Science can be fun learning at any age with these 10 toys that teach kids about the human body.
I’m not sure how it happened, but my four-year-old has fallen in love with the human body. He is fascinated by it. Even his pediatrician was taken aback when he could name all the anatomy of the human ear. He also knows the systems (e.g. circulatory, muscular, vascular, neurological, etc) of the body. So much was learned simply through play. Kids learn so much that way and they don’t even realize they are soaking it all in like a sponge.
So today, I’m going to share with you some of our favorite 10 toys that teach kids about the human body. I will try to include the age appropriateness with each of the toys. However, many of the toys can be used with younger children as long as they are supervised.
Magnetic Human Body
I love Melissa and Doug toys because they aren’t plastic. Even though the M&D products are a little on the pricey side, I still swear by them. This cute wooden Melissa and Doug set has twenty-four pieces that help children envision the human body and how it works from the inside. I found this was perfect for ages three to five. It is simple enough for some toddlers and all preschoolers to understand.
Squishy Human Body
The Squishy Human body has 21 pieces. This was an absolute favorite for my four-year-old. It does say it is designed for ages eight and up, but my four-year-old loved it. The bones come apart and it comes with a booklet explaining the parts and their function in the body. Even the skull comes apart to reveal a realistic brain. All the organs are squishy giving it a real feel and look.
Magic School Bus: Human Body Lab
Based on the Scholastic and Netflix series, this educational kit comes with experiment cards, a skeleton, posters, and stickers. This great for kiddos five and up. Fun fact: this was actually developed by Harvard graduates, scientists and educators to make it a full, exciting experience. This was a little lower on our favorite list, but still a great learning tool.
Kakiblin Organ Apron
This cute apron has felt organs on the front that is used to model the human body. The organs are completely removable by velcro so your little one can practice putting the organs in the correct place. Even my two-year-old loves to attach the organs with his older brother.
Learning Resources Floor Skeleton
Learning Resources has an awesome floor puzzle that helps kids identify bones and learn how they connect together. It is made of fifteen foam pieces that you assemble on the floor that stands nearly four feet. On one side is the image of the bone and on the back, it gives the name of each bone. It’s great for ages three and up.
Disgusting Science Kit
This toy isn’t so much about anatomy, but rather about what our bodies do. This disgusting science kit is full of fun hands-on experiments. Children discover and make fake blood and slimy snot, as well as the stinky intestines and their role in the human body. They also can grow safe bacteria and mold and how it can be used to fight infection. This is for older children around the age of eight and requires adult supervision.
The Journey Match It – All About Me
This word puzzle allows your child to both build their vocabulary and also learn to identify body parts and organs. There are 30 sets of puzzle pieces and this is great for children four and up. Even my four year old loves doing this in his beginning reading stages.
Genetics and DNA Science Kit
This genetics and DNA kit is for older children around eight, but it is a great way to introduce the science around our genetic code and molecular structure. In this kit they’ll construct models of the double helix DNA structure. Also they’ll learn about the pioneering scientists in genetics. Your child will feel like a scientist as they conduct experiments with this fun, educational kit.
Ben Franklin Doctor Lab Biology Kit
This takes playing doctor to a whole other level! This kit by Ben Franklin Toys, very much resembles a doctor’s kit. However, it delves deeper into the role of a physician. Children will conduct 12 experiments and tests. It includes 30 tools such as a stethoscope, bandage, shot, activity cards, anatomy model, brain game, eye chart, and more! When children aren’t conducting tests, they can use it for dramatic play like any other doctor’s kit.
Learning Resources Brain Model
This Learning Resources Brain Model is definitely better suited for older children. In this human anatomy model, children will build the brain using pieces of the cerebellum, frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes. I will say the model is on the smaller side once completed. It’s smaller than four inches, but I do think it gives a very thorough look at the intricacies of the brain.
I hope you and your family enjoy these toys as much as we did.
So you’ve decided to homeschool but don’t know where to begin. With all the choices available it can be confusing so here are the homeschooling methods explained.
So you’ve decided to homeschool or maybe you are just interested and would like to learn more about it. Homeschooling methods can be confusing at first which is why I will explain in the simplest of terms.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful choice. There are lots of reasons why homeschooling is becoming more popular. You can read all about Why We Homeschool. Everyone’s reasons will vary and there are lots of myths that need to be cleared up. You can read all about that in my post, Debunking Myths About Homeschooling.
Today, I’m going to explain the most common methods of homeschooling. I think understanding the methods is crucial to how you will be selecting the curriculum.
Unschooling is a very different method when compared to others. Instead of being teacher-led, unschooling is largely child-led. It is also primarily informal. Specifically, the child advocates for what will be learned as opposed to the parent having full control.
It’s important to note that although homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, unschooling may not be. Some states have specific requirements for the subjects taught, attendance, records, and other things. Unschooling is a complete contrast to public school and may not meet these state-imposed requirements. You can learn more about your state’s requirements on HSLDA’s website.
Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the twentieth century. She used a tri-method approach to learning. Her method is similar to Classical homeschooling which also uses three phases of education.
The first is the Atmosphere. This is the idea that children are to observe and evaluate the world around them but particularly in the home environment. In other words, children are watching our actions, our own behaviors, rules, and even the mood we set in the home environment. In our family, we try to model constant learning and look for opportunities to explain and teach. We encourage questions and try to maintain a peaceful, gentle atmosphere.
This is primarily the traits of good character. Modeling, instilling and cultivating good habits and enforcing a code of conduct, largely play into this area of teaching.
This last area pertains to academics. Charlotte Mason believed that children learn best in a living environment and not with the dry rigors of textbooks. Therefore, children learn out of what is referred to as “living books.” Most living books are a narrative or in a story form that makes the subject come alive in real-world examples. Children are then to explain and narrate the lesson to ensure comprehension. In other words, if children can explain it to someone else, they have learned it themselves. This is the only form of testing progress in the Charlotte Mason method. In fact, Charlotte Mason could be described as a very gentle method of learning.
