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Think Earth Day with Recycled Homeschooling Supplies

I was an early homeschool mom, starting in 1994. When I homeschooled our four children, we lived on one income in a mobile home. Space and money was limited. Here is my diy, budget homeschooling materials list. I've included organization and storage tips, using shoeboxes, plastic laundry bins and plastic bins with drawers. These are perfect Earth Day activities!  Recycled, Inexpensive Storage and Supplies for Home-Schooling

Holy Week Easter Egg Devotional Craft for Palm Sunday to Easter

Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant Christians observe Lent, a journey on the way of sorrows which Our Lord took on His way to the cross. Easter, then is a celebration of the Passion, death, resurrection and triumph of Christ. For us, Easter is a New Birth. Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday and goes through the triduum--Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. Here's a Holy Week devotional craft using Easter eggs   Easter Egg Religious Devotional Craft -- A Spiritual Journey

Free Printable Catholic Chrisitan Holy Week, Easter Triduum Coloring Pages

Lent is the holiest season of the Catholic church year. During Lent, we follow Jesus on His journey to Calvary. We fast, pray and give alms in imitation of Christ's suffering and in reparation for our sins. Lent ends with Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. From there, we follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) also called that Stations of the Cross. The last three days of Lent are called the Easter or paschal triduum. "Paschal" refers to the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. The Easter Triduum begins at sundown on Holy (Maundy) Thursday, continjues through Good Friday, Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday) and on to Easter Sunday. Here are free printable coloring pages to help children explore the paschal mysteries of Christ's EasterFree Printable Catholic Holy Week, Easter Triduum Coloring Pages

Triduum.

World War Two Maritime, Naval Lesson Plans

 I'm a former homeschool mom and if there is one thing I know, it's how to sniff out cheap, educational experiences! The kids are grown but we still think that way. On our most recent trip to Louisiana, my husband researched an inexpensive venue that was well-received by everyone. Well, I say "venue" but it was really a boat--a WWII naval destroyer, the U.S.S.Kidd. And here are printable lesson plans on U.S. military naval vessels from WWII. Must-Visit USS Kidd Destroyer in Baton Rouge 

How to Organize Writing by Outline, Write 10 Short, Quality Articles

I'm a full-time online freelancer. Between all my writing jobs and the 55 blogs I maintain, I compose roughly 2,000 to 5,000 words per work day. So the 400 character posts like those we write on Bubblews are a piece of cake, even considering I write about twice the minimum. Here's how to outline and organize a series of 10 quality pieces of content.  How to Write 10 Quality Bubblews Posts in an Hour

Why Catholics Give Up Things for Lent, Spiritual and Physical Fasting

Today on Ash Wednesday, Catholics begin Lent which follows Christ’s passion, death and resurrection at Easter. Part of our Lenten practice is to fast from vices or luxuries in imitation of Christ’s sufferings. We deny ourselves to get closer to God. Here are tips for kids on celebrating Lent.Why Catholics Give Up Things for Lent, Spiritual and Physical Fasting

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Lent Activities

 Mardi Gras, (Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day) anticipates Ash Wednesday and Lent. Although used synonymously with the Carnival ("farewell to the flesh") celebration, Mardi Gras is one day. It is also called "Shrove Tuesday." "Shrove" or "shriven" means to be purged. Here are activities for to transition form Fat Tuesday feasting into Ash Wednesday and Lent.Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Lent Activities for Families


World Religion Teacher Skips Pagan, Mythology For Jedi

I'm big on solidarity with teachers. Being a scrappy union girl, I'll take their part any day over administration. But lazy teaching still irks me. Being certified and unable to find work myself, teachers bungling a job I could do blindfolded colossally peeves me.



Case in point: our daughter's world religion teacher. He taught the major five--Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam. Cursorily and too fast if you ask me--class has only been in session for two months, pock-marked by snow days. Now he has time left, so he polled them on what to end with. The choices were Greek or Roman mythology or Jedi. World Religion Teacher Ignores Pagan, Mythology For Jedi

Why Little Black Sambo Is Not Racist, Is Good Childrens Literature

I have a confession to make. My oldest daughter's favorite book, when she was two, was "Little Black Sambo," by Helen Bannerman. I feel like I should whisper ashamedly to admit that. Sambo has developed a cult hatred by those who believe the book to be racist and stereotyped. I looked at the images and concepts inside out and can't find any problem with. And normally, I would be the first to object. Granted, I didn't grow up in the era when it was written. So I can't speak to Bannerman's perspective. But then none of us living now were living in 1898, no one can claim to know what prompted her. I can find no shame of, only love for her main character in her writing.



