Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back To Preschool Giveaway Blast

When the fall rolls around, as it will way to soon, the big kids will go off to school, or in the case of homeschoolers the older children will start up their studies again (unless they school year round). There will be lots of excitement and anticipation for those older children.

But, what about the younger children in the family. Older toddlers and young preschoolers may miss out on the excitement. The Back to Preschool Giveaway Blast has been designed to bring some excitement into the lives of our younger children. All of the prizes in the Grand Prize will be great for these younger children. Here is a sneak peek at what I have been working on:

And this doesn't include the online subscriptions or Gift Certificate. (The amount of the Gift Certificate will depend on how many bloggers opt to purchase additional links) Some of these great sponsors have also agreed to help create a Second Place Prize Pack. So there are going to be 2 winners!!

I would love to have a whole bunch of bloggers join in with me to make the Back to Preschool Giveaway Blast Huge.

The event will actually take place from July through Aug 18th. July will be filled with reviews of all these great products. I will share both my and my daughters' opinions on these products. We are looking forward to sharing with you. In fact, reading and commenting on these review posts will get you bonus entries into the giveaway.

The giveaway will run from Aug 1st through Aug 18th

How can you join in?

(and there will be ways to join in even if you don't want to join in with the Free Blogger Sign Ups, please see below.)

I am offering one free FACEBOOK link for helping to promote by posting the giveaway on time with all links intact and sharing on either Facebook or Twitter at least 3 times during the event (1- at the beginning, 2- sometime in the middle and 3- on the last day as a reminder)

There are also some optional ways that you can help:

Share about this Free Blogger Sign Up Opportunity on either your blog or Facebook page and place the event button on your sidebar to earn a Twitter link and 10 bonus entries into the Giveaway. (While this is optional I would encourage you to share, as the more people sign up the bigger this will be which will help everyone's numbers.) $3.00 will get you your choice of Pinterest link or email subscribe in addition to the above links. This money will go directly into the Gift Card. $5.00 will get you both the Pinterest link and the email subscibe giving you a total of 4 links, in addition to your blog being named on the giveaway post with a link back to your blog. This money will also go directly into the Gift Card. If you don't want to purchase the additional links I am offering the choice to supply a prize (worth $10 or more) to the Grand Prize Package. You will be responsible for shipping the prize to the winner unless you plan to get someone to sponsor it. This is completely optional, but you will receive the same benefits as #3!! Requirements: You must have a family friendly blog to participate! You must post on time and submit a your direct link to your post on the form I will supply (both in the email I send with the post information and on my Facebook Group-Tots and Me Celebrations and More. You must promote the giveaway at least 3 times (the more we share, the more entries we get and the more likes/follows for you) You must join the Facebook page-

There is one Grand Prize Pack worth at least $170 which includes craft items, games, a DVD, a book and learning activities as shown above. There will also be a Second Place Prize pack, worth of which is to be determined.

edit: the Grand Prize Pack is now worth approx $225 and the Second Place Prize Pack is growing!!

Referral Benefit:
The top referrers will get to host a Facebook or Twitter link page.

Do you wish to help share about this Event but not have the time to worry about posting and promoting? I would love to give you 10 bonus entries into the giveaway for sharing about this event. Please just write up a little blurb on your blog and share the button on your sidebar. Then leave a comment below saying you have done so with a link to your post. When the giveaway rolls around on August 1st claim your bonus entries in the correct spot on the Rafflecopter. Please make sure the button is on your blog for the length of the event.

Also, reading and commenting on the review posts will get you bonus entries.

Please help make this event a success!!

To learn more and to sign up, Click here

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Discounted Bible Lessons

I am so thankful I discovered the What's in the Bible? series. Our family is now laughing and learning our way through the Bible and loving every minute. Help build a Biblical foundation in your home with this series using my friends-only discount.
Click Here to get your family started on the What's in the Bible? series!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Here's A Great Summertime Giveaway!

Staying cool in the intense summertime heat can often be a chore. Thankfully Luck of Liberty is doing an awesome giveaway that will help us all stay cool this summer!

We are thrilled to be able to feature the Handy Cooler hand-held personal air cooler as our sponsored prize! Our Handy Cooler Giveaway is aimed towards helping you have an enjoyable summer with the option of staying cool even while out enjoying the summer activities!

The handy Cooler is valued at $79.95, but is currently on sale at for only $49.99. And to make it even better, you can use the coupon code: HANDYCBA at check out to receive 10% off! The handy Cooler is the #1 Best Selling personal fan on

Enter Here

Monday, July 2, 2012

Awesome Amazon Giveaway!

I know it's summertime, and most of us homeschool moms are taking time off to recuperate from a busy school year, spend time with the family, and enjoy some family vacations, but I thought everyone would enjoy this giveaway. It would make for a great start to a new school year!

On July 6th we are having a 10 Book Group Giveaway!

We’re giving away a $100 Amazon Giftcard and a $50 Amazon GC Plus a $25 Amazon GC to the blogger that refers the most sign ups for this event!!

Here are the awesome books that are sponsoring this event!
July 6 – 20
Living Sensitive (Book 1 of the Delia Rhodes Series)
Living Soul
Hunter Moon
Broken Wings (Soul Searches Book 1)
All the Blue Eyed Angels
Storm of Desire
Cheyenne, A Timeless Series Novel
Promises, a Timeless Series Novel
Finding Alice

To enter, or to find out more information, Click Here

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fanastic Giveaway For P.E. Class

I found a website that is giving away THREE Dance Workout DVD's! These are not only great for getting your own self in shape, but they make an excellent lesson plan for your P.E. class! My kids already love dancing, and don't even realize it's exercise, so these DVD's would be a great addition to our P.E. class!

