Tag: homeschooling tools

An easy way to help more kids learn from real news, not fake news.

We’re big fans of supporting quality journalism, especially in this age of where fake news is running rampant. Because, facts matter. (Not that this is a big stake in the ground, mamas. I mean, is any normal person really like, “Whoo! Fake news! We need more of it!” Let’s hope not.) So when I learned about The New York Times Sponsor a Subscription Program, I was so excited to share this with other parents and educators who feel the same way. Related: 10 free educational online resources for curious kids that every parent should know. A donation of just $2–4 provides a free subscription...

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7 fun handwriting practice printables for kids, from pre-k to teen. It’s not just worksheets!

We’ve always made it our mission to encourage kids to keep the art of handwriting alive, and to help parents looking to do the same. So we’ve put together some really terrific handwriting practice printables for kids of all ages. Yes, even teens. (We can tear them away from those keyboards sometimes, you know.) Essentially, it’s all about finding ways to get kids to write, whether it’s basic worksheets for preschoolers, or opportunities to write stories, comics, even create a typeface of their own. And we’re so happy to bring you this post on behalf of our partner BIC, who’s been our fantastic...

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Cool, colorful school supplies to make September a little more fun | Back to School Guide 2016

So once you’ve gotten the hand sanitizer, the tissue boxes, and everything else on that classroom shopping list, it’s time to have a little fun with some colorful school supplies! We always recommend getting a little goodie or two for the kids that gets them more excited about going back to school, whether it’s a cute backpack charm, a personalized notebook, a pencil case with their favorite character, or even a set of #2 pencils that are just that much cooler than your standard issue yellow pencils. With that, we had the best time putting together a rainbow of cool school...

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16 essential skills kids learn from LEGO, and fantastic resources to help get them going

Of all the toys that have passed through the hands of my three kids over the past dozen or so years, there is no question that LEGO bricks have been the most enduring and versatile. From their first little plastic bucket of mixed bricks, to those 1000+ piece architectural kits that require hours of concentration, LEGO remains a favorite toy — for all of us — even up against the siren song of video games. But even more than just being fun, I love the important skills that LEGOs can teach. I’ve seen so many of them firsthand as a...

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The coolest school supplies to make the year a little more fun | Back to school shopping guide 2015

While there are certain must-haves for school, like backpacks and lunch boxes, we always love finding the coolest school supplies that just make things a little more fun this time of year. Whether you’re helping your kid express his or her individuality with a cool backpack charm, making reading time more special with personalized bookplates, or tracking down file folders in different styles —  so that there is no fighting among your kids about whose is whose — we love these little indulgences that make for big smiles. [click here for our 2016 back to school guide] And so we’re thrilled...

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Getting your kids to practice their handwriting: 16 fun tips, tricks and ideas

Call us the handwriting brigade. Seriously. From day one, even with the advent of technology and the slow decline of handwriting instruction (let alone cursive, gah!) in schools, we’ve always made it our mission to encourage kids not to lose the art of handwriting. And if it’s not asking too much, we’d like it to be as legible as possible, considering we all know at least one relative, co-worker, friend or yes, doctor,  whose handwriting is like some secret code requiring a decipher key. After a season of writing actual letters to our kids at sleepaway camp — and receiving them — it really...

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12 awesome DIY back to school crafts your kids can actually do: Back to school shopping guide 2015.

We are not the parents who are going to put together a list of back to school crafts that require 6 kinds of sandpaper and a drawer full of spare x-rays to turn into DIY stencils. (Seriously. We’ve seen this.) Like most of you, we’re looking for the kinds of crafts we can actually do with our kids, that only require some basic supplies. Or okay, maybe a very few not-so-basic supplies if you count Modge Podge. We think all of these cool DIY projects and back to school craft ideas give you the opportunity to spend a fun hour or afternoon with your family, to help get kids of...

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Life Empowered: How kids can help change the world one light bulb at a time.

Imagine if you didn’t have electricity at home and your kids had to go out and sit under a street lamp on a deserted street, alone each night, in order to finish their homework. That’s exactly what a lot of kids face in other parts of the world, though when we think of “energy poverty,” we don’t always think about such relatable examples of its effect. That’s why, as we turn our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time this weekend, I love the idea of using it as an opportunity to talk to our kids about why having access to energy matters. And that’s what the...

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A terrific new online encyclopedia for kids that will help answer all those kid questions.

I want to answer my kids’ questions and help them with their homework, but I can’t always drop everything to help them find the answer rightthisverysecondplease–nor do I want my younger ones doing a Google search on their own. Instead, I’m thrilled to have discovered the new DK Find Out! online encyclopedia for kids which offers a solid introduction to a variety of topics in an easy-to-understand format. Oh, and without pop-up ads, questionable links, or shoddy research and questionable “facts” that sends readers down the wrong path. Written primarily for kids ages 7-11,  DK Find Out is a free resource covering science, math, English, history, geography, the human body,...

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How fun are these number blocks? Let us count the ways…

With so many amazing modern building blocks out there, it’s not hard to find a set that I’d love to give to my kids. But I’ve just discovered SumBlox, the most incredibly original set of durable beech wood blocks that mixes math learning and block play together in such an interesting way, I think they’d be just as valuable in our kids’ classrooms as in their playrooms. Related: 6 cool sets of wooden blocks for older kids that are anything but square What makes the cool-looking SumBlox number blocks so unique is that each block has its value represented by its height so that kids can...

