Homework Station Inspiration: 32 Ideas for Organization and Order

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As the school year kicks into high gear, you’re bound to be inundated with homework, calendars, newsletters, flyers and all manner of miscellaneous supplies.  It can be hard to keep track of it all, especially while keeping schedules, activities, due dates and big days straight!  Keeping yourself and your kids on track all year long can see a monumental task: what you need is a homework station!  A homework station can be as simple or elaborate as you wish and should include all the items you and your kids need to stay focused on school.  If you’ve got the space, you can add hooks for backpacks, a calendar or a cork board so you never have to miss another important date!  Whatever your specific needs, there’s a station on this awesome list for you!  So take a look at our homework station inspiration and create a space that suits your family.

 

1. Desk Built-in with Hanging Storage from Better Homes and Gardens

This space is everything you could want in your home: clean lines, lots of storage, tucked into a little built-in.  If you’ve got the space for a built-in desk, you can’t beat it for homework management!

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2. Mini Homework Station in a Tray from House of Smiths

You can pick this tray up and take it with you!  Tucked inside the drawers and boxes are all the supplies your children could possibly need. This is perfect if you haven’t got a designated homework desk, or if your space is limited.  Plus, it’s motivational!

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3. Rolling Cart Station from Smashed Peas and Carrots

The small kitchen cart from Ikea is cute, compact, and totally functional!  Cram it full of supplies for school and still have space left on the bottom to stack homework, worksheets, and books.  Then you can tuck it away and roll it out when you need it.

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4. Magnetic Back to School Station from The 36th Avenue

This magnetic back to school area can hang right on the side of your fridge!  You’ve got everything you need to stay organized right at arms length – including a handy dry erase/magnetic calendar, supplies, and “accountability clipboards.”

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5. Seat Sacks and Curtain Rod Storage from Scissors and Spatulas

If you’ve got a table or desk area, sew up some seat sacks to hang on the back of your chairs!  Kids can slip in all of their homework, books, and papers.  Add a curtain rod with hooks to store supplies they’ll need.

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6. Chalkboard Organization Station from Design Dining Diapers

This little chalkboard is a cute addition to a homework organization center!  The trendy baskets keep supplies within reach and you can write notes, reminders, and to-do’s on the chalkboard.  Get supplies and note clutter off the tables and counters and up on the wall.

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7. Tabletop Homework Station from Polka Dot Chair

This tabletop homework station can sit front and center on a desk or table and be removed during mealtimes since it’s so portable.  No need for a ton of space in order to keep everything looking crisp and neat – and readily available.

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8. Repurposed Crib from A Little Learning for Two

If you’ve got an old crib from your kid’s babyhood, repurpose it into a chalkboard desk!  The great part about it is that there’s a ton of built in space to hang supplies and needed items.  There’s room to spare on all the old crib slats and the desktop provides ample room to work.

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More great homework spaces on the next page — >

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De-Mystifying Math: 8 Tips for Supplementing Your Child’s Math Education (Ages 9-11)

8 Tips for Supplementing Your Child's Math Education - Tipsaholic

 

Math.  It’s necessary, requires higher thought processes, and can be completely intimidating for elementary school-aged kids.  If you have the right approach, attitude and mindset as a parent, you can help your child gain not only an understanding and appreciation for math, but perhaps even a fondness.  In any case, supplementing your child’s education is crucial to help them feel at ease with abstract math concepts.  Here are 8 super helpful tips to help your 9-11 year old with math concepts and learning.

8 tips for de-mystifying math

1. Always consider the individual. 

All kids learn best in different ways — be it visually, orally, verbally, physically, etc.  You can find out more information about each different category at Learning Styles Online.  Keep your specific child in mind when considering your approach and remember to tailor their supplemental learning.  By this age, a “one size fits all” mentality towards education could hinder your child rather than help them.

Kids have started approaching schoolwork in a more individual way at this point in their development.  Worksheets (many which can be found online) might work best for a logical or solitary learner, while active games involving kinesthetics and math concepts would work better for a physical learner.

If you need some help identifying the best ways to teach your child, you can take a “multiple intelligences” quiz online and answer the questions as if you were your child.  The following quiz from Edutopia breaks down learning styles into percentages and offers specific information for each style: Multiple Intelligences Learning Styles Quiz.

Also keep in mind your child’s interests and try to fit their math education accordingly.  If they love cars, for instance, use games, activities and story problems involving cars.  If they love animals, use this as a theme for supplemental materials.

2. Do it together.

Chances are your child will be more appreciative of a unified learning approach, so do math together!  Sitting your child down at the computer to play games all by himself won’t have the same impact as learning together and discussing the concepts as you go.  So whatever the learning style, whatever the activity, be present.  If you find that you yourself are unfamiliar with a concept, look it up together and figure it out.  Oxford Owls Jargon Buster is a good place to start if you need help refreshing your memory about math terms.

3. Use a variety of tools, resources and methods.

Even if you’ve recognized your child’s preferred learning style, using the same method or activity repeatedly can cause boredom and disinterest — the exact opposite of our supplemental learning goals.  No matter how much your child loves timed tests or flashcards or dominoes, they’ll still appreciate a little variety.  Some ideas you can do with the whole family (even older or younger siblings), include: planning and budgeting for family outings, baking, planning a schedule, gardening, crafts that involve measuring and cutting shapes, weighing items, grocery shopping, charting growth with tables and graphs, online math games, video games, iPhone or iPad apps and board games.

