Kiddos at Home

kids, crafts, food and fun while home schooling

Pick Your Own Fruits and Veggies

Have you and your family ever been to a farm to pick your very own fruits, vegetables or other plants?

fruit

IMAGE FROM Dadshop Blog

This idea is a fun family activity all year long. We have picked strawberries in the summer to pumpkins right off their vines in the fall!

Picking your own food is a great opportunity to teach your children. While visiting farms, your children can learn how much effort is put into growing food (a great lesson when it comes time to explain finishing the food off their plates and/or wasting food), how the sun or shade can help specific plants or foods to grow, how much the food costs (often you pay a flat fee before or after picking) and even how to tell when certain food are ripe!

My kiddos aren’t the only ones who enjoy the farms. My husband very much enjoy scenic, romantic drives which are often on the way to these types of farms, and we also appreciate the time spent together in the sun while the kids are off picking their fruits!

If you do not know where a pick your own farm is in your area, there is a site I found that will assist you called PickYourOwn.org. The site is a little difficult to use, but after finding your state and county, scroll all the way down past the map to find details on the farms. This is also a great way to assist you when planning vacations! I have always heard people talking about picking during family vacations and would love to visit a pick your own apples farm.

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Home Schooling and Your Errands

Today I want to talk about a touchy subject that many home school families deal with. Errands.

You see, in public or private school families, parents can drop their children off at school then go about their day. Whether they head to work or the grocery store, they are free to go about their business while their children are being educated. Should one of their children have a cold or need to cut class for a doctor visit, the parent can rest easy knowing that their other children are taken care of in the school.

But what do you do when you are a home school family? If one child is sick and needs to visit a doctor, it hurts the school day for each of your children as you can not exactly leave them at home alone. Or what if you realize at lunch time that you are out of bread or milk? Do you pack all the kids up in your car and go run your errands?

Many home school families believe that going about their daily errands is okay, so long as their children complete their assignments by the end of the day or the end of the week. They believe that grocery shopping is a learning opportunity for the kiddos. While it is, to an extent, I believe this is just an excuse to be able to run errands during school house. What these home school families need to consider is how running errands during the day effects the child(ren), their self-esteem and their ability to manage their time and stick to schedules.

Very often, kids are teased or asked a million questions from grocery store clerks or friends. “Why are you not in school today?” “Ha ha, your mommy takes you shopping.  “ and “What do you do, just watch TV in your pajamas all day?” are all examples of questions and comments home school deal with on a regular basis. The average kid does not have to worry about answering all these questions and defending their education. The only way to avoid their embarrassment is to keep them at school and educate them during school hours Just Like all the other children.

Being a part of a close-knit home school community can assist you when you have a frantic day. If one of your children needs to visit a doctor or you really need that loaf a bread, it is great to have that friend to rely on. Drop your other children at Suzy’s house to continue their daily lessons, then continue on with your errands. Another option is to rotate with other parents – maybe Mondays you and Suzy teach all the children at your house while Jane and Betty get the day off.

As a worst case scenario, I think it is a great idea to have a few babysitters on speed dial. You may even choose to have one day off a week where you get time to run your errands while this person teaches the children. It gives your children an opportunity to work with a different teacher and style of teaching as they will deal with when they move on to college. Many education students look for part time work and would be glad to come help you out. They may even get to claim the hours in their log books for teaching time.

Whatever you decide, remember that it is extremely important to set schedules for your children, just as they do in “real” schools. This teaches them the much needed time management and study skills for their future!

For free printable calendars, visit image source Print-A-Calendar.com.

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The Star System – Teach Your Children About Spending vs. Saving

How do you encourage your kids to do their chores AND save money?

starsyst

My husband had a very creative system when he was growing up. Their family called it the Star Rewards System.

Each of the children was given a list of chores to do that rotated on a weekly basis. When the parents asked them to do their chores and they were done 100%, the child would earn red star. When four red stars were earned, they could exchange it for one gold star. When the child completed all of their chores without being asked, the child would earn one gold star.

Every Friday night, the kids went with the parents to the “store” – a closet full of toys. Each of the toys had one or more stars on them – that was what the prize was worth. The child then had a choice – either cash in their stars for a small prize, or save their stars until they had saved up for something better.

