Showing posts with label guest blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest blogger. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

4 reasons to keep your home schooled children away from the T.V.

Here is a guest post by Faige Kobre.

Many parents, I have learned, have a problem limiting the television consumption of their children. It would therefor, seem to be reasonable to believe that parents that home school their children may have an even more difficult time doing so , since the television temptation is in front of their children's noses all day long. If however, you home school your children and you realize how detrimental most T.V. watching is then it will motivate you to keep your children as far away from the T.V. set as possible.

There have been many studies done that have documented the terrible effect television has had on society and children in particular.  One of the most shocking things to me was to learn that television programmers don't think of television as existing to inform, entertain  and to educate, but that it exists totally to sell and to advertise products. Its purpose is to gather an audience and to create a feeling of hunger and need in us. Is it no wonder then, that children of today are so bored and needy. As a result commercialism  is the end result of too much television watching. The more kids watch the more they want to buy.

The second glaring study about too much T.V. watching is how it impairs cognitive development. Kids stay up too late watching shows, don't get enough sleep and cannot concentrate ins school. The TV shows are very quick moving and have overstimulating images and fast paced action. It is very difficult to keep children attention after being subjected to so much of this. Not getting enough sleep and being overstimulated just kills the children's attention levels.

Television also impedes imagination. Kids who watch a lot of television have less imagination as it has been proven to depress creativity and decrease imaginative play. Parents that want to encourage their children's creativity would be best off giving them all kinds of creative crafts that will stimulate their creativity and not suppress it. Even if you don't have a specific educational philosophy like  the Reggio Emilia philosophy,  nobody wants their children's cognitive levels to be impaired. This probably applies more to parents that home school, than parents of children in public and private schools as they are being home schooled to get the many benefits it brings. Don't ruin the benefits of the home schooling you are giving your children by allowing them to spend too much time in front of the TV.

Today's guest blogger feels strongly that television has very little place in homeschool. In our homeschool the television is off most days of the week. If it pertains to our lessons then we will watch an educational program on Netflix, such as Sid the Science Kid. This past year our entire elementary science curriculum was based around Beakman's World.
So, I am not at all opposed to using the television in a limited way for educational purposes. But I do agree wholeheartedly that constantly plopping the children down in front of the television for hours on end is not beneficial.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homeschool management tips for new homeschoolers

Today we have a guest post.
Homeschooling families make their home the center of their life — their base, from which everything is planned, and where they often spend a large part of the day. Educating kids at home changes more than the way we run our households. It affects every area of our lives. In my family, homeschooling goes hand in hand with working from home, for instance. Simply said, that means that we create a terrible mess every day, and that we have a lot of different things to plan to keep everything running smoothly. How?

Time management
Everyone notes that small children thrive on routines, but that doesn't sound very spontaneous, does it? I thought random adventures, starting school after enjoying a lazy breakfast together, and fitting my work-at-home job in there somewhere sounded much nicer. My children did great with a learning-centered but largely unscheduled home, but my work suffered and the house was in a terrible state. After a few months, I rediscovered the wheel and accepted that time management helps immensely.

Try scheduling school for all children and working hours for the parents, as well as shopping, outings, and household duties in advance. Write them all in a diary together (either on the computer or on "old-fashioned" paper), and also give each family member their own planner. Get your kids involved in managing the home as much as possible if you want to free up time. Yes, this is possible! Admittedly, I feel guilty for making my kids clean up after themselves, but I do feel a little better when I think they won't be slobs like me when they grow up :). I find that tidying up after each and every school subject or other project saves time.

Accept you are not superwoman
If you decided to homeschool, you obviously placed your children's education at the top of your priority list. It's fine to move doing laundry and keeping the house immaculately clean to the lower half of that list. One person' can't do everything, and trying to be perfect will just burn you out. Accept that you are doing the best you can, and get a cleaning professional to help with the house if you can afford it. Are you pregnant or homeschooling with a newborn? In that case, cut yourself some additional slack in the household department, and be very content that you can accomplish homeschooling. During pregnancy, you may want to look into some less teacher-intensive curricula (to pull out at least on those days that you feel extremely tired).