4. Focus on key concepts appropriate for age and grade.   

Not sure what they are?  Email your child’s teacher and ask!  Talk with other teachers and parents you know.  Here’s a short list for kids ages 9-11 year-olds:  telling time (including adding and subtracting times), measurements (inches, yards, feet, miles, grams, pounds, etc. and converting between metric and imperial measurements), calculating with larger or more complex numbers (including up to three digits, decimals, percentages and fractions), understanding shapes (including 3-dimensional shapes and angles), and using different types of charts, tables and graphs.

5. Watch your own attitude. 

If you don’t approach supplemental education as a chore to be completed, neither will your kids!  Your attitude, more than anything else, shows them what their attitude should be.  Keep your comments, actions and reactions to math homework and any math activities you plan positive.  If your child doesn’t respond positively to a certain planned activity, take it in stride.  Don’t force it, but do come back to it later.  Say something like: “It’s ok.  We don’t have to do this now.  Would you rather help me cut out some shapes for a project I’m working on?” or something similar.  Wait a few days before trying again.  Whatever you do, don’t give up!  And don’t make it “work” but rather “math fun time” or “project time” — something your child can relate to and have desire to do.

6. Make it fun!  

It’ll be easier to accomplish tip number five if you’re focusing on making your supplemental activities fun for your child.  Play games.  Read fun math books.  Laugh while you learn.

7. Establish math as regular and routine.

How many times did you ask “When am I ever  going to use this in my life?” when you were in a math class?  Show your kids that math is a regular, everyday occurrence.  You can do this by not only having some type of supplemental activity every day (and it doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out activity – simple is better!), but also by pointing out instances when your child is using math skills when they may not even notice, such as when they are paying someone at the store and counting out money or when they are figuring out how many hours until bedtime.

8. Include the teacher.  

Whoever that might be — if they’re home-schooled, this is an easy one, just be sure to include your spouse!  Email the teacher for more information about what your child is learning.  Ask the teacher for extra worksheets or ideas for activities.  Use the teacher as a sounding board if you’re having issues approaching math with your child. He or she might have lots of ideas for engaging students that you haven’t thought of.  Your child’s teacher could also have access to or ideas about resources, books, websites, math nights, etc. that they can share with you.  If you’re a homeschooling parent, connect with other homeschooling parents for ideas.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest, Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

10 Hands-On Literacy Activities (ages 3-6)

 

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Most preschool and kindergarten aged children are tactile, kinesthetic and visual learners.  Activities that engage these learning styles are the most effective way to supplement your child’s education at home.  Whether playing games, using flashcards, singing rhymes and songs or drawing pictures, using a variety of activities will engage your child so you keep their interest and have fun while learning.  Need some ideas for age and developmentally appropriate activities for your preschooler?  Here are  10 hands-on literacy activities for ages 3-6.

 

1. Online Games – Playing games on the computer has a general appeal for kids.  Using these resources teaches them technology skills, hand-eye coordination, gets their brain moving.  Check out these cool literacy building online games: Funbrain Reading and VocabThe Magic School Bus Gets An Earful Sound GameScholastic Building Language Game (Naming, Letters and Rhyming), pbs kids: Super Why Rhyme ‘n Roll Game

2. Board Games –  Board games can get the whole family involved!  Teach your kids valuable life lessons while learning about literacy – like taking turns, cooperation, being a good sport, supporting others, and social interactions/communication.  Try these board games: Alphabet Squiggle Game, Grandma’S Trunk Alphabet Game, ABC Cookies, Alphabet Memory, Spot It! AlphabetAlphabet Go Fish

3. Puzzles – Puzzles come in tons of variations, and get small motor skills going as well as improving cognitive skills.  Here are a few ideas:  Melissa & Doug Alphabet Letter Puzzles, Giant ABC & 123 Train Floor Puzzle, Spelling Puzzle Game, See & Spell

4. Flashcards - You can buy alphabet and phonics flashcards at many stores, even the dollar store.  Try Speakaboos online interactive alphabet flashcards.  OR, Course Hero is an awesome online source for creating your very own personalized flashcards!  It’s mainly used by older students as a study tool, but you can make them for your child and print them out or use them in conjunction with the free app.

5. Manipulatives – Manipulative are small items your kids can use in a ton of different ways to learn things from counting to upper and lowercase letters while developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  They usually come in fun, bright colors which are appealing to kids and teach preschoolers colors as well!  You can find manipulatives in lots of stores, and here are a few kits to try out: Alphabet Soup SortersAlpha Pops, Letter Construction SetABC Lacing Sweets

6. Colorful Catapult – Alter this catapult game from Spoonful by writing letters on plates instead of numbers.

7. Fly Swatter LettersDelia Creates shares really fun ideas for learning while playing outside.  In addition to the fly swatter game, she also shows how to play the letter game with squirt guns, how to write letters with a spray bottle, and how to play Number and Letter Twister!

8.  DIY Salt Tray – Check out This Mummas Life for directions on making this salt tray, a fun way for kids to trace letters and practice writing.

