Use Puppets To Solve Conflicts and Arguing – Tuesday Tips

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June 23, 2009

puppet

Photo by Erin

If you’re looking for a different take on ‘conflict resolution’, look no further than your sock drawer (or toy box).

“Will you PLEASE stop arguing?”

“How do you think your sister feels?”

“Why can’t you be nice to each other?”

. . . and on and on.  It seems like conflicts between kids crop up all day and my tendency is to lecture ‘ad nauseam’ while my kids roll their eyes and pick up their fight as soon as I’m out of earshot.

Next time you have a few minutes (preferable when everyone is NOT hot and heavy from arguing), grab a few puppets or stuffed animals and:

  • Using fake names, have them act out a typical conflict – exaggerate and add sillines to make it fun.
  • Repeat the scenario with the puppets making better choices and resolving the conflict.
  • Start a dialogue with the kids about what worked, didn’t work, pros and cons to the two scenarios, etc.
  • Pass out the puppets and let the kids join in.

Puppets help kids respond well because they are switching from participating in the conflict to observing and analyzing the conflict . . . and it’s much more fun than the traditional lecture followed by stuck-out tongues behind your back 🙂

Do you have a quick tips for the rest of us?  Something helpful you’ve discovered that you’d like to share.  Please do.

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Posted under Homeschool Life, Tuesday Tips

Where Do You Get Ideas for a Fun Summer? Thursday Topics

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June 18, 2009

swimming1

It’s summer.  The kids are going crazy.  We all want to do something fun!  Here’s what I need help with:

  • Where do you find ideas for fun summer activities?
  • Looking back, what did your family enjoy doing the most in the summer?
  • How do you choose a vacation?  A location?  What to see and do on the trip?
  • And even trickier:  How do you make it fun for the teens and the littles at the same time?

Would you mind sharing with me and the other readers?

Here are my ideas:

  1. Get a science museum membership or share one.  A herd of stir-crazy kids cooped up indoors during a summer storm can be frightening 🙂
  2. Pick up a local travel guide for the family from your library for your own neighborhood.  I’m amazed sometimes about the cool things right in my area I had no idea existed.
  3. Put the kids in charge of mini-vacations, not the 3-year-old, but maybe a 7-year-old with a lot of help.  Let them do as much of the following as they can:  (Here’s how this is school)
  • Tell them if they can find a fun place to visit within a day’s drive, you’ll make a mini-vacation of it.
  • You could do one a month in the summer with a different kid in charge each time.
  • Research locations, events, and history for the trip at the library.
  • Buy the tickets to any events or activities.
  • Calculate mileage.
  • Print the Google maps.
  • Make online hotel reservations (WOW, Mom!  $100 for ONE night at a hotel?!?).
  • Make a to do list
  • Make a packing list
  • Help younger kids pack and check their bags.
  • Etc.

(I got tired just typing that list – kids just don’t appreciate how much work it is to make sure they have a good time!  They’ll probably think it’s all fun, for a while.)

I’d love to hear your ideas.  Thanks in advance for commenting!  Feel free to post a link to a blog article you’ve posted on the topic.

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Posted under Field Trips, Thursday Topics

Share Science and Zoo Memberships – Tuesday Tips

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June 16, 2009

frog
If you’re looking to get a membership to the local science museum or zoo, consider sharing one.

Call and ask, but many museums issue two cards to two adults and while they don’t usually advertise it, many are willing to issue the cards to say – two moms from different families. In this case, it does usually mean that Mom has to go on every trip to the museum or zoo, since Dad doesn’t have his own card.  But, since one parent is usually the taxi-driver to most of these types of activities, the occasional inconvenience may be worth the savings.

P.S. This will often also be allowed for major shopping club memberships that offer two cards with each account. Simply fill one out with a friend and split the cost.

Do you have a good tip for us now that summer is starting?

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Posted under Homeschool Bargains, Tuesday Tips

Math Teachers at Play #9 – Game Time!

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June 12, 2009

play_ball

Game Time!

With a ‘pentad’ of little kids running around my house, math works best as a game in our family.  What do you need to play some interesting math games?  Read on . . .

deck_of_cards

A Deck of Cards

John Golden presents an article Trig Rummy which includes a link to rules and a nice printable card PDF, posted at Math Hombre.

Don’t forget Denise’s popular article The Game that Is Worth 1,000 Worksheets at Let’s Play Math.  It was the first article I read on her great blog.

