All Blog Posts

Christian Pre-K at Home with Sonlight

Christian Pre-K at Home with Sonlight

There are so many ways to teach pre-k at home. The preschool years are when we, as homeschool parents, are (typically) not bound by any sort of state requirements, testing, or attendance. We have complete freedom in how we approach the preschool years.

One thing we all want is to instill a love of books and a desire to learn in our preschoolers. This is when we are laying the foundation for their long term education. Sonlight’s Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World knocks it out of the park in creating a curriculum that is rich, thorough, fun, and engaging. I am so excited to tell you all about it! Also, you have a chance to win the ENTIRE Pre-K curriculum. Enter now!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

What’s Included in the Pre-K Curriculum Package?

Sonlight is a literature based curriculum that spans preschool through 12th grade while covering all required subjects. It has been equipping Christian homeschooling families for more than 30 years! They have updated their pre-k at home resources just in time for the 2022-23 school year.

With the Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World, you get the entire curriculum plus the Instructor’s Guide. That’s nearly 30 literature books and readers, as well as a Sonlight tote bag, tactile letter cards, counting beads, and MORE. These rich stories will immerse your child in history, nature, and Biblical stories, while teaching critical thinking skills and reading readiness.

As a homeschool mom who has had a few reluctant readers, there is SUCH value in exposing your child early and often to rich literature. Furthermore, don’t be overwhelmed by having so many books to get through in this package. This curriculum is supposed to take an entire school year. The daily break down, which you can see below, is very doable for a pre-kindergarten student.

Open and Go Pre-K at Home

If you are looking for a pre-k at home curriculum that is completely open and go, this is the right choice for you. Everything you need for the entire year is included. The Instructor’s Guide includes ideas for enrichments, such as field trips, and extensions, but they are not required. Additionally, very little advanced planning is needed for this curriculum. Sonlight really makes it easy to begin formal school with your pre-kindergarten child.

Let’s talk more about this Instructor’s Guide. I have seen several open and go curriculums, and this guide is the best I have seen. Seriously. Each week, you get an extensive overview of every thing you will be doing. Then, each day is broken down in a way that feels concise and doable. Furthermore, I REALLY like how each day is counted to to keep track of how many school days have been completed for the year. I mean, how much time is wasted counting and recounting days on a calendar to make sure we hit our requirement?!

My Overall Thoughts

Sonlight’s Pre-Kindergarten Package: Exploring God’s World is a well thought out and thorough curriculum. It is a great fit for a Christian family who is ready to start formal school at ages four and five. Not everyone is ready to do that, though. And that is ok! Sometimes kids need more years of just play, and other times they are ready to dive in to schooling. There are SO many ways to do pre-k at home and this is a great option. Check out Sonlight today, and don’t forget to enter the amazing giveaway!

Pin it!

TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners by Dennis Dinoia

TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners by Dennis Dinoia

I am so excited to share with you Dennis Dinoia’s new book, Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners. This book is THE great new resource for all homeschooling parents! We live in a world where any and all information is literally at our fingertips. It can be difficult to steer our children towards valuable information and teach them critical thinking skills. The topics and strategies discussed in this new book take on these challenges in a new and refreshing way.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners is available NOW!

The Inspiration for Teach

Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners begins with the author, Dennis Dinoia, sharing his background as a classroom educator. He shares the struggle he experienced getting his students to fully engage and care about their education. He often felt the information he taught went in one ear and out the other. We can definitely relate to this feeling as homeschooling parents! I know I can!!

Frustrated by this challenge, Dennis sought a solution. He realized if he had his students correct their own assignments, their grades actually improved. They retained information more effectively if they had more ownership of their work. Students also became more excited about learning. Of course, this is a goal for all parents and teachers.

When Dennis made the transition to the homeschool sector, he was able to apply the same techniques. He inspired parents to create learning environments where the child has a sense of ownership over their education. He terms this the independently responsible learner.

