10 Delicious Recipes for Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

OE4K Ice Cream Sandwich dayOh yeah… ice cream sandwiches… aren’t they amazing? I think they rank up there with apple pie as America’s summer time dessert. Perfect for an afternoon on the porch with friends. Not only do we love them as they are, but we love them created into even better desserts. Layers of ice cream sandwiches and cool whip or pudding. We love them store bought, and we love them home made… Oh my, so YES – I’m all for celebrating this holiday, you know – – just for the kids!

  1. The classic ice cream sandwich  Рof course!
  2. The cookie ice cream sandwich
  3. Salted Brownie Sunday Bites
  4. Chocolate mint stacks
  5. Caramel Chocolate Chip
  6. Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches
  7. French Toast Ice Cream Sandwiches – more for the adults ūüôā
  8. Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches
  9. Ice Cream Tacos (cuz really tacos are just sandwiches shaped differently!)
  10. Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

So, today we are totally off topic. Although I could say these recipes are “online” and they sure are giving me an “education”… LOL! Which recipe will you pick?

5 Tips on Getting Kids to Help One Another

Do you have a striped shirt? I know I do… if not literally then figuratively. You know, the striped shirts worn by those men with the whistles… the ones that make the funny hand signals at the football game? Yeah… referees! I know after all of the arguments, disagreements, and even the “not so football” tackles that I’ve interrupted I’ve earned my stripes. Kids – especially siblings – are prone to… well, let’s just call it like it is… FIGHT. I don’t know about you, but it makes me a bit sad. I try to teach my kids how to peacefully negotiate, to talk through their anger, and to simply count to ten or say nothing at all. Yet, still… the ref shirt comes on…daily!

Well, on a homeschooling level I wish there were less arguments so that each of them could help each other more. I know there are times that I’ve taught a concept, but it hasn’t really gotten across. At those times, I think that the other children could probably “speak kid” better than I and help to get the concept across. How can we stop the fighting and get them helping one another?

I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve¬†pulled together a few ways to help teach the foundational aspects needed to dwell peaceably and actually move to the positive aspect of helping one another.

  1. Respect – No I’m not reciting a line from an old song… it’s important to teach siblings to respect one another. If there are times that a disagreement has caused them to flat out disrespect one another, incorporate some measure of discipline. One method I like is to make them spend and entire day apart. No speaking, eating together, playing together, or even doing school together. Often, by the next day they really miss one another and will be ready to be respectful. Respect is a foundational idea behind helping one another.
  2. Don’t ignore bad behavior. Sure, I know the common opinion of our day. Ignore it – it’ll go away. I’ve been a teacher for many years, and I must admit that the concept of ignoring the behavior so that it will go away ¬†– just doesn’t work. ¬†Children learn in every instance. If they commit bad behavior and don’t receive their just rewards, that teaches them that the behavior really isn’t so bad. Instead of eliminating it, we inadvertently encourage more of it.
  3. Teach children how to work through anger and disagreement. This isn’t just something they face as children. This is a life skill and something that must be taught and encouraged for successful living. Help them identify the emotions that they are feeling, and encourage them to talk through it with one another. Helping them to understand the root cause of their emotion (anger, jealousy, irritation) will help them to understand how to work through it.
  4. Teach them to appreciate one another. This is definitely difficult. However, regularly pointing out things that each of your children do for you or each other and praising that good behavior is a step in the right direction. Ask them questions about their siblings such as, “Has your sister been helpful today?” or “Didn’t you enjoy it when sister helped you find your spelling book?”
  5. Help your children develop friendships with one another. Again, another foundation principle for teaching children how to be helpful. No one wants to help someone that they are enemies with. Developing friendships among your children isn’t impossible, but it requires us to be intentional. Often we’ll go around the dinner table and take turns saying something kind or positive about one another. Sometimes, I’ll give them a special responsibility they have to share. In this, encourage planning, preparing, and carrying out the task together. Extra credit if it’s something fun. I also like to encourage my kiddos to think about the future. Friends come and go, but family lasts a lifetime.

Getting Ready for Summer Learning

Cozumel, Mexico - Going here in January! Hope it is as beautiful as this picture suggests. :DI know, this post just might not be the most popular post – especially with the kiddos. Yet, this year I am realizing that I need my children to keep on working through the summer. There are alot of areas that I feel they are slack in and could use the extra work. We’ve talked about it this week, and I must admit I felt as if their stares would burn a hole right through me.

Though my children do school just about every single day, there are still some gaps that I have noticed. So, our goal this summer is to fill in the gaps and get ready for the next “official” grade.

My first grader has a bit of dyslexia. She is struggling with reading, and is getting pretty frustrated. I plan on keeping her working on basic phonics skills and small readers throughout the summer. We will use the first grade language arts lessons from T4L to help her review what she has already learned. I also love Bob books, and will use those in conjunction with a Disney princess early reader. (simply because she adores Disney princesses!)

