Tag Archives: learning

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!

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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!

Adventures in Toilet Training – Part One

21 Sep

This week, I started potty training my 14-month-old son, using the method I posted about a few weeks ago.  I knew he was ready when he started walking, wanting to sit on the potty, was communicating well, and was copying everything I was doing!

I started by putting a training potty just outside of the powder bathroom (the bathroom most utilized during the day).  Whenever I would use the bathroom, I’d invite him to come along and showed him where he could sit.  I picked out some interesting books for him, which I put in a basket next to his potty.

I talked about what I was doing, showed him how to sign “pee” and “poop”, and let him help me flush the toilet and wave goodbye.

Every morning before I dressed him and every evening before putting him to bed, either my husband or I would sit him on the potty.  One of the first few times we did this, he peed!  We got SO excited!  His two big sisters ran into the bathroom, we chanted the big boy chant, and he gave daddy high fives.  His smile beamed from ear to ear.  I knew he understood and was ready.

It became clear after a few times that he was going to be more interested in using the regular potty with the drop down child size seat, just like his sister did.  (How did I know?  He’d refuse to sit on the little potty and would point to the big potty and say, “that”.  It was pretty obvious!)

One of his favorite pastimes has become sitting on the potty and having me read to him.  I recently joked with my husband that I wondered if he was manipulating me, having quickly learned that telling me he has to potty is a quick and easy way to get my undivided attention sometimes for as long as it takes for someone else to need me!  Either way, I’m happy to oblige!

He picked up on the signs for “pee” and “poop” pretty quickly and can sign them back to me now.  I’ll ask him every once in a while if he needs to potty.  He will either shake his head “no”, at which time we continue doing what we are doing, or he will sign back and we will run to the potty.  A few times he’s come to me, signing that he needs to go!

He loves to mess with the toilet paper.  I’ve had to dismantle it and take it off the roll and put it out of reach.  Now, I use it as a reward.  If he goes in the potty, he gets to have some toilet paper to shred and put into the toilet.  If he doesn’t, it stays out of reach.

I find that the poop training is generally easier.  I could always tell when my kids were about to poop.  They assumed the position, being that of a sumo wrestler!  They usually made grunting noises to boot.  Whenever I see that happening, I swoop and scoop; pick up the toddler and run him to the potty!

He’s still in diapers because I am too cheap to buy Pull Ups until we are completely out of them.  I’ve got his big boy underwear all ready for Phase II!  So far, he’s peed about 5 times and pooped once in the potty!  Not too bad for the first week!

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.

Forgiveness

9 Feb

Being a mother means so many things.  Every day, I am pulled in a million different directions.  With each new day comes a new lesson.  I learn from my children, from my friends, from other mothers, from my husband, from my family, and even from strangers.

One lesson that keeps coming up for me personally is forgiveness.  I like to think I am a very forgiving person, but when it comes down to it, and I really start to reflect on my life, it becomes clear I have a lot of work to do.

Through meditation and yoga, I have learned to be more present in my daily life.  When I take that awareness and apply it to every day situations, it becomes easier to learn life’s lessons.  More and more I am trying to act upon my thoughts.  When I see someone struggling, instead of thinking to myself, “Oh, someone should help her.” Or “If I didn’t have my kids with me, I would help him.”

A breaking point for me happened a few weeks ago while I was shopping at a local grocery store.  My husband was home with two of the kids.  I was wearing the baby on my back.  A store employee had accidentally knocked over the recycled bags bin and was struggling to empty all of the bags from the bin, into another larger bag.  Here I stood, completely able-bodied, just thinking to myself, “Someone really should help him.  I can’t believe none of his co-workers are helping him!  He clearly needs help.”

Then what did I do? I kept walking, right on out of the store.  The entire way to my car, I beat myself up, in my mind.  I thought, “Oh my, I should have helped him.  Why didn’t I help him?  I don’t even have all three kids today.  I am wearing the baby, and could have easily bent down and helped him.”  I debated over and over whether or not to return to the store.  I knew I should, but ultimately, I just got to my car, loaded the groceries, and drove home.

For this inaction, I must forgive myself.  How can I learn to forgive anyone else, if I am unable to forgive myself?  In fact, how can I expect anyone else to forgive me, if I cannot forgive myself?  Once I forgive myself, it is easier to forgive the guy who cuts me off in traffic, or my friend for being insincere, or my husband for saying something to me or the kids in a negative manner, or even my kids for misbehaving.

In forgiving myself, I extend a little bit of light to the world.  It creates space for me to forgive others.  When I forgive others, they can more easily forgive themselves and in turn other people.  One person at a time can create a ripple of change within the Universe that can snowball into something big. All it takes is that awareness!

Lakeshore Learning – FREE Kids’ Crafts

8 Feb

Lakeshore Learning is a brilliant educational store. I have spent countless dollars on really cool office/ homeschool supplies here. They have an amazing catalog I enjoy perusing from time to time, day dreaming about what I’d like to have if only…

I have never been to the store, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. To date, I have only purchased items online in the comfort of home in my pjs!  But now they’re doing their best to get people like me into the store – every Saturday, Lakeshore Learning offers FREE crafts for kids from 11 am to 3 pm.

This weekend, Saturday February 12th, you can bring your kids in for free Valentine’s crafts and cards!

Lakeshore Learning is located at 13846 North Dallas Parkway in North Dallas.

Click here for an online coupon to save $5, $10, or $15 while you’re in the store this weekend!

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