Practical Tips to Encourage Learning

Throughout the book, Dennis shares techniques and strategies you can apply to your homeschool to encourage independently responsible learning. One technique I really liked (and will be implementing) was in regard to vocabulary. The parent gives a list of words and has the student to discover the meanings for themselves. Then the student comes back and explains each word to the parent, essentially teaching the parent the vocabulary. What a great way to encourage independence and creativity!

Engaging and insightful, Teach is the a must read this summer!

Furthermore, Dennis provides so many real life examples and strategies. These are geared not only to the homeschooling parent but also the student. For example the chapters include:

  • Present yourself
  • Learning how to think
  • Do what you love to do
  • The parent is the coach
  • Goal setting (you know I love goal setting, mama)
Pin it!

My Thoughts on Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners

I have to be honest. I do not read a lot of advice giving nonfiction books. To me, they are often preachy or set too high a standard. I prefer to garner advice from others who have been there and done that to whatever I am seeking to learn about. But the beauty of this book is Dennis has BTDT! He is entrenched in the homeschooling community and passionate about supporting parents. Additionally, he has over 30 years of educational experience!

I knew I would love this book because I am such a fan of Dennis’s. Those of us familiar with his online homeschool classes and podcast affectionately call him Mr. D. And I was NOT disappointed. The practical and actionable tips in this book are sure to add value to your homeschool as you encourage independent learning. Get your Kindle copy of Teach for only $0.99!

Online Homeschool Classes with Allschool

Online Homeschool Classes with Allschool

Do you use online homeschool classes? This is new territory for us, but let me tell you, I am loving it! For a long time, I thought I would only use hard copy materials in our homeschool. That was ridiculous of me! I limited my resources so much with that line of thinking. I also limited fun and engaging avenues for my children to learn. Now that I’ve seen the light, I am so excited to share Allschool with you!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

What is Allschool?

What exactly is Allschool, you ask? Allschool is a platform jammed packed with a variety of online homeschool classes for students ages 3-18. They encourage students to pursue their interests through interactive classes, teacher feedback, and parent resources. You can search for classes by age, subject matter, time of day, and even language. I signed my four year old up for a class about the great white shark. The process was so simple and easy. Additionally, I really appreciated the questionnaire you fill out when you fill out your learner’s profile. This helps Allschool to have a rough idea of where your child is academically.

Allschool interactive online homeschool class logo.
Allschool is a great way to include interactive learning into your homeschool.

The Awesome Features of Allschool

Allschool has so many wonderful features that make it a clear choice when looking for interactive online homeschool classes such as:

  • Small class sizes
  • Variety of topics taught, including special interests and core subjects
  • Interactive and immersive classroom experience
  • Option of one-on-one classes for individualized learning
  • Responsive and helpful online customer service
  • Free worksheets to further learning
  • Personal feedback from teachers
  • Safety protocols to keep a positive and peaceful learning environment
  • Experienced and professional teachers

All of these features enable homeschooling parents to rest assured in their choice of Allschool. However, I have to say that my favorite aspect is the number and variety of classes. There are literally hundreds to choose from. This means that wherever your child is in their academic journey, there will be a fun and engaging class that’s right for them.

Allschool free online small classes for your child
Sign Up for Allschool Today!

How do the Classes Work?

Searching for the right class is very easy. You are able to filter the search engine. Because I wanted my four year old to enroll in a class, I searched by age. Out of all the choices, he chose a class about great white sharks. After completing the check out process, I was able to set my son’s profile up. Allschool classes are done over Zoom. You can find your Zoom link in your child’s profile, which houses your class schedules.

Preschool boy watching an online homeschool class about sharks.
I set my son up at my desk with his lunch and my laptop.