9. Letter Walk – This fun take on a scavenger hunt uses super simple, everyday items to teach kids letters and starting sounds, while getting them up and moving around!  Check it out on Learning and Playing in 2 Bedrooms or Less.

10. Flashlight Alphabet Game – If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll go nuts over this fun hide and seek game – played in the dark with the aid of an alphabet puzzle and a flashlight.  It’s super easy to set up – go get the details on Happily Ever After Mom.

 

Playing with kids is a great way for them to learn without even realizing it!  Are you looking for more fun learning activities for 3-6 year old kids? Try these 8 Hands-On Science Activities!

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterestBloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

10 Hands-On Literacy Activities (ages 6-9)

10 hands on literacy activities for ages 6-9 ~ Tipsaholic.com #literacy #games #kids

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No matter how old your child is or what type of schooling he or she receives, supplementing literacy education at home is super important.  If you want your child to be a life-long learner, enjoy reading and get the most out of their language and literacy education, you need to be an active participant in teaching them.  It certainly doesn’t have to be a chore and should feel like fun to both you and your child!  If you’re not sure where to start, here are ideas for 10 hands-on literacy activities for ages 6-9.

 

1. Board Games

From ages 6-9, kids are more interested in structured games with specific rules and have better attention spans and strategizing skills.  Capitalize on these developments when you plan learning activities for your child!  Here are some board games that focus specifically on language acquisition skills: Silly Sentences, What’s Gnu?, Pop For Sight Words, Tell Tale, Brain Quest.

 

2. Flash Cards 

While flash cards aren’t ideal teaching tools for every child, they’re an excellent way to switch up activities, take along when traveling or waiting for appointments, or for solo play time.  The good news is that flash cards don’t have to be boring!  Here are several sets that are sure to spark interest in kids: Spelling Flashcards, My Favorite Things Flash Cards, Alphabet Animals Flash Cards, Alphabeasties, Rhyming Words Flash Kids Flash Cards.  There are also some great DIY flash card tutorials: Tactile Sight Word Cards, Free Alphabet Flash Cards, Wooden Alphabet Cards.

 

3. Storytelling Bag

Put many different small objects/toys/cutouts in a bag.  Sit in a circle and begin your story with “Once upon a time…”.  Take turns drawing an item from the bag without looking and fitting it into the story.  Pass the bag around the circle to continue the story until you run out of items.

 

4. Word Family Portraits

A word family is a group of words that share a common combination of letters and sounds.  This game is an example of successfully scaffolding and building from what your child already knows.  Use pictures from a magazine or your own family photos with words attached and have your child group the individuals into family units within a “photo frame.”

 

5. Read and Find Game

This is a mash-up of an “I Spy” book and a sensory bin, with practice on reading, hand writing and motor skills thrown in.  You find actual toys with names your child could read, throw them in a bin, make a list of them, and have your child read the list, find the item and write the item down on their own list.  Easy to recreate and easy to learn.

 

6. Rhyming Jars

Gather a few jars and write a simple word on each.  Write words that rhyme with each jar on craft sticks and have your child choose which jar the sticks go in.

 

7. Sight Word Parking Lot

Create a “parking lot” on a piece of poster board with a sight word in each parking space.  Give your child cars and direct them to a spot by calling out a word.

 

8. Sight Word Soup

Using materials from the dollar store, you can easily create this tactile game where kids scoop words out of a “bowl of soup” and identify them.  It’s a fun way to work on letter or word recognition, spelling, reading and fine motor skills.

 

9. Fiddle Sticks

Directions and a picture can be found here.  To create the game, write sight words on the end of craft sticks.  Color the tip of one or two sticks a bright color.  Put the sticks right end down into a cup.  The players take turns drawing one stick at a time and reading the word out loud.  If they can’t read it, they put the stick back in.  If they draw the stick that’s colored, they must put ALL of their sticks back.  Play continues for a predetermined amount of time and the player with the most sticks when the time is up wins.

 

10. Multi-Sensory Activities for teaching Sight Words

Basically, have your child create the sight word with any number of different “sensory” objects.  They can start by copying the sight word from a flash card and move on to spelling it out by themselves after you say it.  Different sensory items they can use to create sight words: play dough, shaving cream (spray it out and have them trace into the cream), sand or salt (have them draw the letters in the sand or salt), pipe cleaners, or yarn.

 

Looking for more ways to engage your 6-9 year old? Try these tips for supplementing your child’s literacy at home.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

 

 

8 Hands-On Science Activities (for 3-6 year olds)

8 Hands-On Science Activities for 3-6 Year Olds - tipsaholic, #scienceactivities, #scienceexperiments, #scienceforkids, #kids, #science

 

 

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Take the dreaded work out of learning science concepts!  Science doesn’t have to be dull and boring or difficult to grasp, even for young kids.  Cultivate a love for learning early on! Interested in teaching your kids all about science?  These 8 hands-on science activities are a great place to start.

 

1. Water Science Activities – The Measured Mom

Very young children will love these activities with water (they’d even be appropriate to do with toddlers)  Water play is great for tactile learners.  Not only will they learn about sinking vs. floating, repelling vs. absorbing, dissolution and various scientific properties/effects of water, they’ll also work on motor skills (large and small), develop critical thinking and learn to make hypothesis and test theories.  Plus, they’ll have a blast splashing around!

