Road Safety Awareness Game & Resources

Next week is Road Safety Awareness week and like all responsible parents (Ahem!) it’s a topic of learning that I take very seriously. I realised recently that while my children know to look right and left and right again before crossing the road, or to wait for the green man before crossing, we’ve never really done any serious ‘learning’ around traffic signs. I think there’s a value to learning through doing with mama, of course, but I don’t suppose it’s ever too early to learn about road safety.

But where do you start?

Road Safety Awareness Game & ResourcesRead more: Road Safety Awareness Game & Resources

5 Websites To Keep Older Kids Busy While You Home Ed Younger Siblings

Websites To Keep Older Kids Busy

One of the first questions people ask me about home education or homeschooling my children is how I manage to ‘teach’ children of different ages and at different levels at the same time. I’m going to share with you 5 websites that I use to keep my 7 year old busy while I’m doing structured learning d Before my youngest was of school age, it was easy – she’ll happily potter about on her own, colour, play with her small world toys and so on, so being able to spend 40 minutes ‘teaching’ her sister was easy.

Now that she’s also ‘of school age’ and there’s a ‘requirement’ to ‘educate’ her, I focus more on doing some structured activities. At the moment we’re learning the alphabet, which involves a lot of colouring, sticking, gluing, so not really high intensity, but still good for her to have some undivided attention.

To facilitate this, we use one of five websites that Ameli can self-manage her time while I focus on her sister. These are the websites and programs we use most:Read more: 5 Websites To Keep Older Kids Busy While You Home Ed Younger Siblings

Being Enterprising & Learning Entrepreneurship With Clever Tykes Books

I grew up in South Africa where we had little to no social welfare system. As a result we were known as a very entrepreneurial people. You’ve never seen anyone with a bag of maize, a giant pot and some polystyrene plates till you’ve a South African turning a profit on the side of the road!

Teaching children to be entrepreneurial and enterprising is equipping them with a skill that will stand them in good stead for their whole lives.Being Enterprising & Learning Entrepreneurship With Clever Tykes BooksRead more: Being Enterprising & Learning Entrepreneurship With Clever Tykes Books

Free Printables From Tiny Me

While I’m perfectly capable of creating my own worksheets and printable signs and labels for the girls, they are very time consuming, and I use printables from both free and paid sites a lot. Free Printables From Tiny MeFor me it’s a matter of saving time, sometimes and spending time doing paid work, versus the amount of time the girls have to sit around doing not a lot because I am busy making worksheets.

It’s something I do like doing, when I have the time, but in a lot of cases it’s a matter of ‘why re-invent the wheel?’

One of the sites I use is TinyMe, who offer loads of seasonal and occasional printables. Here are a few we’ve used recently:

 

5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For Success

5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For SuccessI’m spending a bit of time this week on the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, for three reasons:

1) There’s too much to cover in one post
2) It’s a fantastic offer with a multitude of resources and for a great, fantastic price
3) Sales like this one help keep food on the table for my family, so I’m helping you, you’re helping me, and I appreciate you for it!

Below is a little more info for you on the five books in the Self-Care category. These are books that will help you organise your time. If you bought these five books independently they would cost you at least $25. Purchase the bundle and you have access to 73 more, with extra benefits and offers. This sale ends on April 28th.

You can pay in any currency.

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For Success

Equipped: Because You Were Made to Live On Purpose

Equipped offers three simple steps in an easy to navigate download to help you work through the process of living intentionally. You’ll be able to pinpoint key verses and theme that God would like you to focus on this year, draft a mission statement describing how you want to live, and come up with loosely held short term goals that are based on your priorities.

5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For Success

21 Days To A More Disciplined Life

Do you have ideas, hopes, and dreams for what you want to accomplish in your life, but you feel like you’re being held back by a lack of personal discipline?

Are you easily overwhelmed by your big ideas or projects, and you just don’t know where to start and how to make real progress? Do you find yourself making “all-or-nothing” plans for transforming your life, and then three days later you crash and burn under the weight of your plan?

Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Approach to Planning

5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For Success

In Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Approach to Planning, Crystal Paine takes you through a personal evaluation in order to determine where you are now. Then, you dream a little bit to figure out where you want to be. Afterward, you walk step-by-step through creating a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Daylight

5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For SuccessAre you “burning daylight?” If you have ever experienced a series of days, weeks or even months when you felt like you just could NOT get on top of all you had to do, you are not alone. Juggling homeschooling and homemaking can be challenging—or so we’ve heard!

Whether you’re struggling with managing your day, or simply looking for encouragement and fresh ideas for tackling your list of things to do, you will enjoy hearing from the heart of busy homeschool mom of seven, wife and author, Heidi St. John. You’ll laugh out loud, learn some of Heidi’s favorite tips on everything from home organization to meal preparation, and discover how you can homeschool in freedom and joy. Are you ready to be encouraged? Then join Heidi in discovering that real moms sometimes serve cereal for dinner—and live to write about it!

