The alarm pierces the dark coolness of my room, jolting me awake. Is it morning already? As I wipe my eyes and stumble to the bathroom, the thought of another day of teaching overwhelms me. I don’t feel like homeschooling today. I need a break, and my kids probably do too. But I still need this day to count towards our school year.
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We all have days where we feel like this. Maybe we went to bed late the night before, perhaps we’re sick, or maybe the baby indulged in an all-night kegger (of milk, that is). Whatever the case, some days we just need a break from doing normal homeschooling. There is no need to feel guilty about that. Here are 5 low maintenance and educational things you can do instead when you don’t feel like homeschooling.
#1 Have a Read-A-Thon
Remember read-a-thons from elementary school? They were so much fun, and the teachers loved them too. All you need are books, puzzles, and all things cozy. Don’t forget a book for yourself! Read-a-thons are fabulous on rainy winter days.
Lighting candles around the house really sets the mood. My kids love read-a-thon days. My fourth grader devours Minecraft books, while my second grader bounces between picture books, beginning chapter books, and Epic!. What if your child isn’t reading yet? No worries! Did you know there are hundreds of read-aloud books on Youtube? If you’re sick or not in a position to actively read to your child that day, this is a great option.
#2 It’s Baking Day
When I don’t feel like homeschooling, I’m probably (definitely) in the mood for homemade treats. A baking day is a great alternative. I’m pretty sure it’s in the homeschool mom guidebook that we must use baking to teach real-world math, so why not make a day of it? Have the kids plan a menu, order groceries, and have at it! Pro tip: Cooking with kids is more enjoyable when you work with one child at a time. Also, it’s a pretty special milestone when the kids can cook on their own without burning down the house.
#3 Watch a Documentary
Pull out the blankets, pop some popcorn, pile on the couch together, and turn on a documentary. There are so many great options! From Disney+ to Netflix to YouTube, you can find a documentary about anything you’re currently studying or something the kids want to learn more about. After it’s over, have a group discussion. Then, the kids can then write a movie review, draw a picture of something they learned, or act out their favorite scene. Seriously, the possibilities are endless.
#4 Pull Out the Board Games
I love board games. Love. Being an only child, I didn’t get a chance to play them as much as a wanted. Well, I am making up for lost time now! Board games teach so many essential skills.
So many benefits! I really appreciate how there are options for cooperative board games these days. They are a fun way to build up sibling relationships, and it is so sweet to see the kids encouraging each other. Some of our favorite board games are:
Have a change of scenery and get out of the house! Seriously, the forest cures just about any woes, in my opinion. But if hiking in the woods isn’t your thing, that’s ok! Head to a playground, a pond, your own yard, or even a random empty parking lot. Wherever you can go, you can make it work. My perspective on spending the entire day outside changed when I realized that There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather. We just need the proper gear. So, friend, pack up all the snacks, lunch, water bottles, blankets, and good outerwear, and enjoy the outdoors! It’s literally a breath of fresh air.
These are all things I do when I don’t feel like homeschooling, whatever the reason may be. I hope this sparked some inspiration for you when you are needing a break. Did I miss anything? I want to hear about it. Tell me in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to share this post, because these things are more fun when you do them with friends.
Social emotional learning is such a buzzword these days, especially in the education community. But what is it exactly? Social emotional learning is simply the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and intrapersonal skills. That’s it. Social emotional learning occurs in all sorts of situations, like at home, on play dates, during full blown meltdowns in the middle of Target. You get the idea.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free, and I was compensated for my time for this post. As always, my opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with these products and services.
Sometimes, however, we want a more focused learning environment for our kids with regard to social emotional learning. This is why I was thrilled when I was introduced to LuvBug Learning! LuvBug Learning is an online play-based SEL curriculum that is perfect for your elementary-aged child. Keep reading because I have a DISCOUNT code for you!
Teaching Feelings with LuvBug Learning
LuvBug Learning is the leading gaming platform for social emotional learning. Children do not even realize they are learning important life skills as they interact with Pixar-quality characters and games. These characters exist in various worlds where children engage in critical thinking skills while learning all about feelings and good character qualities.