Where do you school?
Experiment with doing school in different places in and out of the house for a while. Homeschooling at the kitchen table fits in with the cliche, but does it work best for you? IS it possible to have a dedicated school room, fitted out just the way you need it? Ours has a table where both kids and a parent can sit, a computer desk, and lots of storage space. The biggest advantage of having a school room is that you can limit the school-related mess to one room. In the summer, you may also like to school outdoors. In the winter, try taking one child to a cafe for a hot coco and some math!

Look after yourself, too
Children learn much better with a motivated, energetic teacher. Make sure to claim some time for yourself, to relax and unwind. Whether it's reading a book by yourself, jogging in the park and working on weight loss after pregnancy, or grabbing lunch with a friend and no kids, you definitely deserve to make space for your own needs. In fact, your household probably floats your your sanity, so it is well worth investing in that!

Olivia is a homeschooling mom of two. She blogs about fertility, pregnancy, and beyond at Trying To Conceive.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fun Ways to Help Your Community

Today's guest blogger shares some ideas on how to be beneficial in your community. Many of these ideas can be used to teach homeschoolers how to become more involved in the world around them.

If you're looking to make a contribution to your community in a more substantial way there are many avenues you can explore. What makes a community is the people working together to help make your block, neighborhood, city or town worth living in.

If you're new to volunteering you may maintain the antiquated notion that giving back has to be boring. Not true. Depending on your interests you can help your community in ways that also give you joy.
  • Love animals? Why not help out at a local shelter or walk dogs for senior citizens who are no longer as mobil as they once were?
  • If you love children you could assist at your local hospital to make sure babies in incubation get human interaction.
  • Or maybe you have carpentry skills you'd like to put to use – there are many non-profits out there helping families in need by building or repairing their homes at low or no cost.
  • Don't forget to consider giving the gift of literacy or a second language to those in need.
No matter what you interests there will most likely be numerous ways you can find to help give back.
Support Local Businesses
Yep, one of the best ways to make your town a great place to live is to support independent artists and businesses. Granted, the national chain stores often offer convenience and sometimes lower prices but what do they do to help contribute to the feel of a community? If you take pride in where you live give back by keeping your money circulating locally whenever possible.

Radio Rockstar
Volunteering as a DJ at your local college station is about as much fun you can have while giving back. Many local radio stations have been drastically affected by funding cutbacks and fewer donations from listeners – to help offset costs, many radio hosts work for free.

 Love music and want to share it with the community? Contact your local college stations to see if they have any openings. If the station doesn't initially have openings then ask to sign up as a substitute host, as needed. Once you're around long enough there's a better than average bet that you'll soon get your own time slot. Worried because you've never DJ'd before? Don't worry, the station will train you.

Join a Co-Op
If interested in exceptional health food or fitness gear you might want to look into the advantages of joining a co-op. The idea is that you pay a certain manageable amount every month or year, in exchange for deals on quality items. The theory is that you, in essence, own the store where you shop. In addition to feeling invested in the success of the business these types of establishments tend to make more of an effort to hear what their customers have to say.

And you thought making a difference would be painful or boring. The truth is you can often express yourself creatively, use skills that can make a difference and help make your community an even better place to live.

Written by Erin Nolan. Getting money back from a ppi insurance premium? Spend it locally!

Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Connect to Their New Neighborhood

Today's guest post is very timely for our family. We are moving from Texas to California. So we will definitely put a couple of these tips into practice. I am especially looking forward to checking out the libraries in our (soon to be) new town.

Moving to a new neighborhood can be difficult, especially for young children. They are forced to leave their childhood home, their friends and the only neighborhood they have ever known. This transition can be even more difficult for a child that is homeschooled. While most children gain friendships through interactions at school, a homeschooled student has to work twice as hard to find friends in their new neighborhood. If you are the parent of a homeschooled child, here are 5 ways you can help her to connect to her new neighborhood after a move. 