I was so impressed with Teacher Amber and this class! The maximum number of students in the class is set by each teacher, and our teacher had a max of 8 students. But there was just my son and one other child in the class. Teacher Amber was so engaging. She called each student by name, which really helps to keep their attention. Also, she didn’t mind at all that my son was wiggly and playing in my desk chair. The class lasted 30 minutes, and my ADHD preschooler was engaged the whole time. That is a BIG deal!

Preschool boy watching an online homeschool class on a laptop.
Teacher Amber was so much fun!

Overall, I was highly impressed with Allschool. I definitely plan on using this awesome resource for our homeschool in the future, especially for my preschooler. Make sure you check out Allschool and snag their offer of one free class. Have you ever tried online homeschool classes? What did you think? I would love to know in the comments below! Also, make sure to share this post with your friends.

Pin it!

How To Survive Year-End Stress With Your Elementary Student

How To Survive Year-End Stress With Your Elementary Student

Woohoo! Summer break is almost here, and it is time for a busy but beautiful season of vacations, pool parties, and lemonade stands. But before you can dive in and enjoy the fun that summer vacation brings for you and your kiddos, you must partake in the end-of-school-year Olympics and figure out how to survive year-end stress.

Yes, I am talking about the weeks after spring break and before summer vacation, when school tests the fortitude and dedication of every elementary school parent and beyond. You will be stretched to the limit some days, but the end result is worth it: watching your child’s face the day they walk out of school for the last time before summer break. What an exciting, squealing, ice cream-faced reward!

Manage Year-End Field Trip Stress

Children looking at a train car on a field trip to the train station.
Field trip to the train station was so much fun!

Is it just me, or do schools cram as many field trips as they can into the last 3 weeks of school? Aquarium, pizza arcade, Zoo, nature walk, CRAM IT IN! Oh and do not forget the permission slip. Or close-toed shoes. And the money for snacks on site. Or the sunscreen! While it may seem like a ton of extra stuff to cram into your pint-size child’s backpack, it’s all worth it to see their ruddy cheeks at the end of the day. Filled with stories and excitement from the trip. Remember your why!

Do Not Stress Report Cards & Grades

While the report cards and quarterly grades may not seem like a big part of how to survive year-end stress, they certainly are for your children – elementary school and beyond. When my daughter began 3rd grade, the report cards got a bit more serious. And so did she.

Reward all grades, as long as you know your child has done their best

Remind your kiddo that there are no bad grades as long as they have done their best work. Grades do not make a kind or empathetic spirit. Kick the stress and discipline when a disappointing report card rolls in. Celebrate the small victories!

Year-End Teacher Gifts – What To Give?

I am positive your kid’s teacher has some different ideas about how to survive year-end stress, which is why I always love to gift them something special at the end of the school year. 

Here are some “how to survive year-end stress” gift ideas for teachers:

Pin it!

How To Survive Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher conferences can be intimidating and leave everyone feeling defeated if handled improperly. My daughter’s elementary school requires at least 2 conferences a year. But you can have a great conference with your child’s teacher!

Focus on the positive.

Do not hone in on your child’s worst but choose to focus on their best.

Ask questions.

Do not begin the conference without a list of questions to ask your child’s teacher.

Request positive feedback to give your child.

Your child’s teacher wants them to succeed. They watch them learn and grow every day, so grab some of those compliments to share with your child.

Make Year-End Class Parties Fun

You might not be an over-achiever. You know what I’m talking about – a Pinterest-Perfect mom. One of those moms who set the table for every holiday and take the Christmas tree down by New Year’s. If you are, elementary class parties might not be your forte. That is okay momma! Take a chill pill and bring in the store-bough cupcakes. You do not have to cut the carrots into star shapes. 

Pin it!

More than perfection, your child will remember your presence.

This is a hugely important part of how to survive year-end stress and school madness. Your child will not likely remember your perfectly styled hair or the cupcakes you stayed up until 2am baking. No, they will remember your smile as you laughed on the bus headed to the Zoo. They will remember your compassion when they got a 75% on their math test.