Dance your way to a new you! Three Dance Workout DVDs will help you slim down and reshape your booty! Featuring the hottest, fat-burning cardio dance moves and exclusive muscle-toning resistance exercises—the Booty Firm™ delivers body-shaping results!

Enter for your chance to win: ENTER HERE!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just Found An Amazing Art Lesson!

I was looking through my Homeschool Facebook Page and noticed one of my fellow Homeschool Moms had posted about an art project. I've already planned out my entire art curriculum for this coming year, but once I watched this video I knew I just had to add this guy into our art class! I may even use this as a summer learning activity. The videos are really short, sweet, and to the point, so I don't have to worry about my kids sitting in front of the computer for hours.

If your kids love to draw, you have GOT to go check out this website! Click Here!

The main video on how to draw monsters is absolutely phenomenal! My kids are all about monsters and zombies and other scary things that I find gross, haha, so this will be right up their alley!

Again, if you have even a small interest in art or have just the slightest urge to teach art to your children, you HAVE to go check this website out!! Click Here!!

Awesome Fitness Giveaway For You and Your Children

New Giveaway ~ Shaun T and the Fit Kids DVDs + Gift Certificate for Mom!

As a homeschooler, I often wonder if my kids are getting enough exercise. I don't do well in the heat {I hate the heat, actually}, so the idea of PE at home is not appealing to me ~ we live in The Sunshine State! This looks like it would be a fabulous fit for our family. I think even my toddler would have fun dancing to the music!

Independent Team Beachbody Coach, Melissa Hacker, believes in paying it forward while working hard to teach kids at a young age how important and fun "exercise" can be. Look at what Coach Melissa is giving away! Get 2 Totally Rad Workouts + Something for Mom!

Get your groove on with Shaun T and the Fit Kids, doing the Hustle, We're Cool, Body Jam, Wind & Toss, Bounce & Swipe, and Basketball. You'll be having so much fun, you'll forget you're exercising! (25 minutes)

Get funky, get healthy. Work it out every day for Shaun T and the Fit Kids! Shaun T shows you new steps like The Hey!, Snake It, Pound & Hop, Dust & Wave, and Smooth Groove. Learn the freshest moves and get in shape at the same time! (25 minutes)

Plus 3 FREE Bonuses!
Kid-friendly snack ideas that are healthy!
Guide to reading nutrition labels
Shaun T's Fit Kids Club wall poster to keep track of your workouts

Something for Mom!!
Coach Melissa didn't forget about moms! I don't know about you, but I could definatley use some "tools" to help me get in shape. I just had a birthday, and I am starting to realize I am not getting any younger, lol!

The winning mom will get a $50 Beachbody Gift Card that you can use to buy anything on her Team Beachbody website. I was browsing around and I found some things I would like to have: Body Gospel, Hip Hop Abs, INSANITY, and more!

Team Beachbody is your total health and fitness solution. Whether you're looking to lose weight, gain muscle, or just get healthy, Team Beachbody will provide all the motivation, information, and support you need. Team Beachbody has a solution for every fitness need. Whether you want to get totally ripped, slimmed down, or just be healthy and energetic, Team Beachbody has more than 30 products that are guaranteed to get you into the best shape of your life.
To register and learn more: Click Here

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Free Alternative and Renewable Energy Class

I know it's summer and most of you are through schooling for the year, as am I, but even during summer I am looking for cool things to learn and fun things that will keep my kids engaged in learning all year long so that when we start school back in August they haven't forgotten every single thing we learned the year before. I've found that if you add in just a little, and yes, I do mean a little, schooling at least once a week throughout the summer, kids seem to be more engaged and eager about a new school year. It seems like they think learning is natural now because we are always learning something new each and every day, even if it's just how to bake brownies. They start school and really, other than having all of our classes together, it's just a regular, everyday environment for them, because we do spend our summers reading or learning new things. Showing your children that learning is fun and exciting makes them much more eager to learn, and in my house, it's now a competition to see who's smarter than whom haha.

While on the subject of learning I found this free science class that is being offered and I just had to share it with all of you. I have attended several of this teacher's teleclasses and they are absolutely amazing! I even signed up for two more just today!

It is definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day to watch these classes. The latest class is Alternative and Renewable Energy. It will be taught on Tuesday, June 5th. You have your choice between morning or afternoon class. With everyone focusing on the environment and pollution and the ozone layer, this is a nice way to teach your children. I've included the registration link below.

Register Here

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Colleges Are Noticing

Nationwide there are over 2 million children being homeschooled. What used to be abnormal and strange to society has now become one of the most popular forms of education. Just in my state alone, NC, there are more than 83,000 homeschoolers. When you consider our state only has about 10,000,000 people in it, that's a huge amount of children being homeschooled! What used to be a private school preferred state has now became a homeschool preferred state.

Not only is homeschooling becoming more popular, homeschoolers are also scoring higher on standardized tests. According to a 2009 study from the Home School Legal Defense Association of almost 12,000 homeschooled students, homeschoolers scored 37 percentage points higher on standardized tests than their public school counterparts.