Help Her Join a Team
While your son or daughter may not be able to join their school’s basketball or softball team, there are plenty of club teams and just-for-fun leagues that are always accepting new members. Being a part of a sports team is not only a great way to make friends; it will also help your child to stay in shape and learn to work as part of a unit with group of kids. If your child isn’t interested in sports, give the scouts a try. Your child can learn valuable life skills and make new friends at the same time. 

Take Walks around the Neighborhood
In some neighborhoods this is easier said than done, but if you are lucky enough to live in a place where you can go for a walk with you child take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. You may find that there are other kids your child’s age living just around the corner. Set up a play date for them to get to know each other better.

Get a Library Card
We often think of the library as a quiet place to read and study. The library is also a great place for your kids to make new friends. Libraries often organize readings, movie nights and other types of get-togethers designed for kids of all-ages. Does your child love Choose Your Own Adventure or G.A. Henty books? The library is a great place for your child to meet kids that are into the same types of books that they are. A shared love of Harry Potter could blossom into a lifelong friendship. 

Sign Your Child up for a Class
Just because your child doesn’t attend a traditional school that doesn’t mean that they can’t attend afterschool classes offered in the community. Does your child like to dance, cook or paint? Afterschool classes are a great way for your child to improve a skill while meeting dozens of kids with the same interest. Having trouble picking out a class? Try signing your child up for Spanish, French or Chinese classes. Not only will they be introduced to an extremely helpful new skill, they will also be introduced to a new culture, new foods and new friends. 

Make Friends with Your Neighbors
There is no better resource in your new neighborhood than the people who live down the street. Take the time to invite your new neighbors over to a housewarming party or just knock on their doors and say hello. Even if they don’t have children that are your child’s age, they will be able to give you a better idea of where the neighborhood kids like to hang out, what activities they are into and where you can connect with other parents. By building your social network you will not only help your child to make friends, you will make a few new friends yourself. 

Author Bio: Kenny Soto is a blogger for Visit for tips, customizable checklists and hand-picked deals to make moving more rewarding and less stressful.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Considering Home Schooling? Consider These Legal Issues

It is important to know the laws regarding homeschooling in your state. This guest article gives an overview of some of the issues that may be relevant where you live. Also, one of the best sites to find out the legal ins and outs of educating your children at home is the HSLDA. That's the first place I looked when I found out we were moving to a different state.

An increasing number of parents are, for a wide variety of reasons, thinking about home-schooling their children. The reasons for this include concerns about the quality of education in public schools, inability to afford private school, a desire to teach a curriculum grounded in the family’s religious or philosophical beliefs, and many others.

In all 50 states in the U.S., home schooling is legal. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. This decision gives the governments of individual states a good deal of authority to regulate the practice of home schooling, including the subjects that are taught in such schools, as they see fit.

And as you might imagine, the nature and scope of these regulations vary widely from state to state.

Wherever you live in the United States, it’s important that you do your research on the laws that apply to home schooling, since the intent of this article is not to provide a comprehensive survey of the laws related to home schooling in all 50 states. However, it will provide some information about the legal issues that come up most frequently when a parent decides to home school their child.

State Regulation of Home School Curriculums

Although all states in the U.S. allow parents to home school their children, they also have a strong interest in ensuring that all children receive a minimum standard of education, whether it’s in public school, a private school, or home school.

For that reason, most states require that certain subjects be taught in all schools, including home schools. They typically include mathematics, reading, writing, science, and history. The requirements differ somewhat from state to state, however. Many education companies, as well as non-profit organizations, produce curriculums in these subjects, designed for parents who are home schooling their children. This allows parents to teach these courses even if they are not experts in all of those subjects, especially when teaching them at lower levels.

Some states require parents who are home schooling their children above a certain class level to have a state teacher’s certificate, or to be licensed tutors.

However, many states do not have this requirement.

This means that either educational or social services authorities may have access to your home, in order to ensure that the home and educational environment are conducive to the child/student receiving a quality education.

Teaching Religious Subjects at Home Schools
One of the most often-cited reasons for choosing to home school is a desire of parents to teach students in accordance with their religious or philosophical views.