Choose to focus on the reason why you are running around like a chicken on mountain dew. Your children and the memories you are making amidst the madness. Do you have any tips for surviving the year-end stress of elementary school? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Howdy, Miranda here from planitmiranda.com 

I am a full-time working mom and small business owner. I work for a local law firm while trying my best to juggle mom-sponsibilities, 40 hours of work for “the man”, and entrepreneurship. My days are spent meticulously planning what is to come so nothing falls through the cracks. My daughter Dorothy is 9 years old and my joy.  We make a great planning team.

The #1 Cleaning Hack for Tired Moms

The #1 Cleaning Hack for Tired Moms

When I discovered the #1 cleaning hack for tired moms, I had to try it. A messy house raises my stress levels through the roof – especially on top of a wild toddler and breastfeeding baby. Between running a business from home and mothering my two littles, I’m left with just enough energy to get myself showered and into bed. This typically spells disaster for my house.

I first spotted this cleaning hack on Tiktok, where all great mom-ideas come from. This creator’s didn’t stress perfection, and that attracted me to her profile. While a clean house was still necessary – and required to make things liveable – toys still existed and clothes were not always put up. This led me to my first lesson: it’s okay to not be perfect.

While that’s not my cleaning hack, it is something to remember and accept while being a mama. Otherwise, no matter what cool hack or simplified schedule you find, you’ll still get stressed out and overwhelmed because things don’t end up “perfect” like you want.

But now to the good stuff, my #1 cleaning hack for tired mamas:

The #1 Cleaning Hack for Tired Moms

I call the #1 cleaning hack for tired moms interval cleaning. Interval cleaning focuses primarily on one task or one room for a set amount of time. For example, a 15 minute timer as soon as the kids go down for a nap, and you clean what you can in the den. There’s no pressure to clean it all. Just do what you can for 15 minutes, and when you’re done you can decide if you want to do more. 

Additionally, you can choose to do multiple intervals. For example, you can clean for 15 minutes, then 30 minutes watching TV or relaxing, then another 15 minute cleaning. Or, if you’re feeling in the cleaning mood, once you’re done with your 15 minutes, you can set another 15 minutes and try cleaning what you can in another room.

Personally, I like to tackle 15 minutes in the morning before my babies wake up (and after my morning coffee) and 15 minutes after bedtime, when I’m still on the lookout for my sneaky toddler creeping out his bedroom. When my littles somehow manage to nap at the same time, I try to add another 15 minutes of cleaning time in! It’s really helped me stay on top of and manage my household chores.

Pin It

How Does it Work With Toddlers?

Sounds like a cool cleaning hack for tired mamas with only one little – or even just a little that actually naps, right? At first, that’s what it was for me too. It wasn’t until I started getting my toddler involved in cleaning with me that it seemed feasible to do everyday. He could tackle the little things like picking up toys or ensuring clothes and bedding landed in the laundry basket. Eventually we were able to introduce sweeping and mopping too.

My toddler might not be a huge fan of our cleaning time, but he powers through it like a champ! Sometimes he likes to throw a little party when we’re done, and if we’ve done a really good job we celebrate with a favorite snack or sweets.

What About Cleaning With Two Kids?

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think my little cleaning hack was going to survive after baby #2. She was (and still is) a handful to say the least. She doesn’t like to be separated from me, and she really doesn’t like it when we put her down for a nap or to clean. And it’s even rarer for both her and my toddler to be asleep at the same time before bedtime.

Luckily, I was able to get around it by distractions! Mainly, food. My little girl is a foodie through and through. So, I began taking advantage of her snack times and meal times to do our 15 minutes of cleaning. With this, I was able to still have cleaning time and not cut more into my precious after-bedtime me-time that I desperately needed after two kids.

I know that it won’t always go smoothly, and you might need to skip a day. However, the most important thing is to just do the 15 minutes and be done. You don’t need to do more. Once you’re done, you’re done. If you feel like doing more – great. If not, don’t.