In addition, children learn handwriting, spelling, and sentence structure by transcribing passages from classic literature. Children are also encouraged to spend a great deal of time outdoors absorbing nature, biology, and the work of God’s hand. Charlotte Mason is also primarily Christian-based learning. Lastly, children learn about classical composers, fine art, all the while learning deeply about their great works. Children may be educated in foreign languages like Greek, Latin, Spanish and French. As well as rooted in Math with an emphasis on Algebra.
Classical education is based on the ancient model of learning. When you consider some of the greatest minds of the past, you’ll discover they were classically educated. Below, I’ll explain the three stages of classical education, known as the trivium.
The Grammar Stage: Kindergarten Through Fourth Grade
There is a rigorous emphasis on spelling, grammar, reading, and writing. As well as cultivating a joy of numbers with both procedural and conceptual math. Also, the beginning framework of foreign languages are taught, typically Latin, Greek or both. In addition, there is a study of fine art, classical composition, and music theory. Children will be introduced to Geography and a comprehensive study into History, which is the telling of all human achievement until now.
In history, The Ancients (5000 BC-AD 400) are taught in grades 1, 5 and 9. Medieval (400-1600) time period is taught in grades 2, 6, and 10. Late Renaissance to the Romantic era (1600-1850) in grades 3, 7, and 11. Lastly, the modern era (1850-present) in grades 4, 8, and 12.
I will give you an example of the effectiveness of classical education. My own four-year-old already has fundamental knowledge about Queen Nefertiti, Ramses II, and The Great Sphinx. He is learning about Ancient Civilizations and Native Americans. He can describe the anatomy of the human ear and identify the different systems of the body (circulatory, skeletal, muscular, etc) and their purpose. Also, he can name the different celestial bodies and even knows musical terms like accelerando, fortissimo, crescendo, and pianissimo.
The Logic Stage: Fifth Grade Through Eighth Grade
The Logic stage, in short, is reasoning or critical thinking. In this stage, children will begin to examine and analyze the arguments of others and themselves. Students will analyze facts and arguments to deduce why something is true or false.
The Rhetoric Stage: Ninth Grade Through Twelfth Grade
Classical rhetoric is a combination of expressive persuasion and argument (debate). The rhetoric stage is built upon the greatest ancient philosophers and writers such as Cicero, Aristotle, Quintilian, Socrates, and Plato. Simply put, it is expressing the knowledge obtained during the grammar and logic stages and composing effective writing and speaking through academic papers and speech. In other words, students learn to articulate their own answers to important questions.
Traditional homeschooling resembles a similar structure to public schooling. You use a textbook curriculum. Children may use workbooks. You may even mimic a similar environment, with individual desks and a chalkboard. Normally, schedules are rigid with classes at specific times. Also, you may have tests and evaluations to determine your child’s progress. Traditional homeschoolers may even compare their progress or align themselves with public schools.
For traditional homeschooling, I greatly encourage you to read Duffy’s Homeschool Picks. This amazing book goes through the abundance of curriculum choices and gives unbiased reviews. Lastly, it helps you determine which curriculum is best suited to your child’s learning style.
Eclectic is basically just any combination of the aforementioned methods. Technically, I was an eclectic homeschooler because I was a mix of both classical and traditional homeschooling, although classical education was emphasized.
Some parents find their children do better with the strengths of the different methods. There is no one right way to homeschool. Each method has its benefits. As a homeschooler, you have immense flexibility and you are not in any way pigeonholed to one method. Yes, you can take what you like from the various methods and make it your own.
Additionally, some parents start off as eclectic homeschoolers, choosing to try out multiple methods before deciding on their way to educate. That’s perfectly okay too! It is also important to note that any of these methods can be religious or secular in nature.
Pin for Later
Hopefully, I have thoroughly explained the different methods of homeschooling. I am immensely grateful for my classical education. I encourage you to read the resources I’ve mentioned. Don’t forget to PIN this post so you may refer to it later.
Keep your little one busy and improve their short term memory with this FREE printable Halloween memory game.
We are just a few weeks away from Halloween and today, I’m sharing another FREE printable with you. If you are looking for a quick, fun way to pass the time I’ve got something for you. I love making memory games for my preschooler. It’s a simple game that he has really grown to love.
I love getting my preschooler to do it at the kitchen table while I make dinner. It’s a great boredom buster and I don’t actually have to sit down with him to play.
Benefits of Memory Game
Playing memory games has lots of benefits for your child. Some of those benefits include:
Trains short term memory
Practice problem solving
Trains visual memory
Improves ability to classify objects based on similarities and differences
Practice following directions
To find similarities, your child will look for similarities in size, shape and color. This skill is actually an early math skill. They’ll need this skill to find patterns and sequences in numbers.
Free Printable Halloween Memory Game
How to Use Your Free Printable Halloween Memory Game
Download the file to your computer
Use Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewing software to open
Open file and print on card stock or paper
For added durability consider printing on card stock and laminating.
Trim following the lines provided
Mix them up and place them face down in rows
Take turns lifting two at a time until a match is found.
If you are considering homeschooling, you maybe wondering where to start and how to choose curriculum. Well, I have some resources to help with that. Here are 4 books you need to read before you homeschool.
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.
So you’ve decided to homeschool or perhaps you are still seriously considering it. Maybe you are looking for some direction. I’m a proud second-generation homeschooler, but even I, having been through the homeschooling process, don’t have all the answers. Even I wondered where and how to begin.
I was grateful when several veteran homeschools recommended the following books to read before I jumped head first into educating my child. If you aren’t a teacher by trade, you may find yourself wondering if you are “qualified” to teach your child and if they will receive a similar education to that of public school. I tackle some of those questions in two of my other posts Debunking Myths About Homeschooling and Why We Homeschool.
These books are great for the new parent who is homeschooling. I consider them almost like a crash course in an education degree. If you don’t know what to teach your child, when, and how, these books will answer lots of questions. Here are 4 books you need to read before you homeschool.
