Is Reading a Low Priority? 9 Ways to Encourage Reading In Your Home

9 easy ways to help your family learn to love to read, no matter their ages

"I assign 30 minutes of reading each night," said my 6th grader's reading teacher at Back to School Night. Then, he shrugged and finished his sentence. "But we all know that reading is the lowest priority for the kids and they aren't doing it." Say what?! Nope. My husband and I weren't happy with that at all. Reading is what comes first in our family, and there's a good reason for it: we've always embraced and encouraged reading, and a reading teacher who isn't going to do that is a genuine … [Read more...]

Putting fun in learning: use Play-Doh (plus, a classroom giveaway for an awesome teacher!)

so many fun ways to learn with Play-Doh! and a teacher giveaway!

As forever the parent who forgets to bring the distractions to activities, I loved learning this easy distraction trick when a mom had a few extra canisters of Play-Doh in her bag. Borrowing just a small canister each, I noticed the kids were engrossed in created their own games and activities with the little bits of compound. Soon, several kids of all ages pressed out shapes, balls, worms, practiced creating letters and began to create sculptures. As I glanced over to one of my kids, I … [Read more...]

How To Use Note Cards to Help with Homework and Learning

Help kids learn writing, reading, math and phonics the easy and fun way -- with note cards

From homework to spelling activities to games, there are so many ways to use note cards (3x5, 4x6, 5x7 or other sizes) to help your children learn and help them with homework. I always keep them on hand--in fact, they're hidden in drawers in most rooms in our home. Here are some ways to use note cards to help your children with homework. Using note cards to supplement learning 3x5 cards are the easiest way to reinforce a spelling  word, a word pattern or a math problem. When my kids are … [Read more...]

How to help your child learn to describe

how to teach kids to describe and use describing words in speaking and, later, writing

"What's that?" she says, pointing at something we're passing. "I don't know," I reply. "I'm driving." My daughter and I have this exact exchange of words countless times a day. It twists my insides, how often I have to ask her to describe the object that she's referring. Describe. Describe. Describe. I want to burn it into her head. Then, I remember that teaching kids to describe isn't easy. They imagine you can see exactly what they see and will naturally focus on exactly the item which they're … [Read more...]

Need an inside activity for your kids? Here’s how to get hours and hours of quiet fun

Hours and hours of fun, the kids rarely realize how much education is involved in creating and playing games

Game creation is an excellent way to teach children to create and solve problems on their own. When given the opportunity, they'll use many learning elements, such as math, writing, reading, geography and, sometimes, science, all without probing and pushing from parents and teachers. And making a game is simple with very little supplies and a lot of reward. It also offers the opportunity to cater to both competitive and cooperative learning. On a Tuesday after a doctor appointment, rather … [Read more...]

Back to School Supplies Your Teacher Left Off the List

back to school supplies that your teacher left off the list but you should buy right now

The school supply list. It's on everymom's mind and a part of everymom's conversation this month. It’s a prized possession or an abhorred asset. Either way, it’s necessary and, my friends, it's time to start back to school shopping. Fast. Because you’ll want to buy all the things you’ll need before the stores run out of stock and you’re left running around trying to track down the specific kinds of pencils and erasers your child’s teacher requested.   School Supply List Must-Haves, … [Read more...]

7 Journal Prompts to inspire writing with details

7 journal prompts to get kids writing with details

I've probably always been a writer. It came naturally for me. Others, though, have a lot more difficulty finding the right words and placing them on paper. Some find it difficult, frustrating and intimidating. Either way, even when it's difficult, writing can be one of the most rewarding areas of learning for children and encouraging writing practice on a consistent basis will help children to become stronger, more confident writers. Below are writing prompts to help inspire children to write … [Read more...]

Basic Reading Skills: Games to expand a child’s phonological awareness

easy games you can play to teach your kids basic reading skills

Even in grad school, I continued to confuse the emergent literacy terms phonics, phonemic awareness and phonological awareness, so it's difficult to imagine a Kindergarten parent without training in education having a strong grasp on what teachers and reading specialists are working with their children to understand. Therefore, it's probably even more difficult for a parent to gather ideas on how to make the learning process fun for her beginning reader. I'll try to break down the differences … [Read more...]

How to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

4 easy steps to get ready for kindergarten

With the start of Kindergarten just a few weeks away, here are some easy activities you can begin doing now to prepare your child and give her a fresh, exciting start in August or September. Learn Independence Separation anxiety occurs just as much for a kindergartner as it will for the parent. Whether your child has been in full-day day care or or playgroups, she’s likely been away from your side for a few hours in the past. But over the summer, it’s easy to fall into the side-by-side … [Read more...]

How to host a kid-run water carnival

easy and cheap ideas for kids to host a water carnival for friends -- a great list of activities for the summer. Check out the water balloon ideas

A hot week was ahead of us, when my kids announced their plans to host a Water Carnival. As a mom who loves when her children embrace a project from beginning to completion, I agreed to be a guide, but they happily accepted the positions of Carnival Managers.   Together, we sat down and started planning out the event. First, we brainstormed the vital information, creating an invitation list, setting the date and times (when I suggested first thing in the morning, the kids pointed … [Read more...]