How to Get Started With Interval Cleaning

I highly recommend seeing if someone can watch your kids for a day and tackle your house, especially if it’s become a bit of a mess (no shame, mine is too). This will get you started on the right foot. I know we don’t all have access to a village. Even having a friend or babysitter come entertain them while you clean helps out a lot. After a day of cleaning, it’ll be easier to focus during your 15 minutes without becoming overwhelmed with the rest of the house.

Outside of interval cleaning, there are still a few tasks that I take on everyday such as:

  • Dishes, we don’t have a dishwasher so they pile up quickly
  • Laundry, I try to do at least one load per day
  • Sweeping, I have all hardwood floors and a dog – must I say more?
  • My desk, it’s my space and it makes me feel good to clean it off in the morning

What does your cleaning routine look like? Have you tried interval cleaning before? Follow me @everydayshemoms_ for more mom tips & tricks!

Hey Mama! I’m Mckayla, the mama behind Everyday She Moms! I’m a proud mama of two littles while running my own business on the side. With the craziness of learning how to be a mom to my own, I love sharing our adventures and connecting with other mamas in the world!

Check out more tips for developing a cleaning routine!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Balls

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Balls

These no-bake peanut butter oat balls are a favorite snack with our family. They are healthy, easy, filling, and delicious! My kids love them, and my husband appreciates the fact they are gluten free (he’s the only GF member of our household). I made these today, because we need some yummy car snacks for our trip to Ohio tomorrow. Thes will be perfect! This is a good recipe to have your kids join in as well.

No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (sub any nut butter you like)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 chocolate chips (I measure with my heart here)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • Optional add ins: coconut, hemp seeds
Ingredients for no bake peanut butter oat balls

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl
  • Mix together (have the kids use their (clean) hands for some extra fun)
  • Chill bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  • After chilling, scoop mix with a spoon and use your hands to roll into a ball (about the size of a golf ball)
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in a closed container in the refrigerator
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl

There you have it! So easy! I hope your family enjoys these snacks as much as mine does! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, share this yummy recipe with your friends. I would love to have you follow me on Instagram, where I share more of our daily life. If you like the chocolate chip and oats combo, you will definitely love these chocolate chip cookies!

Pin It

Exciting On-Demand Dance Classes in Your Home

Exciting On-Demand Dance Classes in Your Home

I searched for on-demand dance classes to add to our homeschool routine for quite some time. I wanted something that offered various styles of dance for my children to try, but also I also wanted quality instruction. You cannot imagine how thrilled I was when I found YouDance.com! The Subscription to YouDance.com checks all of my boxes for what I was looking for. And, it’s your lucky day! Keep reading to enter a special giveaway just for you. Lifetime Access to YouDance.com valued at $180!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Learn to Dance Online

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want my kids to have the opportunity to explore new interests without having to drive them all over the place for in person classes. So, when I found this program, I was hooked. YouDance.com was started by a homeschooling mom. It is a safe place for kids to learn all types of dance, including ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and even clogging. Furthermore, there are no ads or any way to click into something we don’t want our kids having access to (unlike YouTube). My children are beginners, but there are multiple skill levels to choose from.

Get your FREE trial to YouDance.com today!

How Does it Work?

My first grader chose ballet, and my third grader chose jazz. I really appreciate how just one subscription to YouDance.com gives you full access to every type of dance on the platform. Each lesson includes short instructional videos on various aspects of that style of dance. The videos are shot from behind the instructor, who is looking in the mirror. This mimics in person classes, as well as makes it easier for my kids to follow the foot work. Additionally, each lesson includes a short quiz. The quiz covers the information taught in the lesson. I appreciate this, because it helps me to gauge how much my child is paying attention.

This online dance class mimics the perspective of being in a dance studio by watching the instructor from behind while facing a mirror.
All of the novice ballet lessons take place at the barre. Kids can use any sturdy surface in your home for balance.

