Category Archives: Educational Activities

The Toy Library of Central Florida

I am excited to say that I finally visited the Toy Library of Central Florida and it’s AWESOME!!!!

The Toy Library of Central Florida, located in Apopka, FL, offers monthly subscriptions to patrons who then check out toys, books, and activity kits.

You return the items when you can and check more out. Let me tell you, this sure beats the cost of purchasing tons of toys, then finding out that your child doesn’t like them or that he has grown out of using the toys you have.

By using the Central Florida Toy Library, you can change out toys and activities as often as you want with your subscription!

The current price for a monthly subscription at the Toy Library of Central Florida is $20 per family.

The items in the toy library range for age groups 0 and up and are housed in one main room or three additional rooms inside the toy library. This library isn’t just for babies and toddlers, though. Dawn, owner of the toy library, encourages older children and their families to check out the books and activity kits. My children loved the Tinker Box, but your older children might enjoy the clay kit or a sewing activity by hand.

What’s even more exciting is that the Toy Library of Central Florida is a nonprofit organization and is always thankful for your used toys, books, homeschool or brick and mortar school used curricula, pretend play items or playsets, and more!

The idea is to provide a low-cost option for families across Central Florida so nobody has to break the bank to provide enriching activities for their children. Your donations will help accomplish this and help keep subscription costs low.

I can’t say enough positive things about Dawn and the toy library. I knew she planned to set this up when we spoke over a year ago, and I am thrilled to see how quickly and expertly she set things in motion. She plans to expand throughout Central Florida. I can’t wait to see where and when.

As we approach the summer months, and that dense Florida heat, please consider volunteering, donating, and joining the Toy Library of Central Florida.

Check for current hours before you go as hours are subject to change.

I hope I see you there! 😊

My Favorite Educational Gifts

This year my family is trying to focus on experiences and educational gifts instead of a pile of toys that will eventually go unnoticed. Here, I listed some of my favorite things. Affiliate links are posted in some cases, but not all. Happy holidays!

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Click Blocks on Educents

We enjoy the variety Educents offers. From toys to educational games and musical instruments, there is a lot from which to choose. Our favorite choice, though, is called Click Blocks. Educents has a variety of these magnetic blocks so I suggest going to their link and searching using the keyword “magnet” or “magnetic”. This is probably the one toy the I enjoy playing with just as much as the kids do.

Melissa and Doug Life Skills Toys

With my first two children, I rarely cared about what products were made with and how durable they were. Now I see the value in a thoughtfully made product. We have enjoyed many Melissa and Doug puzzles, a housekeeping set, and even a fishing set. You can find tons of options on both Amazon (which is having a sale at the time of this blog being published) and the Melissa and Doug website.

Learning Games

Learning games are a huge hit right now. There are so many that it would be difficult to list every good quality option. Some of my favorite learning games include ABC Cookies, Allowance, Sum Swamp, and Quirkle. These games, as well as others, can be found on Amazon (links shared in this paragraph) as well as other stores and websites.

Little Passports

This may sound odd, but my son LOVES to receive mail and his Little Passports subscription allows him to enjoy that experience while also learning about other countries and cultures. There is a version for older children that teaches about each state in the United States as well. We were surprised to receive an email each month with additional resources and interactive activities to do on the Little Passports website. Right now they have a sale for 15% off if you use the code word “JOY”.

History Unboxed

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History Unboxed is one of our favorite subscription packages, but the coolest part is that they offer boxes a la carte as well. You can choose a one-time box or shipment OR subscribe. Gift subscriptions are available so grandma and auntie can share the gift of learning with the little ones. We thoroughly enjoyed our boxes from soap-making to creating minotaurs. If you decide you want to sign up, please use the code edustrat to get a 5% discount on your first subscription order. If you want more info, check out my review here.

Experiences Worth the Time and Price

Experiential gifts are by far my favorite. Look in your area for science museums, free factory tours to places like the Jelly Belly factory, children’s museums, theater shows, and other family activities. Use Groupon and other coupons to lower costs. Sometimes season pass prices are lowered in the winter right before major holidays so call and ask for their best seasonal pricing.

If you know of a wonderful gift idea that I should add, please email me at lissa_kaye54@yahoo.com using the subject line “Favorite Gifts”. Thanks!

The Teacher Took His Microphone

 

She took the microphone away from a child.

She took the microphone away from a child.