The Well-Trained Mind
The Well-Trained Mind, has become an essential guide for homeschooling. One half of the authors is herself both a university professor and a product of homeschooling. Her co-author, her mother, was a school teacher. Together, they walk you through the fundamentals of classical education, based on the ancient model of learning. Even if you aren’t doing Classical homeschooling, I highly recommend the book for laying foundational framework in your homeschooling journey.
They offer a blueprint of learning, which includes a resource list of educational curriculum and sample routines. Even if you aren’t planning to teach in a Classical style I still think this book is an amazing resource because of it’s explanation of developmental stages and the progression of learning throughout the school years.
The Well Trained Mind is a comprehensive resource for both secular and Christian homeschoolers.
Duffy’s Top 100 Homeschool Picks
One of the first questions beginner homeschooling parents ask is how to select curriculum. There are so many choices out there all claiming to be comprehensive and complete. Even being the product of homeschooling myself, I wondered, just how do you know which curriculum is “the best.”
One of the best, most well-loved guides is Duffy’s Homeschool Picks. This is an amazing resource. I’d say the greatest benefit to homeschooling is not having a “one size fits all” approach to learning like public school. You can tailor the curriculum to fit your child’s learning style. This book is a manual for doing just that. Duffy’s Homeschool Picks gives in-depth review of well-known curriculum and provides a method for determining if it is right for your child. This has been one of the most invaluable homeschooling resources I’ve found.
Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning For Purpose and Peace
One of the most common questions I hear from new homeschool parents is “How do I plan my homeschool year?” It’s a common question and also a common complaint. When you first start homeschooling, it can be overwhelming. It can be hard to determine how much information can be digested in a year. Perhaps you worry if you are covering all the subjects your child needs or maybe you struggle with follow through.
Pam Barnhill has written a great book that helps with all those problems. She gives real solutions for the busy parent and offers a way to plan a structured, yet flexible homeschool schedule that works with your own personality and style. This book is great for beginner and seasoned homeschoolers alike. I also think it works for just about every homeschool style (Unschooling, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Traditional, etc).
Teaching the Trivium
I was actually going to include this as one of the top three books. The only reason why I didn’t include it is because of the strong Christian theme. I am a Christian homeschooler, but over the last few years, secular homeschoolers are rapidly growing in the homeschooling community. So because this book so so heavily steeped in Christian influences and the fact that it is specifically geared towards Classical homeschooling, it may not be for you, but I still think it provides invaluable information.
Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn have long been considered experts in the classical homeschooling niche. Here they easily explain the trivium (the three distinct phases of childhood learning). Using biblical principles as a blueprint and basis for teaching, they combine that with the ancient teaching of Greek scholars, which make up Classical education.
There you have it 4 books you need to read before you homeschool. Homeschooling is a journey for both you and your child. You won’t have all the answers when you start. In fact, the answers may change throughout your journey – that’s okay. That’s actually the beauty of homeschooling – the incredible flexibility! Good luck to you and your kids. It’s gonna be an adventure!
School time is upon us!Memorialize you child’s first day of school with these cute printable back to school signs.
Wow! Can you believe we are in August? It’s hard to believe that summer vacation is coming to an end and our little ones are going to heading back to school. I’ll be honest. We didn’t do much this summer. It was just so hot here in Texas. Also, with all the uncertainty we had with our job loss and moving life just kind of got put on hold.
We are homeschooling this year and I can’t wait to start preschool with my little guy. I know most kids are heading back to school in August and what better way to start than to memorialize their first day of school.
Printable Back to School Signs
That’s why I created some printable back to school signs. I’ve made one from tot school (2-3 years), preschool, kindergarten, and from first to eighth grade. I’ve also included a “Back to School” signs that don’t include grade years. These are great if you don’t want to disclose which grade your child is in or if you want your non school age children to participate with their siblings in the photos.
You can get all 12 signs for just $5.
You can purchase it through my Etsy shop or through my shop here on the blog. All you have to do is print them out one your home computer or at a print shop and have your child hold the sign while you snap some photos. The signs are sized for 8.5 x 11.”
Try this fun 18th century colonial cornbread recipe with your kids this Fourth of July. Hoecakes: a Revolutionary War recipe.
I thought I’d do something a little interesting and different here on My Beautiful Mess. Since July 4th is upon us, I thought I’d share a simple recipe for hoecakes: a Revolutionary War recipe. This Independence Day, why not try something our founding fathers used to eat.
What Are Hoecakes
American Southerners were the first to create this cornbread patty. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. I did a lot of research before trying this recipe a few times. Hoecakes resemble pancakes, but they aren’t. At best, they might qualify as a distant cousin. Pancakes are soft and fluffy and made with flour. Hoecakes are denser, tougher, and to me, almost seem like a hybrid between pancakes and corn tortillas.
A Quick History
In England in the 1600’s, a hoe was the name of what we now know as a griddle. Back then, it was common to bake cakes on griddles. In fact, cooking was very different back then. Food was cooked by a fireplace, specifically on the hearth. Cooks would place the pots and hoes on the hearth to cook. Then they’d move the pots close or far away from the fire depending on how hot it needed to be. Without cooking thermometers, women determined the temperature by how many seconds they could withstand the heat when their arm was placed in the fireplace (oven). Crazy, right? And you thought cooking today was a chore!
When settlers came from England, they had little imagination when it came to using corn. Corn had been domesticated by the Native Americans and to early settlers, corn was a crude substitute for flour. Since cornmeal didn’t not respond well to leveling agents and was naturally sweet, they simply fashioned it into small cake patties and fried it on a griddle. Thus hoecakes were born.
Hoe cakes were described as George Washington’s favorite breakfast in which he ate them slathered in “butter and honey.” Over the next century, hoecakes eventually became a dish of regional pride and a staple on the Southern colonial table.
The Modern Hoecake
These days, hoecakes, also called Johnny Cakes, are still a regional favorite here in the South. Today, ingredients like egg, milk, even flour are added to make it closer to pancakes. Sometimes spices and sugar are added to sweeten it up. However, for today’s purposes, we’re going to eat it like the colonists did.
