Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

A Ten-Month-Olds Letter to Santa

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThis wish list is too cute not to share.

Merry Christmas to all you dads and moms, and your kiddos young and old, out there!


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Your Child’s Disability Isn’t Your Fault

As I cope with the possibility that my son has a learning disability, ADHD, etc, I can’t help feeling a little bit responsible.

  • I should’ve had his ear tubes inserted sooner. Then he would have heard sounds clearer, which would have helped his language/reading ability.
  • I should’ve pursued testing sooner. I wonder if we’ve waited too long and if permanent emotional damage is done to my son.
  • I should’ve fought more when the insurance company denied the initial eval. It took an educational battery from a school psychologist for us to get permission to do the testing we need.

I could go on and on, but I have to come to terms that my child’s disability isn’t my fault. I’m grateful for my friend D who reminded me of this truth today. I needed to hear her wisdom, and maybe you do too.

We can’t change the past. And just like we can’t control our kids’ actions, we can’t cause or take away their disability. But we can do something about the disability.

I’ll be calling first thing tomorrow morning for the next eval we need. And I’ll be pushing until my son and our family gets the help we need.

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Mommas Need Friends Too

As a home schooling parent, do you ever hear questions about how your kids receive socialization? I’ve been lucky/blessed/hiding under a rock and in four years have only heard one person question the social aspects of my decision to home school. However, I question why people never ask about socialization for parents.

My daughter has a friend over for a play date today, and I’m listening to them play school together. I suddenly feel lonely.

I do have a companion all day. He wakes me up with a tap on my shoulder (and sometimes a kiss) before he rushes at full speed into the play room for Curious George. While I love my six-year-old and his conversation, I miss adult connections.

Sometimes, I miss out on adult time because a little one is ill and needs momma or hubby’s working late so I can’t leave the house. The other day, I tried to call a friend while hiding in the bathroom, but my hiding place didn’t stay secret for long. While I  sneak peeks at Facebook throughout the day to stay semi in touch, that’s not the same as personally spending time together with a friend.

Other times, I’m with women but thwart any attempts at friendship because of my introverted nature. I wonder if I have anything of value to say, I question how to start a conversation and I fear no one will like me. If I struggle with these thoughts as a grown adult, how must our young kids feel?

We owe it to your children to model friendship. Maybe your child easily makes friends but struggles to build relationships or deal with the ongoing commitment a friendship requires. Maybe your child is painfully shy and can’t even introduce herself to other children. Maybe your child hasn’t mastered the art of sharing and struggles when children come over. Perhaps you recognize one or more of these traits in yourself.

My only solution is to keep working at it. Friendship is a process. We don’t cultivate “best friends” in a day. By navigating the big world of friendship for ourselves, we help our kids learn how to be a friend too.

With that solution in mind, I’m off to call a friend. I think I’ll try hiding in my closet this time.


Happy Thanksgiving!

My daughter and son finally had a chance to make an Apple Turkey food craft they’ve been wanting to try since last Thanksgiving. They embellished an apple with cereal, marshmallows and candy. Of course, after pictures, they ate it. :)

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!


Teaching Kids to be Thankful

Some kids naturally show gratitude and are content with little. Others crave more and more and more stuff. I think a child’s attitude is highly dependent on their upbringing and their parents’ attitude toward stuff. But that’s another post.

I woke up this morning thinking about Thanksgiving, since it’s tomorrow. Are my kids grateful for what they have? Do they appreciate how much they have? Will they be grateful for the presents or lack of presents they receive for Christmas about 34 more days?

We want our kids to be thankful. We want to be thankful too. It’s just way too easy to grumble, complain, envy and wish for more stuff, money, clothes, etc. Several tools teach our kids to show gratitude every day of the year.

1. A gratitude journal is an effective tool for teaching kids (and ourselves) to be thankful. In a simple notebook, write one word or a sentence that describes something you’re thankful for. Try to write something every day. In addition to teaching gratitude, this journal is a great tool for teaching handwriting and spelling.

2. Learn about other cultures. Billions of people live well below what we in the U.S. consider poverty level. It helps sometimes to have a reminder of how little other people have. Watch age-appropriate documentaries, read picture books or research countries together, and teach your kids about all the blessings they have, even if they’re have to wear secondhand clothes, don’t have the latest tech gadgets or can’t buy every toy they want.

3. Support a child through Compassion International or a similar organization. Your children receive a picture of the child they are sponsoring and letters throughout the year. The program gives your children insight into how fortunate they are, and it emphasizes the blessings of  having access to education, food and other resources that are easy to take for granted.