My third grader does well with her writing and grammar… however, at our house this is the pivotal year for multiplication tables. She understands multiplication, but just doesn’t have the “facts” down. We will be working through those during the summer- getting them to the rote memory stage. I love using kids learning software along with other math learning games.

My seventh grade twins are both doing fairly well. They are currently writing their first research paper (translate- I’m losing my hair). They also have begun learning some basic algebra. So, during the summer we are going to continue using Time4Learning as a supplement and reviewing the spelling lessons through Spelling City’s customizable lists.

Summer Field Trips = Learning

field tripsDon’t you just love the summer time? I sure do! I enjoy the freedom we have to do a little more “sight seeing.” In fact, each year we make it a goal that we see something new and interesting. Often, these events are historically based. This can really come in handy for the homeschool family. You see, you can always count days that are spent on field trips as learning days. To make the most of your experience try these three tips.

1)Prepare the kiddos in advance. If it is some pretty significant place you might want to take a little time before you visit to read some books about the history behind that location. You may also want to use it as a springboard for a unit study. You can have loads of fun creating free wordsearch puzzles and even unscramble games.

2) Take your time while you are there. If you see things that you studied about – be sure to point out their significance. Ask your kiddos questions, and allow them to take it all in at their own pace.

3) Finally, when you return home take a day to remember the amazing things that you saw. It’s always great to use these events as creative writing prompts. My kids always write profusely when we return from field trips.

The Rising Tide of ADD/ADHD

growth of ADDHas it ever seemed odd to you that ADD and ADHD counts have risen dramatically over the past two decades? Can anyone explain why? We have known about ADD and ADHD for a long time, yet it has now become an epidemic. I personally see an issue in two areas.

1) ADD/ADHD is intrinsically becoming more prevalent due to the increased use of television and video games. Children are used to a constant stream of high interest information flying at them, and then when a lone teacher begins a discourse about homeschool science on the topic of ¬†tree frogs… their mind can’t focus on the lesson let alone the vocabulary word. There aren’t any flashing lights or unbelievable sound effects when the teacher begins her lesson. Learning is competing against an unbeatable foe.

2) In 1991, the wording was changed in a bill allowing ADD/ADHD disabilities to be included in the funding for “special education” services. It was after this change that the rise in ADD/ADHD cases became overwhelming. Could it really be? Is it possible that we are labeling children incorrectly in order to receive more funding for our schools? Sadly, I would say it’s definitely possible, for some reason money speaks louder than anything. In fact, here is the article brief about those changes.

While I understand that there are truly children with these debilitating disabilities, I also believe that there are frequent ¬†misdiagnoses. It is my heart’s desire to see our schools focus more on the needs of the individual instead of the overall budget. Don’t throw more money at these kids, give them more time/help!

5 Methods of Homeschool Scheduling

I must admit that I am one of the people who believe whole heartedly that if you can organize it – it will work better. So, of course, that ideology flows over into my homeschooling methodology. With six kids, I have been made aware that without organization our homeschooling endeavor really doesn’t work out well. ¬†I am always on the look out for better ways to organize ¬†our homeschool. Whether it is physical organization or the organization of how we learn – I always NEED ideas! So, while on the hunt for these ideas I came across some really great ways to organize your homeschool schedule.

First of all here are two things to remember… these two things help me keep my sanity!

1) Set your start time – I know some people are unschoolers and this just doesn’t work for that method… but for us… it does! Having a start time gives us a motivation to get going in the morning. Otherwise with this bunch we might just sleep till noon everyday and forgo schooling all together.

2)Stay flexible – I know, I know I just said set a start time and then I said – be flexible? Well, what I’m trying to say is – if you miss your start time or have many interruptions throughout the day don’t sweat it! You’re homeschooling! You can be flexible, it will work itself out.

Ok – now on to those methods of scheduling

1) Block scheduling – this method is when you divide your week into blocks of time and study one particular subject at a time. We have used this method in the past and we like it. It can be difficult when the kiddos start learning more advanced math… it seems to work better to keep that fresh on the brain daily!

2) Carousel scheduling – This is what we call a mix of all subjects every day. A little of this and a little of that scheduled throughout your homeschool day – just don’t forget to schedule some fun stuff too!

3) Daily scheduling – though similar to block scheduling this method sets aside one day for each subject.

4) Year round scheduling vs. 9 month/9 week scheduling. As a homeschooler you have the freedom and flexibility to choose how you want to homeschool. Of course, you will need to follow your state’s guidelines for how many days, etc… but you can work that into a full 12 month plan or fit it into 9 months.