These include things such as:
The Golden Rule
And so much more!
The graphics on LuvBug Learning are one of my favorite key features. I have shared before how a couple of my children, as well as myself, are neurodivergent. The animation on LuvBug Learning is so engaging and captivating for my children. They already love games like Roblox. However, with LuvBug Learning they are getting filled up on that dopamine, all the while learning skills they will utilize in everyday life. In my opinion, it is vital for neurodivergent kids to have a focused SEL curriculum, because it is easy for them to miss certain social cues or rules of etiquette in everyday life.
LuvBug Learning has a variety of subscription options, with the best price per month option being the annual subscription. Furthermore, I have an additional discount code just for you! Use code: LUVBUG5 for your annual subscription to only cost $5/month! Although LuvBug Learning offers deals throughout the year, this is the best you’re going to see. This offer EXPIRES October 15, 2022, so don’t wait! This price gets you one child account and one parent account, but you can easily add additional users for a small fee.
Furthermore, each child on your account will have their own dashboard. What I love about LuvBug Learning’s platform is how customizable it is. Parents have the ability to filter and tailor their child’s experiences based on their individual wants and needs. Parents also can also track their child’s learning progress in a very easy and concise way with the Social Emotional Pillars tracker in their dashboard.
With beautiful and FUN graphics, characters, and games, LuvBug Learning is an obvious choice for social emotional learning for your elementary-aged child. Join today and grab your discount with code: LUVBUG5, and let the fun and learning begin!
I have a confession. I don’t enjoy teaching homeschool science. There, I said it. I didn’t like science when I was in school, and I would still just rather not. It’s not science’s fault. I find various aspects of science interesting, but it’s just not my thing.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time for this post. As always, my opinions are honest and true to my personal experience with these products and services.
The idea of loving every aspect of homeschooling is a myth. And you know what? That is okay! We are human people with likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. Homeschooling our children does not mean having to become superhuman. We can educate our kids, while also being our authentic selves.
Now that we have established science might not be our forté, what are we going to do about it? Great news! I have some ideas and resources for you, and I can’t wait for you to read about them below. However, I want to make one thing clear. While it is totally okay for us to have our own opinions about school subjects, it is more important that we still maintain a positive homeschool environment for our children. When my daughter wanted to enter the science fair at her co-op, I assisted her project with a smile. I loved seeing her excitement during the process, and (mom brag moment) I was thrilled to celebrate with her when she won.
Online Science Curriculum
One of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that it’s all on the parent to teach everything. This is just not the case. There are so many options when we don’t want to or feel like we are not equipped to teach certain subjects. Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science Membership is the perfect solution for someone, like myself, who would rather not teach science. I shared Greg Landry’s science lab with you before, and he is now offering a brand new family membership!
This Christ-centered science curriculum membership provides affordable access for the whole family. A variety of science classes and labs for grades first through twelfth, as well as a host of other free resources, are included. Greg is a published former college professor and homeschooling dad with over 20 years of teaching experience. With his Homeschool Science Membership, parents are able to speak to him directly when they have questions. Furthermore, families gain access to RightNow Media, which is similar to a faith-based Netflix but with added Bible studies and Christian resources. My kid LOVE the show, The Adventures of Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent.
If you are not looking for an online curriculum, have no fear! There are still plenty of other options if you are not interested in teaching homeschool science. My first piece of advice would be to talk to your fellow homeschool mama friends. Maybe you have a friend who loves teaching science, but she hates teaching math (I love math, by the way). You could do a subject swap, where you meet regularly and take turns teaching. The bonus to this is consistent play dates with friends.
Secondly, look to your local library. Our local library offers a variety of homeschool classes, one of them being STEAM based. I was surprised to learn all of the options offered by our library, and you don’t even have to have a library card to participate. So, make sure to also check the libraries in the surrounding areas.