 

2. Bubble Science – Scholastic

Making your own bubbles can be a great learning experience in Science (and math too!)  The link has tons of great ideas for science-related topics to cover as you measure, pour and mix up your own solutions and then try them out in different ways!  Even babies love bubbles!  Another plus?  Your kids will get all their wiggles out chasing bubbles around the yard!

 

3. Bug Watch - kidspot

This old classic is still a hit with young kids!  Find instructions for creating your own bug sanctuary out of a plastic bottle… then let your little ones find some critters to place inside and watch for a while.  Check on the bugs at intervals and record findings.  Be sure to talk about their natural habitats and that bugs and insects (along with all animals) belong in the wild, then have a celebration for the grand release into the backyard!

 

4. Fossil Cookies – Martha Stewart

For help explaining paleontology and fossil records, make these awesome cookies with your kids!  The link includes a recipe and the full instructions for making fossil imprints.  When your done with the learning, your kids can have fun chowing down for snack time!

 

5. Borax Snowflakes – Delia Creates

Make your own sparkly, white crystals in the shape of snowflakes!  Delia Creates gives you the recipe for this super fun craft to do with your kids.  While you’re waiting for the crystals to form, you can explain why and how they do so.  Check out the science behind the craft here.

 

6. Carnation Colors – Spell Out Loud

Your kids can have a ton of fun making a rainbow of flowers!  All you need are plain white carnations, some jars, water and food coloring!  Place freshly cut flowers in the mix of water and food coloring and watch what happens!  Kids will love watching the transformation happen right before their eyes.  Have your kids guess what will happen to your flowers ahead of time and compare their findings to their hypotheses.  Have a discussion about how flowers and other plants “drink” in order to survive.

 

7. Balloon Blow – My Kids Guide

Did you know you can inflate a balloon using a water bottle and some simple household items – no breath needed?!  It’s true!  Show your little ones how to blow up a balloon the “normal way” before doing the experiment.  Then use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda in an empty water bottle, stretch the balloon around the opening and watch it expand!  No kid can resist the fun factor of balloons!

 

8. Primary Science Kit

Get started with some easy Science projects with this primary science kit!  The kit includes all the tools you’ll need for some groundbreaking experiments – tweezers, beaker, test tubes, flask, funnel, magnifying glass and more!  There are several sturdy activity cards included and an activity guide for parents.  The pieces are durable plastic, brightly colored and created with little hands in mind – making it not only appealing but perfectly designed for preschool kids.

 

For tons more science ideas and activities for little kids, check out the Activity Corner on Kid Spot.

 

If you want some ideas about hands-on Math activities for your preschooler, we’ve got you covered.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

Find more fun for kids here:

pool pic        tipsaholic-frozen-water-beads-play-ice-activities-mess-for-less         tipsaholic-8-hands-on-math-activities-for-preschool-and-kindergartners-pinterest-pic

Pool Activities for Kids         Ice Activities for Kids            Hands on Math Activities

How to Encourage Independence in Your Children this School Year

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As children get older they tend to develop a strong desire to spread their wings a little more and test new boundaries. As school begins again, you may find that it’s a great time to start giving them opportunities to grow by allowing them to take control of some of the tasks, habits, and personal items they require. Assess the needs of each child and use these suggestions to start encouraging independence in your children this school year.

 

Let them take responsibility for their breakfast

Breakfast is something parents often take care of but can easily be entrusted to the kids. You can set the boundaries by choosing what foods go on the table, but most school-age children are ready to start serving themselves. If you want to get creative, consider a “breakfast station” like this one, full of breakfast options like oatmeal packets, bagels, and cereal that they can make on their own. Be sure to include some grab-and-go foods like fruit and granola bars for mornings when there are a few kids in a rush.

 

Allow them to choose their own clothes each day

Help the kids figure out a system for choosing school clothes each day so mornings don’t become too hectic when socks and underwear are nowhere to be found. Will the choice be made right before bed each night? How about choosing five outfits at the start of the week? A simple daily label placed on a hanger – like these free printables from Sweet Bella Roos – with each outfit can eliminate a lot of confusion. It’s likely the kids will become more confident in who they are as they find ways to express themselves through their clothing choices. Let each child find what works best for them and help them stick to it.

 

Put them in charge of their own lunch

Delegate the morning task of lunch-making to the kids! Set out the ingredients in a way that works for your family, with options from each of the food groups. You can see an example of a lunch station here. Every child can put together a lunch they actually want to eat and you can have more time to sign permission slips and comb hair. And if a child doesn’t get up on time, consider letting the natural consequence of missing out on lunch that day be a lesson to him or her. You can practically guarantee they’ll wake up tomorrow!

 

Make them responsible for their “stuff”

Allow each of your children to inventory their own backpacks when they walk in the door. Being in charge of their jackets, school papers, and sports gear takes a load off of your plate and uses natural consequences to teach kids why it’s important to keep track of those things. A family command center is the perfect way to give kids the reins but still provide a bit of guidance. There are many ways to create one and you’ll want to customize it to suit your family’s needs, but some basics might include a coat hook for each child, a calendar, a chalkboard, and a basket for each child’s shoes or loose items.  Keep chalk or pens nearby so the kids can write down project deadlines and things they need to remember. Make it clear that they will be responsible for their own gear, and this is the place to keep it if they want to have quick access to it in the mornings. You can see more great command center ideas on Remodelaholic.

