Helping Homeschoolers Through Homepages

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Helping Homeschoolers
If you have little kids and you sit down and think about all the schooling they have left, you can practically fall over with joy and fear. You want to keep them as long as possible but also teach them to grow and mature. You want them to become strong students, strong learners, and strong communicators. Improving their writing techniques and skills helps them on all fronts of their education but also in life. Being a good writer and communicator are two important skills to have that need to be taught early and nurtured through adulthood.

Give them tools and framework they can use to improve from childhood through adulthood. It’s ok to not know everything about grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Even paid writers use resources all the time to check their grammar and make sure that semi-colon belongs or the dash is really an em-dash and not an en-dash. Learning the basics of grammar, punctuation, style, and sentence structure is important for their future.

Even if your children are still in elementary school, it’s important to teach them the basics, and if you’re looking for an overall amazing tool, the Perdue O.W.L. is perfect. I love using the Perdue O.W.L. (Online Writing Lab) because it has everything you need on one website. It has grammar help, research help, teacher and tutor resources, subject-specific writing tools, and even exercises! Another perk is the Purdue O.W.L. is open to adding resources upon request. This website covers all the basics for younger children but also explains more complicated rules when your children reach middle or high school. It’s one of the ultimate writing resources for homeschoolers and professionals.

With all the help of the Internet, sometimes it can be hard to tell whether the work your child did is truly their own. That’s why I like to use Grammarly not only as a grammar check but also for plagiarism. When you are homeschooling a bunch of older kids, it can be difficult to tell whether they’ve learned and applied the material or copied and pasted. The Internet can be extremely helpful, but using tools like Grammarly can clearly identify which ideas are your child’s and which are not. Grammarly also clearly shows all of the errors with markings, has an adaptive spell checker, and has context optimized synonyms to help kids learn readability through word choice. This tool is thorough and definitely assists in the improvement of your child’s writing in addition to teaching them at the same time.

Now if you’re looking for a well-researched collection of links to writing resources, homeschool help, writing contests, and more, WriteShop is one of your best bets. WriteShop does the work for you. With a collection of tons of different resources, this all-in-one website can become one of your go-to tools. From word games to reference, magazines to term papers, this site makes finding homeschool writing help easy. Just as a little secret between you and me, it’s fun too! Writing contests and games for kids of all ages! Homeschooling allows you to choose the lesson plans; why not add a little more fun to learning? Don’t worry if you’re new to homeschooling. WriteShop also hands you the tools to create an exemplary homeschooling experience for your children. Whether you’re seasoned or a newbie, WriteShop will help improve your child’s writing with all of the various tools they provide.

From learning the basics of writing to composing elegant and well-researched papers, I think these resources can provide huge resources for homeschoolers. Making learning fun is part of what makes homeschooling unique. Teaching writing or mechanics or grammar can be frustrating, but don’t fret, these tools will make it easy for you and exciting for your children!

Guest Post by Author Nikolas Baron: My passion rests in researching and learning how to help others improve their writing and English skills. Whether it’s through what tools to use, what styles are trending, or the best writing improvement techniques, my work at Grammarly not only assists users but aids in enhancing our product strategy.

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.

Fun and Easy Kids Party Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.

Cowboys

With my kids’ birthdays running from June through October, I thought it might be fun to share a birthday party post from our guest blogger, Nancy.

I love to make my children’s parties memorable. I remember the parties my Mom threw for me when I was little. She was so creative in an era before Pinterest or Google. My siblings and I had treasure hunt parties, piñata parties, dress up parties, sports parties and more. Everyone always loved my Mom’s ideas. Well, although I don’t think I am quite as creative as my mother I can still enjoy planning a fun party or two. Here are some great kids’ party ideas that are easy enough that even I can’t mess it up:

