Healthier Lunches for Homeschool. Preferable.

The great thing about homeschooling is that you’re in the driver’s seat. The way you think school should be, becomes your mission, and you try your utmost to make sure your teaching is effective and that your students have the opportunity to learn, and develop a joy of learning. But the schoolbooks themselves are only one aspect of the homeschooling experience. 

What about the food you serve your children? Everyone knows that what you feed yourself has effects on mood and abilities, so it is doubly important as a homeschooler to pay attention to diet. The food served in schools is notoriously bad for you, so what are you serving your homeschooled children instead?

Online Homeschooling and the Diet: A Closer Look

Vegetables are good brain food, and the introduction of veggies of all kinds at an early age helps to train the palate to enjoy them into adulthood. This and good carbohydrates help keep energy up—both mental and physical—as well as protein and good fats.

What you serve your child for lunch affects them for the rest of the day. Healthy lunches are key to having a productive experience during school time.

Healthy Lunches Key for Growing Children

We know that parents who homeschool do quite a bit of research on teaching methods and to find learning resources for their children. Don’t forget to research the best things to serve for lunch as well. It can be the difference between a sleepy, low energy child and a healthy, high energy one. The diet helps the child both physically and mentally get through a long school day. Bad foods high in saturated fat may taste great to the undisciplined palate, but do not keep energy up for extended periods of time. Pretty soon, those junk foods begin to taste terrible once you develop good eating habits and expand your diet.

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I thought I was the only one until one day a group of moms opened up to one another. We discussed the frustration, exhaustion, pain, and wasted money associated with pencil sharpeners. What started out as a homeschool co-op meeting quickly turned into a support group for moms who have had it with pencil sharpening. We all had been burned by sharpeners that did not live up to potential or created more broken pencils than sharp points. We purchased everything from dollar store brands to high-end electric ones and the end result was always the same; frustration. Some of us confessed to coming close to allowing the use of pens math. Mechanical pencils seemed like a solution but sadly broke more often than our poorly sharpened ones.  Then one wise mom stood up after staring into her phone and said, "Here it is...the sharpener that finally worked for us!"  Could it be true? Could there be a sharpener that would stand the test of the homeschool life?

This hope was found on the Classroom Friendly Supplies.  The site said it was the best sharpener in the world. Well, all of us moms have heard that before. More research would have to be done on this intriguing product. Soon many of us learned that this was the best-kept secret in the homeschool world. Moms came forward to say they owned this sharpener and since owning it never had another pencil issue again. So, I decided to give this pencil sharpener a run for its money.

The day finally arrived when the mailman dropped off a box of hope for the pencils in my home. I know it sounds silly to be so excited over a pencil sharpener but if this pencil sharpener lived up to the hype then it would change my world.  Okay, maybe not my world, but it would revolutionize pencil sharpening in my homeschool.  No, I don't think "revolutionize" is too strong a word. We were ready to test it out with old and new pencils alike. The kids and I had a little bit too much fun using this sharpener. It was easy and a bit fun to use. The pencils never looked so sharp...literally. No breaks, no uneven edges, no fuss, no batteries, and no swearing off pencils forever.  It is by far my favorite school supply.

Again, I know how crazy it must sound to love a pencil sharpener so much.  However, if you, like me, have wasted money on every pencil sharpener on the market even battery operated ones, you would understand. The kids love to sharpen pencils now.  No more broken pencil tips and wonky edges.  Anything to make your homeschool day a bit easier is a gift.  So gift this to yourself!

I loved it so much I had the opportunity to gift it to a lucky homeschool mom. She said she is forever in my debt. Homeschool moms are not easily impressed but I have yet to find one who has had the pleasure of using the Classroom Friendly Supplies sharpener and not loved it.

My Happy Pillow Makes Everyone Happy

There is just something about a comfy pillow that makes me smile. Perhaps it is the promise of a good night's sleep or the feeling of being held by a cloud, regardless I am a sucker for pillows. I also find young entrepreneurs irresistible. Imagine my delight when the two merged into one happy experience.

My Happy Pillow is the creation of a sweet 6-year-old girl named Isabella. She came up with the lovely idea of creating a pillow to help children express themselves. What better way is there to help a child than through the eyes of another child who understands. I instantly fell in love with the idea and Isabella's compassion for other children to bring this idea to them. 

Take a look at the adorable monkey named Zee and the cutie bear named Sunny giving their mad faces.  

Now look at these precious smiles!

The best measure of a product's value that is for children is by what children have to say about it. So Sunny and Zee were very special guests at a homeschool party. Two lucky children had the opportunity to win Sunny or Zee. I had a feeling Sunny and Zee would be well received but I had no idea they would make such a smash. The excitement in the eyes of each child as I pulled the pillows out of my bag was amazing. It was only topped by showing the back of the pillows (the mad faces) when they all laughed and some cuties began to growl with Sunny. You know, the party was not a Sunny and Zee party but I am pretty sure that is all anyone will remember; especially our two lucky winners. What I found the especially adorable was how the children responded when I explained to them that Sunny's and Zee's job was to help them express their feelings. The responded so favorably and while getting a hands on experience they used the pillows to show feelings. One little guy showed Zee's mad face when another child wanted her turn with Zee. Such cuteness!