5) Six weeks on one week off – this is a type of schedule made popular by the FiveJ’s and is referred to as a low stress schedule. This is the newest type of scheduling that I have found, and we just may be trying this next year!

…don’t forget to schedule some fun activities into your homeschool routines – like this make a word search resource! My kiddos love it!

Science for Homeschooling

Over the past few years, I’ve tried quite a few different science programs. Some of these programs were amazing, so were not so much. In any case we have posted homeschool science reviews throughout our blog, so I thought I’d collect them all here.

Our recent review of Science4Us – our youngest homeschooler’s favorite way to spend science time!

Great ways to teach preschool and kindergarten science with ideas and tips for getting their attention.

Teaching homeschool Vocabulary Tips is a great post to help us realize that vocabulary instruction does so much more than just help with spelling skills. Homeschoolers can use vocabulary methods and skills to enrich science and history.

How to Homeschool Elementary Science is one of my favorite posts outlining some of the basic methods that we use to teach science in our home school.

One of our favorite subjects to study in science in astronomy. The post Making Homeschool Astronomy Easy outlines what we do for our astronomy studies.

Our post on Homeschool Science has a great array of interesting topics on how to homeschool varying ages and topics.

The Gender Gap in Education… an argumentable post about this so called idea and how it applies to homeschooling.

Ways to Enrich Your Homeschool Studies

We have been homeschooling for many years, and of course – have several homeschool curriculum resources that we love and use frequently. However, there are times that we finish up early or that a particular course of study just doesn’t go as deeply as we had anticipated. It is during those times that we usually reach for a few of our favorite supplemental resources.

History Homeschool Supplements

We love to supplement geography with Sheppard Software online resources. These include games and puzzles, and have been very effective at teaching my children their geography. Sheppard has a lot of other offerings as well… we’ve just used their geography section as a regular school supplement.

Science Homeschool Supplements

online science curriculum

Another amazing program that works well for our family is the Science4Us online curriculum. It is only for K-2 grade so it’s span of use is limited, however, the kids enjoy it immensely.

For the older kids, we use Khan Academy quite regularly to help out with various Chemistry, Physics, and math questions. When mom isn’t around to give them help Khan Academy is the next best thing!

Core Subject Homeschool Supplements

home education

For general supplementary enrichment we use Time4Learning. It’s a great way to round out your child’s education. We always do a main curriculum, while working on T4L as well. It is something we do when we need a break from textbooks, or just a change in the regular monotony of school days. It works great for us, is very interesting and fun, and challenges my kids in areas that I sometimes overlook.

BrainPOP

Another online resource that is great for breaking up the monotony is Brain Pop Jr. We use the ipad app, and they have a nice educational video that they post every once in a while. It presents and very educational topic, and is given using a cartoon style. The children love it and it usually gives them a little brain boost to get back to their other school work.

Spring Ideas for Great Homeschooling

It’s tough to stay inside when the weather finally warms up! I we do try to stay in the house, I feel like I’m competing with something I’ll never overcome. The kids are distracted. Every bird that flies past the window grabs their attention. It’s crazy. So, during the spring and summer months I always try to incorporate something fun to make them still want to “keep their head in the game.”

1) Don’t fight ’em – join em… we are now studying birds. Since, the birds are so interesting and they can’t keep their eyes off them- I think we will study them. I’ve got the Apologia science book about flying creatures and we have several bird guides for our state.

2) Incorporate outside time into your daily curriculum. Some people find that reading is an easy subject to work into the outdoors. It works great for us – we have several comfy outdoor chairs and the kids find a cozy spot and get to it!

3) Use Homeschool Spring Resources – I love to pin ideas on pinterest and then get back to them when I have time.

4) Homeschool Elementary can be so much fun when you add a course or two that the kids CHOOSE!

5) Take time to do some outdoor physical education. This counts as part of your homeschooling as well!

Phonemic Awareness for Pre Reading

reading strategiesLearning to read is by far one of the greatest accomplishments of a person’s life. Yet, so often we tend to take this amazing feat for granted. As a homeschool mother, with each of my children I seemingly sweat bullets every time it came to teach them how to read. I guess I realized all too well how vital this ability was to their future success in school. Consequently, on the flip side of that…. is the realization that when taught phonemic awareness on a regular basis the child will eventually read when they are ready. It took me just six kids to realize that one!

When I begin to teach a little one how to read I always start with the basics. Here is a simple timeline of my process for providing them with pre-reading skills.

1) Start with basic letter recognition

2) Build to letter sound recognition

3) Teach consonant and vowels

4) Build to consonant and vowel blends

5) Teach children how to make ABC order

6) Build to consonant blends

7) Teach children how to decode words ( short sound, long sound, special sounds)

8) Introduce short words

9) Build on that!