In general, the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion gives parents wide-ranging discretion to teach religious subjects in a home school environment. It would be very difficult for a state government to justify allowing home schooling while prohibiting religious instruction in home schools. Any attempt to do so would likely be held unconstitutional by either a state or federal court.

However, as mentioned earlier, state governments can, and do, mandate that certain subjects be taught in the home school setting. Setting up a home school for religious purposes does not create an exception to this rule. While parents may teach whatever religious subjects they like in addition to the required subjects, they cannot replace the required subjects with religious teachings.


There are many other rules that may apply to home schooling in your state. It’s important for you to research the relevant laws governing home schooling in your state.

However, there are a few more rules present in most states that can be discussed here. For example, in most states, all courses in home school must be taught in English – with the obvious exception of a foreign language class.

Also, most states require home schools to be in session more or less at the same time as other schools. So, classes have to be taught during the day, 5 days a week. Furthermore, classes must run for a standard school year – usually a minimum of 170-180 days. Again, the specifics vary from state to state.

Finally, it’s important to understand the need to cooperate with state and local authorities that are responsible for regulating home schooling in their jurisdictions. While some of the things home schooling parents may have to submit to, such as making regular reports to the school district, and teaching subjects required by the state, may seem intrusive, these rules exist for a reason.

Like it or not, we live in an interconnected society, where nothing occurs in a vacuum. So whether they’re educated at home or in public schools, your children will eventually grow up to be adults, and, by extension, members of society. The state therefore has an interest in ensuring that as many people as possible enter society (and, almost as importantly, the workforce) with a decent education.


As you can see, the rules affecting home schooling are numerous, and can sometimes get pretty complicated. This article is not a comprehensive guide to the legal issues that you can face as a result of home schooling your children, and if you require detailed information on the subject, you should contact your state’s education authorities, and/or an attorney, either of whom will be able to advise you further.

John Richards writes for the Law Blog and This blog post is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is offered for informational purposes only. Only an attorney licensed to practice law in your state is qualified to give you legal advice.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Teaching Your Children Skills for Life

Homeschooling your child brings with it the opportunity to teach your child the necessary life’s skill in addition to the entire academic lessons that you will be teaching.  In fact many of the life skills that you will teach will be far more important and will have a much more long lasting effect that many of the planned out academic lessons deemed necessary. While some of these life skills will be learned through osmosis, many of them need to be stressed in ordered for them to be fully learned and practiced. Many of these skills can be learned while being integrated into your daily lesson plans.

Communication skills 
By far one of the key skills you can teach your child is good communication skills. Good communication skills will assist your child in developing self confidence, a good sense of self-worth, and better relationships with you and others. Children are not born as good communicators they need to be taught this skill.  In order to teach your child to communicate well with you and others, you need to teach your child to express themselves by actually listening to them and hearing what they have to say. Try to remove all distractions, turn off the TV, shut off the phone and give them your undivided attention.  Train your child to look you in the eye and focus on you while they are speaking.  Discuss with your child what you just heard, engage them into conversation a show him/her how to explain their thoughts clearly.

Social skills 
Proper communication, problem-solving, decision making, self-management, and peer relations abilities are the social skills which allow one to initiate and maintain positive social relationships with others. Children that do not display proper social behavior are very often incapable of maintaining lasting relationships and can also interfere with learning.  Many children posses inborn social skills and don’t need help in this area at all.  However, especially in a home school setting, where children have very little opportunity to interact with pears, teaching and practicing social skills is of utmost importance in order for them to succeed. There are many tools that can assist you. In fact there are many special needs toys and games available that focus on social interaction and can do so much in the way of promoting social skills in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. 

Self Management Skills 
Teaching children to manage and be responsible for their actions is a key skill as well. The first step towards teaching children self management skills would be for you as a parent to conduct an assessment of your child.  You need to evaluate what your child is capable of doing on their own.  Toilet training your child is something that needs to be done, yet before taking the task on, you need to evaluate whether your child is ready and prepared to complete this skill.  At every stage there is different self management skills that you can expect your child to master.  Once you have prepared your child to be responsible for this task make sure to keep track of whether they complete what they are now supposed to be doing. If they are responsible for making their bed, make sure it done properly and in a timely fashion in order for it to be regularly maintained.  A responsible and independent individual will be a successful individual.