 

Allow them to choose their snacks

Fill a basket (let the kids help too!) with healthy snacks your kids can munch when they get home in the afternoon. Here’s a great example from I Heart Organizing. Kids can choose what they will eat from the basket, but you are in charge of the options that go into the basket. It’s a great solution when trying to balance responsibilities between parent and child.

 

Put them in charge of some things at home

Including a few household tasks on their list of to-do’s is a good way to keep kids involved at home. Assign simple, age-appropriate tasks that they can choose to do before or after school or use a chore chart or chore wheel like these and perhaps a rewards system to help them start to understand the value of contributing within the family.

 

A few tips for children who are less enthusiastic about becoming independent:

  • Create routines – a routine establishes a predictable pattern that a child can learn and become confident in. Guide them through the first week of a new routine and then slowly begin to withdraw, allowing them to take responsibility for following and completing the routine.
  • Ask questions – when your child comes to you with a problem you think they can handle on their own, ask questions that will get them thinking for themselves. For example, if your child tells you a friend is talking and disrupting things at school, you might ask, “What could you say to your friend to help her focus on what the teacher is saying?” Or if a child keeps forgetting their homework, “What could you do to help you remember to put the papers in your backpack each night?” Many children can solve their own problems with a bit of encouragement.
  • Believe in them – it can be difficult to step away as your child learns to take care of him or herself. They’ve needed you for so many things for so long! Trust them. Trust that they can make good choices. Trust that they can figure things out, and tell them you trust them. It may be just the thing that gives them the confidence to take the next step

 

Featured image via Better Homes and Gardens.

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Loving Literacy: 6 Tips for Supplementing Your Child’s Literacy Education (ages 6-9)

6 Tips for supplementing your child's literacy education (ages 6-9) ~ Tipsaholic.com #education #literacy #kids

 

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Your child can learn to love literacy with a little help from you!  No matter what stage your child is at in their education, using techniques to supplement their schooling while at home is a key component in their educational success.  By building on their language and literacy education, you are equipping your children with the skills they will need not only for their education, but also in social situations, higher educational opportunities, future workplace and community involvement.  Literacy education is essential for personal growth and success, and the building blocks you lay while they’re in elementary school are crucial.  Ages 6-9 are critical when setting solid habits and foundations.  Here are 6 tips for supplementing your child’s literacy education at home.

 

1. Be aware of critical milestones.

Not only can a missed milestone or two be a sign of issues you don’t want to ignore, but they’re also a great guide for you as a parent.  It’s impossible to understand how to approach education with your child when you have no idea of age and developmental norms.  Read up, study, do some research.  You’ll feel more comfortable, and it’ll take any unnecessary pressure off of you and your child.  For instance, by 6-9 your child generally has increased attention and comprehension, is more comfortable with longer texts, becomes more fluent in common words and sounds, mimics reading habits, has greater phonemic awareness, an expanded vocabulary, and has developed visual literacy skills.  They can also usually begin to monitor themselves while reading.

2. Give them time. 

While reading with your child, make sure to allow them to set the pace.  Give them the time they need to work through words on their own.  If they are struggling, offer clues, but do not read for them.  Clues can be key phrases such as: “What’s the first sound?” “Go through each sound in order.” “What happens when you put [insert letters here] together?” “Look at the words around this one.”  Help them put the unfamiliar words in context by guiding them to skip the word and fill it in by looking at other words or pictures.  Don’t hurry them through a book or tell them to move faster.  Comprehension is just as important as making the sounds, and comprehension takes time.

3. Heap on the praise.

At every step along the way, make sure you are congratulating your child for their hard work.  Correctly identifying sounds that letters make together, figuring out an unfamiliar word, successfully reading a phrase, sentence or book are all reasons to praise your child.  You don’t need to go overboard, but a simple, “I knew you could do it!  Great job!”  Or “You worked so hard on that, that was awesome!” is enough to make your 6-9 year old continue on.  It’s a simple and easy thing to do that will build the kind of confidence in your child that they need.

4. Be consistent.

Make literacy practice a daily thing.  Read to your child, have your child read favorite books to you, point out signs while you drive and have your child read them, play rhyming games by picking a word and taking turns coming up with rhymes, sing songs with rhyming words, talk about alliteration/symbolism/metaphors/synonyms/antonyms/opposites/etc while you’re together on a bike ride, during dinner come up with word families together, on a walk have your child point out everything they see that starts with a certain letter, make games out of the parts of speech that you can play while waiting in lines, etc.  All of these things reinforce learning, make it a common and expected activity, turn it into games and fun and require nothing special from you at all except for your own brain.

5. Use variety.

Don’t stick to only one game or toy to reinforce concepts.  Children can grow bored easily.  If you switch up the games, flash cards, activities, songs and discussions and tweak them to pertain to your child’s specific interests, they’ll retain more information and continue to find the fun in literacy.

6. Model good habits.

Especially at this age, children are learning by mimicking.  That means that what you do is often much more important than what you say.  So make sure your child sees you reading.  Make sure they know you enjoy reading to them.  Keep a public, shared bookcase easily accessible to all members of the family.  Make it something they see, expect and understand so you can pass your good habits on by example.

