Helping your Child Take Chances

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I love Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus books and videos. She is the cool science teacher who says to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy,  She is the kind of teacher that I wish each of us could have had some time in our school career.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could let things go and have that mantra for our children as well instead of trying to stick to a textbook? Well, I think we can if we take small steps, which I hope will lead to bigger steps, and then a lifestyle of grace and seeing possibilities.

Start with something in which your child is good to build confidence. Does she write fantastic stories or does he fly through his math computation? By showing them they are good at something they will have the confidence to try something that is not the easiest for them to do.

Start small. You can set a goal in what you want to accomplish, but make sure it is achievable and not overwhelming. If you want your son to write a book report, start with having them just give the book a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The next time they read a book they can still give it a thumbs up/ down, but add one sentence about why they rated it that way, and so on until they have written a paragraph and then another, and another…

Go s-l-o-w-l-y. By taking the time to build confidence, your daughter/ son is more likely to try something harder. Are you trying to teach the multiplication tables and it just isn’t working? Go back to addition and show him how 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 and that 3 sets of 2 are the same, only faster! I found food always helped. 🙂

Enjoy the process. Too many times all I can see is what I have not accomplished and just want to give up. If I can set a small goal and meet that, then take a break and relax  (and eat chocolate) for a few minutes, then I can come back to what I am working on. I like to review what I have done and set another achievable goal until I finish what I have begun. This doesn’t all have to be done at once, it can take several days or months, depending upon the task or subject area. Allow plenty of time so that you have a confident, risk-taking learner.

Give lots of praise! I know when I hear a parent say their child is doing well because of what I have taught them I feel like I can leap over a tall building in a single bound! Show your daughter/ son what they have accomplished and let them see how proud you are of them.

Be a role model. I am confident that you can teach your child to take chances and good risks. Let your daughter/ son see you are taking risks too. For instance, you might be shy and you show your child you are going to reach out and talk to someone at church. You might not feel confident in your writing abilities, but you read your story to your son during sharing time at the end of the lesson. You can ask for feedback and suggestions.

Have a great week! ~Lisa ~




Snow Days When Homeschooling

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It’s hard to say you can’t get the kids to school due to bad weather if you homeschool. But, you can still have fun in the snow and make it educational too!

Math- Have everyone make an estimated guess as to how much snow you received. Go out and measure the snow. Give a sticker to the persona who came the closest to their estimation.

Science- A short animated video about snow and snowflakes will not only provide good information but also some great discussion. Did you know the largest snowflake ever recorded was oner 12 inches long? Dr. Binocs

Art- Make snowflakes to decorate the house. I have to tell you that I looked online for simple snowflake designs and my idea of “simple” and others is completely different. I just snip some designs out of the paper and hope for the best. I actually decided to try to make a snowflake to show you, but it only looked like a half of one, so make sure you experiment before having your daughter or son do it, otherwise you will have some mighty disappointed kiddos!

Physical Education– Of course, you and your child should go out in the snow. You can shovel the driveway, pack snowballs, make a snowman (if you get enough snow), make snow angels, or take a walk and observe how the plants look different when snow-covered.

Health- Discuss what you need to wear outside in cold weather. Talk about frostnip and frostbite and the signs so they are not caught unaware.  It’s hard to want to come in from the cold when the little ones are having fun, but it is important to do so to avoid having something serious happen to their skin. Mayo Clinic 

Make Snow Ice Cream     



  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 cups clean snow or shaved ice (more or less depending on the density of the snow)
  • optional (but strongly suggested) topping: sprinkles!


  1. In a large bowl, whisk milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together until combined. Go scoop up some fresh (clean!) snow, and immediately stir it into the milk mixture until you reach your desired consistency.  (The ice cream should be fluffy, not runny.  But it melts quickly, so dive in quickly.)
  2. Top with sprinkles or other ice cream toppings if desired, and enjoy!

Read books about winter and snow.

Have fun this winter.   ~ Lisa ~

Living in Thanksgiving



While Thanksgiving is a national holiday as well as a historical event that we commemorate, I like to personally take time out to ponder those things in which I am thankful. How can I be thankful each and every day? How can I cultivate an atmosphere of thankfulness in my home? As I am working on this in my own life I hope you will join me.