By now many of you have seen the video clip of a teacher taking the microphone from a child living with Autism. Many have condemned the teacher while others have made excuses why this might be okay. I have a few thoughts about this, but also some questions.

Who was this performance meant to benefit?

When my students put on performances, it was to make the school, classroom, or parents look and feel good. I cannot remember one time when it was for all of the kids, chosen by the kids, and a benefit to the kids. Some children love to be in public and performing while others shy away and they certainly should be allowed to do either behavior without forced to perform like trained animals.

As adorable as seeing children on stage is, it is easy for them to think you are laughing at them when you really are laughing because they did something cute. Often, public speaking is part of state educational standards which really does not allow students with varying interests and abilities to be educated in the least restrictive environment while attending to their unique needs and interests. Free choice is the key, if I am being honest. Unfortunately. teachers have very little time for this type of educational model.

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What will teachers do when the number of children with Autism is greater than the number of those without?

While some children have Autism due to genetic factors, others have onset of symptoms after exposure to environmental toxins. At this point in time, both are coded as Autism. That may change in the future, but right now, to receive therapies and have them coded in a way that insurance companies will help pay for the costs, this is the reality.

As the numbers of those living with Autism climb, and make no mistake this is the prediction, how will our educational system fare? How will teachers be able to do their jobs with class sizes up to 20 in early childhood grade levels and over half of their students living with special needs? As numbers of those with Autism grow, will teachers be able to differentiate instruction, work on behavior concerns, and not burn out?

I am doubtful. In my state, all re-certifications must include ESE training classes. Because some of these classes will be taught in individual schools by those working there, we don’t actually know how much correct information or quality is going into them. I hope great care is being taken.

When I took my courses, I did so through a university. Unfortunately, they focused on coercion of students in order to make them comply even when it really was not necessary to force compliance for safety or educational purposes. The truth is that less is more. Routine, reminding of expectations before an issue occurs, and patience all help. Sometimes we have to be strict, but mostly we have to be flexible and understanding as long as safety is not an issue.

In addition, there were ESE teachers in my classes who repeatedly said terrible things about children and made generalizations about “them”. The term “animals” was thrown around and I was so appalled that I chose another university for my PHD program.

Please remember, there are some fantastic teachers who do bring poor teacher behaviors to the attention of administrators, but there are also teachers who are afraid of having a tougher work environment if they speak up. We must work to enable the positive teachers while re-educating or sending away those who are terribly behaved.

What about this child?

I would not be surprised if the teacher was tired and wanted to “put him in his place” when she snatched the microphone. She probably worked all day, had frustrations with him all day, and decided this would show him that she was in charge and to be obeyed no matter what. She was at her breaking point and has not been educated regarding 1. special needs and 2. psychologically appropriate educational techniques. Maybe this is her fault. Maybe her boss should train the employees better. Maybe her former college ought to retool their programs.

At any rate, she was wrong.

She was prideful, went on a power trip, and was wrong.

 

What if parents complain about accommodations?

What if parents complain about accommodations?

What if the other parents complain about teachers allowing ESE students to behave or learn differently?

It doesn’t matter what other parents think. IDEA says that those living with certain special needs must be accommodated.

I have seen some terrible comments on social media about how children with special needs shouldn’t get “extras”, also known as developmentally appropriate teaching practices. They blame the victim saying he had already had a turn, and maybe he did. Maybe he was working on learning about taking turns and has not yet mastered the skill. This is exactly why we have bullying. Many adults cannot handle being different from one another so they push that insecurity and hate on children who then bully each other. Thank goodness some people are working to educate those who bully others.

Providing training, skills, and strategies may help.

Providing training, skills, and strategies may help.

What should happen to the teacher?

First, I am not clear as to whether that teacher sees the child on a day to day basis or not. If so, she ought to, at the very least, be removed and replaced from that position so they do not come into contact. The child should not be moved from the classroom if she is a special area or classroom teacher. Removing the child from the classroom and putting him in another is disruptive to him and punishes him so the teacher is the one who must move.

Then, of course, the teacher must give a public apology. If she feels embarrassed, that is sad, but it is exactly how that tiny human felt so she will be okay in doing this. It is important for children to see that nobody is perfect and that we can do our best to correct mistakes. This is how children learn to be good humans, by observing our behaviors and how we adults correct ourselves. Snatching a microphone teaches the child that someone bigger can take your stuff without permission and he is more likely to do the same behavior to get his way if the teacher doesn’t apologize and then make better choices.