Combine rising popularity with high academic scores and it's no surprise that well respected, well known colleges and universities are starting to see homeschoolers in a new light. According to Stanford admissions, “Homeschooled students comprise a small yet growing percentage of our applicant pool.” Princeton “welcomes” homeschooled applicants, noting that one homeschooler went on to graduate as the university’s Class of 2002 valedictorian. And at Duke, admissions materials state: “For the past several years, homeschooled students have been admitted to Duke at a rate equal to or higher than that for the entire applicant pool.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

e-Camp Closing Soon

I just got word from Aurora at Supercharged Science that they are closing down enrollment in summer e-Camp 2012 by TOMORROW.

Click the link below to get all the details before it's too late:

If you're not familiar with e-Camp, here's the scoop. e-Camp is an all out totally fun AND educational online science camp. If you want to keep your kids' learning this summer, but you also want it to be totally fun, this might just be the answer. Imagine having all the fun and excitement of a live-and-in- person summer camp, but being able to have your kids do it on their own schedule... (It's set up so they can do it on their own - just set them up and they'll be engaged for hours). Plus, as a parent, you can feel good because even though they're having a total blast, they're actually learning good solid science. The kind of learning that really relates to the world around them. Rather than try to explain it all, I'll leave that to Aurora herself. I have seen her stuff, and I can tell you that she really over-delivers. Last year over 800 people enrolled in e-Camp in less than 4 days! Today and tomorrow are the last days to enroll for summer 2012. Click the link below now to learn more and to enroll:

I know your kids will have a great summer in e-Camp!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Homeschooling An ADD Or ADHD Child

If you have a child who suffers from ADD or ADHD you know it is often difficult to get your child to sit still for more than two minutes. Knowing this makes some parents ask "How am I supposed to homeschool when I can't even get them to sit down long enough for me to tie their shoes?" The answer: "You just do!" Is it going to be difficult? You bet. Are you going to want to pull your hair out at times? Absolutely! BUT, will you and your child develop a stronger bond and learn way more than either of you ever thought possible? You can count on it!

Homeschooling, in and of itself, can be a difficult, stressful process, especially in the beginning. Adding a hyperactive child to the mix can make things even more difficult and stressful, but it's not impossible. If a public school teacher can teach a class of 30 students, including those with ADD and ADHD, you can homeschool your own child, or children, even with their ADD and ADHD. A public school teacher has a set curriculum, set schedule, and set pace they must work at. You, as a homeschool teacher have the liberty to choose your own learning style, adjust your schedule to fit your families lifestyle, and you and your child set the pace for learning.

If your child excels in one subject, but struggles in another, you simply use a higher grade level learning style for one subject and a lower grade level learning style for the subject they struggle in. If you know there's a certain time frame during the day that your child is just not going to sit still, regardless of what you do, you just block out that time frame and teach only when you know you can get your child's attention. If you have tried anything and everything under the sun and still can't get your child to sit down and write even two words on a piece of paper, you stop what you're teaching, go outside, maybe do some science or math learning (look for ideas in a previous post), then go back in and try language arts or writing once your child is able to sit down and focus.

Some homeschool mothers have found that computerized curriculum is effective for their ADD and ADHD child. In a computerized curriculum you pick the subject for your child to learn, and your child is then given games and other online activities that teach your child the subject. With your child constantly having to focus on "winning the game" by clicking the computer mouse they are more apt to sit down for longer periods of time, and the best part, they don't even know they're learning!

Another great learning style is putting activity into your curriculum. A public school wants your child sitting down to learn everything, but in a homeschool classroom, guess what, if your child wants to stand on the couch while you learn language arts, they can! If your child wants to run around while reciting their spelling words, they can! Get creative! Math doesn't always have to be sitting down figuring out a math problem. Math could be counting blades of grass, moving rocks around to figure out a difficult math problem, or even doing enough jumping jacks to figure out their addition problem. Movement can be used in almost every single subject, so use your brain, ask your child for ideas, do some research online, and put some movement in your classroom! And hint, hint....that movement you're doing in math to figure out 2+2..yeah, that's P.E too, so be sure to keep up with your activities and incorporate them into all the appropriate subjects.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free Homeschool Gifts For The Summer

My friend Aurora with Supercharged Science is giving away even MORE great free gifts for your kids this summer!
She's got one of the top Homeschool Science Curriculum's, and this is a free selection of activities and experiments from her summer e-Camp program.

Get it while it's free --> CLICK HERE!!

You're going to get actual sections of e-Camp, complete with all the explanations, step-by-step videos, and lots more.
Everything you need for your kids to be doing some really cool activities and experiments!
Here's that link again --> Check it out here

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homeschool Numbers On The Rise

It should come as no surprise that the number of students being homeschooled has risen dramatically since the 90's and even the beginning of the 21st century. Ask most any parent that has chosen to homeschool, myself included what their main reasons for homeschooling their children are, and they will almost always list: school bullying, other forms of violence in public schools, drugs, and classroom sizes that are way too large for even the best of teachers to handle.

Now it seems that not only are average Americans catching on to the rising numbers of homeschoolers, even former NFL players are noticing the trend. Terry Bradshaw, former Pittsburgh Steelers football player, turned TV host on Today In America, has not only noticed the trend, but has added a completely new TV series on the topic. His new series, titled Home School Essentials, focuses on the rise in homeschool numbers, as well as discusses the many questions that new parents have as they debate on whether or not to homeschool.