How To Make Hoecakes
Hoecakes are simple to make. They are simply cornmeal and boiling hot water mixed into a batter and fried in a small amount of peanut oil. I’m sure you can use other oils if you’re allergic to peanuts. The consistency of the batter should be fairly thick. Closer to a wet dough than a batter. If it’s as runny as pancake batter, you’ve done it wrong. Secondly, I recommend using a non-stick skillet. I personally prefer to use my cast iron one, but since I haven’t season it yet, we’ll use a regular pan. Aim for making them around six inches.
Hoecakes are traditionally made with white cornmeal, but since I have yellow cornmeal, that’s what I’ll be using today. As I mentioned before, you’ll needed to use boiling hot water to make sure they don’t break apart when you try to remove them from the pan.
Hoecakes should have crispy edges and should be a glistening golden brown. Hoecakes are best when served warm. I recommend taking a cue from George Washington and using butter and either honey, maple syrup, and or cane syrup.
There is lots of misinformation about homeschooling. So today, I’m going to set the record strait by debunking myths about homeschooling.
Second Generation Homeschoolers
I had the honor of being a product of both private school and homeschooling. I attended private school in my early elementary years and was homeschooled thereafter for a number of reasons.
These days, I homeschool my two boys. Well, my oldest. T is a tad too young for standard teaching yet, but in a year or so, we’ll start tot school. Whenever I share my love for homeschooling, I receive a range of reactions from fellow parents. It spans from concern, to disgust, to sheer puzzlement. Others love the idea, but you can see the concern on their face as they ask questions like, “won’t they miss having friends?” “How will you know if they are up to par with public school kids?” Lastly, I hear a common exasperation, “I don’t think I’d have the patience for it.”
Today, I’m sharing some common answers to tired, clichéd stereotypes and assumptions surrounding the homeschooling world. As a second generation homeschooler, I’m debunking myths about homeschooling.
Debunking Myths About Homeschooling
I’m Not Qualified or Smart Enough to Teach My Children
Yes, you are. Public school teachers have support and direction and so do homeschooling parents. In fact, in most large cities, there are homeschooling conferences for parents and their “professional development.” There is a huge selection of teach-led curriculum which offers plenty of explanation and instructions to properly teach it. In addition, there are support groups, both online and local, to learn from other parents.
I know this is controversial because we all love and appreciate teachers. However, being a teacher doesn’t mean you’re smart. Statistically, education majors (teachers) have some of the lowest SAT scores by intended major. If you look at the 2016 report from Collegeboard.org, it finds that out of the 38 intended majors, teachers are 26th on the spectrum. The only mean scores beneath them are careers that don’t require degrees like culinary professions, agriculture, construction, and security. Education majors score poorly on the SATs and those scores have been declining since the 1970’s. To put it bluntly, most teachers just aren’t impressive academically. So yes, be assured you’re likely as “smart” as the average teacher. Teachers are just average people who have big hearts for teaching children.
My Children Won’t Be Socialized
This is by far, the most ignorant, irritating thing someone can say to me. However, I do understand why someone would assume that. But if by “socialized” you mean bullying, drugs, underage sex, drinking, mass shootings, and suicide, then you can keep your public school “socialization.” My in-laws teach in a small town in Canton, Ohio. In one year alone, their small town school district experienced a cluster of six teenage suicides. Children consume candy laced with narcotics. Bullying (along with cyber bullying) is an everyday occurrence.
Many people believe homeschooling coops children up in a house all day. Homeschooled children have as much social interaction as any other kids. These days, there are so many social outlets for kids taught at home. There are co-op classes, play dates, field trips, church ministries, sports, band, science labs, summer camps, orchestra, debate, drama clubs, and other extra-curricular activities. The difference is that you can be selective with whom your child associates. In public school, you have no control of your child’s classmates.
Homeschooled Children Are Sheltered
This leads us to our next myth. When I’ve explained the previous reason, most people will then say I’m sheltering my children from the real world. Believe me, as a homeschooled child, I was anything but sheltered. Being taught by my parents helped me gain real life experience; things you don’t learn from a text book. I began working at thirteen, doing accounting for a small business. Also at thirteen, my poetry was published in a chapbook. By sixteen, I bought my own car (and paid for the insurance and gas myself). At seventeen, I was living in Europe alone training in art. By twenty, I was a curator at a gallery in England. Contrary to popular belief, parents don’t coddle their homeschooled children. Rather, they are quick to adopt self-sufficient behaviors.
Homeschooled children aren’t sheltered. They are rooted. Children are grounded by parents instead of being influenced by strangers and peers. You firmly established your children in your family’s values going out into the real world.
My Child Will Fall Behind Public School Kids
Part of homeschooling is doing away with the boundaries enforced by the standardization of public schooling. Your child will flourish beyond the boundaries of grade levels, which is a product of public school education. That’s because homeschooling is more mastery-focused than grade-focused. You move on when you master something, not when the school year is over.
When I entered college, I found it shocking how many young adults didn’t know basic geography. Shockingly, they couldn’t tell me why we entered World War I or with whom we fought. (Kaiser Wilhelm who?) Most had never read classic literature. In fact, most couldn’t even name the seven parts of speech. It was shocking. For all they are taught, few understand (or remember) the fundamentals.
My own mother-in-law said they no longer assign book reports in her 8th grade class because kids get the book synopsis online. A cashier clerk I met (earning her masters degree) couldn’t compose a letter or use a postage stamp. We have high school graduates who can’t read cursive. Also, in a recent study 32 million American adults are currently illiterate despite the last few generations having access to compulsory taxpayer-funded public school. Nineteen percent of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. Homeschoolers score 15-30% higher on standardized academic achievement tests.
Homeschooling Is Expensive
I’ve also heard claims that homeschooling is for the rich and conversely that homeschooling is for the poor. It’s clear, many people just have no idea what homeschooling costs are. Parents choose how much or little they spend on curriculum. Homeschoolers spend an average of $600 per child annually. It is still much cheaper than charter or private schools. There are lots of options for used curriculum. If you have multiple children, you will most likely be using it more than once. Also, if your child is kindergarten or younger, there is a lot of free curriculum available. Many states even offer public school at home, online.