Next, all teachers in the district, yes in the entire district, must be educated regarding how to not take behaviors personally when they have stress due to teaching children with special needs. If you watch the video, the teacher was clearly taking something personally and on a power trip to show that kid who is in charge and who can do whatever they want. 

This may be a pervasive attitude in the area or school. If your notice in the video, no adult jumps up to stop the teacher, either. I would highly encourage parent education night as well, not only for information about Autism, but also to learn about other special needs present in educational settings.

Another potential solution is to provide support. I recall needing assistance due to students, in different situations, being harmful to themselves or others. When calling for assistance, I was often told that no one was available. Sometimes help would come, sometimes not. I ended up doing most of the work of a dean myself or with the help of my next door teammate.

When stress gets to be too much or someone is being unsafe, there should be someone who can help or give the teacher a break. I often said that if I had not been trained with strategies and skills to deal with high stress situations, then I might have lost it. I can understand how teachers snap. Please note that though parent volunteers are awesome, you cannot leave the classroom with them in charge so that is not a viable option for a break due to stress.

We must insist upon a supportive environment for students and teachers by providing training, tools, and support.

We must insist upon a supportive environment for students and teachers by providing training, tools, and support.

It is important to provide skills and strategy options so that teachers and students do not feel backed into a corner. Teachers have to remember not to take student behaviors personally. The truth of the matter is that we are all different and that is okay. However, being a bully is never okay. This teacher was at the end of her rope and chose to bully. It’s time for her take a step back and try things differently. There are a great many of us who benefit from this idea, too. There’s no shame in learning new strategies and all children, whether developing typically or not, deserve patience and multiple chances to learn social skills.

How to Create a Thematic Unit

I often provide curriculum writing services, including thematic units, because homeschooling clients either do not have time or aren’t sure how to begin writing their own curriculum. Here I will share some tips to help you develop your own thematic units anytime you wish to do so. This type of unit can easily work with your child’s strengths and interests while strengthening weaknesses.

First, consider topics your student loves to learn about. This may mean focusing on a particular animal, video game, or activity is the basis for the topic of your unit. If your children want to help, let them decide what to focus on during the unit of study. Remember that the unit of study can be a day, week, several weeks, or longer. The length depends on resources, interest, and your decision regarding how long you prefer the unit to last.

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Next, gather resources. The Internet is a huge resource, especially if you look for virtual field trips and printable papers. Check out my resource lists to get started, then add your own. Make sure to stop by your local library or bookstore to gather publications about the chosen topic. If you want to use manipulatives, gather them. Check second hand stores and homeschool resale websites in addition to typical online websites and brick and mortar stores with new items. Look for games that are either printable, online, or a physical product. Consider field trip options, getting together with other locals who are studying a similar topic, and other out of the box ideas. It never hurts to allow your student to use or create graphic novels, a website, video blog (vlog), or other project about the topic.

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Then, choose an order for how to present information unit or how to facilitate your student in researching the topic during the thematic. Make a basic lesson plan that has a book list, order of activities or a weekly list of activities you hope to accomplish, and go for it.

Once you begin your thematic unit, keep an eye on your child’s interest level. If one particular book draws your student in, then read it multiple times together. If another book makes the child uninterested, then try a different book or activity. The key is to get active, do more than just paper and pencil work, and learn together when possible. Don’t stress. Have fun. Record lesson plans and progress. Keep pictures of projects or papers completed to add to your yearly portfolio.

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Some very basic examples of what you can include in a thematic unit include:

Minecraft – Use the blocks to practice addition and multiplication, use the machines you can build to learn about levers and circuits, use the different stones such as granite to write about the best supplies for building and to learn about editing after writing

Dogs – Practice reading the books your local library has, design a poster for dogs who need to be adopted form shelters locally, write a story about a dog who gets into awkward situations, use dogs as a theme for your current math topic

Candy – Learn about healthy foods and where foods come from, use cooking to practice fractions and multiplication, use cooking to learn about chemical reactions, write a recipe, learn about the cuisine from a culture different than your own

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As you get into a topic, you will find ways to expand your thematic unit to include skills like writing, reading, math, science, social studies, and other topics. Get creative and enjoy this chance to bond with your child while homeschooling.

Happy Learning!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like to have thematic units created specifically for your child.

Ways to Teach Handwriting Without Using a Pencil

Many parents ask me how to help their children who refuse to practice handwriting or who have difficulty forming letter shapes with a pencil. There are several things parents can do to help in this situation. Keep in mind that special needs may affect skill acquisition so if your gut says there is an issue, get it checked out. However, even when dealing with a special need, the following activities may help strengthen your child’s fine motor skills and also letter writing skills.