You can read Today in America's entire story by clicking here

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Art in Homeschool

One of the things I have found that most of us tend to overlook when we are designing our homeschools are art classes. My two boys loved art in public schools, but when I began creating my classes I was going to teach I never once thought about art. I loved art in school, and still love drawing and painting today, granted I'm no Van Gogh, but I still have fun with art.

Even though my school year is pretty much already planned out, I did decide to take at least two days a month and do some art projects with my kids. Normally on Fridays we have "test day" where we simply test on the things we have learned throughout the week. Normally when we finish testing I let them have the rest of the day off, or we will go on a field trip, but I decided that from now on I'm going to use at least two of those Fridays to introduce art. It's something I know my children enjoy so it won't bother them at all to spend an extra hour or so drawing or painting.

Once I began searching the Internet for homeschool art lesson plans and curriculums I came across a website that both my children and I fell in love with! You can do everything from simple art classes for the beginning artist, advanced art which is for ages 10 and up, and you can even incorporate Bible lessons into your art! I already have a Bible class so I plan on using the Bible art lessons as a part of my regular Bible class from time to time.

The website is See The Light Shine. There are literally hours and hours of art lessons you can choose from. You can even order your art materials through the website. Some of the lessons cover black light drawing, so if you know you need the fluorescent chalk and the black light to do the project, you simply order the materials while you're right there on the website!

I have yet to find any art related website that compares to See The Light Shine. You have DVD after DVD, you have music you can purchase, and like I said, you have hours and hours of different art projects you can do with your children. If you haven't checked out See The Light Shine yet, you definitely need to! Allow the inner child to come out in you as you and your child learn how to draw!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Free Giveaway

I just learned of this giveaway today and I just had to share it with all of you! Memoria Press is giving someone a whole set of books!! The information is below:


Famous Men of RomeFamous Men of GreeceFamous Men of the Middle AgesFamous Men of Modern Times

Choose from Rome, Greece, the Middle Ages, or Modern Times!

Have you ever felt lost among the myriad of characters and events of history? Try the systematic, comprehensive, and substantive approach of Memoria Press' Famous Men series. Rather than merely memorizing dates and names, the Famous Men series guides your student through the world of the great people of Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and Modern Times. Through emphasizing the most important characters, your student will acquire a solid framework for reading the classics and understanding major historical events. Don't miss this chance to begin your classical journey with Memoria Press' most popular classical history program!

To enter, simply visit Memoria Press

Homeschool Podcasts

This will show you how behind I am on the 21st century! Luckily you don't have to be a technological genius to homeschool! I was searching for some homeschool posters and various things to improve my "classroom" and came across several sites that have homeschool podcasts! Okay, I knew you could find a podcast on pretty much every topic imaginable, but homeschool, wow! It blew my mind the wealth of information these people are dishing out on a podcast, for free!!
While I haven't had time to listen to every single podcast on every single website, I will include the websites I feel are the most beneficial, especially for the new homeschoolers and those still debating on whether they should or shouldn't homeschool: has phenomenal podcasts. They cover everything from homeschooling styles to homeschooling high schoolers to celebrity homeschoolers! Definitely worth your time to listen to every single podcast!
The Homeschool Show also has fabulous podcasts. You will hear several interviews with Misty Spinelli, a homeschooling mom. She discusses how to get started, how to choose your curriculum, learning styles, and many other topics.

There are a ton of websites and podcasts on iTunes, both about homeschooling or any other topic you would like to research. Simply go to Google and type in your topic followed by podcast. For example, for locating homeschool podcasts I would go to Google and type "homeschool podcasts". To locate podcasts on iTunes you simply type in the topic you would like to learn about and a long list of audio, video, and podcasts come up.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How To Keep A Science Journal