Also relevant to mamas who don’t homeschool!

Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day

Do you ever get a few months into a new year and think you’ve already blown it?
5 Books To Help Mamas Organise Time And Plan For SuccessThink again. It’s never too late to start planning, dreaming, and living.
A few years ago, Erin Odom started giving herself personal planning retreats near the beginning of each new year and now she’s created a 64 page book, filled with encouragement and motivation on how to create your own personal planning retreat. She includes examples of the tools needed to plan and 35 printables to guide you through your own retreat.

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

Twinkl Home Education Resources

A few months ago I discovered an online resource for Early Years, KS1, KS2, and SEN teachers, classes and home educators called Twinkl. I emailed them to find out about a rate for Home Educators, and eventually got the full membership, so that I can give it a try.

Twinkl is essentially a compilation of teaching resources and themed printable documents. While it’s true that a home educating parent could probably sit and create all their own resources for whatever theme you’re working on, I have found Twinkle to be an invaluable website for a number of reasons:

1. Twinkl gives you resources on tap

Twinkl Home Education Resources

While we tend to plan our PlayLearning themes well in advance, I don’t always have time in the run of daily life to actually prepare all the resources in advance. At those times, it’s wonderful to be able to quickly head over, type in our theme, print out a few pages – be they colouring pages or activity sheets – and give those to Ameli to keep her busy while I put together other things, like craft projects, or experiments to go with our themes.

2. Twinkl gives you a starting point for your own projects

Last week we were looking after two friends who are moving to Australia soon. I printed out Australian and UK flags, and cut them out. The children coloured one of each flag and while they did so, we spoke about our friends moving away and what that means. We then made those into bunting to show we’d always be connected, even though we’re in different places. Of course I could have printed these from other places, but I didn’t have to search, sort or think about it too much, they were there and ready.

Twinkl Home Education Resources

We took an ambulances word sheet from the role play section, and cut them out and used them for a treasure hunt, before using the same pieces to trace the letters and try to read the words.

3. Twinkl gives you options for themes

One week we went to the fire station for emergency services week. We printed out paper themed with little firemen all around it to write thank you notes for the firemen. Of course this wasn’t necessary but it was nice! (And I now remember I haven’t posted them yet! )

Twinkl Home Education ResourcesIf we had a theme for a longer period than a week, we could, as an example, print off themed alphabet pages – emergency services, spring or whatever we were working on. (Remember Ameli is still preschool, so we’re not using all the formal bits yet.)

4. Twinkl saves you a lot of time

Twinkl Home Education Resources

Again for the fire services week, I found a ‘game’ where you can mix and match the fronts and backs of emergency service vehicles. I printed these off (I printed them 4 to a page, if I recall, so that they were smaller), then cut them and laminated them. Again, I could have searched for a variety of vehicles, edited them all to the same size, spent time looking for similar styles – but with just a few clicks we were on our way, and Aviya still plays with them, weeks later. This is so useful for reinforcing learning – in this case of the 999 number for my two year old.

There was also an interactive PowerPoint with videos of emergency vehicles that I didn’t have to search through YouTube to find – it’s ready and fit for purpose.

5. Twinkl printouts can make gifts with no effort

Twinkl Home Education ResourcesWe recently went to a birthday party for a four year old. I had a very small budget, and didn’t want to buy a toy, as such so instead I bought a box file, magnifying glass, basket, stick of glue, a note pad and pen on a lanyard. Inside the box, I placed a few printed worksheets for mini beast hunting, a spring hunt checklist and so on.

If I was doing them for an older child there would have been more difficult activity sheets or experiments in the box, but I thought a nature explorer slash bug hunter would be great for a four year old. I know mine would have loved it! Again, of course I could have spent time searching for something good online, but the whole gift took me half an hour to assemble (once I’d bought a few bits) and I was very happy with the price, and the end result.

6. Twinkl can be your first port of call

Tomorrow we will be spending some time on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I can spend my evening on Pinterest looking for ideas, for sure… or I can pop over to Twinkl and download the massive resource they have available, and cherry pick what we want. If I have more time, and more ideas,  I can go to Pinterest. But if I need something quick, easy, accessible and quality, I know where to go. If the resource isn’t there, you can request it – it won’t be immediate, but if you plan ahead, you can make that work for you too.

I know the argument some people use against paying for a subscription service with a resource like Twinkl – mostly because as educated, computer literate people, we can all design our own stuff, or even better, use the many, many free resources  around the internet including some on Twinkl.

I also love how, if I do want to create my own resources, I can do so using their templates, and I can share and save it to the site, for which you get points too, and enough points can win you ‘freebies’ and prizes too.

If you’re in a position to be able to do that, great stuff, but for me as a working and home educating mama, I love the ease of Twinkl, how it takes the pressure off me on the small, standard stuff, so I have more energy and time to spend on the fun stuff.

Twinkl Home Education ResourcesP.S. If you sign up using my links, I’ll get a free month on Twinkl and my girls and I will be super duper grateful!