 

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Use clay to shape letters or for fine motor play.

Use a tray of rice or play sand, from your local home improvement store, to draw letter shapes.

Practice using tweezers to pick up small items such as buttons, pompom balls from the craft store, or beads, then sort them into groups according to color, size, or other characteristics.

Bend pipe cleaners/chenille wires into letter shapes.

Use q-tips, toothpicks, or sticky items like Wikki Stix to form letter shapes.

Use finger paint to draw letter shapes.

Use items from nature to create letters and words. (Sticks can draw in sand, leaves can be fashioned into letters, etc.)

Use a different material such as chalk on a sidewalk, white board, or computer drawing program.

 

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You can also use any of these ideas to draw straight, curved, and diagonal lines as well in order to help children practice making the lines that letter shapes use. The key is to get creative, use your child’s interests, and don’t be afraid to complete the activity with your child. It’s more fun when a caregiver participates. 🙂

Which Homeschool Preschool Curriculum Should I Choose?

Parents often ask how to get their children ahead in time for kindergarten. This is true for families of children in preschool who choose homeschool and those who choose brick and mortar schools. Parents want their children to excel. We want our kids to do better than the best. This is why many homeschool newbies ask which curriculum to use for their toddler and preschool students whose parents plan to homeschool. I see this question asked at least once a week in homeschool forums. Thankfully, I have an answer that will help you no matter who you are or how young your child happens to be.

The good news is that you do not need to purchase a curriculum for your child just yet. Instead, focus on social and academic skills through everyday situations. Don’t push children to recite letter names or count constantly. Do model how to count, how to be kind, and other skills. Model cleaning up after yourself and work as a team to do this. Model how to care for someone who is hurt or sad. In short, play and interact. How easy is that!?

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Some people will ask why so many preschool programs push literacy. The answer is that they are not always developmentally appropriate programs, but they are required to prepare children for a rigorous kindergarten year. In Florida, where I taught kindergarten for nearly a decade, teachers graded preschools based on how incoming kindergarten students did at social and academic skills. This can affect funding of those pre-k programs so they HAVE to be rigorous, too, though this is not appropriate for children.

What should a prekindergarten program look like?

I will blog in depth about this at some point, but for now the things you need to look for include, among other things:

A variety of open-ended activities

No forced reading or pencil and paper activities, though these should be available and used via free choice

Students making decisions and having interpersonal interactions in with watchful teachers who can step in should students be unable to resolve an issue

Teachers who are patient and willing to work with students to find solutions rather than immediately punish or yell

What should a homeschool preschool program look like?

Your preschool or toddler homeschool day should be similar to what is included above for those who run preschool programs. Have a variety of toys, writing utensils, bubbles, gardening options, or any other thing your child can safely use and in which he is interested. Be available to answer questions and interact, but do not take over the activities. Your child may use materials differently than you expect, but unless safety is an issue, let your child go for it and try to do things differently than you might. Work on negotiating, caring for others, and other social skills, too. Use real-life everyday situations to teach rather than making your child sit and listen to you or sit and read during the day. Go on field trips to explore your town or county.

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What about children living with special needs?

It is highly important that children with special needs receive necessary treatments, therapies, and instructions for how to use coping skills. Early intervention is proven to be helpful in these cases. However, this does not mean you ought to force a four-year-old child to read early due to a special need. Honor your child’s developmental level. Offer a variety of activities and model how to do things he cannot yet do. He will eventually want to copy you and you can implement the information your therapists have given you and your child. Yes, you may need to work harder on skills with your child when she is ready, but most children who are younger than six learn best through hands on activities and you modeling how to do things.

How can I get started?

To get started, use what you already have. Lego blocks, bubbles, construction paper, and other items can spark a child’s imagination and create a pathway to learn a multitude of things. Play with your child. Have siblings and friends play as well. Everyone plays a bit differently and different topics will come up along with the chance to practice different skills. Don’t be afraid of mixed age play groups. This can aid in teaching your child without it being “work” or boring.

We don’t want our children to burn out on education before they hit kindergarten. In fact, we want them to be lifelong learners who seek out education from a variety of sources rather than hiding from education because they were forced to do too much, too soon. Remember, some children do read at age three, while others do not read fluently until closer to age seven. Some children are not yet ready for complex math at age 16 while others may be ready when younger than age 12. The goal is to honor each student’s developmental level without forcing them into a curriculum at such an early age that they may become frustrated with school. School should be hands-on, fun, developmentally appropriate, and lead to a lifelong learner lifestyle. Introducing a rigorous curriculum in the preschool years can sabotage this completely.