There are so many diverse life skills that are of a parent’s responsibility to teach their child.  Mastering these skills will go a long way in ensuring your child’s ultimate success which is every parent’s life goal.

Susan Goodman is pediatric therapist and a social media director for  With her many years of experience with working with children hands-on, she guides customers in purchasing innovative products to further enhance their child’s development.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Children and Computers: When is the Right Time?

Today's guest blogger addresses a question that my husband and I have had to answer for our children. And we've also had reevaluate our decision every few years, as the children get older.

A perplexing problem that previous generations of parents have not really had to deal with is what age to introduce their children to computers. And not just computers; mobile phones and tablet devices also come into the digital picture. As with so many aspects to parenting, there is no ‘right’ age. It’s up to parents to decide for themselves when they are comfortable with their kids navigating their PCs.

There are two distinct schools of thought that parents may want to consider: early introduction sets children up for success in modern life; early introduction interferes with normal childhood development.

For example, toddlers are far better off running around, developing their motor skills and social and verbal abilities than spending time with a mouse and keyboard. As these are critical learning years they need to develop a good base that will shape the rest of their lives.

As a rule of thumb, three years old is about the youngest your child should be before you sit her down for any serious computer time. Although, by this stage, many children have mastered their parents mobile phones and have some indirect experience surfing the net by sitting on their parents’ laps.

3-4 Years Old strongly recommends that if you’re going to introduce your child to computers at this stage that you do so at levels that are developmentally appropriate. Children this young use computers differently than older children and so your approach has to be tailored to their needs. Don’t expect them to carry out proper tasks as they will probably be fascinated by the clicking ability of the mouse and the results that this brings.

Once they’ve got over the novelty, you can start introducing activities that require them to click to bring about a solution. Remember those memory card games you used to play as a kid? Similar computer programmes are available that help children recognise shapes and colours and which improve memory and response times.

Many preschools already have computer learning centres where children can start using computers in a controlled environment. This obviously relieves parents of the burden of finding appropriate activities. It also provides some bonding time as children can show off the skills they learnt during the day.

5-6 Years Old
By the ages of five and six years old, children should be able to start using specially designed children’s software, which contains learning programmes and games that will help develop their language and number skills and also help them with problem solving. As children get older, their use of computers gets more sophisticated.

Remember that you will have to monitor your child’s computer time for a quite a while, especially when they start to go online.

Sandy Cosser writes on behalf of Now Learning, which promotes online learning in Australia, including IT courses and accounting diplomas.

Serfronya here.
Ultimately, my husband and I decided that during the elementary years we would pretty much restrict the computer to free online educational games a few times a week after the children completed all of their school work. Once they hit middle school we utilize some online courses, such as typing. And now that my oldest is in high school, half of his classes are free online video courses.

As far as the internet and other devices that connect to it, we made the decision that it is not necessary for children to be online unsupervised. Our teenager does not own a cell phone, tablet computer or anything else that he can carry and use to access the internet when no one is around. When he needs to do research on a topic or watch one of his video courses, I sit in the same room with him while he is on the computer. And I plan on doing the same when my three younger children get older.

Like Sandy stated in the article, this is a judgement call that is for each individual family to make.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

4 Creative Ways Your Kids Can Go Green

Today's guest post gives some great tips on how to recycle, reduce, and reuse. I teach these principles to my children because it is unwise to be wasteful. And also, because going green and frugality often times go hand in hand.

Some people think that going green is only for adults, but children can do plenty to go green too. In fact, teaching children how to go green at a young age will help instill this mentality in them, and they will be more likely to continue these tactics later in life.

Most kids will learn to recycle paper, glass and plastic, and most will learn to turn off lights when they leave rooms as well as waste less water when showering or brushing their teeth. While these are good tactics to teach your child, there are other creative ways that kids can go green.