Keep in mind that this will work with any subject, I just chose science because my children aren't thrilled about science, and they're definitely not a fan of writing, but when I tell them "okay, we're going to do a science project, but the only way we will do it is if you write your findings down for me when we are done", they tend to get a little more excited about writing, and science! You can tailor this to whatever subject you would like.
Does your child hate writing? Or reading? Or documentation of any kind? And let me guess…you probably need something of this sort to hand in as proof that you’re homeschooling, right? Here’s a quick and easy way to handle the documentation issue minimal fuss and hassle. And this method will even score you points toward your science curriculum requirements along with setting up a life-long habit, which will serve your child even greater in the future, which is really what we’re after. There are three simple steps to this process: Grab, Title, and Record:
Step 1: Grab a notebook. You don’t need a fancy quad-ruled, glossy bound, gold-letter embossed notebook, either. Just find a regular spiral-bound notebook from the store and scribble your child’s name across the top. (You can even staple ten blank pages together and call it a notebook if you really want to.)
Step 2: Title the top of a fresh page with the name of the lesson or experiment. For example, from Unit 1, you’d write: Gravity. Easy so far, right? Add the date and time to the top corner and number your pages (in case you need to reference them later on. Trust me – it’s a lot easier to number as you go).
Step 3: Record by describing what you’re doing. If you’re reading about gravity, jot down a few notes about what you picked up. This is where you want to capture your Ah-HA! moments. If getting your child to write is harder than changing a car transmission in a snowstorm, then grab a video camera and record them as they work and talk their way through the experiment. Just have them describe what they are doing as they do it (you can probe them along with questions if they get stuck for words). For shyer kids, don’t have them look at the camera – in fact, if you focus the camera only on their hands as they work through an experiment, their shyness usually will vanish.
A lot of scientists and engineers carry around a voice recorder, so when they have a GREAT IDEA, they can quickly capture it with words by hitting the ‘record’ button (even while driving!). This allows them to quickly capture and talk about the idea without fussing with the slowness of a pencil and paper. They later play it back and jot down notes and expand it when they have more time. If you love to write and draw, simply write down the experiment or reading bullet points and illustrate with pictures, describing it with real words that make sense to you. Don’t worry about it not being ‘formal’ or ‘correct’ – this is your journal, not for anyone else.
For example, if you’re launching the potato cannon (which we’ll actually be doing later on), and you finally figured out how it worked, we’d rather see you write “I shoved the stick in, which squashed the air, and POP!” instead of “…as the lowermost potato slug was moved in an upward direction, the pressure increased as the volume decreased until the structural integrity of the uppermost potato was breached, at which time the…” Use words that really speak to you in your own terms. You are not writing a textbook, but rather capturing the essence of the experience you’re having as you learn science. Get it?
Also, if you have any questions that pop up along the way(especially ones that require more time to search for the answers), write them down here as well. Highlight or *star* each question so you remember to go back and get them answered when you have more time. If you’re recording your progress on a science experiment, get your picture taken as you are doing the experiment and paste it in the notebook. Add a caption about what you are doing, what you found, etc. Most scientists will also record any data they took for the experiment alongside the picture of their set up so it’s all in one place.
An excellent idea many families have reported using is at the end of the unit, the parents will become the student and the kids teach the lesson back to the parent until the parent gets it. This may take a bit of work of the kid’s part, but most of the time, you’ll find kids are determined and creative at getting their point across because they are so excited and passionate about what they have just learned. (Don’t believe us? Try faking ignorance and see what your child comes up with.)
And that’s it! Do you think this is something you can do? If so, you’ve just boosted yourself to the top 10% of the students worldwide that actually take the time to capture and record their work. If you just hear or read something only one time, you will only remember 12% of it after about a week. However, when you capture and record notes about what you’re doing, the retention after a week shoots up to over 65%. When you take it one step further and teach it to others, you’re now over 85% retention after the first month.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Long-Term Side Effects of Not Supporting Your Child's Love Of Science

Most kids love the idea of science – of building things, creating inventions, and getting stuff to work by using their own two hands. Kids have a natural passion for science. The problem comes in when the parent feels they can’t meet this need in their child and they struggle to fulfill it. We’re going to take a look at what happens long-term when you don’t meet this need, and how you can avoid these pitfalls by following three simple steps today. But first, let’s take a look at what passion really is.

Having a passion for science isn’t a switch that gets flipped on one minute and off the next. Rather it is the result of small and consistent actions taken every day. If these actions empower your child and nurture their curiosity, then you’ll see the interest spark into a flame of passion and creativity. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of textbooks and teachers out there that do the exact opposite – they slowly chip away at a student’s passion, not consciously aware that they are doing it, until one day that passion for science disappears altogether.

This article is the result of interviewing dozens of people who have had this experience specifically in science, and the issues they face today as adults. All of these folks have one thing in common: they once had a brilliant spark of interest for science, but ‘something happened’ along the way. These people are from all over the board: auto mechanics, grocery store managers, hair dressers, stay-athome moms, newspaper journalists, and one even was still flipping burgers. They feel an innate regret about being turned off to science, not knowing why or how it happened.

We are going to take a look at the effects of not feeding a child’s passion for science, some of which might be new for you to think about. I share this with you now you can learn from people who already know what the road ahead looks like. If you find you’re doing some of the things here, don’t feel bad – someone may have not told you about this before. We’re also going to look at the three simple things you can do to avoid this type of future for your child. Are you ready to get started?

Wasted Resources
Have you ever tried to teach a child something that they don’t even want to hear about? It’s harder than pulling teeth! In fact, it’s virtually impossible to do. The reason is that your job as an educator is to provide content in a way that has a greatest probability of reaching your student. The problem is that you still only go halfway. Like it or not, it’s really up to the student whether to learn the information. The real tangle comes in when your student needs to hit certain goals (state standards, written exams, college entrance, job application, etc.), and simply isn’t motivated to do so. Since most parents truly care about their child’s future success and available opportunities, they quickly step in with five-star curriculum, private tutors, and other resources that cost time and money. But no curriculum in the world is going to help a student that just isn’t into learning. And now you have a dusty bookshelf full of unopened science books and a kid who hasn’t a clue about what their major should be on the application. Now that’s a setback.

A Downward-Spiraling Habit
Kids learn by modeling others. You see it when a baby starts to walk, when your child learns to write, and your teen slaps on a new attitude. Unfortunately, there are many habits we pick up that are not chosen consciously. The habit kids pick up when their passion isn’t fueled is that they learn to give up on their dreams. And that’s not the worse part. Kids that never learned to stand up for what’s important to them, to grab hold of a dream and see it through (no matter kind of feedback they get from the world) leave themselves wide open for living in reaction instead of pro-action. If your child doesn’t have a clear plan for their life, I guarantee someone else will, and it may not be in alignment with their own personal goals. Kids in this category live life by reacting to events instead of causing the things they want most out of life. They rarely (if ever) feel the gold that comes from beating the odds, achieving something that no one else though possible. And if they give up on their passion for science, what will they give up next? Kids are learning so much more than just ‘science’ when you fuel their passion for it… they are learning how to follow their dreams, trust their intuition, and getting resourceful about finding ways to make it all happen. It’s a bigger life lesson than just learning the subject.