 

Looking for more great ideas to encourage your child’s literacy skills? Try this list of 10 Language and Literacy Books 6-9 Year Olds Will Love!

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

De-Mystifying Math: 7 Tips for Supplementing Your Child’s Math Education (ages 3-6)

7 Tips for Supplementing your Child's Math Education (Age 3-6) | Tipsaholic.com #math #learning #education #kids #supplement

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Whether your child attends public school, a charter school, uses private school or tutoring or is homeschooled, you probably already know how important it is to reinforce classroom learning at home. Fortunately, there’s an overabundance of information online to help you teach your little ones at home, especially during the summer, BUT where do you start?

Math especially is often difficult for young children to grasp since it deals in abstracts.  Supplemental math education doesn’t have to be tricky.

Here are 7 super useful tips for applying Math concepts to your home life:

 

1.  Always consider the individual. 

We all know that everyone learns in different ways.  Keep your specific child in mind when considering your approach and remember to tailor their supplemental learning.

If you need some help identifying the best ways to teach your child, you can take a “multiple intelligences” quiz online and answer the questions as if you were your child.  The following quiz from edutopia breaks down learning styles into percentages and offers specific information each style.  Multiple Intelligences Learning Styles Quiz

 

2. Appeal to his/her interests.

If you want your child to enjoy learning with you, you’ll need to make it fun for them.  Pay attention to their hobbies and likes, be it cars, drawing, singing, dressing up, collecting leaves or what have you.  Use these to create learning experiences that coincide with things they already love.

 

3. Keep it simple.

The best way to teach a young child is with hands on activities that don’t take a ton of resources or explanation.  Most of the time, your most successful teaching experiences will incorporate things you already have around the house and will require little planning on your part.

 

4. Keep it short.

Generally speaking, a young child can only focus on one learning activity for about 10-15 minutes at a time.  Don’t plan long or involved math lessons that take longer than this to accomplish, or you are sure to lose your child’s interest.  You can do multiple different math activities within a specific span of time, but they will each need to be short and simple.

 

5. Be hands-on

Whatever learning style your child prefers, math concepts tend to “stick” better when children can “handle” the things they’re learning about.  Allowing them to use their hands or bodies gives each abstract math idea more meaning.

 

6. Give math concepts an everyday application.

When you’re at the grocery store, you can have your child count out individual items (“I need four apples…) or help you use the scale.  They can also get a basic understanding of money if you let them pay and handle change.  When you’re walking to your car you can count steps.  Take giant steps and mini steps and talk about the difference in number.  While you drive, you can play “I Spy” with shapes.  At home, you can play sorting games with almost anything – folding socks, putting groceries away, etc. If you make math a part of everyday life, it won’t seem like a chore.

 

7. Most importantly, keep it fun! 

You don’t need worksheets to teach math! Use games, songs and rhymes, props/toys/manipulatives, and books!

 

DON’T FORGET: little learners need a functional, organized space to keep them engaged and attentive.  Check out these super organized school-related spaces on Remodelaholic!  Tons of easy to implement solutions to keep kids excited about learning!

 

* For more tips and ideas, check out these links!

Blog Me Mom – “Math Play” and “ABC’s of Math” series

Mom’s Heart – Living Math for Preschoolers

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

How to Raise Kids Who Love Learning

How to Raise Kids Who Love Learning - Tipsaholic.com

The human brain is blessed with a huge capacity for learning, especially during the childhood years. Unlock your children’s innate ability to teach themselves and ensure that they fall in love with the wonderful act of learning! Here’s a few tips you can use to encourage your kids to love learning.

tipsaholic - how to raise kids who love learning

1. Provide little (or no) instructions.

This sounds weird, but it works. Sergio Juárez Correa’s students (in Matamoros, Mexico) flourished when the teacher decided to take a different approach to teaching. For example, instead of showing students how to reach the correct answer to a math problem, he asked them how they would figure it out. And figure it out they did. These students went on to score the highest on the achievement test in the country.

Ideas of what you can do:

  • Give them a toy that has several functions (bleeps, flashes, rolls, etc) and just let them figure out how to play with it without showing them anything.
  • Hand them a tablet or a computer with a newly purchased app or game and let them explore.
  • Take your kids to a museum and let them guide you to whatever exhibits they want to see.
  • Give them a board game and let them teach themselves how to play.
  • Toys like the Bilibo don’t even come with instructions, so every kid plays with them in different ways. Hand them this cool toy and watch them create new ways to play!

2. Allow for lots of time for play.

Recess is generally thought of as a break from learning, but recent studies have shown that playing is actually vital for optimal brain development. Playing helps develop problem solving skills, creativity, stimulates curiosity, and more. This in turn helps children do better at school, learn better, and love learning.

Things you can do to encourage your kids to play more:

  • Host more play-dates at your home or at a playground.
  • Bring in more games of all kinds for your kids.
  • Engage in play with your kids whenever you can.
  • Rotate your kids’ toys so there’s always something “new” to play with.
  • Have your kids join an after-school program.

3. Let them teach themselves how to read.

This article claims that young children can teach themselves how to read, if they are allowed to do so. Different kids do it in different ways, but generally, parents of these children provide an environment in their homes that is conductive to reading. When young kids are able to read, they are able to teach themselves new things. They’ll love learning thanks to their love for reading.

