Essentials for a Homeschooler’s Day Outside

Essentials for a Homeschooler’s Day Outside

Although homeschooling enables personalized learning wherein parents adapt to their children’s abilities, it does leave much to be desired in terms of outdoor experiences. Homeschool children need to spend time outside. Outdoor environments promote healthy emotional, physical, and social development. In a study on the importance of outdoor activities, Janet Loebach suggests that being outdoors creates diverse opportunities for unstructured play as well, which stimulates a kid’s creativity and problem-solving skills.

Outdoor environments encourage exploration and independence in children. From equipment for park strolls to museum dates, here are essentials you should pack for your homeschooler’s day outside:

1. Spare clothes

Indoors, you don’t have to worry as much about soiled clothes, especially not when your child’s closet is only a few steps away. However, unforeseen weather conditions or accidents can result in messy clothing when you’re taking your homeschooler outside. Before heading out, pack a change of clothes with you. We also recommend checking the weather forecast for rain later in the day. This way, you can come prepared and bring a raincoat or a warmer jacket to prevent your kid from getting sick. After all, catching a cold can put a damper on your fun learning trip outside.

2. Stroller

With young homeschoolers, carrying a stroller is best if you plan on taking them to sprawling places such as parks or planetariums. As the iCandy strollers prove, they allow you to stay mobile for a day of play and learning. If you’re worried about transporting the stroller, don’t be. Today, strollers come with car seat adaptors and seamlessly convert to a complete travel system, allowing you to use them with your car seat rig. If you have a packed itinerary that entails flitting from one museum to another, rest assured a stroller’s your best bet in ensuring a smooth trip.

3. Picnic Necessities

Taking your kids out for a picnic is a novel experience, especially when their lunch breaks are regularly taken inside the house. Eating outdoors can provide a much-needed break and change of scenery to your homeschool day. We recommend making an event out of the picnic, even if you only head out to your backyard or nearby park. Pack paper plates and plastic utensils, paper towels, and a picnic blanket alongside an insulated picnic bag and your kid’s favorite snacks. You can get all these from REI, a brand that offers an assortment of picnic tools, such as lightweight blankets that are resistant to the elements. All that’s left is to relax with your curious student as you help them identify different cloud formations in the sky.

4. Art Supplies

In our previous post ‘Summer Activities Your Kids Will Love’, we shared how kids enjoy using paint brushes to create different shapes on the sidewalk (yes, even with just water). Although art activities are easy to implement into your homeschool day, being outdoors exposes your children to new sights. To nurture their creativity, equip them with a small sketchbook and a set of colored pencils the next time you visit a park. It’ll be interesting to see them sketch several bird species or various colored flowers on paper. While these are objects you can show through books or on a screen, nothing beats seeing and capturing them in the flesh.

5. Game Equipment

A day out can be an opportunity for active play. When you take your kids outside, bring game equipment, such as jump ropes, hula hoops, or balls, with you. Ball play, for example, would entail bouncing, catching, dribbling, and throwing items. In an article on motor performance, Bouwien Smits-Engelsman explains how ball skills help build balance, problem-solving skills, and spatial awareness skills in children. To maximize your homeschooler’s day out, have exciting and educational game equipment on hand. This way, they can stretch their limbs as they learn a thing or two about hand-eye coordination.

Social Emotional Learning with LuvBug Learning

Social Emotional Learning with LuvBug Learning

Social emotional learning is such a buzz word 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 is all sorts of situations, like in the home, play dates, co-ops, sports teams, and so on.

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 productand services.

Sometimes, however, we want a more focused learning environment for our kids with regards 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 you child will engage critical thinking skills while learning all about feelings and good character qualities.

These include things such as:

  • Gratitude
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • The Golden Rule
  • Honesty
  • And so much more!
Scavenger Hunt Extravaganza

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 every day 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 ettiequte in every day life.

 
 
 
 
 
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What is Included with LuvBug Learning

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 experience 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.

Join LuvBug Learning today!

With beautiful and FUN graphics, characters, and games, LuvBug Learning is an obvious choice for social emotional learning for you elementary aged child. Join today and grab your discount with code: LUVBUG5, and let the fun and learning begin!

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Homeschooling Online with BrainPOP

Homeschooling Online with BrainPOP

Homeschooling online can be greatly beneficial. Every student has different learning styles, needs, and preferences. It can be hard to tailor your homeschool to the varying needs of your children with an “all in one” or “open and go” curriculum. That’s when homeschooling online shines. With so many web-based options out there, it can be hard to choose with one to go with. That’s why I am excited to share BrainPOP with you!

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 productand services.

BrainPOP was created by a leading educational technology company. It is used by over six million educators in both traditional and home education settings. BrainPOP is like many other online platforms. You have a dashboard and create an individualized class with up to 4 learners. However, what makes BrainPOP so unique, in my opinion, is it’s appeal to neurodivergent learners.

Check out BrainPOP today!