More Effort for Less Money
Folks that drag themselves out of bed, slug through a pot of coffee, and push themselves out the door are hardly in a place where they can spot new opportunities for themselves and feel the juice of life. On the other hand, people that jump out of bed with a “Yes! I get to go to work today!” start their brains in the morning in a much more resourceful state and feel as if new opportunities just flow to them. People that do their passion make more money for the effort they put out, take less sick days, and feel healthier because their daily actions are in alignment with who they are. When you ‘do your dream’, it takes one tenth the effort to get ten times the rewards. But I don’t have a dream! If you ever hear someone say: “I don’t know what I want to do” or “I don’t know what I like”, it’s a clear signal that tells you they are in a state of fear because they are afraid of getting hurt. They tried something in the past that didn’t work out, and they decided not to try again. It’s easier to kill this monster while it’s little by teaching kids how to be flexible and resilient: when they try something and it doesn’t work out, simply change your approach and try again. If that doesn’t work, change your approach and try again… and again… and again until you get the result you’re after. What can I do to avoid these traps?

Here are three simple things you can do to avoid these traps and fuel your child’ passion for science. As you go through each one, think of how you could put this into action for your child:

1. Pick a science topic that really sparks an interest in your child AND challenges their brain at the same time. For example, if your child is crazy about airplanes, don’t just toss paper airplanes around the room – get them inside a real airplane with their first flying lesson so they can really get a taste of what their future can be like if they keep studying this area in science. If your child loves astronomy but your budget is too tight for a telescope, visit your local star-gazing event hosted by an astronomy club, or find an interview with an astronaut they can watch online. The key is that you need to hook them and show them what’s possible.

2. Make it safe to make mistakes. Do you learn more when you make mistakes or get something right? Most people agree they learn more when they make mistakes. The trouble comes in when you truly care about your child and don’t wantnthem to make the same mistakes you did – you already know how painful it is, and you’d rather have them feel the success, right? Here’s the problem with this approach: do you like being told what to do? Probably not… and neither does your child. In fact, you make it easier for them to resist your guidance when you approach it this way. So take a step back, shrug your shoulders, and consider what the true cost is in the moment. Is it more important for them to ‘get it right’ or learn how to learn from mistakes? Kids that learn how to use their mistakes also make fewer of them in the future.

3. Never give away the ending. You’ll see this one in textbooks and classrooms all the time. What scientist in their right mind will do an experiment when they already know the ending? The solution to this one is simple – when your child performs an experiment, just omit the last line where it says ‘what to expect to occur’. Your child might pick up a few things that the textbook left out, anyway. Remember: small, consistent action taken daily gets you much farther than trying to do it all in one big gulp all at once. Once you set up the framework (the three steps mentioned above), the shift will follow naturally, and your child’s interest in science will have room to grow and flourish.

If you like this article, you’ll want to check out more resources for parents, including:

· How Do I Motivate My Child to Learn on their Own?
· Six Keys to Successful Education
· What Exactly IS Science?
· Common Misconceptions in Science
· Seven Biggest Mistakes Made in Teaching Science
· How to Keep a Scientific Journal
· Secrets from Successful Teachers
· Easy Steps to Award-Winning
Science Fair Projects
· What Does My Child Really Need to Learn in Science?

You’ll find these and more articles as a part of the Parent Resource section in the K-12 online eScience learning program by SuperCharged Science
To learn more, visit SuperCharged

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your Child's Learning Style

Before planning your curriculum and lesson plans, be sure to identify what type of learner your child is. Creating a curriculum in the wrong learning style can cause even the best of students to struggle. Finding your child's learning style is a very easy, and can be a fun, project. If your child has been in a public school, or even a preschool environment, you are probably already familiar with your child's learning style. If not, simply play around with each style and see which style best suits your style. Hands-on learner: These students need to be able to touch things, smell things, and interact with things. This learning style can be great for hyperactive children or children who are easily bored. Suggestions for hands-on teaching are: science experiments, even kindergarten level can incorporate simple science experiments; toy soldiers to symbolize battles for history class; dress up for history lessons; preparing and eating foods from geographical locations; using marbles, food, even blades of grass for mathematics. Anything that allows your child to touch items is wonderful. The great thing is, you're free to use whatever items you want. It's your classroom, have fun with it! Visual learner: These students need to see things. In Language Arts, it is not enough for them to simply read the book. The child will need to take notes in order to remember the story. Suggestions for visual learning are: sketching a model of the planets, watching videos on science, math, other subjects and taking notes or drawing appropriate sketches while watching, listening to books on tapes and taking notes during the tape. To improve your child's listening skills, simply hold a conversation with your child about a topic. For example, read a few pages, even a whole chapter of a book, then ask your child what they think the author was talking about in the book. For older children, have them read a chapter then discuss the chapter with you. Auditory learner: These students learn simply by hearing things. Most traditional schools follow this learning style simply because they have so many things to teach in such a short amount of time to an entire classroom full of students. For them, auditory teaching is the simplest and fastest way to teach 30 students in 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately there are thousands of children who simply cannot learn this way. For the students who are auditory learners, here are some suggestions: for younger children, read their Language Arts books to them; for older children, allow them to read the book aloud into a tape recorder or other recording device so that they can go back and listen to it later as a review; find appropriate videos for your subject, example: a video on Antarctica for Social Studies; allow your child to read their textbooks into a recorder. To help improve your child's visual skills add in diagrams, maps, and various reading materials. No matter what your child's learning style, it's always helpful to add in movement during the school day. Almost every child is going to get bored just sitting at a desk or table for 5 hours a day. The following are some suggestions on how to get your child up and moving while still learning (hint, not only can you count this as hours in your original subject, you can also count this as Physical Education too!): 1- Draw hopscotch board on your sidewalk. Rather than counting the boxes when moving, have your child spell out their weekly spelling words as they hop. 2- Create a treasure hunt. Place a history question on the student's desk. Place the answers all over the walls and have the children search for the correct answer. When the child finds the correct answer the original question, as well as the next question will be on the back of the correct card. At the ending location have a small prize for the child. This not only gets them up and moving and learning, but also praises them for being smart! 3- Use the outdoors as your math classroom. On nice, sunny days take your children out in your yard, or even to the park, and have them use nature as their calculator. Blades of grass, rocks, even leaves can work as numbers. At the park you can also use the plastic slide as Physics....remember how your hair stood straight up everytime you got off the slide...yep, static electricity...physics!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Filling our your Notice of Intent