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The coolest school supplies to make school more fun: Back to School Guide 2014

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impression, and when it comes to back to school shopping, it may be the backpack we spend all our time stressing about, when it turns out to be the $1 hamster eraser or the personalized pencil case that our kids love and cherish like nothing else. So we’ve scoured the web for you to track down two dozen of the very coolest school supplies and fun accessories to make all this preparation a little more fun. For both of you.   Flying colors rainbow tape dispenser ($11.99, coming soon to Perpetual Kid) And...

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Little Red Writing book: A picture book that inspires kids to write, not just read

Our favorite picture books inspire our kids to come up with stories of their own, though I’m especially excited about the Little Red Writing book, which also teaches them the how to construct the story so that it’s entertaining and fun. Because while I have always loved my kids’ stories, they definitely get better when they aren’t one big run-on sentence. (Sorry kids.) Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, the book packs several grammar lessons into a story borrowed heavily from Little Red Riding Hood, as you might have guessed. Little Red is a pencil who is assigned a writing...

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Ways to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the kids

From books that celebrate his life’s story, to activities you can do with the kids on this Day of Service, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, or any day of the year.    Volunteer opportunities If your local newspaper or websites don’t list any special events, check out All For Good’s searchable database for Martin Luther King Day events in your area. In the Boston area, I was able to find events where people of all ages will make fleece scarves for homeless people, serve at...

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How do you explain Thanksgiving to kids? 3 great videos to help

I know I’m not the only parent who wonders how do you explain Thanksgiving to kids, beyond, “well, we eat turkey and stuffing and Uncle Fred always drinks too much of his special juice.” (That’s hyperbolic by the way; I don’t have an Uncle Fred. That you know of.) So here are two of my favorite resources that have really helped me explain the historical significance of Thanksgiving in a fun, engaging way, even if I still need to fill in a few blanks.   First of all, Schoolhouse Rock is still a go-to educational source for me, all...

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We predict your kid’s next favorite book will be an atlas. Really.

Lately my kids and I have been snuggling up on the couch in front of the fireplace and browsing through a stunning new coffee table book featuring exquisite hand-drawn maps of countries around the world. It’s delightfully wonderful. I really, really love it. Maps, by Polish artists Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński, is a lavish collection of 52 maps of countries from every continent around the globe. But you’re not just getting topography and political markers with this book. The pages are filled with winsome illustrations of cultural icons from that region. Germany’s map, for example, shows a girl...

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Smiling (not scary!) printable skull masks to celebrate the Day of the Dead

See ya, Halloween: We bid a fond farewell to pumpkins, goblins, and waaaay too much candy to celebrate today and tomorrow’s Latin American holiday Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is so cool, we love to celebrate it, even though we’re thousands of miles north of the border. One of our favorite decorations for “Dia de los Muertos” are the beautifully decorated, smiling skulls known as calaveras, unlike the grimacing visages of Halloween. And with this easy, creative, and free craft, you too can create your own version of this holiday with your kids this year....

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Zoobean: Personal book recommendations for your one-of-a-kind kid

Finding just the right books for your child can be, well, challenging–especially if your kid is as finicky about what she reads as what she eats: No peas, broccoli, or dumb princess books, thank you. So I love this cool, custom service made to create your kid’s dream reading list. {EDITED TO ADD: Zoobean is currently not taking on any new subscribers.} Hooray for Zoobean. Created by a mom-and-dad duo who were struggling to find kids’ books with biracial main characters for their son and daughter, this book-curating subscription service does the searching for you. Also perfect for those...

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Family game night gets educational. Just don’t tell the kids.

Ah, summer. It’s amazing what extra time you find when you’re not shuttling the kids back and forth to a zillion activities and games. We’ve been playing a lot of board games at our house–and some of our favorites come from a great company that not only offers fun and unique games, but ones with an educational slant too. Lakeshore Learning is well known for smart, engaging educational tools. When searching through the Lakeshore site, you’ll likely recognize many games from your children’s classrooms. There are literally hundreds of options for all age ranges–from infants to middle schoolers–and you can search...

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Will they stop teaching cursive? Not in our house.

With all the talk about getting rid of cursive handwriting in schools, this writer is a little panicky. Fortunately my kids are showing the inclination anyway. Which is in part why I’m loving these awesome personalized placemats to help them do that very thing. We fell in love with the awesome kids’ personalized placemats from Sarah + Abraham a while back–my kids still love sitting down at the chair where they see a likeness of their faces staring back at them. Plus? The placemats show no real sign of wear and tear, even after everyday use for more than...

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A book to help kids look at the Presidents in a whole new way

My kids can remember who was the first president, who ended slavery, and who was president during the Great Depression. But there are so many other great stories and interesting personality quirks about these leaders of our nation; the challenge is how to remember some of them.  I’m delighted to have found a unique picture book about some of our presidents by illustrator Hanoch Piven, whose Faces I Make app is among our favorites. And I think his presidential portraits will be ones your kids will be staring at for a good long time.  What Presidents Are Made Of includes 18 “portraits” of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Nixon, and Obama, among others. But unlike every other portrait I’ve ever seen, in this book, each president’s face is created of paint with three-dimensional objects affixed to fill in the features in sort of a visual mnemonic about their lives. Kids will remember not only President Carter’s past as a peanut farmer–his nose is a peanut–but the ladder for his mouth will remind them of his work for Habitat for Humanity. President Nixon’s face is created of tape recorder parts, an obvious nod to the Watergate scandal. And George Washington is shown in a fireman’s suit, racing to put out a fire, something he really did at the age of 67. With only 18 presidents represented, there are obviously far more that...

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