 

What’s In Store For National Breastfeeding Awareness Week

The week ahead is National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
If breastfeeding isn’t something that interests you, you might find the week a little overwhelming. I apologise for that in advance. Don’t worry, next week will be here before you know it.

Here are links to a few articles I’ve written about breastfeeding in the past:

Giveaways relating to breastfeeding this week, are:

  • Monday: Mamascarf Breastfeeding Cover – for those mothers who choose to cover up
  • Tuesday: BabyBeads Breastfeeding Necklace And Bracelet Giveaway – a reminder bracelet for the early days of breastfeeding and a necklace to keep baby’s hands free later.
  • Wednesday: 2x Theraline Nursing and Maternity Pillows – for physical support during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Thursday: Lactivist.net T-shirt and Shopping Bag – wear your breastfeeding colours with pride
  • Friday:  Bras4Mums £30 Voucher – to spend in their online store on any of the beautiful lingerie
  • Saturday: Nursing Bra from Emma-Jane – a bra that stretches as your cupsize grows.

Other great NBAW bloggers and carnivals to check out:

  • Lactivist.Net – plenty of giveaways and breastfeeding information
  • If you have something you’d like me to add here, please leave a comment below, or email me.
  • Whatever you do, please sign the petition to reunite Habiba and Alma.
http://www.diaryofafirstchild.com/2011/06/07/the-problem-with-principles/

Where, Why, What Is World Kindness Day?

November 13th is World Kindness Day. Although it’s the first time I have ever heard of World Kindness Day, it has been playing on my mind ever since I did. What is it? Why do we need a kindness day, and what exactly is kindness? When have I experienced kindness, and when last was I actively kind to anyone else?
Read more: Where, Why, What Is World Kindness Day?

Why Baby Led Weaning?

As with so many things baby-related, I knew nothing about weaning and first foods a year ago. I had seen people spoon-feeding babies purée, and accepted that as how the process of learning to eat starts. In my journey into parenthood, however, I came across the term “Baby Led Weaning”, which really intrigued me. So much of my parenting style involves Ameli, my daughter, guiding us to knowing what’s right for her that this seemed a strange exception to make.

About a month and a half after beginning baby led weaning (BLW) I began reading the book of the same title by Gill Rapley and Tracy Murkett.  One of the first things that really stood out for me was the definition given for spoon-feeding: “to provide (someone) with so much help or information that they do not need to think for themselves” and “to treat another in a way that discourages independent thought or action”.

(Something to note about weaning: weaning a baby doesn’t mean that they no longer have their milk feeds. Especially with BLW, the first solids are so little that continuing milk is essential. I met a very upset mother recently who kept crying as she was desperate to breastfeed her baby, but had “started weaning” and kept trying to feed her baby puréed food, no matter how much he (or she) herself longed to breastfeed!)

Some of the great things I love about the concept behind BLW are that:

  • There is no additional cooking needed, i.e. no Why Baby Led Weaning?separate meals
  • Babies are involved in the experience from the start
  • As there is no force-feeding occurring, eating doesn’t have a negative connotation (so no here comes a train, open the tunnel, the aeroplane wants to land!)
  • They can eat till they are full and then stop.
  • We can eat as a family together. No separate mealtimes required (according to Sue Palmer in her book “Toxic Childhood – what the modern world is doing to your children and what you can do about it”, all children in a merit class she was involved in, without exception, had one thing in common – they all had dedicated family meal times at the dinner table).
  • BLW babies are more adventurous eaters as they’ve learned to explore new textures and flavours. At seven months old my daughter has a definite favourite: smoked salmon. She will actually try to get into my mouth to take it out if I haven’t given her any.

Admittedly, I am not a purist. There are times when a pre-packaged puree, whether bought or home made, can be a life saver. I was happy, then, to read Ms Rapley say that the odd spoon feeding or soft food isn’t harmful, but never allowing a child to roll lumpy food around their mouths, or having them always sucking the food off the spoon to the back of the mouth could delay chewing.

She goes on to explain that babies have never needed purées, but because they were being weaned on to solids before they were ready (i.e. 3 or 4 months) it was assumed to be the only way. Since we now know that babies shouldn’t really have solids until about 6 months, it becomes easier to understand why they don’t really need solids – by six months they are able, if given the opportunity, to feed themselves.

A few other bonuses of BLW mentioned in the book that I had not thought about before are:

  • Long term health. If a baby is breastfed and BLW, they still have breast milk for much longer than a baby weaned on to purees (as they are fuller and require less milk)
  • No stressful meal times
  • Fewer food phobias etc
  • Less need for games or tricks
  • Eating out is easier as baby can eat something off your plate, making it also…
  • Cheaper

The only downside to BLW is the mess. And boy, can it be messy.

When we started in March, I made this video of our first solids attempt for our far off family. Watch how she devours those courgettes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sDp5n-nO2g

There’ll be more soon. Watch this space!