While I am not familiar with every single homeschool law in every single state, I am familiar with the laws in North Carolina. In North Carolina, as with many other states, you are required to submit a Notice of Intent to Operate a Homeschool. Don't let the sound of that scare you. All it involves is answering a few questions about the type of homeschool you will run.

****The example below is strictly for North Carolina, so be sure to check with your state regarding the questions on the Notice for Intent in your state.****

Filling out your Notice of Intent to Operate a Homeschool:

First step: Choose whether you are Opening a New Homeschool or Reopening a Homeschool. Simply means, if this is your first time homeschooling, you're  Opening a New School. If you've homeschooled in the past you're simply Reopening a Homeschool. For most parents, this is your first time homeschooling so choose "Opening a New Homeschool". All of my steps will involve Opening a New Homeschool.

Second step: List the County in which is your homeschool is located.

Third step: Choose the name of your homschool. You may name your school anything you like. What I did was come up with some names I liked, then each of my kids came up with names they liked, and then we took a vote on what sounded like the best school name.

Fourth step: List the address of your homeschool. More than likely this is simply your home address, since most of us homeschool out of our own home.

Fifth step:  List your email address. This is simply so that North Carolina can contact you through email if need be. Sometimes they email you saying that your Notice of Intent has been received and that they will be verying your information soon.

Sixth step: List your home phone number. You do not have to give the state your phone number if you do not want to. That decision is solely up to you. For me, I felt it was best to give them my number in case they ever had any questions or concerns.

Seventh step: List the School Owner: This simply means, you is operating the school. If you and your spouse are operating the school together, you can list one parent as the owner and the other as the Chief Administrator. The Chief Administrator is the parent who will be doing the majority of the teaching, but again, if you and your spouse will be jointly homeschooling, simply decide who's going to be Owner and who's going to be Chief Administrator.

Eighth step: List the Chief Administrator. This will be whatever person you chose from step seven. If you are the only one doing the homeschool, this would be you, as well as you would be the School Owner.

Ninth step: List the full names of all adults who will be teaching your children. If it just you, list just yourself. If it is you and your spouse, list both you and your spouse. If you have another family member or friend who is going to also teach your children, include them too. Just keep in mind that every person teaching your child must have a high school diploma or equivalent, so if you know someone did not finish high school and did not get a GED, they are not allowed to teach your child.

Tenth step:  Well, on the application it's listed at Number 11, so for the sake of confusion we will list it as Eleventh step: Name the month and year that you will open your homeschool. Most homeschools still follow the public school system in that they begin in the fall and end the end of spring or first of summer, but you are free to start whatever month you choose.

Twelfth step: Choose whether you are going to be a religious or non-religious school. Keep in mind that you do not have to teach an entire religious curriculum in order to be labeled as a religious school. In fact, you are not required to do anything religious in your homeschool. Most parents do choose religious simply because they pray before starting school or pray before the lunch meal, but again, even this is required to be listed as a religious school. If you do not want anything to do with any type of religious affiliation, list yourself as non-religious. This listing is based solely on what you want to be listed as. Just like with the school name, there are no right or wrong answers.

Thirteenth step: This is where you just list the ages and genders of those who will be in your homeschool. In my case I have one 13 year old male and one 11 year old male. so I simply put a "1" in the box for male 13, and a "1" in the box for male 11.

After that you simply sign or electronically submit your application. Most parents choose to sign and mail in the application simply because you have to provide high school diplomas or GED completion papers for each adult who will be teaching, so rather than submit the form electronically and wait ofr the state to email you back with the fax number of where to send proof of diplomas, they simply sign the application, attach all the high school diplomas or GED completions, then mail the form in. Just makes the process go a little faster, but again, how you submit your application is totally up to you.

**It is also important to note that you can not be accepted, nor denied, your request. The Notice of Intent is merely the paperwork the state has to have on file in order to list you as a school and send you your school ID card. As long as everyone teaching your child has a high school diploma or equivalent, you request is granted and you can open your school.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What type of homeschool will you be?

