Students At Home

For Everyone who Learns at Home

Need a Smile? Check Out This Cute Snack!

healthy snack

I opened Facebook today and saw this cute snack staring at me from a friend’s wall. It instantly made me smile! Not only is it cute, but it’s healthy and my kids would eat it! Those are huge reasons to be happy!

Do you have any cute and happy snack ideas? I’d love to see them!

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When Momma’s Cranky

Hubby came home from work this morning and needed to borrow a few dollars for breakfast. I know he chooses to not carry a credit or debit card so that we can save money, and he doesn’t often ask for cash, but for some reason I felt cranky about his request today. He noticed, of course, and called me on it. I was able to apologize, but I also wondered what was going on.

Maybe my crankiness is because I:

  • Didn’t sleep well last night
  • Haven’t had enough coffee (I’m only on cup one, and it’s already cold.)
  • Feel irritated about a missing item I thought for sure was on my desk
  • Am angry with myself for misplacing the missing item
  • Feel anxious about the kiddos’ dentist appointments since I’m not sure how my son will respond or how the technician will react to him
  • Am choosing to be angry instead of gracious.

No matter why I was acting cranky, I can’t deny the tension between us and acknowledge that I am not being gracious and need (and want) to be!

So what will I do about it? How can I handle these cranky moments?

1.I realize that I’m the problem. I’m annoyed and am letting that control how I act.

2. I take the time I need to get myself centered. Prayer, some time alone and a date with a book or my noise cancelling headphones and praise and worship music should get me back on track.

3. I set priorities. What NEEDS to be done before the kids and I head to the dentist? Do i need to check social media, find the missing item or do dishes? No. Instead, breakfast, gathering my purse, teeth brushing, quiet time and a second cup of coffee take priority with my limited time this morning.

Ahh, that’s better! I can think clearly now and am feeling more relaxed. Okay, day, let’s go and be kind!

What do you do when you feel cranky? What helps you relax and unwind? I’d love to hear your tips!

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#momtexts

Anyone a fan of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon? I am usually sleeping by the time he comes on, but someone shared his post on Facebook today, and I took a break from work to listen. It’s hilarious! Anyone have any funny #momtexts to share?

http://www.foreverymom.com/hilarious-mom-texts/?utm_content=buffere9aa4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Zones of Regulation: A Behavior Breakthrough

It’s a yellow/blue kind of day. I woke up feeling blah, and I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep well. Maybe it’s the donut I ate for breakfast. Maybe it’s the busy day I had yesterday at the pool.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad to be able to use the Zones of Regulation. They help me acknowledge how I feel and give me actionable steps to fix my day and prevent me from going into the angry zone.

I discovered the Zones of Regulation a few years ago. My son’s speech, occupational and behavior therapists encouraged us to use the Zones as part of our behavior toolbox. With the Zones, my son can figure out how he’s feeling. That’s the first step to regulating his behavior and helping him stay on an even keel so that he can learn.

Over the years, I’ve adopted the Zones, too. After all, I have emotions like my kids do. Plus, I can’t parent well if I’m not taking care of myself. Especially in the past few months, I’ve been using the Zones to keep in touch with my emotions and process my feelings.

What are the Zones of Regulation?

According to the Zones of Regulation website, the Zones is a “systematic, cognitive behavior approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones.  The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of, and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts.”

In a nutshell, the Zones help us figure out how we’re feeling. They also give us tools to help us manage and regulate our emotions. It’s a tool many therapists use, and it’s been a beneficial tool in our home.

zones-of-regulation

 

Think of the Zones as Traffic Signals

In an ideal world, everyone would be in the Green Zone all the time. As we all know, though, emotions change. Sometimes, we can go from Green to Yellow in a matter of seconds. Don’t believe me? Try saying no to a toddler and watch them change from cooperative to obstinate in a hurry!

That’s where the Zone traffic signals come into play. Like traffic signals tell you how to drive on the road, we use traffic signals to identify our Zones.

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Green means you’re good to go. In the Green Zone, run errands, clean the house and play games without worrying that someone will be overwhelmed, throw a fit or object to the activity.

Yellow cautions you to be aware. Slow down and take a few minutes to identify how you’re feeling. Then take steps to address the anxiety, get out the wiggles or deal with nervousness so that you can move forward.

Blue gives you an opportunity to rest or re-energize. Take it easy, rest and relax.

Red means stop. Make sure everyone is safe and step back. Don’t push, prod, nag or move forward until you have calmed down and are out of Red.

What Zone are you In?

The Zones of Regulation are a constant part of my family’s daily routine. We often ask each other, “What Zone are you in?” It helps us figure out where we’re at emotionally. Depending on the Zone we’re in, we can change our schedule or use other coping strategies like exercise or games to help us calm down, rest or feel better.

