Forty Something Parents

The Ins & Outs of Parenting


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Zen Learning: When Your Home Schooler Refuses to Write

I guess I must’ve lucked-out when it came to my daughter learning to read, because it seems to have come so easily for her… and for me, as her mom/teacher.  But when it boils down to learning how to write her words, she has refused most of the time.  My solution to this problem?  I take it easy on her, and don’t dare try and force it.

Instead, I assess her mood in the morning…then decide what we’ll do to fit some learning into our day.  When it comes to writing, though…I have to be somewhat sneaky with how I present a lesson.  Most of the time, we work out of work books; I like Bendon Work Books the best.  However…this past week, I hit a creative writing break-through.  I was jumping for joy!

Last week I had tried encouraging my daughter to write a letter to her Grandma, and for the most part…she did.  Though I had to write a few words for her to copy; so I couldn’t consider that a complete success.  I didn’t mention it to my little’one, and tried not to let it bother me.

But, yesterday…after she finished her usual practice of writing her full name –which we do everyday…since her last name is posing a challenge for her– I nonchalantly handed her a piece of manila writing paper from her tablet, gave her one of her brand new sparkly pencils with ‘creative creature’ eraser, and introduced the fun of writing words she spies (Word ‘I Spy’!) throughout her room.  And, Lo’ and behold…it worked!  She was quietly and calmly writing for the better part of an hour.  I was beside myself with joy, so I snapped a few pics.  How could I resist?!  She was so into her work, she didn’t even notice me there at first.  Either way, I realized we hit a milestone in my Nixi’s introduction to creative writing.

And for those of you who have faced similar learning curves with your child — whether home schooled or not — I hope this helps in some way, for you and your child/children to move forward with a more zen approach to knowledge and learning.  Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to figure out what works…and what doesn’t.

*Happy Learning Leads to a Lifetime of Knowledge*  *Feed the Relaxed Mind*

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Homeschool Science Project: Treasure Maps and Invisible Ink

Home School Science Project — Creating a Treasure Map With Lemon Juice?!  Here’s how we did it, our source, and items needed.  I hope you and your home school kids (or traditionally schooled kids) enjoy doing this project as much as we did.  :  )

How We Did It–

*My daughter Nixi and I made our maps according to instructions in the book **(see instructions at bottom of this post), then we gathered up some odds and ends…sparkly treasure, bundled it up in a paper towel, and buried it out in our yard where ‘X’ marks the spot on our maps.  I spray painted an X where we buried our treasure, and when my husband (Daddy) got home from work, he and Nixi hunted the treasure.

It was quite a kick, and I would definitely recommend this learning adventure to everyone who has kids or grand-kids; even nieces or nephews.  Heck..! Gather up the neighborhood kids and make a party out of it. The more the merrier!  :  )

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We Checked Out This Great Book From Our Local Library

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Invisible Ink Science Experiment

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Recipe and Items Needed

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Items Needed & Treasure to Bury

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Nixi’s Map

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Mom’s Map

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We Spiced Things Up a Bit by Making One Map a ‘Trick Map’!

**INSTRUCTIONS–

You’ll need:

-Paper (We used Resume Stock Paper)

-Lemon Juice, Cotton ‘Swab’ (Get it…?!  Swab!  hahaha)

-Treasure to Bury

-Spray Paint or Crafty ‘X’ to Mark the Spot

-Oven…heated to 400 degrees

Juice your lemon, then dip your cotton swab in the lemon juice, then ‘paint’ your map.  Steady as she goes, since the ink disappears rather quickly.  Place your map onto a cookie sheet and place in a 400 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Careful when you take it out, it’ll be hot!  Gather your treasure, bury it, mark the spot with an X, and let your littlest Pirates (or the bigger scally-wags) hunt for the treasure.  Fun all around!


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Home Schooling An Only Child: The Lonliness Factor

Technically speaking, my seven year-old daughter Nixi isn’t really an only child; since she has two adult siblings who now have children of their own. But when it comes to the everyday, my youngest often feels very lonely for the company of kids her own age. I realize, in our day to day and home school life, it is up to my husband Nico and I to fill this void as-best we can.

Enter…creative play, road trips, ‘staycation’ style field trips, and ‘lots and ‘lots of one-on-one learning games and lessons. When it comes to our learning schedule (notice, I did not say ‘schooling’, since we choose to learn rather than school), there really isn’t a schedule. We do have a tentative list of learning activities written on our black board, to reference and help stay at least a little on track.

