Practical Pages

http://practicalpages.wordpress.com

My blog features free notebook and lapbook pages, art ideas and practical homeschooling tips, organization tips & plans, crafts & projects, tutorials and loads of other links & downloads!

What do you think are the greatest advantages of homeschooling?

What advice would you give to a mom who is considering homeschooling her child?

What's one homeschooling challenge you've faced, and what solutions did you find?

What's a good way to motivate and support children who are struggling to learn a certain school subject?

Nadene

This is exactly why I love homeschooling - you can tailor-make your approach and style so that every child loves to learn and manages at his own pace and learning style! I wrote how to turn those frowns upside down where I suggest you: 1.Assess - find out what is wrong or why your child struggles. I list many factors. 2.Plan - pray, play, keep things simple, short and sweet, find fun activities that build skills 3.Motivate - I have a whole list of ideas in my post, but here's a sneaky preview: # Plan your timetable together. Let them choose with you. # Put 1 fun activity in each day. # Create short lessons. # Use the motivational ideas such as the workbox systems/ ticking off a task list/ surprise gifts/ sweets for completed work(I don't endorse this, but it works for some) / star charts etc. # Do difficult work in a new way. Play educational games, fun drills, songs. Use different techniques until you find the one that works best. # Stick to the time limits. Keep the lesson short and sweet. # Keep one day of the week for informal studies/nature studies/ music/ art and poetry. # Be prepared. Set up the schoolroom the night before. Put out a new activity or create a surprise. Kids love this! A simple encouraging note at their place will do wonders! You’ll also start the day with a twinkle in your eye! Blessings, Nadene http://practicalpages.wordpress.com
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What's a great developmental toy for preschoolers?

Nadene

Nothing delights a pre-schooler more than sand or water! A sand box in a corner (with a plastic tablecloth around it to catch the spills) with some spades, funnels, spoons, tubs and buckets will keep a pre-schooler happy for hours. Sensory objects and a strainer will be a wonderful alternative. Change the toys to a bag of plastic dinasaurs for a few days, or some cars and pick-up trucks with some road signs and ask them to make roads, or let them make imagination gardens and castles, and kids will find new and interesting things to make and create. In the summer a very large bowl of water on a plastic table outside can keep pre-schoolers facinated. Some bubble bath or a box of things that float or sink, funnels, and jugs and pouring things will keep them happy (and cool) for ages. Let them create an undersea world with some plactic objects and toys for creative play. Let them have paper boat races, or cork boat races blowing these across with straws. Free (almost) and fun!
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How do you get a fidgety or unfocused child to sit and do homework?

Nadene

I have found that active young children learn best when moving, so I try keep the desk-work sessions short and do some fun quick physical activities in between like ~ skip with a rope while calling out times tables, hopping on 1 leg down the passage and back on the other, let them do wheelbarrow races (walking in hands while someone holds their feet) across the room, bounce on a mini trampoline calling out spelling, do jumping jacks ... then quickly back to the table for the next work session. Consider a gym ball instead of a chair. It requires those small wiggles to maintain balance and stimulates core muscle strength. Use a timer to keep focus till the bell rings. Start with the hard stuff first and do the fun stuff at the end. Variety keeps their interest, so change things around a bit now and then. Offer activities to keep busy hands while listening - play with play dough, colour in, build models with sticks, build puzzles.
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What is the best place to raise children: city, suburbs, or a rural town?

Nadene

Often we can't choose, but we can make the best of where we are and join up with a few like-valued families and create a nurturing community right where you are. Having lived in all three types of places over the past 18 years of marriage, I'd choose a rural town as the best for family life. When we moved to a farm we saw a gentle and deep "unwinding" from media, rush and constant stimulation to a quieter, more relevant lifestyle. My young kids love playing outdoors, and connect with nature and animals. The older children love to meet and play with other like-minded children and it is safe and easy for them to walk to friends. My older teenager and her friends are amazingly creative and come up with all sorts of community events - games afternoons, swims for all the children at a dam, barn dances , they even formed a band and sang to the neighbors in the town. Wherever you are, simply take time to walk outdoors, or go on a hike, or visit a park, or meet friends for unhurried, social time. Find what fills you and your child's soul and nurture that wherever you happen to be.
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Share a fun craft that can be done at birthday parties (include a link to a photo)

Nadene

We had a fantastic Polk Dot Party with recycled toys and fun, frugal activities! Pop over to http://practicalpages.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/recycled-toys-and-ideas-for-a-polka-dot-party/ for the photos and post details. The kids made the newspaper and string balls and had a "ball" with skittles and cut-off plastic milk bottles "buckets". They had a blast playing "knock the scarecrow's hat" and other fun games. In the post I've included a download with the menu and food ideas, cootie details, skittle and milk bottle ball catcher designs and all the other fun party ideas.
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What's a great item to include in a birthday goodie bag? Please include a link to a photo if you have one.

Nadene

We like to pack a craft kit in our party goodie bag. If there is time,we make a craft gift together and the kiddies take it home with them. Otherwise, we make a sample and show them or let them make whatever they feel like. Eg: a packet of beads, elastic and a charm or a paper doll kit we drew and made copies for each child or a paper weight kit with a pebble, some wire, a glow in the dark star and some stickers or a flower kit with some seeds, a flower pot, soil in a bag and instructions
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What's a creative gift wrap idea? Please share a link to a blog post if you have one!

Nadene

We love to pack gifts in a useful container - a pot plant holder, or a watering can, or even a window box (for a gardener's gift). We have re-cycled clear plastic cold drink bottles and cut them to form baskets or containers for gifts. We have even made our own sturdy gift bags from recycled milk or juice boxes - rinsed and dried, covered with gift wrap or modge-podged and we pierce holes and insert 2 rope handles Our favourite gift wrap is plain paper or newswrap decorated with child artworks, splatter paints, stencil work, doodles and we use matching ribbon or contrast paper to make stylish and unique gift wrap.
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Have you found a terrific printable toy? Share the link, and let us know what ages it's best for.

Nadene

My girls first created their own paper dolls. I later added paper men and dolls from all historical eras. They love coloring them and playing with them. www.papertoys.com have some wonderful free 3D paper models. These are fabulous for "busy hands" while I read aloud. I just look for something relevant to the theme we are reading. Later we photograph the model, then squish it flat and paste it in our notebooks.
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