Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Okay That Leap Frog -Taught My Kids Phonics...Really It Is!

Once upon a time I really believed that I was a failure as a mom (one of many times) for having the audacity to buy my girls mostly educational toys and allowing them to learn things from them. Sounds crazy and totally backwards, doesn't it? Well, when I woke up from my SuperMom nightmare, I finally realized that as long as they're learning it, where they get it or how they get it is irrelevant AND as a home schooler, every single thing my kids know or learn does not have to come from me.

Common sense, probably, to the average adult, but I think as moms, homeschooling moms, we put a lot of pressure and unrealistic expectations on ourselves that doesn't need to be there. Well, I'm now at a healthier place and I can say THANK YOU LEAP FROG and keep up the good work!

So that you can cut yourself a break, too, and diversify your children's learning, I would like to share some discounts and coupon codes from LeapFrog, as they are always having great sales or promotions on their site. Look out for weekly deals from them on my blog in addition to this post!
LFFAMILY- Save 20% on your order, FREE shipping on orders of $50 or more, expires 11/23
SAVEONTAG- Save $5 on Tag Reading System, online or in the store (must print coupon for store purchase), expires 11/18

Now, to get the discussion rolling, what are some creative or unconventional methods you have used to teach your children? Home schoolers, I know you're full of them, so share, share, share!

***NOTE: I'm not receiving anything from them to pass on this info, I'm just really into saving while shopping and I've been happy with their products so far, so I wanted to pass the savings along.***

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Tasty Little Myth

My 5yo was eating Rita's today and she commented on how she tasted sourness on the tip of her tongue. I was about to use this teaching moment to go into a spiel on the mapping of the tongue and taste buds when for some unexplained reason, I stopped mid-sentence and Googled instead. What I found was very interesting to say the least. It was an article disproving the myth that the taste buds on your tongue are divided into four distinct sections (sour, sweet, salty and bitter). Have a quick read if you find a minute to spare:

Image: stock.xchange

Instead, as it turns out, they are spread out evenly across the tongue. Like the author, I remember being frustrated and perplexed as a child doing experiments trying to prove this tongue "map" was accurate and utterly failing because I tasted sugar all over, not just in the supposed "zone". I remember thinking my tongue was deficient. I'm so glad I looked this up first, before imparting this false knowledge to my daughter. As a friend and I used to joke, "I almost made her ignorant!"

Have you, as an adult, discovered something that all along you thought was true but are now finding no longer works for you, or is just plain false? What about something as simple as the pronunciation of a word you never understood as a child, and are just now as an adult getting it right? Please share your comments as I'd love to hear your stories! The more entertaining, the better.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Fun Arabic Letter Craft!

We just did a learning craft (aren't they all?) about an hour ago using the following "decorations" for the six arabic letters my girls are learning this week:

bulgur (pasta grains)
tissue paper cut into squares and cinched in the middle to make "flowers" (2 colors)
cotton balls cut up into small pieces
fillini pasta
Re-used crinkly paper from a gift basket I received

I started with large sheets of construction paper, one for each child, creased into six equal "parts" or squares; I think the sheets measure 11x14. Using a Sharpie, I wrote the six letters- dal through sheen- each in one square.


I then put each decorative item into a re-used clear, plastic egg carton tray (I have 2 girls, 6 decorations per side for each of the 6 letters), gave them glue and a Q-tip and let them go to work. They had a ton of fun and it was messy *cringe* but they enjoyed it, so I'm okay with that;^) I was impressed at how well they did and can't wait till they dry to hang them up on our "Look What I Did" wall.

Although we used this craft to learn Arabic letters, it can be used as a fun way to help kids learn just about anything- the English alphabet, shapes, numbers, etc. Be creative! Also, colored craft sand is a great but messy alternative to decorate your paper.
If you have some great ideas for other fun decorative materials to use, or would like to share how you reworked this craft to fit your family, please share in the comments section below.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Secret Weapons: Great books for Homeschooling

I've posted recently about this book, but I must, must share again! I found a book at the library and I immediately took it back because I was so in love with it for homeschooling that I ordered it from Amazon right away. I've shared it with other moms and they had the same excited, frantic reaction, Funny! I'm not really into any particular "curriculum"- at least not yet- and this book is great and full of great information. It lays out weekly lesson plans and gives a LOT of info and suggestions for other enrichment activities and crafts. I love how it interrelates subjects for reinforcement and de-compartmentalizes learning in the true spirit of homeschooling.

Anyway, it's called "Learn At Home" from American Education Publishing. I'm using Grade 1 for my 5 year-old but they have Pre-K on up. I've read that for Pre-K, it may not be worth the expense (about $20, give or take a few) since you can easily get workbooks that are great from the dollar store for this age.

Speaking of which, my other gem is Mead's Preschool Workbook ($5 at Wal-Mart, also sold at Target) that I use for both my advanced-for-her-age-2-year-old (I say that humbly and with total awe) and my 5 year-old. Since I really can only use a select few of the activities for my 5 year-old, I'm xeroxing the pages for her to use so that I can have the orginals for my 3 year-old when she's old enough. Mead overall has a great assortment of teaching resources and they're all very affordable.

*Pictures of Mead Products soon to follow*

If you think they might work for you, try them out and let me know what you think- please remember to come back and comment!