But we already began a curriculum.

No worries. If you began and your child loves it, great. However, if your sense that your child needs a change, then change things. It really is a luxury to be able to consider an individual learner’s needs at each stage and change when needed.

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For further information

If you would like more information about education or behavior management, sign up for my email list. If you feel that a consultation would benefit you or your family, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to provide advice and behavior plans in order to help your home or classroom work efficiently and in a positive manner. Remember, you can do this. ?

About the Author

Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. is a former teacher, behavior coach, and tutor who works with families and students to help them reach their full potential in a peaceful, positive environment. Melissa’s educational experiences paired with real world experience give her a unique perspective when working with families to achieve their behavioral and educational goals.  Please contact Melissa with questions or to request services.

Phone Number : 407-712-4368

Email : lissa_kaye54@yahoo.com

Bitsbox Review

When I first heard about Bitsbox, I thought it might not interest my children so I ignored the information. One day I saw a decent price for this product and decided to try it once. As it turns out, my youngest child LOVED Bitsbox. So we ordered again and loved it again. I am excited to tell you about Bitsbox because we love it, and also because they often run a FREE BOX SPECIAL for new customers.

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Each Bitsbox booklet has a theme.

Bitsbox is a way for children to learn to program. I will add that I learned a bit about programming, too. I am not a computer person at all, so this was a very good thing! Now, I will say that though some of the coding was easy to use, other programs had a LOT of lines. Either help young children and inexperienced programmers or pace yourself by using the shorter programs first, then moving to the longer ones. We also found it helpful, especially for my youngest, to work on a program over several days’ time in order to not become stressed out, yet still complete the project.

Some pages in each Bitsbox book have less code and some have more depending on which program is being written.

Some pages in each Bitsbox book have less code and some have more depending on which program is being written.

If your child is into video games and other programs, this may be the product for you. I think that both homeschool families and those who go to brick and mortar schools can benefit from Bitsbox. As I noted above, Bitsbox can work for many developmental levels from beginner to more advanced. Some kits even include trading cards with cool graphics on one side and code on the back, along with the Bitsbox book themed to topics like movies or animals!

We LOVE these trading cards. They come with some Bitsbox books.

We LOVE these trading cards. They come with some Bitsbox books.

 

 

Though I may receive credits on my account if people sign up via my link, I am giving a true and honest review of this product. I do find Bitsbox to be educational and useful in my homeschool day.

The Value of Alternative Assessments

These days high stakes testing and school accountability mean that teachers, parents, and students have less room to vary lessons, tests, and proof that learning has occurred. While it is important to prevent systematic racism, which is the reason many reformers have historically given when pushing a one size fits all standards and accountability framework, it is also important to recognize that not all students will feel motivated within this framework. This is why it is highly important to provide a variety of options for showing that learning has occurred.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you are a student with special needs or a child who is not interested in pencil and paper options which are predictable and somewhat boring in the eyes of some people, then alternative assessment options will be more likely to keep you interested and to show where you have improved as well as where you still need to work on a certain concept.  After all, standardized tests do not often provide immediate information with which to inform instruction in a meaningful and emergent way. By using continuing assessment tools which often have the opportunity to change in presentation, you not only allow students to show their strengths, but a teacher or parent is more likely to quickly see gaps in learning and how to fix these gaps. The goal should be mastery, not passing a test with a C grade or higher. This makes alternative assessment options useful, interesting for the learner, and appropriate in both brick and mortar school and homeschool education models.

How do I begin?

Many people ask how to go about moving away from canned lessons and toward flexible assessments. Canned lessons can be good if they allow for flexibility when students need this. However, many times teachers must change lessons quite a bit in order to meet the needs of all learners in their care. If you must use canned lessons, don’t’ worry, you can still use flexible assessment options most of the time. You may already have some of these options written into 504 Plans or IEPs which you currently use for some students.

What does alternative assessment look like?

For example, if a student needs to give an oral report, but has anxiety, allow the student to choose a newscast style report where it is recorded first, a small group presentation, or a large group presentation. Also, give the student the option of a podium and stool in order to help support the student should he or she decide to give a live presentation.