However, I want to give a slight heads up if you have young children. You might need to do the quiz with your child. A couple of questions were a little mature. For example, when asking about the ballet barre, one of the answer choices mentioned a bar you would go to get drinks. Additionally, the history of jazz video spoke about how jazz originated with enslaved people in America. I love that the lesson taught this full and true history, but I was also glad I was there because my child had additional questions. All in all, I think these things are minor, and they don’t hinder how comfortable I feel using the program.

YouDance.com instructional jazz video is being viewed on a laptop.
My children like to watch the videos first before practicing.

The Benefits of On-Demand Dance Classes for Homeschoolers

The benefits to on-demand dance classes speak for themselves.

  • Explore new interests
  • Gross motor activities all year around, regardless of weather
  • Meet P.E. requirements for homeschooling
  • Ability to set your own pace and schedule
  • No need to be a chauffeur to weekly classes across town
  • Exposure to various types of music
  • Build confidence and self esteem

The YouDance.com Subscription hits all the marks, and I really love that we all have the opportunity to explore so many styles of dance under the umbrella of one product. And I have to say, it has been really nice being able to work on one-on-one teaching with one child, while another child learns a new dance completely independently.

There are even videos meant for exercise available, which is my favorite way to workout (anyone else remember the Zumba craze from ten years ago?) It’s not often you find a homeschool product that also has something for mom, but YouDance.com once again comes through. It warms my heart to think how Courtney, the founder and creator, thought of us when making this program. Check out YouDance.com today, and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Make sure to like and share this post with your friends!

Are you ready for the AWESOME giveaway? Enter below!

 

Prepping When You’re Not a Prepper

Prepping When You’re Not a Prepper

I am not a prepper. Do you know the term? The dictionary defines prepper as a person who believes a disaster or emergency will occur in the future and makes active preparations for it. Preppers typically stockpile food and other supplies. I am the opposite of this. I clean my refrigerator and pantry out often, I usually don’t cook enough to have leftovers, and I don’t buy clothes on sale the season before. Furthermore, if I’m not doing those basic things, I for sure don’t have some underground bunker in my backyard full of supplies (nor do I want to be this person) Me, not a prepper.

What Changed?

While I don’t fear a world disaster, I am an 80’s baby and have seen my fair share of them. Also, I am a planner and a realist. Planning for possibilities gives me a sense of control when the world feels out of control. With war raging across the globe, supply chain disruptions, a seemingly unending pandemic, and inflation closing in around us, I realize there is a time and a place to prepare a safety net for your family. This will look different for every family.

Remember the Great Toilet Papergate of 2020? Back then, I had the mindset of, “This is crazy. I am not participating in this.” That thinking was all well and good until my family actually ran out of toilet paper. I wasn’t able to buy more anywhere! Thank goodness a friend gave us a few rolls to tide us over. So, you know, lesson learned. It’s better to be prepared, even if the probability of needing said supplies is small.

This made me laugh more than it should have.

Starting Small

I am focusing my prepping and stockpiling with food. The weekly grocery budget is where we already see price increases. Also, I know there have been multiple times where my grocery store has been completely out of an item I need. My personal opinion is that things will get worse before better (but take heart, they WILL get better). So, I am starting small and simple. When I do my grocery shopping each week, I am going to get a few extra items for the purposes of storing them for a rainy day.

Here is my first haul of extra groceries.

All of the food in the picture above costed less than $15. Kroger had a sale that week of BOGO roasts, so the two in the photo were free! These items are going in to my pantry and freezer, and I will save them in case our finances become stretched or store shelves become more sparse. Furthermore, these things will come in super handy if I am having a day where we just need a quick and easy dinner. I don’t plan to purchase this many extra groceries every time I go to the store. However, little by little, it will all add up.

How Can You Start?