And an oldie-but-goodie, the “10-out” math game by Maria at Homeschool Math Blog.

 

 magic_hat

A Few Magic Tricks

You know those illusions on the back of cereal boxes where your eyes trick you into thinking two identical objects aren’t? Well, Pat Ballew has a very interesting post on the subject, including links to video and some java applets that let you play with and manipulate the shapes. Check it out: Fool me once, Fool me Everytime? posted at Pat’sBlog.

And if you really want to confuse your brain and eyes, check out “A Pattern’s Math Magic” and Nick’s review of Tokolo Pattern Magnets and the math behind them at NYTimes Blog:  The Moment.

instructions

Oh, yeah, and some Instructions

Meaghan presents 10 Tips to Improve Your Math Skills Everyday posted at TutorFi.com.

Glowing Face Man gives all of us some encouraging ideas in his post, Five Ways To Be Better At Math posted at Glowing Face Man.

Erin suggests contacting textbook companies and their websites for free quality math practice material. Also, teachers often have resources they are willing to lend, including extra practice books from the textbook companies. Check out the article:Note from the Teacher: Free Tutoring posted at Note from the Teacher.

And if you’ve ever been curious about how many ways people have figured out how to multiply numbers together, you’ll enjoy Ξ (Heather)’s article, The First Bunch of Ways to Multiply posted at 360. Maybe I’ll teach a few to my kids. I can hear them groaning already. . . maybe if I make it into a game of Rummy 🙂

silver_dollar

And to make your game a little more interesting:

Some Silver, or Gold

John Cook writes about The silver ratio, the gold ratio and its geometric  interpretation, posted at The Endeavour.

Finally, if you’re into coins and puzzles with them, you’ll find a wealth of brain teasers over at Physically Incorrect, like this “Yet Another Coin Tossing Game”.

 stadium_divider_s

I hope you enjoyed the carnival and help spread the word.  If you have an interesting blog post on math for K-12, we’d love to see it in the next carnival coming June 26th at the Homeschool Math Blog.  Submit your article here.

stadium_divider_s

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Posted under Blog Carnivals

Lots of New Homeschool Ideas at the Carnival

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June 1, 2009

ferris_wheel

photo by StuSeeger

Check out the latest edition of the excellent Homeschool Carnival over at Kris’s blog:  Wierd, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  What a hilarious blog title 🙂

A blog carnival is a collection of articles from a whole bunch of blogs and you can read and sample – like going from booth to booth at a carnival.  Submit your blog article by June 15th to the next carnival and join the fun.

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Posted under Blog Carnivals

What is your Favorite Homeschool Math Curriculum? Thursday Topics

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May 28, 2009

favorite_math
Photo by D3 Dan

What’s your favorite math curriculum?  It seems kids love one and hate the other.  I think we all would appreciate your help and advice.  Would you take a second and use the comment section to tell us what math curriculum you’ve used, what you like and don’t like about it, and where to purchase it (if you remember).  Thanks!

I personally really liked Math-U-See, but couldn’t get any of my kids to enjoy it for more than a few weeks or a month at the most.  I also will on occasion pick up my worn copy of Home Learning Year by Year, (that I reviewed here).  I’ll grab one of the kids, find their grade in the book, and we’ll run through all the things they are “supposed” to know and see if there are any gaping holes – like when I realized that since I rarely use a calendar, my kids didn’t really know much about dates and months either.  🙁
 
But, for simplicity, cost, and mostly painfree math, we keep coming back to a nice set of inexpensive workbooks called Math Made Easy
math_made_easy1
We tend to learn most of our math during daily activities like cooking, shopping, playing Webkinz (we used the 3-ingredient cooking to learn permutations), etc.  Then, we use the Math Made Easy workbooks to do a few pages a day of grade level math to fill in any gaps.
I like:
  • The price – around $10
  • The workload – there are usually an appropriate amount of problem to learn a concept without overworking.
  • Easy reward system with a chart and star stickers for each page completed.
  • Colorful fun pages with Diego for the little ones and superheroes for the older kids.
  • Workbooks for K through 5th which fits with our family
  • Covers the important math concepts for each grade with a balanced level of repetition. 

I don’t like:

  • They end at 5th grade
  • Some of the math fact pages are a bit repetetive – but I just ask my kids to do a few and explain to me how they did them.  If they’ve ‘got it’ they can move on.

Your turn!  What math curriculum do you like best and why?

 

 

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Posted under Math Curriculum, Thursday Topics

Homeschool Teen Looking for Scholarship Advice?

