How to Eliminate Behavior Issues

Are you trying to eliminate behavior issues in your child's homeschool? If so, I have some ideas that will help you be able to do that without the constant struggle.

Taking the time to decide if your child's reactions to learning is due to learning gaps or behavior issues is worth the time. If you have expect it to be learning gaps, you can help eliminate them with the tips that I shared in the last post.

Eliminate Behavior Issues in your child’s education

How to Eliminate Behavior Issues in Your Child's Education

You have determined that the issues that your child is exhibiting during lessons are actually just due to behavior outbreaks, but you aren't sure how to eliminate them. Each family has their own way of dealing with behavior issues, however I would like to offer you some suggestions that have helped me in homeschooling our children when behavior issues come up. I do believe that this steps have resulted in little behavior issues in our homeschooling journey.

  • Be a United Front as a Couple – There is nothing better in working on a child's behavior issues than starting the battle with a united front as a couple.  As the main homeschooling teacher, I'm also the main enforcer to correction, which can be very tiring and stressful depending on the kinds of behavior issues that are arising. If I have the same issue arise with the same child, I get my husband involved in the discussion with the child. Often times, I just tell my husband the situation and remove myself, allowing him to support me in the correcting of the behavior on his own. When the child sees that both parents are involved in ensuring that homeschooling time is met with the right attitude, the chances of these arising are diminished.
  • Create a Consequence Chart – If you are really struggling with behavior issues, I would highly recommend sitting down as a couple and going over the details of the kinds of behavior issues and in what subject they are arising. Once you understand where they are arising, you can decide on an appropriate consequence chart based on your own family's believe for correcting a child. This will add to the awareness that the parents are a united front and this will quickly help to solve the behavior issues quickly. In addition to that, you spouse may have some insights on solutions that could be eliminating the issues as well. This happened with one of my children and my husband's insights were spot on.
  • Take Away Privileges – If the consequence chart that you put into place isn't seeming to give enough weight to the situation of behavior issues happening, I would suggest taking away privileges for a determined length of time. If you aren't willing to be consistent in enforcing this aspect, don't make the mistake in mentioning it because a child that already demonstrates behavior issues will only use this to their advantage and show that they can manipulate the situation. Electronics, television, friends and outings are great things to consider if the consequence chart needs some backing up in more difficult cases.
  • Add More Assignments or Chores – There is nothing as powerful as adding additional assignments and chores to a child that demonstrates behavior issues over the lessons that are already given. I have been known to have a child do extra assignments until my husband came home. I have also been known to assign my own chores to a child that doesn't respect the assignments that were given and were having attitudes with me, taking more of my limited time for things around the house.

Having a plan to eliminate the behavior issues in your child's education is the first step toward correcting what is wrong. As the parents, you need to have resolve to be consistent and diligent to the manipulation your child is demonstrating in their behavior.  You can do this and you will be so glad you did!

How to Eliminate Learning Gaps

When our son was struggling to learn to read, I needed to be purposeful in getting him over his hurtle. I have six things that I did to eliminate learning gaps for our son. I worked on these six things for a full homeschool year. They worked beautifully!

How to Eliminate Learning Gaps

Before you start working on this list, you will want to be sure if you are dealing with learning gaps or behavior issues. Once you have been able to identify if your child is experiencing learning gaps or behavior issues in their studies, it is important to make a plan for how to eliminate them. If the issues are due to learning gaps, these tips will help you eliminate them.

How to Eliminate Learning Gaps

You now believe that your child has learning gaps, but you aren't sure how to actually eliminate them, without putting pressure on the child.  Here are ways that I have used that work and give good results quickly.

  • Focused Attention to the Gap – If you identified a gap in learning, the best way to overcome it is to give full attention to helping your child over the humps in front of them. Many choose to use tutoring to get them through the gaps, but all tutoring really is, is someone that gives full attention to where a student is struggling.  As a homeschooler, you can do this yourself, however a parent of a child who goes to school can also do this in the evening.
  • Implement Additional Time in Your Schedule for this Gap – If your child is struggling in reading, spelling or math, add another session or two into the day that will allow for more practice in this gap. You can even add games, as long as there are results in short periods of a few weeks.
  • Focus on Speed Verses Quality – Often times, gaps can really ruin a child's self-confidence. Focusing on building the speed of reading, spelling or math before adding higher level work could really be a great activity to eliminating the hardest obstaclse to gaps. Rushing the basics of the foundations of learning can result in a wider gap with a lot of busy and frustrating work.
  • Evaluate Often – If a child is focusing on better reading, time a child with a selection of reading and then retime them a few weeks later with the same selection.  If your child struggles with spelling, do an evaluation of how many correct words can be spelled from a list, and in the amount of time it takes. Do this same test a few weeks later, focusing on correct spelling and speed to see if there is marked improvement. Practice math facts with time drills to know how their timing improves over a few weeks. Even the smallest of improvements will build a child's self-confidence and give them more excitement for lessons ahead.
  • Eliminate Extra Curricular Activity – Gaps in a child's education is very serious when it involves the basics of learning: reading, writing and math.  It would be very difficult to fill these gaps without pressure and stress to a child, which can result in more issues than you can imagine, if you don't remove the extras from their schedule. Giving one full year to fill the gaps without extra things to fill your schedule will prove to be one of the best decisions you can make to help your struggling child gain confidence, skills and learning.
  • Start NOW – The longer you wait to help fill the gaps the more bad habits are being formed and will be harder to overcome. You need to give full attention to the areas that your child is struggling in to get the best results, but waiting for a better season in your life is not fair to the child or to your own stress level.