Homeschooled Children Are Abused
Give me a break. I’ve actually heard this more than once. There might be odd cases where unfit parents hide behind homeschooling to keep their children hidden and abused, but those are extremely rare cases. In most instances, the 2.3 million homeschoolers come from loving homes seeking the best for their children.
I Can’t Work and Homeschool
Not true! I know a lot of homeschooling parents that work from home virtually and homeschool. In fact, I know a doctor who works part time at a clinic and homeschools her kids when she’s home from work. These days, there are lots of ways to do it. For example, depending on your state, you can even have someone else do it. For instance, in Texas, you can homeschool up to five children (yours or others) before the state requires you to have a day care certification. Some parents work different shifts so they can homeschool in shifts.
Also many parents work a 40-hour week and homeschool for 20 hours a week. Did I mention that schooling goes by a lot faster when you only have a couple of kids to teach instead of classroom of 30? Remember, with homeschooling, you aren’t locked into specific hours, days, or even the time of year. Homeschooling allows for maximum flexibility.
My Child Won’t Do Well In College
Nonsense. These days, colleges are recruiting homeschoolers at the highest rate ever. They are desirable because homeschoolers are typically highly motivated and independent learners. They also typically outperform their publicly-schooled peers. In a recent Huffington Post article, homeschoolers graduate college at a higher rate and earn higher GPAs.
Homeschooling is Only For Religious Families
Not true! These days there are a growing number of secular families joining the homeschooling circle. There are lots of secular parents who are displeased with the educational and social problems of public schooling. Like faith-based homeschooling, there are lots of curriculum and support circles that don’t incorporate religion.
Homeschoolers Just Play All Day
Part of this myth stems from the fact that homeschooling kids are out and about during the day. Others just simply don’t think homeschooling is serious learning. Both assumptions are wrong. Homeschoolers have the flexibility to leave during the day and continue studies later, but everything is also a learning opportunity. Grocery shopping becomes a real life math application. For example, have your child figure out how much the 30% sale is or have them perform mental math as you fill the cart. Most homeschooling parents take every opportunity to teach life skills and incorporate learning into everyday situations. Conversely, at a young age, play is healthy and necessary for cerebral development. Homeschooling allows parents to balance play and studies as suited for each child.
Homeschooling Is Just For White Families
At one time, this may have been relatively true. However, over the last decade or so, minorities (like myself) have been taking back control of their child’s education. In fact, homeschooling by minorities is surging. Blacks in particular turn to homeschooling to protect their kids from the low expectations towards their race, especially for young black boys. For minorities, homeschooling is often sought to level the playing field and thereby providing every advantage to their children.
If you are considering homeschooling, I hope I have helped dispel some misinformation. Debunking myths about homeschooling is very important because I think a lot of interested parents, don’t pursue it because of misconceptions. Understand there are pros and cons to both systems. This post isn’t meant to be snippy or condescending. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice for each family.
On my blog here, I provide lots of homeschooling resources, so before you leave, please take a moment and subscribe.
Today, I’m sharing why we homeschool. I hope this is helpful, if you are considering homeschooling as an alternative to public school.
As a second generation homeschooler, I often get asked why we homeschool our kids. So I’m going to share a few reasons why homeschool works for us. There are always pros and cons with homeschooling and public school. Ultimately, you’ll decide what is best for you and your child.
Children Learn At Their Own Pace
The beauty of homeschooling, is that you can go as fast or as slow as your child needs. If your child struggles in math, you can take as much time as you need. You go over the same material until your child fully grasps the concepts.
In fact, some homeschoolers, avoid grades altogether. They do away with the idea that you need to learn this by grade one or that by grade 5. They allow the child to move as quickly or as slowly as they need through each subject. If you child does great at Math and Science, they can zip through that and slow English down until they master it.
To Teach Self Motivation
Homeschooling highly encourages your child to participate in their own education and progress. In fact, some curriculum is designed to be student led as opposed to teacher led. You choose the level of responsibility for your child at every age.
Homeschooling also allows you to incorporate life skills as part of the curriculum. For example, my oldest son will learn gardening, soap making and basic cooking this next school year. By the time I was in high school, I was almost completely student led (the exception was math). This prepares students for college as well as learning as an adult. Homeschooling largely focuses on teaching children how to learn, not what to learn.
To Avoid Indoctrination
This is a touchy subject, but many homeschoolers like myself, refuse to allow the government to indoctrinate children. Public schooling is based on the industrial Prussian education model. This antiquated concept standardizes education (like those stressful standardized state tests) into a sort of a factory-like method of teaching with little room for personalization.
Thankfully, homeschooling is an option for parents wanting to customize education. Some states like Texas have incredible flexibility with little government interference. Homeschoolers need to continue to protect those freedoms. In fact, in Germany and many other European countries, homeschooling is illegal. Public education is often the transportation method to indoctrinate children into liberal and socialistic propaganda. Furthermore, they demand compliance. Public schools have gradually taken over many of parental responsibilities.
Over the years, public schools have become more brazen when it comes to conditioning children. Drag queen story time for first graders. Kindergarten sex education. There is a time and a place to teach children about such things. As a homeschooler, you will decide what and when your child learns these things. This is one of the primary reasons why we homeschool.
“What about socialization?” I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked that question. Recent statistics show that one in four children are bullied at school. Young girls are body shamed. There are campus sexual assaults. Sixty eight percent of 12th graders have tried alcohol while 35% have tried Marijuana. Nearly 25% use illicit drugs.
We have family members who are teachers in Ohio. In their small town school district, six children committed suicide in one year. It’s suspected the suicides clustered after the original child was memorialized and recognized. Public schoolers can have their “socialization.” Homeschoolers desire something better for their kids.
There are so many social resources for homeschoolers. Band, art classes, debate, science labs, orchestra, sports, and other activities are available for homeschoolers. The difference it is done with parents (and under your direct supervision) instead of strangers. Through homeschooling, you can be highly selective with whom your kids socialize. Also, this isn’t the same as sheltering your kids. It’s about grounding them before they’re let fully free into the world.