Here’s what you can do to create a reading-friendly home:

  • Make lots of books available to your kids.
  • Take them to the library often.
  • Let kids see you reading books and enjoying it.
  • Don’t force kids into reading.
  • Read to them on a regular basis when they’re young.
  • Have them see you use a variety of reading materials to accomplish things, such as following instructions to complete a DIY project or trying out a new recipe.

Once a child loves to learn, they can teach themselves anything and there won’t be a limit to what they can do.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

10 Math Books 3-6 Year Olds Will Love

10 Math Books 3-6 Year Olds Will Love | Tipsaholic.com #learning #kids #math #books #reading

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If you’re in the market for different techniques to supplement your child’s school-taught math education at home, don’t overlook something you’re probably already doing!  Reading to your child encourages all kinds of skills – from letter and sound recognition to imagination to critical thinking and problem solving skills.  With the right kind of picture books, your 3-6 year olds will love learning about math concepts too! Check out these fun and entertaining math books.

 

1. Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Every other number is worth something, but when Zero looks at herself, all she sees is a big hole in her center.  If she could look like the other numbers, she’d count too.  This book is not only a lesson in personal worth, but a fun way to learn about numbers and counting.

2. One by Kathryn Otoshi

Blue is a quiet color who, for some reason, Red is always picking on.  Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do about it?  This combines learning about primary and secondary colors, as well as counting.  But it also teaches an important lesson about standing together and making a difference – even if you are only one.

 

3. My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle

Do you know how many apples there are?  How many cherries?  This is a puzzle book in which the reader identifies the numeral and number of black boxes on the top half of the page and then matches this to the correct number of fruits shown on the bottom half of the page.  Colorful, vibrant, graphic and fun, this book makes number recognition, counting and matching a game!

 

4. I Spy Numbers by Jean Marzollo

This book uses simple picture clues and rhyming riddles to guide young children through learning about numbers, counting and simple math concepts.  It’s specifically geared to preschoolers and kindergarteners who will love all 12 of the bright, colorful, interesting spreads.

 

5. Rainbow Fish Counting by Marcus Pfister

Young children learn numbers 1-10 with dazzling illustrations of undersea creatures and plants, including the well-loved Rainbow Fish himself!  Bold numerals shown along with the appropriate sea creatures help with number recognition while appealing visually to a young audience.

 

6. Ten Apples Up On Top! by Theo LeSieg

This classic story introduces kids to three lovable characters who can perform all kinds of giggle-inducing tricks!  The Lion, dog and tiger discover that they can do a lot of fun things – from drinking milk to jumping rope and roller skating – all while balancing apples on their heads.  How many can they keep up?  Will they let them fall?  Kids love to count along.

 

7. How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

Young readers love these familiar dino characters and their crazy antics!  They’re at it again, this time teaching kids to count from 1 to 10.  The pages are full of rhyming text and silly illustrations that are sure to capture attention.  It makes learning numbers and counting BIG fun!

 

8. Gobble, Gobble Crash! by Julie Stiegemeyer

It all starts with four naughty, noisy turkeys and soon the whole barnyard is awake!  Did they really intend to wake the farmer in the middle of the night as well??  Kids will find the illustrations hilarious as they count up to 10 and all the way back down in fun rhyming text.

 

9. The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns

Bored with his current situation, a triangle visits a local shapeshifter to have some alterations made.  Adding another angle makes him a quadrilateral!  But that’s just not enough for this greedy shape.  Children will love finding out what happens as the triangle adds angle after angle until he is completely transformed!  What a fun introduction to shapes and basic math concepts!

 

10. Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald

Each page of this bright, vivid book reveals another shape clue about a creature from long ago.  The die-cut pages are full of attention-grabbing colors and shapes that come together in a large, fold-out page for the grand reveal.  Circles become eyes, triangles become scales… will your young reader deduce what awaits on the final page?

 

Also check out this list of 10 Language and Literacy Books 3-6 Year Olds Will Love.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

 

6 Kids Crafts to Make the School Year Even Better

Nothing beats the squeak of new sneakers in the hallway and the smell of Poptarts on back-to-school mornings. Excitement in the first weeks of school can be found in every new pair of jeans and on the tips of every fresh crayon. But if your kids have settled in and suddenly become less than thrilled about leaving summer barbeques and weekends at the lake behind, surviving the rest of the school year can be a challenge. If you’re looking for a solution to the post-summer-blues, getting your kids’ creative juices flowing with these custom kids crafts might really make it happen.

Washi Tape School Supplies

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(image via Unsophisticook)

Your kids will always know which #2s belong to them if you use this simple trick – and if you haven’t met a little something called washi tape yet, this is a great way to introduce yourself to its powers of versatility. Grab a few rolls (Amazon has a great selection!) and get the kids to work.

 6 Kids DIY Projects for Back to School via Tipsaholic.com

1. Decorated School Supplies

Your kids will always know which #2s belong to them if you use this simple trick– and if you haven’t met a little something called washi tape yet, this is a great way to introduce yourself to its powers of versatility. Grab a few rolls (Amazon has a great selection!) and get the kids to work.

 

2. Customized Binders

If you picked up a couple of binders during your back-to-school shopping, your kids may have been less than impressed with the flat, single-color options that most stores carry. They may change their minds when they see what can be done when they really get their craft on.