4 Raise money for a good cause. Hold yard sales, bake sales or Craigslist sales to raise money for a charity. Consider donating to a teen pregnancy center (baby supplies are appreciated), Operation Christmas Child (pack a shoebox for kids of all ages), Toys For Tots, Coats for Kids or a food bank. When your kids help raise the money, they’re personally involved in sharing their wealth with others and in making the holiday brighter for others.

5. Focus on serving others. The holidays are a great time to donate to charity or participate in a community service project. When your kids buy gifts for other kids, help prepare a meal for a neighbor or serve hot chocolate at a community event, they learn to appreciate what they have–a home, toys, a tree, family and other blessings.

6. Give stuff away. The holidays are a perfect time for your kids to purge their toys, books and clothing. Outgrown items can find a good home at a children’s hospital, family shelter or thrift store. When your kids help sort and take their outgrown and unwanted items to a donation center, they take part in making the world a better place for everyone (and as a bonus, your home has less clutter and is easier to clean).

Teaching kids to be thankful is something we can do every day. What are you favorite techniques for teaching your children to be thankful? May we as parents learn along with them.

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Never underestimate the power of one person. I’m sharing this post by Laura Grace Weldon as an encouragement to every home schooling family. Your children hold great potential. They simply need you, their parents, to show them the way. No matter how long it takes, keep up the good work! Your efforts will see fruit one day.

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A Fun Travel Game for Kids

We try to limit car rides since we’re saving money like most families and share the car with my husband. But when we do travel to doctor appointments or on errands, our trips require plenty of planning. My energetic son doesn’t travel well so I always need a healthy supply of snacks and plenty of water. He also enjoys playing with his favorite matchbox cars and listening to Junie B. Jones books on CD when I’m able to borrow them from the library.

Recently, we discovered another game that we all enjoy. Hangman gives my daughter a chance to play school, and my son enjoys trying to guess the letters. On my to-do list, I planned to make a laminated game so we can track the letters we choose and save paper.

Today, I found a Melissa and Doug version that erases this item from my to-do list. It looks sturdy and should work great for us. I can easily store it in the car without losing any pieces. Online reviews suggest the marker wears out quickly, but we have extra dry erase markers at home.

With this game, our car rides should be calmer and more enjoyable wherever and whenever we travel.

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Cooking in the Kitchen with Boys

Any time I ask for help in the kitchen, my son finds something else to do. His Hot Wheels, cleaning his room or toe jam suddenly become the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know he needs to learn how to cook, but the fight is just too challenging. If we have to fight, I’d rather it be over taking a bath and not cooking.

Enter our wonderful Occupational Therapist and her brilliant ideas. She shared Aggression Cookies, and these are a hit–literally. Just place the ingredients in a bag and bang until combined. Cook and eat or enjoy raw.

This recipe is a great way to get energetic boys into the kitchen. While the cookies bake, mix dinner and engage your energetic boys in creating the food they so eagerly consume.

  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup margarine/butter
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cup chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch chips

Combine ingredients in a bowl or resealable bag. Mix, shake and knead until combined. Roll into small balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

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My daughter’s school has a “no bullying” policy. Most schools do. Students are to report incidents of bullying that they see or experience to a parent and to a teacher at school.

Bullying was one of my fears about sending my daughter to school. I remember being bullied as a child. Actually, I remember incidents when I was bullied as a teen and as an adult, and I didn’t want her to experience that.

In life, there will always be people who think it’s okay to put down others, though. Bullies want to feel better about themselves, look good in front of peers or simply haven’t learned how to be nice. I can’t protect her forever.

This news article caught my eye today, and I had to share it. This young lady is an inspiration to everyone. Her friends and family who supported her likewise encourage us to stand up for what’s right.

Bullying is wrong whether you’re fighting over a toy in preschool or teasing a co-worker. As we parent our kids, we must teach them to value themselves. No one can make you feel inferior unless you give them permission. Stand up to bullies, know you are valued and defend anyone whom you see being bullied. It’s never wrong to do the right thing.

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Losing is a big issue at my house. Michael shares exactly what I try to do with my children, and honestly, we as parents need to practice losing as well sometimes. While it’s never easy to lose, everyone can’t win all the time. This post includes excellent advice for every parent and teacher.

Originally posted on Topical Teaching:

The Olympic Games is not about winning but about competing. In every competition there are winners and losers. Our athletes have the potential to show our children how to win with dignity and humility and how to deal with the disappointment of losing. I think its fair to say swimmer James Magnussen could have reacted with more class after his performance in the relay team proved underwhelming.

Courtesy of below are five tips for teaching children how to lose:

Putting the emphasis on giving your best.

While everyone wants to win, shift the focus from winning to giving your best and to having fun. Explain that playing the game is like the cake and winning is like the frosting on top. It’s sweet, but the cake can be enjoyed without the frosting too.

Providing your child with opportunities to lose.

While it can be tempting to let your…

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