Now that you've created your perfect classroom and became familiar with the homeschool laws in your state, you need to decide what type of homeschool you will be. Unlike traditional public schools, you, as a homeschool, get to choose how your children will learn.

There are three types of homeschooling.

1. Structured Learning- Structured learning is considered the cousin of public school. It is also where most first year homeschool parents begin due to the familiarity of traditional school. Structured learning generally has a set schedule. The school day starts and ends at the same time each day. Parents also tend to create a set curriculum. Whether it be buying textbooks (which we will discuss in another post) or researching lesson plans and curriculum ideas online and creating daily lesson plans, monthly unit plans, or even yearly unit plans. Structured learning is by far the easiest form of homeschooling, especially for those parents who were taught in public school or for those who had their children in public schools and are now removing them from public school and beginning homeschooling.

2. Unschooling- Unschooling is the complete opposite of Structured Learning. Unschooling generally does not have a set schedule, has no lesson plans, and is mostly child led. Parents normally focus on the basic functions of reading, writing, and math, but let the child control the rest of the learning process. Parents of unschoolers feel that their child's curiosity should control their learning environment, not a textbook or lesson plan. Unschool parents look to daily life as their classroom. If a child helps them cook a meal they list it as learning. If a child helps carry in groceries they list that as learning.

3. Eclectic Learning- Eclectic learning is the middle ground between structured learning and unschooling. Some subjects, such as Math and Language Arts, may be structured and include lesson plans and textbooks, while other subjects, such as Science and History, may be unstructured and learned simply because of the child's curiosity to learn a certain aspect of the subject. Eclectic learning is becoming the most popular type of homeschooling, mainly because parents teach however they want, be it textbooks or life learning. Parents base their learning styles around how their child learns best. Some children do well with textbook style learning while other children learn best through hands-on, day-to-day normal activities.

The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that there is no wrong way to teach your child. You are free to use whatever method you want. You get to decide the style of learning that works best for your child. Do remember though, that what worked last year may not work this year. One year a child may do well in an unschooling environment, but the next year an eclectic or structured environment may be what interests your child. It is also important to note that what works for one child may not work for another child. One child may excel in an eclectic environment, while another child needs a structured environment. You, as a parent, know your child better than anyone. You alone get to decide what type of learning you and your child will use.

Whatever type of learning you use, have fun! If you're stressed out over teaching your child will be stressed out over leaning. Homeschooling is a great parent/child bonding experience, so above all else, have fun with their child, enjoy being not only their parent, but their teacher.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

U.S. Laws Regarding Homeschooling

Homeschool teachers do have some leeway in regards to curriculum choice, hours and days of operation, and even the name of their school, but the United States does still have certain rules that each homeschool must follow in order to be legal.

Laws do vary for each state, so be sure to check out your particular state before you open your homeschool. There may be rules regarding national testing, number of days you must operate, and whether or not you have to implement a national test at the end of each year. While the laws may seem a little intimidating at first, most are simple, easy to implement, and things you would do anyway just for organizational purposes and record keeping.

There are several websites available for you to find the homeschool laws for your state. Just do a simple google search for "homeschool laws". To be more specific you could include your state, (i.e. "homeschool laws in North Carolina". The following are a few of the websites I have found that give very detailed information regarding homeschool laws in each state.

As always, do not rely on others to give you the legal information you need. Be sure to do your own research. There are literally thousands of websites out there that give you very detailed information regarding your state's homeschooling laws. As an extra precaution, always cross-reference each site to ensure that they are providing the same information.

Beginning Your Journey

Homeschooling can be an exciting and adventurous journey between you and your children, but it can also be stressful and scary if you don't know where to start, how to plan, and how to effectively run your school. You have to remember that you are just like any other teacher. There are lesson plans, unit studies, field trips, all the things a normal teacher must deal with, but you also have the chore of deciding how you're going to teach, what subjects you're going to teach, what curriculum you're going to use, what hours you are going to teach, as well as how you're going to organize your home and create your classroom.
Before you start stressing over curriculum and organizing your home and buying every textbook you can get your hands on, take the time to sit back, imagine the kind of school you want to create. What subjects will you teach? Will you have electives (subjects your children want to learn about, on top of their general education?) Will you homeschool in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings? How long will you teach each day? The majority of the states do have guidelines when it comes to hours per day and days per year, so be sure to check with your states homeschool laws. What area of your home are you going to use for your classroom? Do you have a bedroom or office you are going to use or do you plan on using the kitchen table or maybe even just your living room couch. The great thing about homeschooling is that you really can teach anywhere! If it's pretty and you want to teach outside in the grass, you can. If you want to pack a picnic and spend the day teaching at the park, you can. This is your classroom, you are free to create it however you want.
I suggest having a pen and paper handy as you're envisioning your school. If not you're going to have a million ideas floating around and you may forget an idea later on. Write down every idea you have. Even if you have a specific color tablecloth you want to put down to differentiate between the homeschool table and the dining room table, write it down. If you envision using chalkboards, write them down. No idea is too outlandish when it comes to brainstorming. The biggest thing to remember is, this is your classroom. This is where you will prepare your children for a lifetime of learning. You create the kind of classroom you feel would most benefit you and your child. And remember, nothing is temporary. If you choose one idea and get tired of it in a month, you can always change things out. If you move to a new home, you just pick your school things up, move them to a new house, and then create your ultimate classroom in that home.
The most important thing to remember is, have fun!