Homeschooling Neurodivergent Children

Homeschooling neurodivergent children is no small feat. I am not a doctor, and I do not have any specialized training. Yet, two out of my three children are neurodivergent. Additionally, I was given a neurodivergent diagnosis earlier this year. How neurodivergence impacts our family is one of the major reasons we decided to homeschool in the first place. So, when I find a resource that appeals to this group of kiddos, I want to shout it from the rooftops! BrainPOP does just that.

Every topic of learning in BrainPOP Homeschool is introduced with a “movie.” I use quotations, because these are actually short animated videos, but they are super engaging. Throughout the video there are questions for the learner to answer to make sure they are understanding the topic. You, as the parent, have the ability to tailor these questions to your child’s grade level. So, right off the bat, learners are visually stimulated, and their comprehension is immediately evaluated. This creates an active learning experience from the start.

Additionally, BrainPOP encourages high order critical thinking skills. This focus is vital for developing executive functioning skills for neurodivergent kids. Making a concept map, creating a movie, and inventing a new game by coding are all ways executive functioning skills are stimulated and practiced. It is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!

Girl homeschooling online with BrainPOP. She is watching a video about weather on a laptop in a homeschool room.

Core Subjects or Supplemental Learning?

So, I bet you are wondering if BrainPOP Homeschool is designed for core subjects or supplemental learning. While all subjects are included, BrainPOP is best viewed as supplemental learning. Designed in units, you and your learner can choose topics like Greek Gods, Weather, Algebra, Conflict Resolution, Grammar, and so much more. Seriously, there are so many great topics. However, you would need more for a full year’s curriculum.

Furthermore, BrainPOP showcases a “Topic of the Day” on your homepage, and they will even give you recommendations based on your child’s grade. When you sign up, you get to choose from BrainPOP Homeschool, BrainPOP Homeschool Jr., or BrainPOP Homeschool Combo depending on your family’s needs.

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Final Thoughts on Homeschooling Online with BrainPOP

While BrainPOP Homeschool is meant for all kids, I am so impressed with how their lessons and format appeal to neurodivergent kids. Because neurodivergence is a core characteristic of our family, I am always viewing resources through that lens. BrainPOP gives kids autonomy in how they learn, and feel ownership over their experience, which is a big deal to neurodivergent learners. When you sign up for an annual membership, you get two weeks free AND 28% off, so check out BrainPOP today!

I Don’t Enjoy Teaching Homeschool Science

I Don’t Enjoy Teaching Homeschool Science

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 have to become super human. 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.

Homeschool science fair winner holding up her ribbon while standing next to her project on sound waves.
Homeschool Science Fair Winner

Online Science Curriculum

One of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that it’s all on the parent to teach every thing. 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.

Check out Greg Landry’s Homeschool Science today!

Community Resources

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, with 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 surrounding areas.

Image Credit: Tom Bruno

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 that is 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!

Homeschooling with Education Perfect

Homeschooling with Education Perfect

There are so many online homeschooling resources on the market. It can be SO hard to sort through all of them. 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.

Education Perfect logo

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:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Chinese
  • Arabic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese

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!

A young girl is sitting at a desk completing a lesson in Arabic from Education Perfect.
My daughter learning how to introduce herself in Arabic.

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 every thing out on your own.

Use CODE: SAVE20 for 20% off (expires 10/31/22

In addition to all the website help, you will receive informative emails to 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.

Info graphic showing customer service support for Education Perfect.
The BEST client support!

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!

Homeschool Preschool Essentials

Homeschool Preschool Essentials

I am here to share with you what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials. The pressure to buy all the things is strong when your kids are young, and they are just beginning their homeschool journey. I am a former preschool teacher, and I also operate within a real life budget.

My youngest child was in a Mother’s Day out preschool when we decided to start homeschooling. We decided to keep him enrolled, even though I would be teaching my older children at home. However, this year he will be home full time with us. I am so excited! He will be in pre-k, which is the last year of preschool. Because he is my last child, I do not want to spend a lot of money on things we will only use for a short time. So, I am sharing with you what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials.

Essentials You’ll Use for Years

Table top easels are great because they take up less space and can easily be stored. I love easel work because it hits so many learning points for preschoolers. For example, did you know that easel work teaches pre-writing skills by encouraging top/down hand motions?

This marble run kit is a favorite for all three of my kids! However, I plan to utilize it most for our preschool. So much STEAM activity is involved in planning and building these structures. And preschoolers LOVE it when they finally get to release the marbles down their creations. 

This set of gears provides another opportunity for planning and creating with a big reward of action at the end. We work on building gears on the flat surface first, then we start working on vertical structures. 

I love this dinosaur balancing game. This kit works on proprioception skills as well as fine motor movements. Start with the animals on a flat surface, then work up to using the included curved base. My preschooler also really enjoys doing pretend play with this toy.

I love these blocks so much. I had them in my classroom when I taught preschool. Every piece is the exact same size and weight. That might sound boring, but it actually fuels creativity. Because all the blocks are equal, it makes it easy to build amazing structures that are stable and don’t fall over easily. 