So, how should you start preparing a safety net if you’re also not a prepper? This will be different for every person and family. The question you need to ask yourself is what resource are you most concerned about? For me, it is groceries and finances, which are linked in my mind. Inflation and rising gas prices mean our dollars won’t stretch as far as they used to. There will be an adjustment period for this, and I have peace of mind knowing I have a stocked pantry and freezer if my dollars need to be allocated to somewhere else.

Additionally, I learned you can easily go deep down the rabbit hole with this topic. The motivating factors leading someone to begin stockpiling supples are all over the map and can be (in my opinion) quite far fetched. However, I believe there is value in storing extra supplies if it bring you peace of mind. Maybe you feel the need to prep and be prepared for something else. I would love to know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends. Also, check me out on Instagram, where I share more of our daily life.

Self Paced ASL Classes for Your Homeschool

Self Paced ASL Classes for Your Homeschool

Discovering Mr. D Math’s ASL: Elementary 1 was like finding a treasure chest for our homeschool. Mr. D Math offers a variety of classes, and we enrolled in the self paced ASL (American Sign Language) option. We decided this year that ASL would be our long term foreign language study for our homeschool. I learned a few basic signs as a child, and I knew some baby signs as well. However, my children came into our study knowing nothing.

Because I came into our ASL study with such limited knowledge, I had no idea where to begin. We tried to find YouTube videos. But there are so many that I didn’t know where to begin, much less make an impactful linear study of the language. When I was introduced to Mr. D Math and the self paced ASL class, I knew I found what we needed to ensure a proper, respectful, and comprehensive study of American Sign Language.

Bring world class teacher into your home!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

The High Quality of Mr. D Math’s ASL Elementary

Mr. D Math is an online platform offering a variety of live and self paced classes for every age. We chose Mr. D Math Elementary ASL 1, which is a self paced ASL class. To be completely transparent, I have been hesitant to use any online classes in our homeschool. I felt like if we were going to do home education, then I needed to be teaching only out of hard copy books at all times. Friend, don’t box yourself in like that. As soon as we started learning ASL, I knew I needed a curriculum with actual teachers who were more knowledgeable than me. I needed someone to come along side me to teach my children, and Mr. D Math does just that.

This image shows two children engaged in an online ASL lesson. One child is shoeing the sign for letter P.
Each lesson is straight forward and highly engaging for my children. They love ASL days!

Mr. D Math Elementary ASL 1 includes 32 lessons, which is a great amount for a full school year. Our teacher, Thia S., graduated from Gallaudet University, which is the only Deaf college in the world. It is so important to have qualified instructors when learning ASL. The deaf and hard of hearing community feels very strongly about this, and I am so glad Mr. D Math respects and supports that. I also really appreciate how I have the option to message our teacher if needed.

The Ease of Self Paced ASL Classes

One of my most favorite things about homeschooling is the individuality you can infuse into every part of education. Like I mentioned before, I had been hesitant to add an online curriculum to our schooling. Part of that hesitation was rooted in the fact that I didn’t want the pressure of being on someone else’s schedule. Let me tell you, the self paced ASL class has eased all of my fears.

Each lesson includes a video where our teacher introduces new signs. She is so fun and engaging. Furthermore, she encourages children to turn off their voices and practice their signs in daily life. My seven year old especially loves doing this! There are review worksheets and coloring pages, as well as a short review quiz for all 32 lessons. The course is well tracked through the online portal as well. It keeps track of our progress (I am learning too!) and quiz grades automatically. We usually do two to three lessons per week, but you can go as fast or as slow as your children need to.

This image shows two elementary aged children coloring their review worksheet from their ASL lesson.
Birthday sign review coloring pages were definitely a hit!

Is Mr. D Math Elementary ASL 1 Class Worth It?