Lastly, joining a co-op is a wonderful option, when you don’t enjoy teaching certain subjects. My children have a co-op day once a week, where they get to participate in a variety of classes that would be hard to do at home. Local homeschooling Facebook groups are a great resource to garner information on what types of co-ops are offered in your area. Plus, you will get some frank and honest opinions from other homeschooling moms.
Your Unique Homeschool
The beautiful thing about homeschooling is it looks different for every family. The individuality of home education is my favorite thing. You, as the parent, are best able to decide how to educate your children. And you don’t have to do it alone!
I hope you check out Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science Membership, as well as all of your local resources. In doing so, I hope you feel empowered and encouraged by the fact that you are not alone in this homeschooling journey. Tell me, is there a subject you just don’t enjoy? Let me know in the comments below. As always, follow me on social media and share this with your friends who might need a little encouragement today!
It’s SO hard to sort through all the online homeschooling options. Well, I am thrilled to save you some precious time and tell you all about Education Perfect. Education Perfect is a personalized online platform committed to developing independent learners through technology. With more than 40,000 lessons, experiments, and games across dozens of topics, children can easily gain access and knowledge in their area of interest.
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.
How Can Education Perfect Elevate My Homeschool?
Designed for ages 9-18, Education Perfect comes alongside you, regardless of your homeschool style. They assist parents in a way that works best for each individual family. While Education Perfect offers a variety of subjects, they really shine in their foreign language studies. As someone who struggled through Spanish class in high school (and college), I really appreciate self-paced language learning curriculums. The foreign language options EP offers are OUTSTANDING. They include:
I was so excited to see Arabic listed under the Content tab. Our neighbors immigrated from Egypt, and their primary language is Arabic. My children and I were so excited to have the opportunity to learn this beautiful language and practice it in real life. Also, I love that students have the option to switch to an immersion approach once they have progressed far enough along in their language studies. I was so easy to set up assignments for the entire week for my children from the Teachers Portal. My children were provided a link to their tasks. This meant I did not have to set up their lessons each day. They just had to point and click to get started!
In addition to online lessons, students have the opportunity to participate in monthly homeschool festivals and competitions. They earn certificates and chances to win prize money (hello!) for all their effort. I know my children will do just about anything to earn their own money. What a great concept to apply that motivation to schoolwork! I really feel Education Perfect does a magnificent job in creating a sense of community among their clientele. That is quite a unique and special quality to find in an online curriculum.
Outstanding Communication and Customer Service
Education Perfect has the MOST user-friendly and easy-to-navigate website I have ever seen from an online homeschooling company. Seriously. Just about every page on the website has a video or tutorial to make sure you know exactly how everything works, as well as knowing every feature. It’s so nice to not have to waste time by clicking around and trying to figure everything out on your own.
In addition to all the website help, you will receive informative emails to get you and your students started off right, as soon you register. Furthermore, every homeschooler has the option to book a platform demo lesson with an Education Perfect member to assist you through the registration process. The personal connection with EP staff doesn’t stop after you’re registered. Nope. Weekly homeschool training lessons are available for you to participate in. Have you ever heard of another company going this far above and beyond, so their clients are set up for success? I definitely have NOT.
Overall, Education Perfect is a first-class option when looking to add a high-quality online curriculum to your homeschool. After your FREE trial period ends, this program costs $25/month or $250/year. This includes one parent account and five student accounts. You can save 20% off your purchase by using the code: SAVE20 at checkout (expires 10/31/22). Check out Education Perfect for yourself. I would love to know what you think in the comments below. Make sure to share this post with your homeschooling friends as well!
I am so excited to share with you Dennis Dinoia’s new book, Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learners. This book isa 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 toward 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.
The Inspiration for Teach
Teach: Creating Independently Responsible Learnersbegins 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 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!
Furthermore, Dennis provides so many real-life examples and strategies. These are geared not only toward the homeschooling parent but also the student. For example, the chapters include:
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 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!
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
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hi there. I’m Chrissy from www.lyonessandcub.com. Today, I’ll tell you about how I am raising a toddler. My Lyons Cub. He’ll be four in two months, so toddlerdom lies behind us now, and I congratulate myself on my preschooler.