However, we pretty much go with the flow. –If Nixi feels like doing math one day, even though that day is listed for Language Arts, we do math until she is full of it for the time-being. If she feels like doing art on a math day, we cover the kitchen table with a big plastic bag, put on our smocks, and paint…draw…glue or cut, to our hearts’ content.

The answer is to keep your lone-home schooler company, occupied, content, and happy in her/his learning path. For our family, we aren’t out and about as often as many other home schooled kids we know here on the island. They are always on the go, from one class or activity to another; never really schooling much at home. As for our unschooling style home school, we center our learning activities at home about 75% of the time. It works for us! : )

The point is: No matter where you go or what you’re doing, there’s always a lesson to be learned. Keeping it fun is where one’s creativity comes into play. But finding ways to make sure your lone-home-schooler doesn’t end up lonely is where the dedication and love of Mom…or Dad, plays into the mix. Because we always want to see our child(ren) happy –I’ve learned on this home school journey with my daughter — all in all…we’ll do what ever it takes. Because no one – absolutely no one – cares more about a child’s education than the one’s who love them the most.

On that note, here are a few of the ways we’ve come to help our lone-schooler escape the loneliness factor. Because life, and learning, is what we choose for it to become. There is never a right or wrong way to live or learn, as long as it works for us…and the one’s we call family.

The World is Our Playground, and Every Moment a Lesson to Learn.” – Penny Espinoza (Gypsy Vin Rose)

FUN SCIENCE PROJECTS:

CREATIVE OUTDOOR PLAY:

CREATIVE INDOOR PLAY:

STAY-CATIONS & FIELD TRIPS:  Playground & Picnic Fun on Pelican Island   

CREATIVITY at WORK: Art Projects

FUN & LEARNING: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic


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Halloween Haunting & Baby’s First

The world was brand new for our little girl, her first Halloween in Fort Worth when she was only a month old. We were still a part of the rat race, making the best of it in our little rock house on Riverside Drive.

Little did we know that just a few months later, in the new year, crime would move in on us…and we’d make the decision to sell it all, buy our VW Camper Bus…

Family Adventures

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Family Adventures — Going inland to Banana Bend on San Jacinto River

Writing & Wanderlust

Banana Bend on the San Jacinto River —

It had been 30 years since he’d last seen the place, but my husband Nico insisted on taking Baby and I on a family adventure to see Banana Bend on the San Jacinto River.  I was a bit skeptical; picturing a run down, or shut down, remnant of what once had been a fun party place on the bend of the river.  Boy…!  Was I ever surprised!  –In a very good way.

I had already found myself quite charmed by the tiny ferry boat that had carried our crew of three across the ship channel, quite a ways inland and up the waterway from Galveston Island.  Able to carry not even 20 cars at a time, The Lynchburg Ferry was like stepping back in time, in a way.  Unlike the Bolivar Ferry — which we’ve ridden often — The Lynchburg…

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Friends and Home Schooling

~ An Impromptu Birthday Party on a Budget ~ 

A day in the life of a seven year-old may not seem like super excitement to some, but yesterday, to my Nixi, was a blast!  Yes, the day might’ve started out quite mellow — me singing her Happy Birthday when she awoke — but by day’s end, at the Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant playground, the running, playing, jumping, and laughter was oh-so abundant.

It was  a last minute plan that sort of just hit me the day before Nixi’s big 0 7 day.  And contrary to what a lot of folks believe — that homeschool kids are introverts who have trouble making friends — my Nixi makes friends where ever we may go.  She has a few kids she has bonded with and calls best friends.  I knew I had to invite them, and I was delighted to hear they could make it.  Nixi didn’t know, and I could hardly wait to surprise her.

So…the day moved on (tick-tock), and I created party favors on a shoe-string budget…while still trying to keep it all secret from my very observant young’n.  I skirted around the truth when she quizzed me on what the jars were for, that I was painting outside.  She wanted to come help, and it was hard to not let her.  But the chemicals I had to use for the project weren’t safe for her to be around.

Needless to say, I finished the party favor jars (made from recycled/reused Starbuck’s Frappuccino bottles), Nico picked up a few balloons and the cake, and we were off to destinations unknown to Nixi.  The party was a HUGE success, even though a few friends couldn’t make it, and I knew our daughter would remember this birthday for years and years to come.  –Perhaps a lifetime.

*Here’s to impromptu gatherings!  And making friends, no matter what your circumstances.*

— Home School Birthday Party Fun at Joe’s Crab Shack on Seawall —


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Home School Science Experiments

Making BLUE GOO —