Half Full or Half Empty?

I have been called an eternal optimist. I gladly accept the label and hope to always see things in that light. So, how do you see things in a positive light when school is creeping along, attitudes of apathy are threatening to take over your homeschool, and the housework is piling up? How about a small break to refocus and rejuvenate? I have found it to do wonders for me.

Have a little “Me” time. During school each day, have a quiet time where everyone must have some time to themselves. Have quiet activities such as books to read, coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles, making cards, or a deck of playing cards for solitaire are just a few ideas. For little ones, you could have them play with manipulatives such as wooden blocks; threading items onto pipe cleaners, play with foam shapes and letters, or a water painting book. Establishing a quiet time helps children to be independent and occupy themselves, while also stimulating their imagination.

Learn to say “No”. I know I mention this from time to time, but having less to do will create less stress. It seems like I take on all kinds of commitments and then wonder why I am feeling overwhelmed. I have always been a “Yes” woman, thinking I can do it all. Well, I have realized that less is better because I can devote my time and energy to doing a couple of things with excellence instead of more things that are “almost excellent”.

Focus on the positive. There are so many wonderful things happening, so many things we can be thankful for each day. Look back at the beginning of the year and see the progress that your daughter/son has made in school. Has your son learned his colors? Your daughter learned to write in cursive? That is awesome!

Rejoice in the little things. Don’t be looking so far ahead with schoolwork to what you haven’t accomplished, but rather see the small steps you are taking each day to get there. I encourage you not to look at the end of the textbook and wonder how you are ever going to get there, but rather see the pages you are reading and studying today for school. It will get done, you will get there; I promise!

Do something fun! How about playing with your children? You could make or purchase playdough, build an obstacle course, have a sock fight, play Indoor Hide and Seek, build with Legos or Duplos, or bake something. Enjoying a leisurely activity together not only helps ease stress but also helps you to bond with your child(ren).

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

The Value of Manners

Why should we bother to teach manners? Manners, in my opinion, show respect to other people. They show preference to others and also acknowledge them in ways that may seem small, but really speak volumes in this fast-paced, busy life in which we live. Manners begin in the home. The way that we teach and model manners will be noticed by others when you are away from home.

Some resources to help you teach manners to your young ladies and gentlemen. A great place to begin is with table manners and etiquette. See how Mama bear helps the family to remember their manners.

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Crawford the Cat videos are a great resource for young students (P-2nd grade). Crawford’s Good Table Manners is a 5 minute video with a coloring page option and lesson plans you can purchase as well. Even if you choose not to purchase the lesson plans you can discuss topics that were covered in the video afterward. You could have a fun activity to follow where you serve a snack and practice good table manners.

 

Please, Mr. Panda shows children the polite and patient way to ask for something. If your children enjoy this book, there are several more in this series.

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Mrs. Ruler helps her class learn the value of manners, both at home and in a public setting.

Who is My Neighbor? Is a full curriculum for older students about living as a Christian and being a help to others. You can purchase additional resources, such as a notebooking journal if so desired.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

 

 

 

Teaching Cursive Handwriting

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Cursive = Dodo bird?

Every year during homeschool assessments I get asked the question. “Should I be teaching my child how to write in cursive?” Years ago I would respond to this by saying I think everyone should be able to read important historical documents and be able to sign your name on important legal documents. But, after reading and more research, I have learned there is much more to knowing how to write cursive than just that. Here are just a few of the benefits of cursive.

You can read all forms of written communication. It surprises me as to how many of my junior high students say they cannot read cursive. I have to write in manuscript if I want them to be able to read the comments I have made on their papers.

It is good for the brain. By writing in cursive, both hemispheres of the brain are engaged. It is also multisensory, using the brain, the hands, and fingers to coordinate in order to produce letters.

It is good for fine motor skills. We use our small muscles for movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. It also involves gross motor skills because cursive involves using your arm and has been referred to as whole body writing.

It increases the speed of writing. In cursive writing, letters are connected and nearly all are made in a forward motion. With print, your pencil (or pen) must be taken off of the page and placed nearby the other strokes you have created to form a letter. For instance, a lower case k is taught by first drawing a vertical line and then picking up your pencil and making a sideways v that needs to connect midway onto the vertical line that was just drawn.

It helps dyslexic students. I have written about this topic before, so here is the link to read if you are interested. CLICK HERE

Cursive can be individualized. If you have a creative, artsy child, they can make cursive their own style after they learn how to read and write traditional cursive. Calligraphy is a fun to learn as well.

Ready to get started? Here are some resources for you.

A Reason for Handwriting  This series has scriptures that are copied after the letters have been learned. The publishers have a transitions book that will be helpful in teaching cursive.

Horizons Penmanship Grades 1-5  Cursive is introduced midway through 2nd grade. Correct placement of hands, letter formation, and posture are all covered. Each book has a theme that is used throughout the book.

Handwriting Without TearsMany families with boys love this program and say this is easier than anything else they have taught.  It is simple and straightforward.

Draw Write Now incorporates penmanship, writing and drawing! You can pick from different themes and levels. My sons loved using these books.

Looking for online programs ? Handwriting Worksheets and Writing Wizard would be great places to start. These programs allow you to create your own worksheets, everything from single words to paragraphs.

Happy Writing!  ~ Lisa ~

 

 

Veterans Day Ideas for Kids

Some people get Veterans Day mixed up with Memorial Day. Veterans Day is a national day in our country to honor all of those who have served in the military.

Here is another video about Veterans Day.

Here is a Veterans Day booklet for your primary aged student that has alphabetical order, a word search, and a comprehension page.

If you would like your son or daughter to do a word search, here is a free printable on Veterans Day.

 Kid’s Activity Blog has a variety of worksheets for your student to do, including designing a commemoration quilt patch.

There is also a Veterans Day Resource Guide that has information and information on how to take care of the flag.

How can you teach your child the importance of supporting those who are in the military? How about sending a card or a care package? Soldiers Angels has many ways to be involved, from sending a card or a letter, to purchasing a care package, to sending a blanket, all of these are practical and thoughtful ways of showing appreciation to our service members.

Do you want your student to send a letter or card? CLICK HERE

To learn more about Soldiers Angels CLICK HERE.

Other ideas

If you have service members in your family, how about calling them and thanking them for their service to our country?

Our children can also serve our country by helping others. You could rake a neighbor’s leaves, visit those in nursing homes, pick up litter in your neighborhood,  or find another way to serve.

Election Resources for Children

Every first Tuesday after the first Monday in November we have the opportunity and civic duty to vote for our government officials. I am thankful that we live in a country where we have that right. As part of teaching Social Studies, you could teach about the election process and have your daughter/son learn about our government. When you go to vote, why not consider giving them a firsthand experience by going to the polling place with you.

How Voting Works is packed with a plethora of information. It even has an option to have the page read aloud and a ten question quiz at the end. There are additional resources about the government that your pupil can learn about should you wish.

Congress for Kids is a site that has everything about elections, from Election Day all the way through to Inauguration Day. There are videos and book lists (fiction and nonfiction) too for your student.

Duck for President is a fun way to learn about the election process. This website has a video of the book too.  If you are interested in doing a lesson or want more ideas for the book, Duck for President, Scholastic has some great ideas.

May the best candidates win! ~Lisa~