All of you who have toddlers will know them—the terrible 2’s and even 3’s. I once had the faintest hope it would get better at the age of three, but no such luck… I had the chillest baby you could possibly imagine: Leander was so laid back; he hardly ever cried (maybe he didn’t have the strength, because he was born a preemie with IUGR, weighing only 3 lbs and spending the first three weeks of his life in the NICU). He didn’t suffer from colic or reflux, slept through the night most of the time, was friendly towards strangers, and smiled and giggled a lot. My friends told me back then that the sweetest babies make the wildest toddlers. They would be right…
Picky Eaters: Baking with Your Toddler to Stimulate Their Appetite
My son needed fortified breast milk to gain extra calories. So, I became an exclusive pumper, feeding him every three hours, including at night, for the first year of his life. This was tough, but we made it (and I rewarded myself with beautiful breast milk jewelry). I even used a pumping app to keep track of my daily output and his daily input. When my son turned five months old, we started with baby food. From the mom forums and blogs I was on, I heard about baby-led weaning and wanted to try it. However, my son mostly just smashed his food and played with it on his high chair. He seemed to enjoy the sensory play, but he also gagged and spat out a lot. So, I often wondered how much really went into his tummy. He gained a little weight, though, and reached the normal growth when he was nine months old.
Eventually, he developed into a picky eater, still loving his milk (we used Holle goat milk after he was one year of age). He preferred fruit and rice puffs to meat and veggies. I soon noticed when he was allowed to help prepare the food, he seemed hungrier and more eager to eat. Specifically, he liked to bake brownies, cookies, and cake. Although it was quite messy, I baked with my toddler whenever I got a chance. We used the floor to have a large space where he couldn’t fall or drop anything (no worries, I cleaned thoroughly before and after!). I remember the fun he had when he baked a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake with a mold I had found at ALDI’s. For Christmas, we build a gingerbread house every year, which is my German family’s tradition. He can hardly wait to pluck the candy off it!
Montessori Education: Child-Centered with Freedom of Choice
Although it was quite expensive, I chose Montessori education for my son. When he was 18 months old, he joined Amare Montessori. The children had “directresses” (you don’t call them “teachers” in Montessori language) who helped him help himself. That means he dressed himself proudly (and sometimes came home wearing his pants back to the front and his shoes on the wrong feet), harvested his own tomatoes, and prepared his own salad. The children flourish in a prepared environment with child-sized shelves full of beautiful Montessori materials they could choose from freely to satisfy their inner teacher. They also had a big garden to grow flowers and vegetables, with outdoor musical instruments hanging on a wooden fence, sticks for building tents, and mud kitchens.
Being outside in nature is emphasized strongly in Montessori education. Some kindergartens even have animals, so the children learn to care for them and cherish them (my son got to experience and to feed his aunt’s chickens). His little tasks were called “work.: Every day I received a short, written report with successes like, “he did the banana cutting work today,” or “he did the orange peeling work.” One day, I read, chuckling, “Leander painted a lot today, including himself.” That was true! I had a “Blue Boy” like the one from Picasso when I went to pick him up. He became very self-efficient as a consequence of this educational philosophy. However, the downside turned out to be that he doesn’t like my explaining and showing things to him; he wants to explore them by himself and doesn’t listen. We are still working on “following directions.”
Since I had become widowed unexpectedly during the year I was pregnant after our IVF journey, I needed a nanny to have support with my baby while I was working full time. Luckily, I found a great nanny through care.com, who was on board with me to raise Leander the Montessori Way. Her husband helped me build a Montessori house bed for my son, and I got a Pikler triangle, arch, and ramp from Etsy. Initially behind with gross and fine motor skills and needing Early Intervention, my son developed into a fast, sportive, strong boy who loves hiking through the forest and going swimming.