The Zones help my family, and they can help your family, too. Take a look at these resources for more information.

zonesofregulation.com

socialthinking.com

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What’s in your purse? :)  I found ticket stubs from a train ride we took two years ago, hair ties I haven’t seen in six months and used tissues in mine!

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We All Learn at Home

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When I first started this blog, I was homeschooling my two children. Home education had always been a dream of mine because I wanted my kids to have the opportunity to learn at their own pace and study topics that interested them. I also wanted a flexible schedule that allowed us to sleep in if necessary, enjoy a short school day and help my husband in his business.

We homeschooled for five years until my daughter asked to attend public school for third grade. To be honest, I resisted at first. It took a few weeks for me to let go of my dream. And it turned out to be the best decision we could have made for her because she flourished in her classroom.

The next year, her younger brother started public school under different circumstances. He has autism and other special needs, and his needs because more than I could handle at home. Because his transition to school was a little more challenging and because I was no longer homeschooling, I stopped writing this blog.

A month ago, I decided to revive it. I was reading through my journals over the last three years and realized that we have learned a ton of lessons in our home even though we were no longer doing school at home. I’m also a writer at heart and needed a space to express my thoughts, opinions and things I’m learning.

Seth Godin‘s blog post from July 3 hit a chord with me. He’s a writer and business mentor, and here are his words.

We are all home schooled

“Day after day, year after year, it’s the interactions we have at home that have the biggest impact on who we become.

Public school is an essential part of our culture. But the inputs and foundations that parents create are essential and they are truly difficult to outsource.

What would happen if you figured out how to spend two hours a day, every day, without electronics, with your kids? Looking them in the eye, being present, doing projects, setting standards, raising the bar, learning, seeing, hearing, connecting, challenging, questioning, being questioned…”

Whether you home, public, cyber or combo educate your kids, they and you are learning when you’re at home. You make an impact on  your kids, and they can teach  you lessons, too. I know my kids teach me new things every week. What have you learned today?

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What’s on Your Reading List?

my bookshelf

I spent the majority of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. My bus ride was always 30-45 minutes long, and I read almost the whole time. Plus, I often read at home. I remember an uncle teasing me for sitting in the corner with my nose in a book instead of socializing at a family gathering, and one night I dared to stay awake all night to read a mystery! I still fondly recall the hours I spent as a child with the horses of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family, Jim Kjelgaard and his dogs and Janette Oke’s courageous, strong and resilient pioneers.

It’s no surprise that one of my favorite things to do is visit the library. Every summer, I pick a shelf and grab all the books that look interesting. While my kids swim, when i need a break from my web content writing job or before bed, I read my way through the pile.

Another way I pick books is by selecting interesting titles from my handwritten list. Whenever friends and family members would recommend a good book, I’d write it on my list.  I also saved newspaper clippings that listed interesting books.When I needed a book to read, I’d log onto the library’s website, search the catalog and request the book. It would be waiting for me in a day or two, and I could stop by and feed my inner book lover.

My book search joined the technology age when I discovered Goodreads. It makes adding books to my “to read” list easy. I simply enter the title in the search bar and click “Want to Read.” When I’m ready to order books from the library, I browse my Goodreads list and pick something that sounds good. After I read the book, I can mark it as “Read” and even leave a rating – how fun is that?

Today, I found even more books to add to my list! Daphne Gray-Grant compiles a list twice a year of books she recommends. Check out her summer post on her blog.

I know some of the books on her list are going on my summer reading list. What’s on your reading list this summer? Post your recommendations in the comments or friend me on Goodreads.

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Summer Literacy Ideas

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Summer has officially started in my house. That means we get to sleep in, go to the pool and start reading. Every year, our local library hosts a summer reading program, and the kids earn rewards for reading.This year, they can earn an ice cream cone, comic book, admission to the local ice skating rink and bowling.

While my daughter eagerly embraces the challenge, my son is not so enthusiastic. He does not enjoy opening a book and discovering its treasures.

I found this list of alternative reading options for him at http://childhood101.com/2015/10/10-things-to-read-with-kids/

*Magazines
*Closed captioning
*Menus
*Cereal boxes
*Comics
*Seed packets
*Billboards

What else would you recommend?

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Key Lime Angel Food Bars

key lime angel food bars

Sometime in the past few months, I bought a can of key lime pie filling. It must have been an impulse buy because it’s been sitting in my pantry collecting dust. That never would have happened with chocolate, but I digress.

Today, I decided to use it. My daughter made Key Lime Angel Food bars, and they are refreshing and light. Here’s the recipe she adapted from food.com. Enjoy!

http://www.food.com/recipe/lemon-angel-bars-76520

  • 1 angel food cake mix
  • 1 14 cups cold water
  • 1 can pie filling

 

Heat oven to 350.