My husband told me that he always saved up for the big toys – a super soaker or a remote control car, while his little brother was always too eager to spend the stars he earned right away! His brother would settle for a bouncy ball or a matchbox car, then get upset when he didn’t have the better toys like his older brother. What is funny is that they are the same to this day – my husband is a saver, his brother a spender!

I think the Star System is a great and effective way for children to understand the concept of spending and saving and every family should give it a try!

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21 DIY Christmas Tree Ideas for toddlers

Source: parentinghealthybabies.com

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Summer Snack for the Kiddos

Now that summer is here and the kiddos are playing outdoors, they are sure to work up an appetite!

For that reason, I like to have healthy and enjoyable snacks ready and waiting for my kids and their friends. I am a firm believer in the idea that eating healthy is something we need to teach our children at a young age to help them make healthy choices as adults!

Because it seems everyone is allergic to something these days, I try my best to stick with fruits and veggies. Making them into fun shapes encourages the kids to eat them. As a kid, I always Hated raisins and celery, but as soon as someone gave me “Ants on a Log” (see Blissfully Domestic for details if you don’t know!), I was game!

Occasionally I will make oatmeal cookies, but I stick to a low-sugar, healthy recipe like this one from Life is Made and substitute eggs for applesauce. Adding in Craisins always goes over better than raisins at my house, so I do a 50/50 mixture when making these cookies.

Need some more healthy summer snack ideas for your kiddos?

String Cheese
Apple Slices
Nuts
Bananas
Homemade Fruit Juice Popsicles (a fun kitchen project idea as well!)
Finger Sandwiches
Dried Fruit
Carrot Sticks
Seasonal Fruits
Cheese and Crackers
Plain Popcorn
Rice Cakes
Meat and Cheese Roll-ups

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Sun Safety for Your Family

Sunscreen during all times of the year, is extremely important.

But given the fact that summer is here and many families tend to spend a lot more time outdoors, I thought I would take a few minutes to discuss the importance of sunscreen and protecting your family from those harmful rays.

Woman Applying Sunscreen

IMAGE FROM SkinCancer.org

Why? Recent studies are showing the effects of sun burns and their relation to skin cancer. They are now claiming that it takes just ONE blistering sunburn to DOUBLE your risk of developing melanoma later! You are also at a higher risk if you are a very light skin tone, have an excessive amount of moles,

How can you help you and your family?
(Note: I am not a doctor so please check with your family physician for more details, this is just a list of helpful ideas that could help to protect your family!)

canopy

IMAGE FROM Walmart.com

Always bring a tent or canopy to any event that you will be stationed in one place for more than an hour or two. Many of these are now made with a UPF protection fabric. If you don’t have one, consider purchasing one or – see this Lightspeed Quick Canopy, shown above as an option for your family. We have one and love it! At the very least, stick to the shady spots if you can find one!

Use a high SPF sunscreen. We use SPF 50 or 70. Always do you own research, but consider a recent reading a recent Consumer Reports article that shows their choices for the top sunscreens of 2013.

Re-apply often, especially when you are doing a physical, sweaty activity or if you are at the beach or pool where sunscreen is washed off from the water or toweled off.

Don’t forget the eyes! Eyes burn just the same as any other part of the body and need to be protected equally. Look for a pair that offers UVA and UVB protection. If you wear glasses, be sure to spring for a prescription pair.

Wear a wide-brim hat whenever you are outdoors. You or your kids might feel goofy, but your health is far more important. And these days there are far more stylish options available, so there is no excuse here!

Check out the UV Index for your area before planning a trip outdoors for the day. There are even cell phone apps that assist you with this now. Usually the worst hours are between 10am and 4pm, so try your best to avoid sun exposure during those times.

When hiking outdoors, or even playing in the waves, opt for long sleeves for your family. Rash guards can help save a burn, but don’t let it take the place of sunscreen. While the idea of long sleeves may seem just too hot, a light weight button-up could really save your life!

Buy chapstick with SPF. If you don’t have any, sunscreen will work just the same. It doesn’t taste good, but your lips are actually softer skin and may burn faster than any other part of your body. If you tend to lick your lips a lot, be sure you re-apply often!

Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements. Studies show that many people may be vitamin D deficient and a boost may help to protect against skin cancer.

Be sure your family gets yearly physicals with a skin check, especially if skin or other cancers run in the family, if you have lots of moles or are fair-skinned.

For more information on ways to protect your family from the suns harmful rays, be sure to visit image source SkinCancer.org.

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