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May 27, 2009

cap

Here’s some info I could have used when filling out those endless scholarship applications:

Josh Barsch reads lots of scholarship applications and helps decide who gets the money.  After seeing tons of mistakes on applications that many scholarship applicants made, he wrote a book, and now produces a website called “Give Me Scholarships.”  He offers lots of resources to help kids not make “stipid mistakes” on their scholarship applications, especially in the essay writing department.

If you have a high school aged child looking for scholarships, make sure to check out his site before submitting that application and/or essay.

 

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Posted under Homeschool Teens

Gives Kids Money and a Budget – Tuesday Tips

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May 26, 2009

tuesday_tips

dollar

Next time you need to buy something for one of your children: clothes, party supplies, shoes,etc., try this:  Give them the money (a budget) and let them do the shopping.  Depending on their age and independence, you may want to offer help with sales shopping, reading ads, price calulation, list making, etc.

For Brooke’s 7th birthday party, I gave her $20 and said she could use it to plan anything she wanted.  Adults may scoff at $20 for a birthday party, but she acted like I’d given her a pot of gold.

We brainstormed party ideas and I helped her make a list for the grocery and dollar stores:

  • cake ingredients
  • ice cream
  • party favors
  • decorations
  • games

We agreed that she could keep half of whatever was left over.  (A little incentive to be frugal.)

Now, I have happy visions of the future where all my kids plan and organize their own birthday parties without any help from me . . . I can’t wait!

Have you had a great idea lately?  A tip that would help us all out?  Please share in the comment section!!

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Posted under Math Curriculum, Tuesday Tips

How many spiders on your body does it take to break the record?

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May 22, 2009

spider

If you haven’t checked out National Geographic Kids’ Site, you’re missing out.

Do you know what the record is for number of spiders on a human body in 30 seconds?  It was 75, until the 11-year-old “Spider Boy” broke the record with 125 orb spiders!  Check out the video.

I don’t know how they come up with these records, but they’re pretty fun to watch, unless you’re arachnophobic :-()

Check out the other website sections for TONS of great content:

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Posted under Science Websites

Homeschool Teen Social Resources – Thursday Topics

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May 21, 2009

teens

A reader, Cindy, mentioned she would like to see more information for homeschooling teens, since it is pretty sparse compared to homeschool ideas for younger kids.

I don’t have any teenagers yet, but my with my oldest (9-years-old) giving me a the occasional “Whatever!”, I’m not far off 🙂

It seems a lot of kids return to school during the high school years and it is more difficult to help those who don’t, find social outlets and friends.

How do you do it?  Have you found something that works well that you could share with us?

Here are some of my ideas:

  1. Church teen groups – Depending on your religious persuasion, many churches expend special effort to help provide wholesome activities and social groups for teenagers.  If you don’t currently belong to a church, ask around and find out from friends which teen group their family really enjoys.
  2. Volunteer – Choose an area that your teen is interested in and explore the volunteer opportunities.  Ask around locally or try a site like Volunteer Match to find ideas in your area.
  3. Intern or Shadow – Again, find what your teen is interested in, and find if they can shadow someone in that field for a bit or do a summer internship.  Many careers have shadowing and/or intern programs already set up.  Check with your local high school and college career centers for more info.  (I shadowed an emergency room doctor once a week for a few months before deciding to go to medical school.  It was a great experience!)
  4. Activities at the local high school – In many states, homeschool teens are welcome to participate in team sports, electives, and extracurricular activities without having to go to the regular classes.  It’s a great way to make friends and also to find low-cost activities like band, choir, drama clubs, and team sports.
  5. Host a group – Find a topic your teen and his/her friends are interested in, and help organize get-togethers, parties, and group activities.  You could help them put together a play, invite an author in to give them some novel writing tips, provide space and materials for building and launching rockets or drawing cartoons, help them launch a group blog, send them to the movies once a week and have them write a group review and rating for the local paper . . .  The possibilities are endless, and many times all you need to do is provide a bit of direction and resources.

Online Ideas:

  1. “Homeschooling Teens” on Family Education
  2. “Why Homeschool Teens” on HSLDA
  3. Search Yahoo Groups for Homeschool Teen Groups, or start one for your area.
  4. A-Z Home’s Cool Teen Resource Page

Your turn:  What are your best ideas to help and encourage teenage homeschoolers in their social life?

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Posted under Homeschool Teens, Thursday Topics