 1. Turn off everything, not just the lights.
Turning off lights is easy to teach your children because it's obvious when they get left on, but you shouldn't limit the turning off concept to lights only. Teach your kids that there are plenty of things that use energy, including their games and electronics. Kids will leave games plugged in, or they'll let iPods charge or they'll leave TVs on. Teach them that turning these items off is just as important as turning off lights. If you notice your child is struggling to remember, try and make a game out of it. The more fun it is, the more likely they'll be to remember.

2. Don't give your child bottled water.
If your child is thirsty, don't let them reach for a bottled water. Instead, take them to the store and have them pick out their own water bottle. Eliminating plastic bottles from waste is very beneficial to the environment, and water bottles can be reused, so your child is creating less waste. If you're concerned that the water from your tap isn't as good as the purified water in a bottle, invest in a water purifier.

3. Give away old toys and clothes.
Rather than throw unused items into the trash, have your child take their old toys and clothes and donate them to a charity or goodwill store that will give them to people in need. Not only will this eliminate the amount of waste in our landfills, but it also shows your child how to do a good deed at an early age.

4. Start a garden.
Gardens are a great way to teach children about going green. First, you can teach them how to rely on nature to create food instead of always relying on the grocery store. You can show them that walking out to your backyard uses less energy than getting in the car and driving to the store.

You should also set up a rain barrel and teach your child how to reuse rain water. This will teach them to not let water go to waste.

If possible, you should also set up a compost and teach your children that some items don't need to go into the trash. Instead, they can be turned into compost, and the vitamins and minerals from the compost are really good for their garden.

At a young age, children are like sponges. If you teach them how to go green now, they'll remember these tactics and implement them when they're older. Going green is also a great thing that you can do as a family. Educate each other on new tactics you can employ, or make a game out of it. Donating clothes or old toys and starting a garden is also something that you and your child can do together.

Rather than wait until your child is older to teach them about going green, teach them to start now. Every little bit will help the planet.

Luis Figueroa is an Environmental Philosophy major at the University of North Texas who loves to share his passions and interests on blogs. He never writes without the help of a grammar checker as he needs the software to make his work professional, clear, and free of any grammatical mistakes. Grammar rules aren't always easy to remember so he is happy to let a machine do the work.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

How To Give Your Child A Fun, Gadget-Free Summer This 2012

Today's guest post will be particularly relevant to our family this summer. We followed (more or less) the public school schedule this year. So, we have been looking forward to a summer break for quite some time. And since we wound up ending school a little early due to moving, we will probably end up having a couple of months of down time.

Apart from the sweltering weather, summer usually means family bonding, beach trips, and the kids running amok around the house. Well, they’re either tearing the house to pieces or spending the entire day glued to their gadgets.
Either way, it’s an annual challenge to keep the kids occupied during the six school-free weeks of summer. It used to be quite an easy task – until the laptops, Playstations, Xbox’s, and iPads came along.
Want to know how to work your way around this year’s summer ‘kiddie pre-occupation’, anti-gadget challenge?

 Here are four sure-fire tips:

1. Organize play dates with same-aged kids in the neighborhood.
Nothing keeps a child preoccupied better than another kid who shares the same interests. Contact moms around your area or within your circle of friends who have kids that are the same age as yours. Rotate your playdate gatherings for all weekends of summer, and prepare different activities for each playdate. Don’t forget to leave the iPads and handheld game consoles at home!

Sharing the ‘burden’ of summer planning with other parents make it easy for you to come up with more ‘detailed’ activities, like backyard sports matches, cookie parties, and a lot more.

2. Why not check out the village park and play with your kids?
The village park may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think ‘summer vacation with the kids’. But, thing is, the feeling between you and your child may not be mutual.

The park may actually be his or her idea of a great place to hang out in with Mom and Dad this summer!
Take a day off or two and head to the village park. Armed with a picnic basket filled with your family’s favorite snacks (prepared at home of course), relish the warmth of the summer sun and the beauty of spending quality time without actually shelling out money.