If simplicity is your goal, a bit of bright patterned paper may be all you need. But don’t be afraid to go a step further and try colored duct tape, fabric, or even family photos!

If your child really wants to get expressive, a collage is another great way to go!

 

3. Personalized Pencil Boxes

And we can’t forget the everloving pencil box. That wonderful bit of plastic that leaves home in September filled to the brim with dazzling new crayons, freshly sharpened pencils, and unopened glue sticks… and returns at school’s end with nothing but broken bits of wax, a stub or two, and the dry, shriveled remains of that glue, along with whatever other horrors one collects in the classroom. But if you try this craft, at least it looks snazzy in the process.

 

4. Backpack Style

With all those great, personalized supplies, the kiddos are going to need something a bit more spectacular than your typical pack to haul them around. Take a look at these ideas for DIY custom backpacks!

 

5. Stylish Shoes

Two words: Canvas. Shoes. All the rage, right? And many of them come in plain colors – that’s a cool craft just waiting to walk the halls on your kid’s feet. Stripes, polka dots, rainbows, superheroes… the options are endless!

 

6. Candy

And when all else fails, bribe them with candy. You can always bribe a child with candy. Especially if there is a corny bit of wordplay you can stick to it.

Getting back into the swing of school days may be tough, but the mood can certainly shift when you pull out all the stops and get those little minds pumping with a craft or two. If nothing else, the kids will be excited to show off their new and totally custom supplies and accessories to all of their friends! Mission accomplished.


6 Easy Kids Crafts for Back to School via Tipsaholic.com

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyineperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Back to School Photo Ideas

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5 easy and fun ways to start a back to school photo tradition

As a photographer I’m always looking for fun and unique ways to capture the ‘story’ behind the moment the photo is taken, not just a pretty smile.  So this year I’ve been brainstorming how to create fun and unique first day of school photos for my daughter who’s headed to kindergarten and my son who will start preschool.  Here’s 5 fun ideas I’ve come up with:
  1. Perhaps the most popular idea out there is the one where your child holds a sign with the grade that they are entering printed on it, such as the one that I took of my daughter last year.  I simply printed off a sign from my computer but another trendy way of doing this is with a small chalkboard (such as this one).
  2. Take the picture as your child writes their name, be sure you can see the letters so that over the years you can see how their handwriting has changed.  If they can’t write their name yet just have them draw a picture.
  3. Take a photo of your child reading or holding up their favorite book at that moment.
  4. For the camera shy kiddo, get a shot of them (ideally with their backpack on) walking away from you (i.e. out the door, down the sidewalk, to the school bus etc).
  5. Shoes.  I love kids shoes, they just make me happy!  And they usually have an absolute favorite pair that they wear all day every day.  Get a picture in the same spot every year of their favorite shoes that they plan to wear on the first day of school.
Not a big fan of being behind the camera?  Many professional photographers offer ‘mini-sessions’ for a fraction of the price of a full session.  They typically last 20-30 minutes so a back to school photo with any of the ideas above is the perfect ‘mini-session’ idea.

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Do you have any great back to school photo ideas?  Please share in the comments below.

Author: Jennifer Faris is a photographer, writer, mom of 3 littles and wife to a rock star (at least in her eyes). You can see more of her work at www.jenniferfaris.com and follow her on FacebookPinterestInstagram.

Tips for Parents: Easing the Back-to-School Transition

Tips for Parents | Make the Back-to-School Transition Easier via Tipsaholic.com #backtoschool #kids #simplify #tips

Summer is drawing to a close and school will be starting up again soon. We all know it’s challenging for kids to transition from the lazy days of summer back to the more stringent routines and responsibilities of school days. But it can be hard for parents, too. Here are some tips for making the back-to-school transition a little easier for everyone. (featured image via Real Simple)

7 Tips for Parents to Ease the Back-to-School Transition via Tipsaholic.com

 

1) Supply inventory: Before you rush out to buy school supplies, check around the house for  pens, notebooks, paper, etc. leftover from last year’s supplies. You might be able to shorten or even eliminate a trip to the office supply store.

 

2) Checklists: Make checklists of must-do morning routine tasks for the kids (make bed, brush teeth, feed dog, etc.) and let them check each item off as it is completed. Going through the checklist each morning will help them establish a new routine and avoid any last-minute forgotten items.

 

3) Outfits: Over the weekend, help your child choose an outfit for each day of the coming week and set them out (grouped on hangers or in a labeled daily pile) in his/her room so there’s no agonizing or arguing over what to wear each morning.

 

4) Lunches: Pack lunch bags the night before so that each child can simply grab one on the way out the door.

 

5) Easy breakfast: Consider pre-making and stockpiling breakfast items that will require only minimal effort in the morning. Portioned baggies of instant oatmeal, yogurt cups, cut-up fruit and healthy muffins can help take the fuss out of eating a good breakfast before school – or on the go.

 

6) Family calendar: Start the schoolyear off right by using a wall or desk calendar to keep track of each family member’s schedule in one place (use a different color marker for each person). This can make it easier to visualize what each day’s activities will look like and who needs to be where and when.

 

7) Downtime: Don’t forget that part of planning the family calendar should include schedule some downtime for yourself as well as the kids.

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.