If a student with low muscle tone needs to show you how to add with two digit numbers, don’t focus on the writing component. Instead, allow for the option to type, draw large pictures, have extra time to write numbers, use a stencil, or show using a poster board and objects glued on. This way the child can show understanding of the concept, but not be bogged down with pain in the hand due to low tone.

Sometimes gifted students, and others, become bored with the same routine. They may have a lowered attention span or refuse to complete a task due to being bored. Instead, try asking the student to create a newspaper that offers solutions to math problems like the ones through which you are currently working. Another option is to allow the student to create a physical project, like a science project or photography project, to illustrate the skill he or she must master.

The goal is not to copy the ideas listed here, but rather find options that both test a skill and allow students to do their best work without feeling as if the task is either above or below them. By adding a dash of creativity, a list of options, and allowing students to try something new, you are enabling both learning and constructive criticism which will help them to learn, grow, and succeed.

For further information

If you would like more information about education or behavior management, sign up for my email list. If you feel that a consultation would benefit you or your family, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to provide advice and behavior plans in order to help your home or classroom work efficiently and in a positive manner. Remember, you can do this. 🙂

 

About the author

Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. is a former teacher, behavior coach, and tutor who works with families and students to help them reach their full potential in a peaceful, positive environment. Melissa’s educational experiences paired with real world experience give her a unique perspective when working with families to achieve their behavioral and educational goals.  Please contact Melissa with questions or to request services.

Phone Number : 407-712-4368

Email : lissa_kaye54@yahoo.com

 

Homeschool Tips for Single Parents

There is a growing number of single parents who homeschool. It seems like I meet someone every week who has gone this route. Some folks have remarried while others are still single. But many have spent time as a single, homeschooling, parent. Because I am currently in the same boat, I wanted to share a few tips to (I hope) help make your life easier.

 

  1. Use a schedule. Yes, as in write it up and follow it. You don’t have to be strict about the schedule unless you need for it to be strict. Even a relaxed schedule can work.
I have included an example schedule. Remember that unschool parents do not insist on certain lessons at certain times so the schedule is a basic outline rather than a concrete schedule planned out by the hour. Also keep in mind that my family is not considered radical unschoolers. As in all groups, there are sub-groups. Though radical unschooling is a wonderful way to live life, it is not the unschooling model my family uses at this time.

I have included an example schedule. You can be as specific or open as you want to be. This schedule may for unschoolers and relaxed homeschoolers.

2. Plan ahead even if you unschool. Talk with your children about their interests and what things they want to work on during the week, month, or semester. Then, plan academic activities, child care, classes, and field trips around your work schedule and the interests of the children. If everything is prepped and on your calendar, you can see conflicts in advance and plan accordingly.

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3. Find a village of support. I am not joking. You need local people who support you emotionally and in person with actual, physical help like childcare and carpools. Look for other homeschool families with similar interests, values, and who are kind. Reciprocate as well. Perhaps you carpool on Mondays, and the other parent carpools on Tuesdays. Keep in mind that sometimes a nanny or sitter will be willing to also tutor or shuttle kids to and from activities.

4. Take care of yourself. (I’ll wait while you stop laughing at this idea.) I have difficulty with this item on the list so I can understand those who think it is impossible. But, at the very least, we should try to do this. Our health, safety, and happiness directly affect our children’s well being.

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5. Ask for help. It’s okay to not know everything. It is okay to need assistance from time to time. Don’t be afraid to let your kids help out, either. My five year old is so very ready to be independent that he did the laundry last week. I had no idea that he could reach all the necessary buttons!

Remember, you can do this! If you choose homeschool or unschool you can create a fruitful, academic environment in which  your children will flourish. It takes some planning, some will power, and a healthy dose of being realistic. But, if I can do it. You can do it. 🙂

 

5 Reasons to Read Picture Books to Older Children

Educators and parents often consider picture books to be for young children in early elementary grades. However, I have found picture books extremely helpful for older children in late elementary, middle, and high school grades. Read on to find out 5 reasons why you should read picture books to older children.

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1. Reading to another person reaffirms that you care.

2. Reading to another person shows that you value literature.

3. Older students may have special needs or English may be a second language which can make comprehension or reading difficult. By reading to older students, you remove some of the roadblocks preventing the enjoyment and understanding of a story.

4. Reading picture books to older children helps them to understand pronunciations, story lines, and other constructs of literature which they may miss through lectures and by reading to themselves.

5. Reading to older children lets them sit back, relax, and enjoy a great story.