Here are some ways you can model and teach thankfulness to your child.  Put out a plate of cookies and make some hot chocolate to prove a cozy atmosphere to think, write, create, and share. Grab some lined and plain paper, writing utensils, markers, and crayons. Here we go!

Make a list of the people and things that you are thankful for. Share with each other. Did anyone else have the same ideas as you?

Write a note. Choose one person from the list to make them a card and tell them why you are thankful for them. Mail it! There is nothing like getting a personal note in the mail.:)

Create an acrostic poem out of the word Thanks or Thanksgiving. If you have a young write, partner write. Have your daughter/ son decorate it. Hang up your poems in a place to read often.

Make a thankful jar. Use a decorative jar or have your son or daughter decorate a jar and add slips of paper of what you are thankful for. Pull out a slip each day at breakfast (or dinner time) and talk about what was written.


I’d like to take a moment to tell you that I am so thankful for you! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my blog and a huge thank you to teaching your family. Many thanks to those of you who sent me notes of encouragement with my husband’s recent triple bypass surgery and recovery. It meant so much to me and helped when I was feeling discouraged.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday in making great memories with your family and friends.

~ Lisa ~

Technology Resources for Kids


I think children, for the most part, love technology. Why not apply this interest and school for an awesome class for your student?

Bitsboxes This company sends monthly coding projects for your child to do and is geared toward children 6 -12 years old. You have the option of kits coming directly to your house or you can download the projects yourself. Here is a sampling of what they have to offer:

Month 1 – Animal House
The lesson: Coordinates, basic commands

Month 2 – Roboboogie
The lesson: Variables, motion, action

Month 3 – A Land Far Away
The lesson: If/else, tap, drag

Month 4 – Sky’s the Limit
The lesson: Functions, repeat, delay, tap

SKrafty has an Intro to Java and a Java Script class for 6-12 grade. Your student will be able to create games that can be played on any computer.

Khan Academy offers free computer programming classes. I am giving you a link to browse through what they offer.

SCRATCH Developed by MIT students, this free computer coding community offers students the ability to build games and work with animation. There are also lesson plans for you to use and another great thing is that it is FREE!

Code is a free computer science website that many schools use to teach programming. There is a section for students and one for teachers. Their belief is that “Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.” They offer full-length classes as well as one-hour ones.

Homeschool with MineCraft– Students can either choose from self-paced classes or live classes that are focused around subjects such as American history, American presidents, and inventors. There are also classes that use books for their building projects such as Story of the World . There is a building project as well as additional video links your student can watch to learn more about the topic. Classes include Story of the World,  the I Survived series, and American Girl Dolls history. There are classes for elementary students through high school.

Have a great week!  ~ Lisa ~

Veterans Day Ideas to Teach

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Today is a national holiday in which we honor all those who have served in our military. I thought I’d give a little background to when the holiday first began 100 years ago.

This holiday was originally known as Armistice Day to commemorate the signing of the peace treaty in which Germany agreed to the terms to end World War I on November 11, 1918, at 11:00.


On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:


The White House, November 11, 1919.

A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.



  • Call someone you know who is serving or who has served in the military and say thank you for their service to our country.
  • Make a card or write a letter to a veteran.  Operation Gratitude
  • Visit a veteran and make or take a treat to them. (cupcakes or cookies decorated with red, white, and blue frosting?)

Social Studies: Read and discuss the above speech that President Wilson made. It’s always a great idea to look at an original source document instead of reading about it secondhand.

Questions to investigate:

  • What were the terms of the treaty?
  • Who signed the treaty?
  • Where was it signed? Why was this location used for the signing of the treaty? Why use a train car and not a building?

What is a primary source document? secondary source document? Here is a resource that you can purchase that is all ready for you to use: Primary and Secondary Sources

Language Arts:

  • Notice that Veterans is a plural and not a possessive noun. Have a grammar lesson to explain this.
  • For your older students, you can introduce vocabulary such as armistice, peace treaty,  memorial, sympathy, gratitude

Math: How many countries were involved in The Great War? How many people died during the war?

Health: Many people died after the war due to the Spanish Flu. Discuss disease prevention. You can read about it and see primary source documents here-  Spanish Flu

If you or a family member has served in the military, here is a list of restaurants that have free meals today: FREE MEALS

My deepest thank you to you who have served us in a military capacity.  Happy Veteran’s Day! ~ Lisa ~