Essentials for Arts and Crafts

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I am not a crafty mom. When I taught preschool, my co-teacher did all the arts and crafts, because I just didn’t enjoy it. However, they are SO important for preschoolers. Crafts provide opportunities for so much exploration and learning, so of course I will be doing all the crafting with my preschooler this year. Below are a few things I consider to be important to always have on hand, but might not be obvious. Additionally, most of these products can be used in other subjects as well, such as math and science.

These Dot Markers were a last minute addition to my homeschool preschool essentials, but I am so glad I bought them. They are easy to hold for kids who might not have a great pincer grip yet, and they practice the handwriting skill of using appropriate pressure. Use these to create artwork, or you can use them to learn all about patterns in math.

Everyone knows about construction paper, but using cardstock paper is really great for preschoolers. Cardstock is, of course, thicker than construction paper. This means when your child uses 10x the amount of glue necessary, the paper won’t tear as easily. The same is also true when your little one colors with markers in the same spot a little too much. Cardstock is also great to build on established hand strengthening skills like folding, tearing, and cutting.

If your preschooler is still struggling with their pincer grip, triangle crayons are awesome. They encourage proper grip, which means you’re having to correct your child less. Added bonus is these crayons won’t roll off the table. 

Essentials for Sensory Play

Finally, we need to talk about the importance of sensory play. My preschooler has ADHD, and he needs sensory input throughout the day. Even if your child is not neurodivergent, sensory play is essential for early learning. It fuels learning and curiosity for preschoolers (and all children, honestly). Below are things that I have on hand for sensory play at all times.

Last year I added a fidget station to our homeschool, and it was such a huge hit. Every child has their own preferences with fidgets, so this kit provides a little bit of everything.

Any time I am talking about sensory needs and children, I share this vibrating cushion. It is probably what gets the most use, in our home, out of all our sensory tools. A child can sit on it, and it will automatically start vibrating. This provides LOADS of proprioception input. My preschooler likes to use this cushion during meal times, as well as when he is upset and needs help calming down. 

This Ikea Trofast storage bin is what I am using for a sensory box. It is big enough to provide enough room to play, but small enough to be practical. I also like how it can be used for water play. I switch up what is in here every week for my preschooler. For our first week of school, I put soapy water in it along with his little construction builder trucks. His activity was to wash and dry them. He loved it!

And there you have it! I wanted to keep this list sparse, containing only what I consider to be homeschool preschool essentials. You can always add more once you begin schooling and notice gaps. But this list will get you a great start to your homeschool journey! I would love to know what you think is a must have for homeschooling preschoolers. Also, make sure to share this post with your friends!

Open and Go Language Arts for Kida with Common Sense Press

Open and Go Language Arts for Kida with Common Sense Press

If you are looking for an open and go language arts curriculum, you HAVE to check out Common Sense Press. Common Sense Press is a Christian based curriculum that’s been providing homeschool materials since 1989. It all started with their Learning Language Arts Through Literature book, and I am SO happy to be able to share the LLATL Yellow Book with you today. The Yellow Book is designed for third grade.

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.

Why Common Sense Press?

First, let me tell you more about Common Sense Press. There are so many open and go language arts curriculums on the market. It can be completely overwhelming trying to decide which one to use. What makes Common Sense Press special is its focus on classic literature. The Yellow Book is full of rich stories including Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, and more! There is such value in learning these stories that have been around for generations.

Additionally, Common Sense Press materials are:

  • Complete and require minimal planning on your part
  • Designed for students to work independently
  • Intentional and not reliant on busy work
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use, even for a first time homeschooler
  • Helpful and responsive customer service

 

The Yellow Book

Learning Literature Through Language Arts with Common Sense Press is an open and go curriculum designed for first grade through high school. Each grade is differentiated by color. The Yellow Book is meant for third grade. However, we all know sometimes a homeschool student’s age based grade and academic grade can be different. I really like how Common Sense Press uses the color method, because it takes away the pressure of “being on grade level”.

The Yellow Book includes 36 lessons divided into five days, to cover a full school year. You will cover literature, grammar, spelling, reading, critical thinking, cursive writing, and creative writing in this open and go language arts curriculum. Day one of each week introduces a literature passage, which will be the central theme. Furthermore, each week ends with a review activity. I really appreciate this, because it enables us parents to track how well our child is retaining the material. Assessments are also interwoven throughout the year. I know I always like to see the inside of curriculum books, so I’ve included pictures of a typical week below. Check out Lesson 20 from the Teacher Book!

Next, let’s look at the corresponding lesson in the Student Activity Book. Everything your student will work on for the week is in this workbook. Three cheers for less materials to keep track of!

Lesson 20

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed exploring Common Sense Press and The Yellow Book. It is a great fit for third grade because it involves enough work to be challenging without becoming overwhelming. I love the focus on classic literature throughout the year. There is something so special about uniting generations old and new with stories. Common Sense Press provided an excellent and thorough education. Check out this open and go language arts curriculum today! Also, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY in this post! And enjoy 15% off with code SUMMER2022, valid until 8/31/22.

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.

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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:

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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. 

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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.

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!

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