  1. Cowboy Theme – I love cowboys. Probably because I was raised in Texas. However a cowboy themed party sounded a little complex for me. But I discovered it could be easy. You can make horses with some old sticks and a sock puppet. Get a large brown sock and stuff it tight. Then add button or sticker eyes and a yarn mane. Attach the sock to the end of an old broom stick or other large straight stick and you have horses for the whole group to rise around on. If you are extra creative you can even sew on triangle ears and tie a rope rein around the nose. Add some dollar store cowboy hats and maybe a water gun or two and you can have a yee haw of a time!
  2. Rainbow Theme – I love bright colors. For a younger child nothing is more fun than a rainbow of colors everywhere you look. This is a super easy theme to go with. Decorate a wall with rows of balloons shaped like a rainbow. Thumb tacks work well to hold them on. You can give kids a healthy rainbow snack by stacking up fresh fruit, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and so on into a rainbow platter. Make Rice Crispy Treats with Fruity Pebbles or Trix cereal instead for a bright treat. You can also buy rainbow colored sour band candy and cut them into tiny rainbows to put on top of blue sky frosted cupcakes. Hang ribbons down from the ceiling in rainbow shades and have the kids journey through a rainbow. They love the way the ribbon tickles their faces! They can also make rainbow necklaces with gummy Lifesavers and yarn. Fun and tasty!
  3. Underwater Theme – Under the sea is a magical place for kids. There are so many fun treats for this theme. You can hang paper fish from the ceiling, have them catch magnet fish in a kiddie pool, or even have them draw and design their own fish creations to take home. Food wise, you can do an easy variation of a cake pop. Take a large marshmallow on a stick and dip it into thin blue frosting. Frosting can be made with powdered sugar and milk and a little food coloring. Before the icing dries completely, add a Goldfish cracker to the side to make a fishbowl treat! You can also make a frozen treat with clear white grape juice and gummy fish. Use small paper cups and pour in the grape juice, leaving room for expansion. Let it freeze for a while until it gets slushy. Then drop in a couple of gummy fish and insert a craft stick. Let it freeze completely, unwrap and serve! You can do a similar thing with Jell-O. Fill small clear cups or a large clean fishbowl with blue Jell-O. Let it solidify a bit and then drop in gummy fish. Let it get solid and then serve. A cool aquarium is ready to eat!
  4. Dress Up Party – For boys and girls alike, this theme is so adaptable. You can create a dressing room out of a large box, like for a refrigerator. Color it to look like a telephone booth for superhero dress up or like a star’s dressing room for movie dress up. Supply a small box full of capes (material with a ribbon attached), hats, masks and wands (from the dollar store), and even jewelry. You can have kids make their own superhero mask by getting plain ones from the store and giving them glue, glitter and beads. Or let them create jewelry with yarn and beads or macaroni. Then set up a photo booth area with fun backgrounds or cutouts to stick your head through. You can buy backgrounds at the dollar store too or just make ones out of cardboard and markers.
  5. Witch and Wizard Theme – For all those Harry Potter fans, this is the theme for your next party. For a fun party get a few large men’s black button down shirts at the Goodwill to use for robes. Black witch hats can be purchased at the dollar store. You can have kids gather sticks or find your own to make wands. Give them black markers to decorate the wands. They can also make broomsticks by collecting one large stick and a bunch of twigs and tying them to the end of the large stick with twine or yarn. You can also set up a supply of appropriate sized sticks at a craft table if you would like. Face painting kits can allow kids to make their own scars and they can also do potion experiments like fuzzy sodas with Sprite and Kool-Aid. Set up a hunt for witch’s brew, like plastic snakes, eye balls, lizards and so on. Make magic goo with cornstarch and water. If you mix the water in (with your fingers) just until the cornstarch mixture flows very slowly you will get an amazing goo. It is sometimes solid and sometimes liquid. If you hit it then it will be hard but if you move it then it will pour! Kids love it. Add food coloring for fun colors and let them get into it!
  6. Monster Theme – Got a bunch of little monsters on your hands? Have a great time with a monster themed party! Have kids create their own monster puppets out of brown lunch bags, markers, googly eyes, and yarn for hair. You can also add ears, horns and tails with construction paper. They can also make monster feet out of empty tissue boxes. Just glue on paper triangles for claws and color the boxes in green, purple, blue or other monster shades. Make your own tails and monster ears to wear around easily. Just cut a long strip of material to make a tail and pin on with a safety pin. Then get cheap headbands covered in material from the dollar store and glue or sew on triangles for ears or horns. Have make your own monster cupcakes by offering kids a variety of toppings, like Oreo Cookies for eyes, candy corn for teeth, and sprinkles for hair. Just set out cupcakes covered in fun colored icing and let them make the monsters! You can also play feed the monster (bean bag toss). Make a monster out of a large piece of cardboard and cut a hole (or holes) for the mouth. Then kids can throw the monster its food, aka beanbags! A monster shootout is another fun idea. If it is summer you can have the kids use water pistols. If it is not or if you prefer something less wet you can buy cheap dart guns at the dollar store. Have kids draw and cut out monsters. Prop them up with a triangle of paper and then shoot them down!