When I have a child that exhibits gaps in their learning, these are the steps that I take to help them in their education. I know that these will be just what you need to help your own child.

Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues

Homeschool tantrums are something that many experience, often times daily.  These episodes can last for minutes or even hours. It is so important for homeschooling parents to work together to find out if the homeschool tantrums are from learning gaps or behavior issues.  These devastating events can be avoided with the proper attention and action, once you understand what is causing them.

Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues

Homeschool Tantrums: Identifying Gaps or Behavior Issues

Often times, learning gaps can also cause behavior issues. When walking through these steps be sure to see how your child reacts to the learning gap steps. If they grow upset through them, work on the behavior issues steps.

I'm going to share with you a few steps that you can use to learn how to identify if the issues you are experiencing with your child are gaps or behavior related.

Identifying Gaps

The key to identifying gaps is to eliminate the stress your child may be feeling if they do not know something that is expected of them or already covered that they didn't retain.  This process is best done if the child is unaware that you are trying to find the cause of their tantrums or your concern that they are missing something in their education.

  • Evaluate Your Child – In a relaxed environment, evaluate your child's skill level in the subjects where they have tantrums. Drill math facts, have them do some copywork, writing or reading, or whatever it is that seems to be when the child starts demonstrating their tantrum.
  • Pop Quizzes in Disguise – Begin using driving time, standing in lines or waiting for appointments as ways to do oral math or ask questions that will help you distinguish the comprehension of subjects you are questioning if there are gaps.
  • Play Games that Uses the Skills in Question – Staying a little below the level you expect your child to be at, begin to play games on the Kindle Fire, computer, board games or other options to see how quickly they can do the skills in questioned.
  • Implement a Teacher Day – Switch places with your child once a week and allow them the opportunity to be the teachers. If they are able to ‘teach' you a past lesson without difficulty, they have learned the necessary things. However, if they are not able to cover the basic information necessary to play teacher in the subject you can easily identify the gaps.

Behavior Issues

The key to identifying behavior issues is to take a step back and become very observant of your child's behavior at different times and in different situations.  Often times, with children who are having homeschool tantrums, they have already learned that they can manipulate the situations that they don't prefer and control the outcome by their behavior.

To identify behavior issues, you are really going to need to be objective and honest with yourself. If you identify some issues that are arising outside of lessons but are similar to the actions during the homeschool tantrums, it is best to work on the issues in other places before addressing them in the schooling.

  • Evaluate Your Child's Obedience – How quickly or willing is your child when asked to do something around the house that he or she doesn't prefer?  What actions do they exhibit if they are trying to get out of the chore being asked of them?  How similar are these actions when they have a tantrum during their homeschool?
  • Evaluate Your Child's Ability to Work Through a Challenge – How does your child react when they have challenges to work through when learning a new skill or interest? Are they easily upset when they don't get it the first time or are they happy to keep trying to learn?
  • Evaluate Your Child's Ability with Someone Else Teaching – This is difficult for a homeschooling mom, but necessary if you expect behavior issues as the reason behind the homeschool tantrums.  These types of behavior issues are a way of manipulating the situation and to really determine it, you should consider having someone else teach the lessons that are seeing the tantrums the most.  In just one or two lessons, you should be able to clearly know if it is a learning gap or a behavior issue.

 

Allergic to Dog Dander? A Natural Remedy to Keeping Your Pet

Our youngest son is allergic to dog dander. When he was born, he struggled with Trachea Malaysia so we never supected it for a few years. He always seemed to be catching colds that none of the family would get and because of his Trachea Malaysia we just assumed it was because of that all together. We were wrong and he was suffering without us understanding that he had an allergy to dog dander.