Initially, I had no idea people found it racist, but even when I found out, I didn't stop reading it. Sambo is one of my favorite children in literature. And he was my daughter's too. How could I tell a toddler that I wouldn't read her favorite book? It's not like it was Penthouse! This is my apology (in the defense sense of the word) for and to Little Black Sambo. I'm connecting it to Black History Month because I think it should be read with pride and joy. An Apology for Little Black Sambo

Healthy School Snack Menu For Alphabet Lesson Plans

I'm a special needs certified teacher and former homeschooler. My big thing in teaching is to make learning interactive and multisensory. My students didn't just see and hear. They touched, smelled, tasted, did. I love to use food to teach. Here's a menu of school snacks for each letter of the alphabet. I've done letters up to F and will do other letters later. Click the link +Alphabet-food.

 Healthy School Snack Menu For Letter F

Jewish Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Lesson Plans

January 27 marks Yom Hashoah, the UN Day of Remembrance commemorating of the Jewish Holocaust. The Holocaust is remembered on this day because it is the day which the Russians liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland. An estimated 6 million Jewish people died in what Heinrich Himmler of Hitler's third Reich called the Final Solution to the 'Jewish Problem'.  Jewish Holocaust Memorial Lesson Plans and Web Help 

Establishing Your Writer Style and Voice.

I've been writing and blogging online for pay since 2005. I earn sustainable income, enough that I could quit my job and work at home. I write tips on how to do that. Today's is: follow your bliss, not someone else's. Write to your interests and knowledge base. Do what works for you. Don't try to imitate someone else you perceive to be more successful.   Writing for the Web 101 Follow Your Bliss (Not Others)

Books for Chinese New Year Grades Preschool to Grade 2

 Chinese New Year celebrates the culture of the east. CNY 2014 is Year of the Horse. What better way to explore oriental culture than with literature? Here is a collection of kids' books of oriental wisdom. Some books are specifically Chinese stories and others are Japanese Buddhist stories. The Chinese New Year encompasses its traditional animals of the zodiac. Since most Buddhist stories involve animals, I thought these books would be appropriate. These stories are suited to children preschool to grade 2.
Childrens' Literature for Chinese New Year and Oriental Culture: Preschool Through Second Grade

Best Gifts for Teen Boys--Music

 Teen boys can be tricky to shop for when buying holiday and birthday gifts. When our two boys, now 23 and 21 were little, it was no problem: Matchbox, Legos, tools, sports equipment--they loved them all. Then the boys hit adolescent and got complicated. We didn't want to buy gifts that would embarrass. Though they still liked toys, we had to be careful not to patronize.  Best Gifts for Teen Boys--Musical Instruments

Feast of the Immaculate Conception Activities for Children

Dec. 8 marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic liturgical calendar. As this fell on Sunday in 2013, the holy day was moved to Dec. 9 and is not a day of obligation. I remember this was the first mass I attended when I started dating my husband. I was raised protestant.

Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin so that she could birth the Messiah, Jesus and honor her on this day. Here are activities for parents and children to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Advent, a Christmas preparatory season during which the feast falls.  Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Advent Activities for Parents and Children

Free Printable Advent, Feast of the Immaculate Conception Lessons

December 8 normally marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. For 2013, it's observed Monday, Dec. 9 because the 8th fell on Sunday. Immaculate Conception is one of six recognized Holy Days in the liturgical calendar. Here are free printable activities and lessons to celebrate this feast day. I've gone through all the noted Catholic websites and linked this article to children's liturgy activities that explore the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother.  Free Printable 'Feast of the Immaculate Conception' Activities

Advent Math, Writing Service Project Craft

So many of us have found Christmas to be far more about receiving than giving with our children. It's not that kids are so selfish, it's that marketing campaign target kids and bombard them with images of thousands of 'must-have' toys, gadgets and goodies. Who can blame kids for wanting all that cool stuff. To say, 'you're selfish' to a child is to state an obvious, but not necessarily negative fact of childhood. Telling them not to want things is pointless. But we can give them lots of positive, proactive opportunities to practice giving, sharing and caring.  Advent Math, Writing Project Craft

Free Printable Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas Cards to Color

We're fortunate in the US, to have diverse ethnic and religious groups. Each gives us unique holiday traditions and cultural observances to enjoy. That's particularly true around the winter holidays. Here are free printable Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah greeting cards. Print in black and white so kids can color them (double fun for one craft.). I suggest having kids find friends or neighbors who celebrate different holidays. Make cards for them. This makes a good social studies lesson. It expands students' world view. Read on
Free Printable Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas Color Your Own Greeting Cards

