Hey mamas and papas! It is back to school season, but this year, back to school looks a lot different than usual. Whether your family is homeschooling, virtual learning, going to school "in real life," or something in between, it is important to have good resources on hand to supplement, support, or guide your child's learning.
As a teacher, a mom, and a student myself, education is so important to me! This fall, I'll be taking doctoral classes online, teaching Montessori English, reading, history, and government/economics to my middle school students virtually, AND I'll also be homeschooling my first grader and two year old. To be honest, I'm most excited to teach my own littles, but it is the most daunting task of all!
Something I've learned with teaching is that having great resources on hand makes a huge difference. Thankfully, Amazon has had my back in making it easy and affordable to purchase the items we need! There are tons of great materials available that make homeschooling a little bit easier and a lot more fun. Check out my little curated collection of favorites below to see the products we are using this year to facilitate a love for learning at home!
* Click on the images below for direct links to products. My blog will receive a small commission for any purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you.
When dealing with younger kids (Pre-K to third grade), sight words are just as important as phonics in learning to read! Pair some level-appropriate sight word practice with a general love of books and reading, and you're well on your way to having an avid reader!
Some of my son's favorite ways to practice vocabulary and spelling are with flash cards and ESPECIALLY with sight word BINGO! We also have a few workbooks we use and like (linked below), but any time you can GAMIFY learning, it is a win.
MATH, Science, & Social Studies
Amazon has some really cool geology kits and things to captivate little learners and foster a love for science, discovery, and STEM. For both science and social studies, we love FLY GUY books. For younger kids, things like puzzles and globes are awesome for understanding the basics of maps and geography, the foundations for future social studies learning. The most important thing when educating young kids is not to drill them with information to memorize, but to INSPIRE them to LOVE learning and to spark a natural curiosity within them. The goal is to build lifelong learners!
While most of these are aimed for the kindergarten through second grade range, most of the brands linked also offer options to "level up" to meet your kid's needs!
If you need suggestions for other ages, specific educational concerns, or online/digital resources, just leave a comment below; there are so many resources out there for our kiddos. I'm happy to help however I can! Happy homeschooling. :)
We are on the third-fourth(ish) week of Coronavirus pandemic social distancing in the US, and so far, as a family, we've spent a lot of our free time out in nature during this shutdown by playing tennis, walking on trails, and hiking in the mountains. Sadly, as the virus has continued to spread, state and local officials in our area have made the tough decision to close parks and trails by building temporary fences around the trails and locking access points/entries.
So, ever on the quest to make the most of any situation, I've decide to supplement our "new normal" living room workouts and sidewalk walks around our building by plowing through my to-read list.
Did you know that reading a book for just SIX MINUTES per day can reduce stress levels by 68%?* So crazy! Reading a book has greater soothing benefits than going for a walk or having a tea even. In stressful times like these, we should all be reading SOMETHING.
Currently, I'm on a nonfiction kick. I'm taking this time of being at home to reflect, regroup, and better myself as much as I can. And reading is a big step in the direction of personal growth.
Even so, no one likes the feeling of starting a book and feeling like it's a chore to read, and nonfiction can often be particularly difficult to get into if it isn't interesting enough. To save you the trouble of testing out books that you just might not love, I'm sharing with you here some of my favorite nonfiction books that you can read while social distancing!
Five nonfiction books to read while social distancing
All you need are a couple of blank canvases (you can get them super cheap on sale at Michael's or order from Amazon), paints, and brushes. I personally like to use "paint knives" instead of brushes for abstract stuff.
Don't be afraid of suggesting BYOC (bring your own canvas!) if you don't have any extras lying around!
Fill a couple of mason jars with water, set aside some cloths or paper towels, and lay an old comforter down to protect your floor. To cultivate an atmosphere that yields creativity, put on an artsy vibes station like Bon Iver on Pandora or Spotify, light a couple of candles, diffuse some peppermint and lavender essential oils, and Voila! You have the perfect set up for a relaxing night of good conversation, chill time, and crafting.
Of course, everyone knows the best host provides refreshments for his or her guests!
I like to set out a cheese board and some vino when having people over because it adds to the ambiance of the evening.
If your evening is scheduled in the midst of dinner time, here's a tip: throw together an easy CrockPot or InstaPot meal ahead of time! This way, you all have something nutritious and delicious to eat whenever you want throughout the night, plus you aren't busy with cooking or clean up when your guests arrive.
My meal of choice? A hearty chili! It's perfect for cold weather whether it's vegetarian style or traditional chili.
I don't follow any recipe, but prep only takes like ten to fifteen minutes, and clean up is a one-pot breeze! I just throw together browned meat, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, some cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, salt, and red pepper in my CrockPot and allow it to cook on low for at least six hours during the day! Provide cheese, sour cream or yogurt, basil, and whatever else you can think of for garnish toppings.
So that's it! Everything you need to have your own little "wine and design" night from the comfort of your own living space. A few art supplies, a chill atmosphere, and some simple food and drink! If you have kids like me, put them to bed a tad bit early and enjoy this inspired evening.