Here are some quotes from the kids:
""Sunny can tell people when I am feeling happy and mad. I don't have to scream." --5-year-old, girl

Seriously, if that is all it takes, her mom needs to buy the whole collection.

""Zee is funny. Can he tell the doctor I don't like pokes?"" --6-year-old, boy

This child took my example seriously and he was not going to leave without the comfort of Zee in tow.

""I like monkeys but do they have a unicorn?""--6-year-old, girl

Passing this little bit of feedback to Isabella.

I had so many children come up to me with such positive feedback I cannot remember it all. I did have a mom tell me what an ingenious idea the My Happy Pillow is since it would help her child express himself in a positive way.

If you have a child who needs help in expressing himself, I agree with the mom who said this is ingenious. Not only can a child learn about emotion the child can have an outlet for emotions. Big emotions can be scary and overwhelming for a child. So visit My Happy Pillow and find the rest of the gang and full range of emotions!

Peanuts Word Cards

Anyone who knows anything about me knows I love Snoopy. It was with great sadness that my first three children were not impressed by Joe Cool and Charlie Brown. Then finally it happened, my fourth and final child became a Snoopy fan. Either she loves Snoopy and the rest of the Peanut gang on their own merit or she is trying to get on my good side. Either way, she is the inspiration behind the Peanuts Word Cards.

Each page contains four cards with an image and a word that describes the image that can be traced. You can either print it off and use a pencil or laminate the pages and use wet erase markers. I highly recommend Expo Vis-a-Vis Wet Erase markers. Dry erase markers can prove difficult to remove and make messy streaks. The wet erase come off beautifully for laminated sheets you want to use over and over again.

Here is what you will need to make your own set of Peanuts Word Cards for your child.
Once you print off your sheets, simply laminate, cut, punch a hole and fill your book ring up. I let my daughter use her cards at night before going to bed. In no time at all, she is able to read and spell the words! 

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Home Art Studio:  Homeschool Art Made Easy

If you asked me years ago what my favorite activity was during the homeschool day, I would have said arts and crafts. While my son wasn't thrilled, all my daughters love putting their creative hands to use. As the years went on, life became very busy. Between teens, home business, and homeschooling, I hardly have time to think much less bring out the crayons. I struggled with that since I believe art is joy and adds great value to the homeschool experience. I enjoy creative pursuits...well...I am a graphic designer after all. Yet, most of my homeschool art projects were based on google searches and Pinterest finds. This method was found to be unsatisfactory to my very curious daughter who insisted on learning "real art". I only got the "be real mom" stare when I suggested I teach her Photoshop. 

Thankfully, the opportunity to review Home Art Studio came my way. I will be honest, I wasn't terribly thankful at first. I wondered how much work I would have to put into it and how many times I would be running to the art supply store just to finish out the course. Sure, I missed art but adding in stress and routine seemed daunting. Since, I'm a risk taker, I went ahead and give it a chance. I decided to try out the fourth-grade level since it was in between my girls' grade level and I could use it with both at one time. I concluded that while that decision was sound, I think next time I will just get each their own grade level since they enjoyed it so much. 

Time for art!

Homeschool Art Studio: What I Love

  • Each DVD contains easy to follow and thorough instructions along with engaging lessons which build upon each other throughout the course. 
  • The lessons are short and easy to implement into your school day. 
  • Ms. Volin, the art teacher, is fun to watch and makes kids excited to learn art. 
  • You will have no trouble searching for art supplies since there is the option to buy all the supplies you need right on the site.  I can't think of a more exciting box to open than one filled with art supplies and a fantastic art program. 
  • You don't need prior experience for your kids to get a great art education.

Little Known Uses for Home Art Studio

Sometimes we can push the boundaries of a curriculum and make it a useful tool of fun and learning during other times in our lives. 
  • When sickness strikes the homeschool mom, let Ms. Volin sub for you! Keep in mind, this may not work so well for younger children who cannot clean up on their own. However, it is a fantastic way to keep your older kids busy, engaged, and learning, while you take a break. 
  • Need to make a phone call, nurse your baby, or prepare lunch? This is the perfect time to pop in Home Art Studio. The format makes carving out time for art easy!
  • Home Art Studio is a great way to spend a rainy day. 
  • Provide a fun activity for the kids to do with grandparents while they visit or babysit. 

Home Art Studio Inspires Creativity 

Take a look at these designs. As I mentioned earlier, I am a graphic designer. When the lesson on positive and negative space came up on the DVD, I discussed how graphic designers often use negative space in designs for logos. I showed the girls several examples. They were intrigued and wanted to come up with some designs using negative space. Each girl decided to use her favorite animal. I gave them free reign to break loose their creative power on my laptop. I enjoyed using the lesson on Home Art Studio to make a connection to something mom knows something about. You can't beat a curriculum that impacts a child once the lesson is over!

Learn More About Home Art Studio

To learn more about Home Art Studio, you can visit the website, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube.

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