Monday, January 31, 2011

Additional Homeschooling Recourses

We always attempt to make learning as enjoyable as possibly, figuring if they realize they can enjoy it they will do more of it.  Some things lend themselves to this rather easily, such as cooking when learning fractions and weight. Other things need a little more help, such as when learning the Constellations or Flower Anatomy.

Constellations can be difficult.  They did their school work during the day so when evening falls and the stars come out, if you even live in an area you can actually see stars, getting the kids to do additional "school work" can be difficult.  We like to incorporate it when we go camping or driving back from a trip we can stop and do a little astronomy lesson.  But aside from actual field work there are other fun ways to learn about the heavens.  Take for instance the Constellation Flash Cards, these can be used in numerous ways to help children remember the specifics.  Print out 2 sets and use them as memory cards for single players.  Or play your own version of Guess Who.  Or you can do what I did and print them out and blow them up on your copier.  Hang them on the wall in your school room next to your solar system poster.  I love versatile learning tools. 

If you have a computer learner you can click on over to My Schoolhouse for some online interactive lessons on everything from Photosynthesis to the Human Skeleton to Magnets. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why we lose things

Because God says, "Woman, you need to look see what your children are up to!"  Kinda like we spill things because God things we need to mop.  Yea, its like that, except its stuff our children have hidden because either they don't want to get into trouble or because they want to get into trouble.  Thats the only reasonable conclusion I can come to when I find stuff like dirty clothes, books and games shoved under a dresser in an attempt to clean their bedroom.

You see, we lost a pair of glasses.  They aren't in any of the usual places like under a bed or with the dirty clothes.  Its been 5 days and we are getting desperate, time to tear the place apart.  I found a block in the towel cabinet and a toy gun sandwiched between the wall and our 6 year olds bed.  I found the top of a sippy cup stuck to the floor of my office behind the treadmill.   I went so far as to clean out the cupboards in the kitchen.  No, I am not making excuses for nesting.  I'm not, I'm not.  But I did find the back to our old Video Now in there.  I found 5 pencils in our sofa cushions.  Its no wonder the kids always complain they have nothing to write with.  I can't imagine where they think they are going when they are sitting there on the sofa writing and their pencil suddenly disappears. 

Yet, I have not found the glasses.  I am afraid they might have gotten thrown away..AGAIN.  My toddlers love to help clean and my current toddler thinks everything should be thrown away once used.  Such as towels, cups and plates.  I guess when I say "Take care of this" I should be more specific.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just when you think you have seen it all

The kids never cease to amaze me, both with their genius and their stupidity.  I do have a bunch of boys after all and they seem to lack certain reasoning skills.  Such that they think its a great idea to ride on a bike in a circle while someone hits baseballs at you.  Sure, no one is gonna get hurt doing that. 

But the real kicker was walking into the kitchen to find someone had tried to "fix" a broken tile.  This tile has been missing a part since we moved in.  Leaving a hole, I swear, to the earth below with no concrete between.  I swear, because it traps so  much dirt it looks like the ground.  Anyway, someone thoughtfully tried to correct the problem for me.  Yea, by filling it with ketchup.  In case you wanted to try this for yourself, it didn't work. 

No one fessed up to it, but my bet is on the 3 or 5 yr old.  At least I hope thats who did it.  After watching my 8 and 10 year old play "Bike and Ball" I have some doubts. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

5 Tips for Healthy Eating

As a parent I struggle to get my kids to eat healthy.  I am sure most parents fight the same battle.  You can't walk into a store without being bombarded with sugary treats oozing from every aisle.  Even health food stores carry ample sweets to tempt.  The last time we went to Sprouts the kids were allowed to get a snack....without chocolate in it.  Must every snack have chocolate in it?  But I have been able to come up with a few tricks to get my kids to eat healthier, aside from just educating them about why its so important to eat healthy (be honest, unless you eat healthy 100% of the time even you  know better and still don't). 

1. Keep celery and carrot sticks in the fridge cut up and ready to eat.  Offer this as a snack when they are hungry.  For us that means buying the big bags at costco and cutting it all up when we get home.  If you leave them whole kids are less likely to help themselves.  If they are cut up even the little ones can get in there for a snack. 

2. For dessert try yogurt with berries instead of prepackaged or loaded with sugar treats.  Buy the big containers so you can dip your own fruit in them.  Apple and pear slices, grapes, black berries, raspberries, etc all make a sweet treat. 

3. Offer more vegetable choices at the dinner table.  The more kids you have the less likely everyone is to like the same thing.  If you have leftovers save them for the next days meal.  I am not one of those, eat whats served to you or eat nothing type of mothers.  I would rather give them choices and watch them eat healthy foods than give them no choice and watch them not eat at all.  So if you are sitting down for a meal and are serving asparagus and baked potato, offer some peas or brussel sprouts in addition.  I have found that if I give my kids the choice, they would choose to eat a vegetable, just not the one I would have chosen. 

4.  When buying lettuce choose dark green heads as opposed to the lighter Iceberg.  Even if your kids will only eat the Iceberg buy the other heads as well and mix them in.  The darker the leaves generally the healthier they are.  My kids don't even realize that little lettuce leaves I put on their sandwiches are adding a bunch of vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.  And that vegetable alternative for dinner can be a salad of romaine.

5.  If you are planning on being out of the house for any length of time bring snacks.  I don't know how many time we have gone out after lunch and planned to be home for dinner where we had to stop for a snack in between because everyone got hungry.  Keep some nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, Trio Bars, or Terra Chips on hand in the van just for such occasions.  Also saves you money over having to grab something while you are out.  Keep this in mind if you are doing anything remotely aerobic.  We went to play in the snow recently for only an hour and by the end everyone, including  myself, were starving.  Of course of all times I was out of snacks.  My 5 yr old scolded me, I think he was about to wilt away to nothing. 

Now if someone has 5 tips to get my kids to exercise that would be great!  Thats my latest challenge. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year

And it look a lot like the last one so far.  We expect great things to happen in a new year.  I am not sure why.  Its not as if people suddenly change on January 1st.  I was being realistic that life would continue on more or less the same as it was before but it still saddened me when that actually happened. 

The first day back to work for the dh after his vacation and he couldn't start his car.  He was sure it was the battery so when he came home he went to get a new one.  After working on his car awhile he came to me and said that they must have given him the wrong one because it wasn't working.  I asked him if he had it in backwards.  He was sure he didn't but he would double check.  Sure enough he had it in backwards.  If you don't know what happens when you put in a battery backwards I don't recommend you try it.  Especially on a Mazda.  It blows the main fuse.  I knew this because he had done it once before.  In a Mazda no less.  Mazdas have 2 bolts under the fuse box that is incredibly difficult to get off.  So he spent the whole evening doing that and then had to wait till today to get a new fuse, so he drove the van again.  Not only can I not go anywhere but its costly to drive back and forth from work.  So lets all hope that when he gets home tonight to put his car back together that all it needed was a new battery (and a new fuse now) and will once again be driveable. 

Meanwhile school has resumed and the children are not in their best spirits.  Something about the holidays makes them happy and pleasant.  Something about school makes them....ehhh not so pleasant.  Moments after discussing with my 8 year old why he could not have Ritz with Milk in a bowl (ewww) I come out to the kitchen to find this:

A bowl of peanut butter.  Apparently this is what passes for a snack to a 6 year old.  I could see if he was dipping fruit or veggies in it, but to eat it straight?  Ack.  What is wrong with my kids that they want to eat these things for a snack?  Ritz with Milk?  Peanut Butter in a Bowl?  Why?