With homeschooling, you select the days you have school. If you have to take a day off mid-week, it can easily be made up on the weekend. Sick? No problem. Just move the curriculum over by a day.
In Texas, there isn’t even a minimum number of school days! You can even vacation any time you want. No need to wait for the unbearable summer heat to travel. (Disney in the off season? Yes, please.) This is especially easy if you homeschool year round. Homeschooling year round allows you to take more time off during the school year when you or your child need a break. It also stops children from “forgetting things” or getting “rusty” over the summer.
One thing I loved about being homeschooled was that I could start and finish my day at any time. In high school, for example, I used to start my school day early (like 5 a.m.) and then be done around lunch time. This allowed me time for other things – like graduating a year early.
Choose Your Own Curriculum
I’ve heard numerous teachers in my family and friend circle, complain about curriculum. In public school, you have no control over what or how your child is taught.
Also, one size does not fit all. Some children, often boys, are tactile learners and benefit from more hands-on learning. Early in my homeschooling journey I discovered my eldest son hated flash cards and worksheets, so I introduced some hands-on activities instead. By homeschooling you can alter the curriculum to best fit your student instead of forcing your child to conform to that particular style of teaching.
A veteran homeschooling mom of twelve (yes, twelve) once said to me, “if you and your child are both frustrated and burnt out, it’s almost always the curriculum.” Having control of your child’s curriculum, means that if you or your child are struggling it can easily be changed, even mid-year. I felt unchallenged in school, but once I was homeschooled and was able to move my own pace, my own way I found my groove.
Freedom of Religion
In 1960, atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, filed a law suit against the Baltimore public school system. This suit ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against compulsory prayer in public school. Since then, religious rights have slowly eroded away in public schools. Students can no longer fully practice or live out their Christian faith without risking persecution or penalty. Homeschooling permits the full teaching and exercise of your faith, even if it isn’t Christianity.
Next week, I’ll be debunking common myths around homeschooling. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any homeschooling posts. I’ll also have teaching resources very soon!
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If you need support, advice, and help on how to navigate motherhood and marriage, then this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, is a must-read.
This post, 21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood, contains some affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may make a small percentage at no cost to you. I only link to things I love.
I know for me there are times when I feel alone in this game. Maybe I was naive, but I never expected to feel lonely and unsupported in motherhood and marriage. But the truth is, our journey is personal and it can sometimes feel isolating if you don’t have support.
That is one reason, I started this blog. I know I seek reassurance, knowledge and tips on how to be a better wife and mother. I want to feel like there is someone out there that can relate to my failures and problems. Frankly, I want someone in the trenches with me who’s got my back. Today I’m sharing 21 bloggers to help you slay motherhood. Some I’ve recently started reading, but most I have been reading for years! You’ll love them!
Before you leave, please subscribe to my blog (yup, shameless plug) and while you’re at it, subscribe to these lovely ladies.
Farmhouse on Boone
If you’re a fan of Joanna Gains, you’re going to fall in love with Lisa Bass at Farmhouse on Boone. Seriously, I think her and Joanna Gaines are spirit animals. Her site is stunning! She focuses on natural living, minimalism, farmhouse decor and a simple lifestyle. If you’re a crunchy mama you will love her wholesome, scratch recipes, natural remedies, and lifestyle tips. I also love that she provides homemade tutorials like basic sewing techniques (like how to thread a sewing machine and sew a seam), how to make a macrame wall hanging and your own body butter. Seriously, she’s what I aspire to be.
The Time Warp Wife
I’ve been following Darlene Schacht on The Time Warp Wife for some time now. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten just how I found her. She is a New York Times best selling author. I love that her site is heavily Christian based (no problem if that isn’t your cup of tea). She is a mama of four and one thing I really love is her online bible studies. I love reading them over my morning coffee (and if I get to drink it while it’s still hot, that’s a plus). She also has tons of cute printables on her site. I would say Darlene focuses more on marriage and biblical living than anything else, but I find her posts bring me lots of peace.
The Dating Divas
I love the Dating Divas! I’ve followed them for a few years. Their cheery, happy site is dedicated to loving your spouse in the cutest way imaginable. If you are a mom or wife struggling with date night ideas, this site is for you! At home dates, group dates, sexy date nights, out of the house dates, you name it – they have it all planned out. They have the cutest ideas. We rarely get a date night so the at-home date nights have been amazing for us!
Two women run Rookie Moms. I personally love their product reviews. But they have lots of really helpful articles. From postpartum issues to sleep regression and toddler development, they have lots of informative posts to help you survive motherhood.
I’m choking up just writing this. Affair Recovery is more than just a blog / website. They’re also a retreat center for crumbling marriages, in particular ones that are going though an affair or other sexual addictions. They have lots of free resources, but my favorite is the Vlog series on YouTube. Early in my marriage, my husband had inappropriate feelings towards a co-worker as well as a pornography addiction. For years, I just couldn’t move past the hurt, especially since he continued to work closely with the woman. I watched one video per day, in particular with Samuel because I felt a connection with his words. It was painful to process those feelings at first. But I’m proud to say our marriage has completely healed from this and we have Affair Recovery to thank.
Tabitha runs this great blog, Meet Penny. Her blog is heavily focused on frugal living. I love all her helpful tips to save money. If you’re homeschooling, she has a huge library of free curriculum and resources to help you. Her parenting advice is also invaluable!
To Love, Honor & Vacuum
With over 42,000 subscribers, Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum focuses heavily on marriage, marital sex, family, and faith. I found her when I was going through some heavy jealousy with a woman with which my husband works. A few of her posts, gave me some great insight on handling those feelings. I love that she focuses heavily on keeping the spark going in marriage. An author of eight books, she is also a public speaker.
On The Sunny Side of Something
I recently discovered Elease Colcord and her blog The Sunny Side of Something online and I can’t stop reading her! Her writing makes you feel like you’re her best friend and I have to remind myself, I don’t actually know her. Haha! She’s beautiful, entertaining, funny, but most of all – authentic. On her blog she shares recipes, parenting stories (both funny and tearjerking), personal growth, but my favorite section is MILP. Moms I’d Like to Punch. Oh em gee. It’s hilarious and totally relatable! Check her out. She’ll have you in stitches. Follow her on Instagram for more online fun.