Beat cake mix and water on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add pie filling and mix well.

Pour into ungreased 15×10 jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

Bake 25 minutes.

Top with powdered sugar, lime glaze or frosting.

 

 

 

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May I Have a Compromise?

While my hubby watches TV, my son plays Minecraft with his friend and my daughter enjoys a sleepover, I’m getting a head start on work for the week.

One of my writing topics is compromise. We already compromise and negotiate in our home a lot. I figure it’s a good way to give my kids a voice. I do not want to be a dictator, and everyone deserves to have a say in most sitations.

That’s why I was excited to find this interesting perspective on the topic at empoweredtoconnect.org. I definitely think “May I have a compromise?” is going to become a new mantra in my home! What about yours?

May I Have a Compromise?

By:

When people hear our kids ask, “May I have a compromise?” they tend to look at us a bit funny. They seem completely confused when we respond to our kids as if their request for a compromise is normal. But at our house it is normal. In fact, it’s a request we hear no less than a dozen times each day.

We began teaching our kids to ask for compromises when our now five-year old daughter was only two. We figured that she was old enough to have a conversation with us, so she was old enough to begin learning how to compromise.

One thing we’ve noticed over the years among kids who are adopted or in foster care is that they tend to have control issues — sometimes really BIG control issues. Many kids (and parents) struggle with control issues, but this especially true for adopted and foster kids that come from homes or situations where most, if not all, of their world was out of control.  Sometimes these kids had to raise younger siblings, or had to fend for themselves to find their next meal. Sometimes these kids had to use control and manipulation to stay safe, both physically and emotionally.  And some of these kids resorted to control as an attempt to mask their lack of trust and feed their desire to avoid being hurt, neglected, or abandoned ever again. Control is often an “all or nothing” proposition for these kids, and when they come to our homes they aren’t willing to easily give up the control they’ve worked so hard to get.

In our home we’ve decided we are going to help our kids deal with their control issues not by taking control away from them, but by sharing control with them. Share control with our kids?  Sounds crazy. After all, we are the parents so we need to show our kids that we are in control, right? The thinking goes that they need to respect our authority or everything will devolve into chaos. We followed this way of thinking for a while, but showing our kids that we were in control was NOT working. As we tried to suddenly take all the control away from them what we got in return were power struggles and the very chaos we were trying to avoid. What worked, however, was a very simple solution…compromise.

The insight that helped us grasp this approach was actually something that Dr. Karyn Purvis said – “If you as a parent share power with your children, you have proven that it’s your power to share.”  This helped me understand that I get to decide when and how much power to share when I offer my kids a compromise.  And offering compromises doesn’t mean that I lose control or give my kids all of the control.  It means that I teach them how to share power and control appropriately and by doing so, I teach them an essential skill for healthy relationships.

Here’s how a compromise works at our house:

Me: Son, please go clean your room.
Son: (who is playing a videogame) Sure mom. May I have a compromise?
Me: What’s your compromise?
Son: May I finish this level on my game and then go do it?

Since that is an acceptable middle ground I will typically say sure and let him finish the level before going to clean his room. Of course this is an ideal conversation. Often times it goes more like this:

Me: Son, please go get your room cleaned up.
Son: (who is playing a video game) Ugh!! Can’t I just finish this level first?
Me: Whoa! I don’t like that tone. Are you asking for a compromise?
Son: Yes.
Me: I’m listening.
Son: May I have a compromise?
Me: What’s your compromise?
Son: May I finish this level on my game and then go do it?
Me: Sure! That’s a good job asking for a compromise!

Learning compromises takes practice for both kids and parents.  As they learn this skill, it’s important to praise your kids when they ask for a compromise correctly (even if you have to prompt them). Still the risk remains that your child might not hold up his end of the deal.  So, as you start using compromises it’s important to remind your kids that if they don’t hold up their end of the compromise, then you won’t be able to offer as many compromises in the future.  Contrary to what I thought would happen, my kids have always held up their end of the compromise.  As a result, we have had far fewer control battles.

By using compromises our kids have learned that they have a voice. They know that I can’t always give them or agree to a compromise, but they also know that I will as often as I can.  And the funny thing is that they now are able to accept ‘no’ much better than in the past.

Remember – compromising is NOT about allowing our kids to argue or debate with us, nor is it about losing our control or giving them all of the control. It is about sharing power – our power.  Compromises give our kids a voice and allow them to RESPECTFULLY ask for what they want and need.  And compromises give us as parents the opportunity to teach our kids an important way of relating that builds trust and connection.

http://empoweredtoconnect.org/may-i-have-a-compromise/

 

 

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