These are just a few of the great party themes that you can create for your child. I know any of these themes would be memorable and fun for kids. Best of all none of them are hard to do! You can get as complex or as easy as you want to be. It is all up to you. Just remember to have fun!

 

Nancy provides feedback on all elements of the site “www.enannysource.com” helping us to really make sure that we are making it as easy as possible for caregivers to sign up and find work. In addition, she spends quite a bit of her time on freelance writing tasks.

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.

Overcoming Picky Eating: Buffet Style

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.

Picky Eater Buffet Options

Has meal time become a challenge in your home? Do you struggle to get your child to eat what is on his plate? Is dinner a constant battle?

Are you dealing with picky eaters?

In our home, we certainly have seen our share of struggles around the dining table. With our oldest daughter having an Autism Spectrum Disorder and our oldest son having his own texture-sensory issues, preparing a meal that everyone enjoys is not an easy task. (I can only imagine what it will be like when the youngest two children are old enough to voice their opinions!)

Each day, I would wail and bemoan the fact that my children were not getting a good balance of nutrition. Then, I read The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and she said something that changed how I thought. Instead of putting so much focus on what the children were (or were not) eating at each meal, I started to think about their nutrition over the course of a week. I decided to make one buffet-style meal each week so the children could prepare their own plates.

Do you know what happened? They put things on their plates that I would have never imagined. And. They. ATE.

So, here are some simple buffet-style meals to help you tame the picky eaters in your home.

Make your own pita pizza

Pita Pizza

Purchase whole wheat pita bread, pizza sauce, alfredo sauce, and a variety of cheese and toppings. Don’t hesitate when it comes to vegetables or meat. Steam broccoli florets. Julienne a few carrots. Dice some cooked chicken. Whatever you have in your refrigerator or freezer that might make an interesting pizza topping… pull it out and place it on the counter.
Then, allow the children to prepare their own pizzas. You can place their creations on a baking sheet and cook in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or you can just microwave them for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the amount of toppings.

Yogurt parfait breakfast bar

Yogurt Parfait

Offer a choice from two flavors of yogurt. Wash and cut (if needed) a variety of fruit. Some great options are sliced bananas, quartered strawberries, halved grapes, apple chunks, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Also, consider allowing your picky eaters to choose to top their parfaits with cereal, granola, toasted oats, dried fruit, and/or nuts.
My children love to make (and eat) yogurt parfaits. Some nights, we even eat these for dessert.

Other buffet ideas for your picky eater

Build Your Own Pasta Bowl ~ Let children choose from two different pasta shapes, sauces (spaghetti, alfredo, pesto, etc.), cooked and/or raw vegetables, pepperoni, ham, cooked chicken, browned ground beef, and various cheeses.
Chef’s Salad Bar ~ This is a family favorite for us, especially when the produce bins only have a few things available and there is not enough of any one thing to create a meal. However, aside from vegetables, consider adding some of these options to your salad bar: cooked meats, diced fruit, various textures of rice, hard and/or soft cheeses, nuts, dried fruit, croutons, french fried onions, boiled eggs, olives, pickles, etc.
Bottomless Oatmeal Breakfast ~ Prepare oatmeal as you normally would but allow the children to top their hot cereal with yogurt, honey, chocolate chips, fresh or canned fruit, jelly, nuts, or granola.

What could you serve buffet-style?

Tabitha Philen, known as “Penny” to her readers at www.MeetPenny.com, is a saved by grace wife to one terrific husband and homeschooling mother to 4 amazing children, ages 8 years old and under with the oldest having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Tabitha recently released her first ebook, Advanced Penny Pinching, in which she shares very practical tips for cutting your grocery expenses with or without coupons.

This post may contain affiliate links. Proceeds from affiliate links go towards the cost of hosting the blog and helps to support our homeschool books, supplies, and classes. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to read more about our affiliations please see our Disclosures page.

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