Taking the kids to the playground may be an ‘old-school’ way of bonding. But nonetheless, it’s definitely a great way to encourage more active play, interaction with family, and socialization with other kids.

3. Put up a lemonade stand, sell cupcakes, or just enjoy working on a summer goal together.
As an adult, you may not enjoy having all the responsibilities at home and at work. On the other hand,  your kid is actually thrilled by the idea of being given one! Capitalize on that childhood ‘desire’ and give your child a little goal to achieve for summer.

You can make it fun and let him share the responsibility with a sibling or a friend. Selling home-made products like cookies or cupcakes (which the child helped bake too!) are an amazing idea to tap their creative and entrepreneurial side. You can also give them the summer task of ‘renovating’ his or her room or help you find little ‘treasures’ from the garage or attic by helping you clean it.

These little projects would keep them so busy (and tired after a day’s ‘work’), that they won’t even think of reaching out for that iPad or Playstation.

Once the goal has been ‘reached’, don’t forget to reward your kid for a job well done!

4. Go on a nature adventure…in your backyard.

Kids love the thrill of ‘discovering’ things. And summer is just the perfect time to make use of your little piece of personal real estate to give them their dose of exciting nature discoveries!

 Spring and summer season are when beautiful things start growing from the ground – let your kid get down and dirty, and join them in welcoming new vegetable or flower sprouts.

When the heat starts to irritate your kid, don’t depend on the airconditioning system. Instead, head to your backyard and turn the sprinkler on! Make little mud pools, assemble kid-made waterfalls, and bask at the smiles of pure bliss from your children.

Yes, despite and in spite of the wonderful technology that surrounds the kids of this generation, summer is still made for fun in the outdoors. And to adapt to the challenging economic times at present, make the necessary adjustments by exploring the many amazing things that surround you and your home.

Deena Smith is a pre-school teacher, writer, and mom to two grade-schoolers and an adorably active toddler. She enjoys preparing activities for her kids when school is out, and also dabbles in crafts for birthday souvenirs and even graduation party favors!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Special Needs Homeschooling

Today we have a guest post.

photo courtesy of agastecheg
  Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to take back time with our family.  Our world has become so busy and the time spent as a family unit has declined rapidly over the past 50 years.  I am a mother of 6 amazing and unique children.  I currently have the opportunity to homeschool 3 of my children and I do it specifically because they have special needs.  My daughter Grace is my youngest child and she was born with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), my son Ryan has a sensory disorder and my youngest boy Colin has a auditory sensory problem.  My experience homeschooling has been hard but so rewarding.

I received the diagnosis of Down Syndrome when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter I was not sure what the future would hold for my daughter or my family.  I had no idea how I would handle therapy schedules and special ed programs, my head was spinning and I was scared.  It was not until I came across some literature supporting the homeschooling of special needs children that I ever even thought about it.  I then connected myself with other homeschooling groups specifically focused on special needs children and at that point I knew we were in the right place.

My goal for my children was not only to learn what was age appropriate for them.  I wanted to find a therapy program to help them progress and become the best they can be.  Through my research I was able to find a a therapy program through NACD - National Association for Child Development to provide me with a program to assist me with both of my goals.  Administering the homeschooling and therapy program myself with the guidance of NACD has been so beneficial to all 3 of my children.  My son who is at kindergarden age is reading at a 2nd grade level and doing math at the end of 3rd grade level.  My daughter is talking, can recognize over 100 picture cards and follows 2 step commands at 2 years old.  My son Colin has just started the program and already improved his speech and listening abilities.

Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to be the expert on how your child learns whether they learn typically or have a learning disability.  When you are aware of what is causing your child difficulty you can organize your plan to teach in a way they can retain and learn.  To be honest when planning the future for my family homeschooling was not a thought in my mind.  Since I have been participating in a homeschooling program for the past 2 years I am sold.  I truly enjoy the process of watching my children develop and learn.  I love being a part of their success and I would not change it for the world!

Katie Driscoll is a mom of 6 children and you can learn more about her family at