson, they can put a sticker or a stamp in the square for the lesson they completed.  Once they’re done with all 100, they earn a prize.  Or you can give them a prize after every row of 10 – whatever works for you!

My son reads extremely well now.  He’s become a real lover of books, and can read anything we throw at him.  Knowing how to read has given him  independence and confidence to start him on a path to success in school, which is something that will serve him well for the rest of his life!

That's my boy!

I’m now using my well-worn copy of the book, with its many wrinkled pages and a taped-up cover, to instruct my 4 ½-year-old daughter.  She’s coming along great!

If you’ve never taught someone the skill of reading, you’re in for quite an experience.  It’s tedious, frustrating, and sometimes seems impossible, but the end result is an accomplishment that both you and your little one will cherish.  Summer vacation is a perfect time to do it!

Websites for Homeschoolers…or for Anyone!

12 Apr

I’m not sure if I’ve ever technically been considered a homeschooler, but I do know that even before my kids were born, I never intended for them to wait until they got to school to start learning.

Their entire short lives (they’re 4 and 6), I’ve stocked up on educational supplies, created lesson plans, and scoured the internet for craft ideas.  We’ve made countless trips to museums and zoos, attended story time, and sought out just about every educational opportunity at our disposal.  Long ago, I also turned our office into a “classroom”—so maybe I am a homeschooler at heart!

Part of our "classroom" at home

Now that my son is in kindergarten full-time, and my daughter is in preschool part-time, I don’t need to put so much thought into planning out educational activities for them.  But I don’t think I’m capable of leaving everything in the hands of their teachers – it’s just in my nature!  I like to be involved as much as possible, which also includes volunteering at their schools whenever I can.

So from time to time, I still hit my favorite homeschooling-type websites for ideas on lessons, activities, crafts, and other ideas for fun things to do with my kids.

Check these out – I guarantee you’ll be inspired!

www.notimeforflashcards.com – craft ideas, book suggestions, and songs from a homeschooling mom

www.confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com – activities and downloads from a homeschooling mom

1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com – lesson plans from a homeschooling mom

belladia.typepad.com/crafty_crow – art activities for kids of all ages

www.artprojectsforkids.org – art activities for kids of all ages

www.preschoolexpress.com – activities and printouts for preschool kids

familyfun.go.com – crafts, activities, and recipes from Disney’s Family Fun magazine

sippycupcentralmom.blogspot.com – crafts and activities from a homeschooling mom

www.schoolbox.com – educational supplies

www.learningpage.com – lesson plans and worksheets for various ages

www.worksheetlab.com – free printable worksheets for preschool and Kindergarten children

I like to have as much of a role in my kids’ education as I can.  Much of the time, education comes in the simple form of fun.  My kids won’t be little forever, and I want to fill up our time with as many enriching activities as possible to create a lifetime love of learning!

52 FEATS – NUMBER 52 (Learning Something New)

28 Dec

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

Aaaaaaaahhhhh – last Feat, can you believe it?  This one has been the toughest to figure out, which is why it’s Tuesday night and I’m just now getting this done.  I’ve been ruminating on this for what seems like an eternity.  This is my last chance for greatness!  The 11th hour in my quest to make a difference in my life!!

I suppose in some ways, I’m kind of reaching into the bottom of the barrel now, although I still have quite a few ideas that I haven’t tried yet.  I really want to go out with a bang – something meaningful.  But I also want it to be a true, honest Feat- something I’ve really wanted to accomplish.

So for this last Feat of my journey (and of this year), I’m going to dust off the old noodle and learn something new.  It’s not too late, I hope – old dogs can learn new tricks, right?  I haven’t quite decided what it’s going to be: Dance classes? A writing course? Guitar lessons?  (I’ve had “learn a song on the guitar” on my New Year’s resolution list for the last 5 years and still haven’t crossed it off yet!)

I’m going to do some searching around my city to see what’s available, and sign up right away.  I figure if I go ahead and pay for some classes then I’ll have no excuse not to do it.  And I want it to be something new, something I’ve never tried before.  What a great way to kick off 2012!

Stay tuned for next week, where I’ll be giving you an end-of-year update!

Post-Stress Back-to-School Syndrome

23 Aug

You’d think I would be turning cartwheels right now.  For the first time in six years, I have two children in full-time school.  My 15-year-old daughter with autism started her sophomore year on Monday.  My Kindergartner son had his first day last week.  Both my offspring are out of my hands nearly eight hours a day.  And I like where they’re spending that time.  I worked to find good classrooms for them, devoting significant research and networking to the task.  I know my children are safe in the care of talented teachers.  Each is poised to thrive this year in their respective situations.  So why am I not singing for joy like a character on “Glee”?

Because I am suffering Post-Stress Back-to-School Syndrome!

All that work, planning, assembling of school supplies, purchasing of uniforms, reading of paperwork, discussing expectations, signing of forms…it all took a toll on my nervous system and psyche.  The goodbyes were no picnic either, though both kids seemed genuinely happy to head off on their respective educational adventures.

My task now is to do more than merely fill those hours.  I need to readjust my mindset so I can get as much out of their time at school as they do.

But first I hope to take one big, long breath.  I know I need to heal from this “break up” of sorts as my kids go their way—and I try to find mine.

Home School Book Fair at Arlington Convention Center

6 May

Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, the Arlington Convention Center hosts a Home School Book Fair.  You can shop for books, sit in on one of the many featured speakers, or just chat with other homeschoolers for encouragement and inspiration.

Schedule:

8:00 am – Registration opens

8:30 am – Exhibit Hall opens

9:30 am – 11:45 am – Morning Workshops

11:45 am – 1:15 pm – Lunch Break

1:15 pm – 4:45 pm – Afternoon Workshops

5:30 pm – Exhibit Hall closes

Registration at the door is $20.  For more information, visit www.homeschoolbookfair.org.

Celebrate Earth Day at Lakeshore Learning Store

14 Apr

Bring the kids to Lakeshore Learning Store in Dallas on Saturday, April 16, from 11 am to 3 pm for a fun Earth Day celebration!

Decorate a kids’ tote bag, plant a flower to grow at home, and play with products inspired by nature – and it’s all FREE!

Lakeshore Learning Store is located at 13846 N. Dallas Parkway in Dallas.  For more information, or to score some store coupons, visit their website at www.lakeshorelearning.com.

Continuing Education

29 Mar

Whether intentional or not, most moms I know seek out some sort of continuing ed.  Reading parenting books and blogs; posing pointed questions to a pediatrician and researching topics; and a good heart-to-heart with a fellow mother all count to my way of thinking.  Even careful observation in the grocery store—scrutinizing the methods a fellow mom uses to corral a trio of toddlers with enviable ease—can yield useful nuggets.  I’m the first to admit I borrow “best practices” from everywhere where I can, adapting them to my own maternal repertoire.

On Saturday, April 9, Jen and I are participating in a more formalized type of training at the Project Mom summit in Fort Worth.  The day-long conference includes motivational speakers, in-depth break-out sessions on everything from children’s health to growing confident kids to talking about the birds and the bees with your offspring (gasp—I’ve signed up for that one!).

Go to www.projmom.com for the scoop. Hope to see you there!

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