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Homeschool is no place for games

Published July 2, 2015 by lynn k scott

That was me when I embarked on my homeschooling journey.  I pulled my daughter out of her first grade class in January of 2011.  I was overwhelmed.  I had planned on starting her with homeschooling for second grade.  Life being what it is, through another curve ball my way and we jumped in the deep end of the homeschooling pool.

Ya know what?  I can swim and we’re staying afloat!

While I admit, it’s definitely a transition from a brick and mortar school to educating at home, it’s not as scary as I thought it would.  We made adjustments.  I’ve done research, I’ve taken “tests” to judge how I teach and it’s a combination; less traditional, some unschooling, a bit of chapter learning and a very hands on approach.

The one thing I love about homeschooling, is it is definitely a place for games.  No need to break the bank, consignment shops, yard sales, thrift stores all have reasonably priced games.  I picked up a Kids’ Monopoly and a children’s Scrabble. Ok, so Elsa is on our Scrabble game.  That game was $5.00 on clearance after Christmas.  I’ll let it go that Elsa’s picture is on the Scrabble board.

When my 9-year old says, “Mom?  Will play Monopoly with me?”  I find myself saying yes more than no.  Here are some things you might now have considered the benefits of playing Monopoly (at least the kids’ version):

  • Uses fine and gross motor skills (stretching across the board, moving pieces…)
  • Teaches math (adding or multiplying fines, counting how much money is left…)
  • Teaches budgeting (can they afford that ticket booth (kids version of a hotel)
  • Teaches strategy
  • Development of reading skills (Chance cards)
  • Teaches how to make change
  • Teaches responsibility (set-up, clean-up)
  • Teaches good sportsmanship (they will lose at some point)
  • Use skip counting to move pieces around the board
  • Bonding time with their mother, father, sibling, etc.

This is just one example of what a game can do.  This would be considered “unschooling”.  Yet, it’s a great way to help kids with math memory if they are struggling.  It’s a challenge in a fun way.

I will also utilize games when my daughter is feeling distracted.  She’s still learning but she refocusing her energy.  Instead of letting her leave her studies we change her learning directive, even for 10-15 minutes.  It lets her get out some energy and when we need to finish up a book lesson, she cooperates a lot more.

That is the freedom I love about homeschooling.  I tailor my daughter’s education to suit her needs.  She is still learning, still absorbing, only this way, she is more apt to remember because she associates the knowledge with something she enjoys.

Alternative Coffee

Published March 28, 2015 by lynn k scott

Perhaps I might have led you astray with the title, “Alternative Coffee”, perhaps not.  Some people are very routine in their coffee regimen.  I used to be.  I have been experimenting with different ways to consume the caffeinated life blood I rely on several times a day.

In my efforts to minimize my refined sugar intake, I have switched to exclusively using honey in my coffee.  Where I used to be up to two heaping teaspoons of sugar in my coffee, I’ve minimized that intake over the last month.  When I was able to only use half a teaspoon of sugar, I decided to try honey.

Honey has a higher caloric count than table sugar, but has some benefits over sugar.  It has a lower glycemic index (not by much, but still lower) than sugar.  It has trace minerals and pollen in it and well as being antimicrobial.  I only buy raw, uncooked honey and never purchase from the grocery store.

I use less honey than sugar because it’s a bit sweeter.  I like that it’s not chemically combined, the fructose and glucose, like table sugar is.  Some people might find that reasoning strange, but less sugar, in honey or other form is better, in my opinion.  I haven’t made it the stage where I don’t need any sweetener at all.

Next, I’ve primarily given up dairy in my coffee.  My family has a history of milk intolerance.  I experience these symptoms from time to time so when I can use an alternative to cow’s milk, I do.  My latest passion for lightening my coffee is using coconut milk.  I love the flavor it adds to the coffee.  I am not a fan of flavored creamers or half and half.  I’m so picky, right?

I’ve been using the honey and coconut milk combination for about two weeks now.  It’s proving to be one of the best combinations I’ve come up with.  The die-hard “Dunkies” who love their coffee regular (East Coast terminology) would probably have a heart attack with my tree-hugging, California-influenced, coffee drinking concoction, but it’s ok.  They just haven’t been enlightened to the yummy taste I now enjoy daily.

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