Skip Holiday Gift Exchanges at School

Random gift exchanges are silly. I see no sense in trading gifts with extended family or people you're not close to. Many of us can't afford nor want to waste money on a meaningless token gift.

Some of us would prefer to donate gifts to those who actually need them. I long pushed for my extendeds to adopt a family or raise money for a gift to Heifer, International. That idea was nixed in favor of a gag gift exchange. Brilliant. Buy junk for each other that we don't need and will throw away, instead of doing some good. There's the holiday spirit.  Skip Holiday Gift Exchanges at School, Work

Free Hanukkah Activities You Can Print Online

 Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is the Jewish Festival of Light. In 2013, it begins the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 27, (very early). On the Hebrew lunar calendar it's always the 25th of Kislev. This eight-day feast lands some time late November to early December on the Gregorian calendar.And here are free printable lesson plans to explore and celebrate. Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Kids Activities

Teach Self-Reliance, Involve Kids in Maintenance, Repairs

We're minimalist parents. We homeschooled our four children in a small mobile then an old fixer-upper house. Home maintenance and repair were integral to our homeschooling. Often schools teach impractical disciplines, like algebra, that students will never use. They don't teach applications and real-world connections. Kids promptly forget material that has no bearing in their lives. I taught practical skills interactively. Now our kids are self-reliant, productive and sensible. They budget, save and care for themselves. Here are ways to teach these skills to kids.  Involve Kids in Home Maintenance, Repairs--Teach Self-Reliance

Free Native American Lesson Planner, Indian in the Cupboard

Reading scores in the US are falling lower each year; you've heard this so often that you may have become numb to it. And boys seem more resistant often to reading for pleasure. If you're an educator or parent and you've become discouraged with the battle to get kids to read, don't give up yet. Here are several wonderfully crafted works of literature in the adventure fantasy genre that will delight 3th to 6th grade children, especially boys. I've detailed the books and created a literature discussion guide to use. Free Native American Social Studies Literature Lesson Planner: The Indian in the Cupboard Book 

Apple Lesson Plans for Preschoolers

I'm certified in special needs education and I have preschool and Montessori experience. I also homeschooled. Making lessons hands-on is of vital importance. Living in Michigan, apples are a big deal. They also make a great basis for lessons. Here are interactive preschool math and science activities using apples--perfect for fall. Apple Math and Science for Preschoolers 
 

Back to School Lessons Using Apples

In the US, school begins in late summer to early fall. And what better way to start the school year off right than with a unit on autumn harvest produce? Here are interactive preschool math and science activities using apples--perfect for fall. Apple Math and Science for Preschoolers 

Back-to-School Early Bedtime Transition Tips for Kids

Though most parents and kids prefer school structure, it's that summer-to-fall schedule transitioning that's hard. Here are ways to move into an earlier-to-bed routine. The secret is controlling what happens in that time before bed. Make it restful and disconnected from TV, cellphones and kids will rest better. And well rested kids are much easier to get up in the morning!Back-to-School Early Bedtime Transition Tips for Kids 

30 Plus Healthy School Snacks, A Month of Back to School Lunches

Back to school shopping means stocking up on school lunchbox items and snacks. Looking for healthy, portable lunch foods? I got you covered. I'm a mom of four, former homeschooler and teacher. In 1985, I taught at a Montessori school that allowed no refined sugar or bleached flour. I did shopped for school snacks we served students and got creative making healthy school lunches. Buy a freezer ice pack to chill food. Wash daily, freeze overnight and pop in lunch box in the morning. Better still, have kids do this. Read product nutrition data. Some brands are healthier than others. Read on  30 Plus Healthy School Snacks, A Month of Back to School Lunches

Make Writing Pay Instead of Writing for Pay

I hear a lot of would-be freelancers talk about places that pay you to write. Now that kids are going back to school, it's an ideal time for work at home parents and SAHMs to think about making money online.
My approach, developed after eight years freelancing, is to make writing pay. Sound like the same thing? It's diametrically opposed. Instead of writing prescribed articles, I come up with the ideas and market it myself.

I've been offered ghost writing gigs. Content buyers have shopped ideas to me--I write it under their brand. Aka, I do the work for a fixed price and they reap the rewards (which could potentially be very high. Could be a bust, it is a risk.) Like Cyrano de Bergerac, I hide behind my pen, while Christian gets the girl. And Roxanne never knows it was my heart on the line.   Make Writing Pay Instead of Writing for Pay

Back-to-School Life Science Activities, Biology Nature Crafts

 Life science, or biology, is an essential school subject. Nature science activities make great back to school lesson plans. K
ids often hate science because it's taught from boring textbooks in meaningless paper-and-pencil activities. Rediscover the inherent fascination of life science this summer with hands-on experiments and crafts. Teach green, using recycled supplies.

* Seasonal nature journals: You can't learn much about life science sitting at desks indoors. Take nature hikes. Use binoculars and field guides to identify observed flora and fauna. Sketch pictures of plants and animals in their dwellings and habitats. Note when and where they were discovered. Note animal characteristics: body covering, markings, camouflage, behavior, adaptation, offspring, endothermic-exothermic. Look for evidence of insects at different stages: larva, pupa, chrysalis, metamorphosis. Watch for spiders' webs. Note plant and tree characteristics: seasonal, poisonous, developmental stage (germination, leaf, flower, fruit, seed). Teach kids to tread lightly and observe closely. Outdoor Summer Life Science Activities, Biology Nature Crafts

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