Free Printable Children's Books for Preschool

 Here in Michigan everyone is kvetching about how early it gets dark and how cold it is. We had the first below-freezing day. Our dune beach grass was coated with snow. Winter is upon us. Parents and teachers, looking for stuck-in-the-house activities for kids? How about free printable books to make?  Free Printable Books for Children

Free Printable Apple Unit

Apples are the perfect theme for fall lessons. Here's an interactive, cross-curricular apple unit with crafts, recipes, science, art, creative writing, math, social studies, practical life, field trips and community-builders. I've added free printable apple-themed lesson plans and worksheets for activity extenders. Preschool Apple Unit, Cross-Curricular Hands-on Crafts, Activities, Recipes 

Non-Scary Halloween Crafts, Cards, Games to Print

Hey all you homeschoolers, with Halloween approaching you might find kids a tad restless. Even if you don't celebrate. There's just something in the air! How about this? Print some Halloween crafts free and let kids practice cutting and math skills in hands-on ways? These printables are not scary and very cute. I'd call them vintage. Use preschool, elementary, even middle school or high school. Use for special needs to boost perceptual and scissors skills. Use for interactive math measurement. Read on.  Free Printable Halloween Crafts, Cards, Games, Toys

Why I Am Dressing Up in Spooky Costume this Halloween

For the first time in a long time, I'll be dressing up in a scary costume for Halloween. I'm doing our local history "Haunted Museum" day for which I'll need a vintage-spooky costume. I wouldn't normally participate in a haunted event. I'm not convinced frightening children is healthy. And I'm not sure it fits with Christian Catholic teaching.

My costume will be historical--Boadicea, Warrior Queen of the Iceni. So it has historical merit. I'm also down-playing the gruesome. Just a simple belly wound or noose to indicate that she killed herself. I will arm myself with information about my character so I can explain that she's not just a ghoul but a martyr.

As Catholic homeschoolers, we always did All Saints Day parties and costumes instead of Halloween. My kids never wanted to be anything really creepy. But I was thinking, that if your kids did want to do a scary costume, you could compromise and let them do martyr, saint or Bible character who was killed. Church history is full of those. You could help them emphasize the story behind the macabre. I always had kids research the person they were dressing as. They'd write bios and present character sketches. This is educational and helps them connect and empathize. Maybe this sounds like a cop-out. But I think it's a good way to teach kids, help them explore their theatrical creativity and get inside the lives of these people we read about. Picture is public domain-- Boadicea.  Why I Am Dressing Up in Spooky Costume this Halloween

Engage Kids in Home Maintenance and Build Self-Reliance Skills

We're minimalist parents and homeschooled our four children in a small mobile then an old fixer-upper house. We also try to live like the American transcendentalists of the 1800s--DIY and self-reliant. Home maintenance and repair was integral to our homeschooling. Often schools teach impractical disciplines, like algebra, that students will never use. They don't teach applications and real-world connections. Kids promptly forget material that has no bearing in their lives. I taught practical skills interactively. Now our kids are self-reliant, productive and sensible. They budget, save and care for themselves. Here are ways to teach these skills to kids. Involve Kids in Home Maintenance, Repairs--Teach Self-Reliance

Healthy Apple Themed Treats Kids Can Make

 Preschool lessons tend to follow weekly themes. So I thought, why not write a week of recipes for school snacks that kids can help make? Make lessons hands on getting kids in the kitchen and cooking! Last month's theme was Back to School snacks. Now for late September, this week's theme is autumn apple harvest. Here are fall-inspired kids snacks, easy, cheap, fresh and lunchbox-friendly. Being from the apple capitol--Michigan--I'm kind of an apple connoisseur. My favorites for cooking, baking and eating are Macintosh, Jonathon, Granny Smith, Jonamac, Paula Red and Ida Red. Weekly Menu, Healthy Apple Themed Kids Treats for September. Oh and for more great apple math and science activities, here's my article on that! Appletastic fun.

How to Rescue Toddler Messes and Make Something Awesome!

In 2000, I was homeschooling our elder three, baby was 2 and I was pregnant with number 5. Life veered toward crazy on a daily basis. It was during one of these hectic homeschool mornings, somewhere between Latin, algebra and a tectonic plates experiment, that the toddler decided to bake a cake.

And being made by a toddler, it wasn't destined to be anything but an epic oopsie. No I don't mean THAT kind of oops. Gross. And just how did a toddler access the baking supplies cupboard? Clearly, whoever asks has never encountered a kid. Children have reflexes of a mongoose and speed of Ninjas. Here's a little vignette on how we repurposed that cake fail, keeping toddler's feelings intact, and won accolades at the church potluck. (Toddler is the charming young lady on the right, now a teen). How to Rescue a Toddler Oopsie Cake
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