Outdoor Activities for Extremely Active Toddlers
This leads me to the next point—what to do with overactive, never tired toddlers, who seem to have everlasting energy? This is one tired mommy!! (Well, I have as excuse that I am “AMA,” or “advanced maternal age” or a “geriatric mom,” meaning a mommy over 35.) My son is now high maintenance, as he needs constant entertainment. When we are inside, we often play the piano, as I educate my son with classical music (his late daddy was a professional pianist and composer). He also loves to build with LEGOs and Duplos and to create elaborate race tracks for his battery-powered cars.
As nice as it is to play indoors with playdough, clay, marble runs, etc., he cannot stay cooped up for long. He gets cabin fever. I am a little hyperactive myself. The best thing for us is to get out of our four walls, breathe fresh air, run around on a green meadow, and play in the park. We are lucky to have great parks in our neighborhood. One has awesome climbing animals to explore with children, as well as a training parcours (developed for seniors, but enjoyed by the kids of the area) with lots of exercisers like a huge outdoor gym. We spent many summer afternoons there with grandma.
One of the highlights for my son is the animal park, where he gets to pet and feed alpacas, deer, goats, sheep, and watch otters, porcupines, seagulls, owls, and plenty of other animals. There are vending machines for pelleted animal food, because the visitors are not allowed to bring their own food. My son has lots of fun letting the goats and sheep eat the pellets of his hand. There are educational boards everywhere that talk about the animals, what they eat, how they live, what sounds they make, and other curiosities. When it gets too much for my son, he enjoys the big playground with the tire swings and the climbing tower.
We also have a zoo close by, where Leander got to admire pelicans, deer pigs, elephants, a brown bear, macaws, penguins, seals, etc. At home, we read up on those animals and answer his questions. We also watch them on YouTube, so he can learn more about them.
My son was born in Clarksville, TN. We moved to Germany in 2020 due to the pandemic, to be close to my relatives. If you are a mixed family like ours, use this wonderful opportunity to raise your child bilingually. It will be beneficial to him/her in school and later in the job market. My son speaks German and English, and for an almost four-year-old, he has a great vocabulary and sentence structure. I spoke German to him from the beginning, and his nanny and the directresses and kids in kindergarten spoke English, of course.
Additionally, we read a lot of books together. Reading to your child is so important! Every evening, he goes to bed with one German and one English book. His favorite books at the moment are those that deal with hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, or the solar system, and he also likes The Pout-Pout Fish series, Der Grüffelo (The Gruffalo), Wo die wilden Kerle wohnen (Where the Wild Things Are), Der Tag, an dem Louis gefressen wurde (The Day Louis Got Eaten), and Peter und der Wolf (Peter and the Wolf). Grandma speaks only German. We Skyped with her almost daily, so he got used to talking to her in German even before he met her in person. He grows up with songs and games in both languages. If you feel inclined to learn German from a toddler, check Leander out saying, “Stoffel stolpert über einen Stein.” That’s a tongue twister. Good luck!!!
Shopping for the holidays is overwhelming enough. But as a mom of two ADHD children, I know there is a *special* level of chaos surrounding the holidays. To hopefully make things a little easier on you, I’ve compiled a list of all the gifts your young ADHD child will not only love but also use. Say goodbye to toys that are played with for five minutes, then tossed into the black hole of a closet – never to be seen or heard from again.
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Hello stocking stuffers! This fidget set is great if your child likes variety, or you’re not sure which type of fidget would be helpful for them. We have these set up as a fidget station in our homeschool room.
This vibrating cushion is wonderful for proprioception and sensory input. My kids really enjoyed it when they were feeling unregulated. I like this one because it is a little bit bigger than some of the others, and it is easy to clean.
Hoverboards are just plain fun. They are also helpful in developing coordination and balance. This particular hoverboard connects to bluetooth, so your child can enjoy music or audiobooks while they cruise around. It also comes in a variety of colors.
My kids LOVE soft blankets. This might be the coziest weighted blanket I could find, and I am definitely adding it to my cart. The stitching ensures equal weight distribution, which I appreciate. As a general rule, you want your weighted blanket to be about 10% of the users total weight.
My kids love figuring out how things work. Gears are a great way to do just that. I like this set because there are plenty of pieces for multiple children to play with at the same time, and it comes with its own storage container.