Confessions of a Homeschooler
I’ve been following Erica for about 3 years on her site Confessions of a Homeschooler. On her site, she provides curriculum for preschoolers to grade school as well as homeschooling schedules for every grade, menu planning, lesson plans and tons of printables. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, I strongly recommend reading her site. She has a huge amount of learning resources for every age, including how to reduce test taking anxiety, how to take notes, and how to study for tests. You won’t regret it.
The Chic Site
How could I not include this, in 21 Bloggers to Slay Motherhood? If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis, you’ve been living under a rock. Okay, that’s harsh. But seriously, this lady is truly inspiring to me. On days when I totally feel like giving up on this blog, she reminds me not to take “no” for an answer. Her amazing book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” is a best seller and her blog, The Chic Site is equally motivating. When I first found her (before her book), I think she tended to focus more on style, but she has really dug her heels into personal growth topics. I think her writing style is so sincere and authentic. If you haven’t read her book, you can find it on Amazon (link below). Also her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is now out in book stores. I can’t wait to read it!
Live Wise Love Well
I recently discovered Erika at Live Wise Love Well. Can I just say that she is such a beautiful lady, inside and out. She just did an outstanding series on the fruits of the spirit. If you’re struggling in areas like peace, patience, and gentleness, you need her in your life! Her message is beautiful and inspiring. She’s cute too! Like, really cute. If you need a chuckle, read her post, “How the Instapot Saved My Marriage.” She also does regular podcasts so go have a listen and subscribe to her!
The Purposeful Nest
I just recently discovered Ashley at The Purposeful Nest. A former police officer, she is now a stay-at-hom mom and homeschooler. Her lovely blog focuses on homeschooling, DIY and crafts, and family-oriented travel. Give her a read, you won’t be disappointed.
Club 31 Women
I’ve been reading Lisa Jacobson at Club 31 Women for years. One thing I love about Lisa is that she’s an older mother of 8 children. Yes, you read that right, 8. She brings wisdom and experience to her posts. Also, her recipes are delicious. Just sayin’. I love her focus on marriage and child rearing from a woman who’s been through it many times over. But what’s really special is that her husband, Matthew Jacobson has a “sister site” for men. His site, Faithful Man, is equally inspiring and full of encouragement. My husband and I like to read them both.
How To Be a Fun Mum
Just as the title suggests, New Zealander Kelly, wanted to be a fun mom, but wasn’t. That is until she totally turned her version of motherhood around and became a fun mom. She learned to embrace motherhood and enjoy it! Something I firmly believe moms should do. Her site, How To Be a Fun Mum, is dedicated to fun activities with your kids and they are indeed fun. My boys love to do the activities and I know yours will too!
Chronicles of a Momtessorian
Anitra runs a cute educational Mom’s blog called Chronicles of a Momtessorian. On her blog, she provides tons of Montessori based activities for your little ones that you can do at home. What’s really nice is that most activities are very easy to do…and we all want things to make life easier. Head to her blog for great educational resources.
The Measured Mom
A mother of six, Anna is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Her site, The Measured Mom, is dedicated to teaching children at home. She has both free printables and a shop. Furthermore, she has tools and resources for just about every subject. Handwriting, spelling, math, book lists, and themed teaching. She has 180,000 followers because of her great learning curriculum. Again, even if you aren’t homeschooling there are lots of resources that can be used to supplement your child’s public school education.
It’s My Sustainable Life
Calling crunchy moms! Suzan at It’s My Sustainable Life provides beautiful online content. Similar to Farmhouse on Boone, she focuses on holistic living. Her subjects include, up-cycling DIY projects, scratch recipes, gardening, food preservation, and natural remedies.
Jessica Plemons Kindergarten
This girl is amazing and I have so much for which to thank her! Her site, Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten offers the best tot school curriculum, baby activities and preschool curriculum I’ve ever come across. We used the tot school curriculum when my son was in the 2-3 age range. He learned so much from these lessons! Best of all they felt like play time to him and the lesson plans have a lot of flexibility. One of the best things is that Jessica runs a Facebook Group to go alongside of the curriculum. Here you can talk with other mothers and get advice strait from Jessica herself. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, you’ll love the themed activities that keep your little toddler’s hands busy!
Real Mom Nutrition
Sally at Real Mom Nutrition is a registered dietitian and mom. Her “no judgement” site is dedicated to getting your kids to eat healthy with her kid-friendly recipes and ideas. I love that she also posts often about picky eaters and provides real ways to get your picky child to try new things.
Mommy Knows Best
Jenny runs her blog, Mommy Knows Best. This blog is heavily focused on postpartum issues primarily lactation. Best of all she provides natural herbal remedies to treat low milk supply. If you are struggling to nurse, I highly recommend reading her blog.
Okay so Shay isn’t a blogger per se. She’s a vlogger on You Tube. But I think she is really valuable when it comes to budgeting, reducing debt and being financially responsible. She also uses the Happy Planner, Erin Condren and other cute methods to make boring household management fun! Hey 26,000 subscribers agree with me. Additionally, she has an Etsy shop with budgeting stickers and tools to make budgeting organized and more enjoyable.
I really hope this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, was helpful to you. Please subscribe to these ladies if you feel like they speak to you. If you have found a blogger you love, I’d like to hear who and why you follow them in the comments below.
If your toddler is struggling to speak, here are some of speech therapy takeaways to help us improve your toddler’s speech delay.
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The terrible twos are hard enough, but they are harder for the mom whose child isn’t talking. There are new levels of tantrums when your toddler is straining for you to understand him or her. I know. I’ve been there. We went through speech therapy that cost about $500 every two weeks. Today, I’m sharing the things that helped us and will hopefully help you improve your toddler’s speech delay.
My toddler was two when I knew something was wrong. We had meltdowns multiple times a day when I struggled to understand him. He couldn’t articulate when he was sick, hurt, or angry. Therefore, these feelings manifested violent eruptions of emotion. I blamed myself. Was I doing something wrong?