I absolutely believe this self paced ASL class is worth it. If you are looking for a quality curriculum to fill any possible gaps in your homeschool, Mr. D Math is a great place to start your search. You can really tell this company wants to empower home educators. There is even a podcast by founder Dennis DiNoia. Additionally, for the price of $197 per self paced course, you get so much. Before I was introduced to Dr. D Math, I was scrounging YouTube for our ASL lessons. I didn’t always know the credentials of the person making the video, and there was no route to achieve our long term goals of becoming proficient in ASL. I fully intend to stay with Mr. D Math ASL classes until we progress beyond them. Check out Mr. D Math today and let me know what you think!

Social Emotional Learning with HeyKiddo

Social Emotional Learning with HeyKiddo

Social emotional learning is a framework that helps students to better understand their emotions, to experience those emotions fully, and extend empathy for others. Learning about feelings and how they effect relationships is vital for children to develop into well rounded healthy teenagers and adults.

As I’ve shared before, I have two children with ADHD. Did you know emotional regulation is an extra challenge for neurodivergent children? Because of this, we spend a LOT of time discussing feelings in our family. Additionally, I really believe spending concentrated time learning these skills when children are young results in positive outcomes as they grow. It only made sense to incorporate social emotional learning into our homeschool. This is why I was so excited to discover HeyKiddo Huddle by HeyKiddo.

Built for busy homeschooling parents (you, mama) by expert psychologists and educators, this digital curriculum fits seamlessly into your existing homeschool rhythm and routine, all the while helping to build skills like self-awareness, mindfulness, positive mindset, empathy, critical thinking, resilience and so much more. Read on to the end for a chance to win a one year subscription!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. My opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with this product.

Social Emotional Learning Starts with Family

We take family and sibling relationships very seriously in our home. Because I am an only child, I know how precious it is to have siblings by your side. We tell our kids that their siblings are their forever best friends. Deep relational bonds only occur if a person has had appropriate social emotional education.

Desiring our children to mature in their social emotional skills is one thing, yet knowing how best to teach these skills can be another. This is where HeyKiddo Huddle steps in. HeyKiddo, with the backing of the National Science Foundation, comes along side you with a weekly curriculum to teach important skills such as self awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making, and SO MUCH MORE. They say it takes a village. Why not take the opportunity to fill ours with expert psychologists and educators?

Sign Up Today!!

How Does HeyKiddo Huddle Work?

HeyKiddo Huddle is comprehensive social-emotional curriculum for homeschooling parents that spans 36 weeks. Everything you need to teach each lesson is located in your online portal. Additionally, you receive weekly emails with that link to all the materials you need. Your portal also houses a progress tracker for each child, as well as additional resources. The portal is incredibly simple and easy to navigate.

Your portal houses everything you need for each lesson.

Lessons, or huddles, take about 15 minutes each day, or you can dedicate one hour once a week. I really appreciate when curriculums are not extremely time intensive. For each lesson, you come together for a huddle (how cute is this concept?!) and discuss one question per day. The discussion questions are designed to integrate critical thinking skills into daily learning. One of my favorites is, “If you were a color, which would you be and why?”. Furthermore, an activity or craft is associated with each week’s focus. Parents are responsible for gathering the materials for these activities, but they are simple things like colored paper, scissors, etc..

I really appreciate the Educator Responses section of each discussion question.

Here is Your Chance to Win!

Enter to Win!

I have thoroughly enjoyed digging into this curriculum with my children. In the beginning, it felt a little awkward having these conversations, but we quickly found our groove. Better yet, the kids have so much fun during our huddles. I think it does a wonderful job filling in the gaps we, as parents, sometimes have when teaching our children about emotions and introspection.

Huddles are simple, but they are so impactful!

The only thing I would adjust in this program is allowing total access to all the lessons up front. You have the full 36 week curriculum outline in your portal, but it only gives you the topics. My type A planner self would have liked to be able to view all the lessons I wanted, so I could customize our journey through the program more. However, that is such a minor thing (can you tell I sometimes live in the details, ha!), and I really do love HeyKiddo Huddle for social emotional learning. I can already tell a difference in my children’s emotional awareness with using this curriculum. Check them out today! As always, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.