My kids found this ball in a Sunday school room at our church, and they were instantly obsessed! This ball has some weight, but it is also soft and squishy. We now own three of these!
An oldie but a goodie. Jump all those wiggles out, please! Bonus points because kids can use these indoors.
Have you heard of the game Hues and Cues? This is a favorite board game in our house and is meant for the whole family, regardless of age. I really love how the game encourages the players to root for each other’s success.
This book is actually part of our homeschool materials, but it is WONDERFUL. It has helped my four year old learn to take deep breaths when upset, which you know is an extremely helpful skill.
Legos. All the Legos. This is a great little starter set and includes an instruction booklet to make a variety of things. Plus you can use the container as storage. Can you tell I like things that come with storage??
This is a beginning chapter book series that my girls love. The illustrations are bright and colorful, that really holds their attention.
For your aspiring artist. This light-up tracing pad is perfect for kids who are learning how to draw or who need some extra fine motor skills practice.
Who didn’t love this thing as a kid? This is a great gift for an ADHD child because it’s not only but it gives great vestibular stimulation.
Tools AND dinosaurs? What more could a kid need? And your child gets to work on their hand-eye coordination!
Check out this cute robot! Coding activities are so popular these days, and they’re so much fun. This little guy can be programmed by your child to make all kinds of art.
Tea time is a pastime practiced all over the world. However, it is not very prevalent in the US. Even though I have always enjoyed an afternoon cup of tea (23andMe says I am 98% British, so I guess it’s in my blood), I never really thought about having an organized tea time. That is until I started homeschooling. Sitting around the table together, enjoying a treat and a cup of tea is definitely a thing in the homeschool community. And let me tell you, my heart soared when I learned tea time could be a part of our weekly routine.
What is Tea Time?
I know this is a basic question, but it is one I honestly had. When you are a new homeschooler, you have to learn the lingo. Terms like spines, morning basket, living books, etc are specific to the homeschool community. I spent more time than I like to admit googling this stuff, ha. So, what exactly is tea time? Honestly, it is what ever you want it to be. You don’t even have to drink tea! Seriously, my oldest drinks water during ours. I define tea time as coming together around the table to enjoy a yummy snack and each other’s company. That’s all. It doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy if you don’t want it to be.
One thing I learned about myself at the beginning of my intentional living journey is my ideal and my reality often do not match. That is okay! Learning, knowing, and accepting what my capacity is a gift from the Lord. Truly. I say this because, in a perfect world I want to have a beautiful tea time with made from scratch treats every school day. This is not reality. I plan for three days a week, but most of the time it is twice a week. Furthermore, store bought snacks often grace our table. Did you know I almost gave up on the idea of tea time because I knew I wouldn’t be able to have homemade baked good every time? Talk about legalistic thinking! (I am working on it) Store bought cookies are the unsung heroes for us.
Alright, here are the details you’re looking for. A few times a week, while my youngest is napping, I make a pot of tea for me and my middle child. I fill a little pitcher of water for my oldest, who, like I said, doesn’t like tea. I set out some tea cups, saucers, and a plate of cookies. I typically serve enough for each of us to have two treats. I call the girls over, pour the tea, and we all sit down together. Then I either read a story, devotion, poem, or we answer the fun table conversation cards. This is also a time to practice manners. My children love it. I am planning on including my youngest once he get a little bit older and no longer napping. On average, this special time lasts for about 15-20 minutes.
Make It Your Own
The beauty of tea time is that it can be whatever you’d like it to be. And you, of course, do not have to be a homeschooler. You can enjoy tea time before bed, on a Sunday afternoon, and any time in between. As long as you are making time to connect with your family, then you are doing it right.
Tell me your thoughts! Would you like to start a tea time with your children? What treats would you serve? What do you want it to look like? Tell me all about it in the comments below. And, as always, if this post encouraged your, share it with your friends.
Intentionallywell.org is a place to find present intentionality in every day life. I hope you find grace and encouragement here to live on purpose with purpose.