But here is the thing, I’m a very hands-on mom. We homeschool. I sit and play with my little one. I read to him, talk to him and engage him. Sadly, I felt judgment from family and mom friends. My son knew his colors by 18 months and shapes by 24 months. He knew his complete alphabet by 30 months. His only delay was speech.
I took him to numerous doctors, starting with our pediatrician. The first specialist we saw was a Pediatric ENT since so many speech delays can be attributed to a hearing problem. Once that was ruled out, we went to a neurologist and neurosurgeon who assured us there was nothing wrong. Both told me they thought he’d benefit from being away from me (more on that later). We started speech therapy but it was ridiculously expensive because at two, insurance doesn’t consider it a true delay yet. While speech therapy didn’t work miracles, it definitely helped and here are the takeaways that helped us. Please know this should not be a replacement for medical advice. I’m not a medical professional. If you’re concerned about your child not speaking, consult a licensed medical professional for a diagnosis. There are physical and mental problems that can create a speech delay.
Focus on Beginning Sounds
When children start to babble, you may notice beginning sounds babababa and dadadada. As it turns out, children learn certain letter sounds before others. The b, m, a, h, p, n, w, t, and d are first sounds and first sounds are easy! Would you believe some sounds aren’t mastered until the age of 8? The J, Z, X, Zh, are some of the last letter sounds learned. Likewise, when children start forming actual words they also start with the same beginning sounds. Therefore, focus on words that start with the beginning sounds.
Consonant – Vowel Sounds
In addition to beginning sounds, children also do better when words are consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel. For example, ”mama” and ”dada” are both consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel. For instance, if your child is struggling to say train, model the word choo-choo instead. Over time, your child will master train.
Hold Things Close to Your Mouth
The speech therapist pointed out my son never really watched my mouth. He looked at my face, but he wasn’t studying my mouth to see how I was making sounds. So she had me hold objects directly to my mouth and repeat the word. The key is to get your child to focus on your lips all day.
Baby Sign Language
Studies show that babies who utilize baby sign language have an easier time transitioning to words. Baby sign language is not ASL, although there are many similarities. Many of the hand movements are simple so that a baby can do it easily. Baby sign language helps your child in different ways. It first teaches them they must communicate to get what they want. Grunts, pointing or whining will not make themselves understood – they can speak or sign. Intergrate signing into your everyday routine. Continue to say the word as you sign. Help your child by doing hand-over-hand teaching. In other words, grab your child’s hand and teach them how to make the sign. Signing helped us in the interim. It reduced tantrums because if he couldn’t say the word, he could sign it. Here are books I recommend for learning baby sign language.
Short & Sweet
Many people will tell you not to baby talk to your child. However, many children need things simplified into keywords only. Some children have a difficult time distinguishing where words begin and end in a sentence. To them, the sentence is just a rapid cacophony of sounds. For example, instead of saying, “Okay let’s go to the car. We need to go to the store and get stuff for dinner before daddy gets home” simply say “Bye Bye. Car. Store.” Let them clearly hear the key words. Over time, you’ll add additional words.
Say One, Add One
Which brings us to our next point. As your child says words, you will add an additional word. By modeling this, you demonstrate how to combine words to form sentences. For example, when your child points to the fridge for a snack, you might just model “open” at first because that is the most important word. Once your child masters “open”, you say “open fridge.” Once they can say “open fridge,” you might model, “open fridge please” or “open fridge snack.” The point is, once your child masters the word, you’ll add an additional word.
You read that correctly. I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I had the same thoughts. I corrected my son all the time. He would say bapple instead of apple. So I would correct him and say, “no, it’s apple.” Many kids who are non-verbal also have confidence issues. They are less likely to talk if everything they DO say is wrong. The speech therapist said to model it correctly, but in a positive way. For example, “Okay, I’ll get you an apple.”
This might seem like a no-brainer. But many non-verbal children aren’t that interested in books. In fact, when a child is watching TV, they hear 300 words less per hour. My husband and I are both avid readers. I read to my son every day as an infant. But once he learned to walk (12 months), he was no longer interested in sitting – especially for a book. I was so discouraged, but I kept reading to him. Well, it was more like “at him” and “over him.” Even if he was playing with something else, I read.
I got him reinterested in books, by finding “lift the flap” books, sometimes called “peek-a-boo” books. Books that kept his little hands busy as we read. He was bored otherwise. The other thing I did was just point to the pictures and say the word. In other words, instead of reading it verbatim, I’d point to the pictures and say “Dog. Dig. Grass.” Focus on the most important words.
Play Time Is Learning Time
Playtime is a great time to teach your child because they don’t realize it’s a speech lesson! For instance, if you’re playing cars, drive the car along the track and say, “go, go, go. Stop!” If you’re playing with a baby doll, you can model words like eat, night-night, baby, etc. The important thing is to say the word over and over. Remember, stop and hold the doll or car up to your mouth occasionally when you say it. Stacking blocks? Use the words “up and down.” Take every opportunity to focus on vocabulary building. Submersion will ultimately help improve your toddler’s speech delay.
Even snacks can serve as teaching time. Instead of giving your child all their snack, give him or her a little bit and withhold the rest. This is a great time to teach the word and sign for “more.”
Outside Speech Help
As mentioned previously, there are lots of causes for speech delays, including hearing problems and mental delays. Children learning multiple languages (like English and Spanish) also can be delayed. You should definitely consult a doctor if you are worried about your child not talking. Speech therapists can work directly with your child, but it’s up to you to do the “homework” they give you. Ultimately, it’s up to you, the parent, to do this kind of teaching all day long. The public school education system also has resources for speech delays.
Today, my son is doing really well. He has made incredible improvements over the last year. Doing these things have helped exponentially! The last thing I want you to know is that it isn’t your fault. Sometimes there are no reasons. Children develop later than others. You’re doing a great job mama. I sincerely hope this helps you and your little one. Even if it isn’t on your time table, your little one will learn how to talk!
The post, How to Improve Your Toddler’s Speech Delay first appeared on My Beautiful Mess