When someone has allergies to dog dander they experience swelling, redness, and itching around the eyes and nose. They develope a cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

Allergic to dog dander? A Natural Remedy to Keeping Your Pet - How one family found a solution to a serious condition without having to get rid of their family dogs.
Allergic to Dog Dander? A Natural Remedy to Keeping Your Pets

While our son was struggling with these symptoms of being allergic to dog dander, we were thinking things like our air vents needing to be clean or air conditioning was causing it. It took us some time to look at our beloved pet of thirteen years and point the finger to our son's best friend.

It was true, though. Our dog was causing our little boy to feel horrible but they were always together.

Allergic to dog dander means your best friend is causing your symptoms.

Time after time, our son would be feeling horrible and there was Shadow, by his side to comfort him and our little guy was always happiest to have his pal near him. Yet, it his symptoms would get worse and it was his best friend causing it all along.

We were loss to what we were going to do. Our son was devastated when we talked about one day Shadow wouldn't be with us because he was getting older and showing it. Our son would cry horribly and we started to look for a natural remedy to our family situation.

Then one day, I had the opportunity to review the Venta, a air purifier and humidifier all in one.

The Venta changed my son's life.

Within a few hours of it working in our home, we noticed that his symptoms improved. First his red, swollen eyes began to look better. His wheezing and coughing was improving as well.

We were quietly praying that this would be our solution and we could keep our dog until his life came to an end naturally.

Next thing we knew, our son was looking and sounding amazing! He was all over the dog more than ever and NOTHING was happening to him.

Little by little, we were growing relaxed with the Venta and allowing a few days to go without replacing the water. I would look at our son and see the redness, swollen eyes coming back and hearing some wheezing in his chest or even a couch. Immediately the Venta would get filled and it all disappeared.

Before I realized it, our son was connecting how he much better he felt with the Venta running continually. If he coughed, he would say “Mommy, the Venta needs to be filled.” He became our reminder on his own.

After our sweet Shadow passed away, our son was lost without a dog. He desperately missed his best friend and requested a new dog daily. Our hearts finally gave in and we purchased two Miniture Australian Shephards!

A boy and his two best friends.

These three are always together and thanks to the natural remedy of the Venta, we don't have to worry about the allergy of dog dander at home.

This past Thanksgiving, we traveled to visit family. While our family celebrated, I was keeping an eye on our son because in addition to our two dogs, there was another 4 dogs that he just couldn't leave along and we didn't have our Venta with us.

It hurts my heart to see the joy of my son diminish when his allergy of dog dander hits me and we are 400 miles away from the natural remedy that we all have appreciated so much. Befor we returned home, our son was struggling horribly. His cough was out of control and his eyes looked horrible.

The first thing we did when we entered our home was filled up our Venta.

This summer when we packed up our vehicle to head back to visit family, our son grabbed his two best friends and ran for the truck yelling, “Don't forget the Venta!”

Life shouldn't require you to pick your health over your best friend. Thankfully, the Venta has given our family the freedom to have both – health and our best friends!

The Venta does more than just clean your air of pet dander. Venta says it best when they say:

“You don't know how bad your air is until you know how good it can be.”

Learn more about Venta TODAY and make your tomorrow healthier!

 

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

Age appropriate chores for kids aren't always easy to find around the house until you have an idea what different ages can do.  What is really important to understand is that kids can do far more than we realize. In fact, the youngest of children know that they can do things and ask to help all the time. It is the parents that stand in the way of them helping and becoming helpers around the house because of how we underestimate their abilities.

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids with a FREE printable | www.joyinthehome.com

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

I remember when my older two children were just 5 and 3 years old, and I was starting to homeschool. I felt overwhelmed by how I was going to get everything done and stay on top of the responsibilities of the home. It was during this time that I felt impressed with the insights to ‘give to my children what they can do and only keep on my plate what was required of me to do‘.

This has since been my guide when I have set up routines in our home and given out responsibilities to different ones in my family.

I knew right away the things that I needed to do because certain things required me completely. Things like planning homeschooling, meals, grocery shopping, and the like. However, there were so many things that I was doing on a daily basis that I didn't need to be doing but still was and wearing myself out at the same time.

Once I figured out a few things for our children to do, I started the 4-step formula to teaching them how to do the chores. What I found was that with my attention to training them and their excitement to be doing what I was doing created an atmosphere in our home that was amazing.

Within a few short weeks, each of our children has a handful of responsibilities that they knew how to do on their own without my further instruction or a watchful eye. Of course, I still evaluated that they did their chores diligently and thoroughly.

One of my favorite things, when I hand over a chore to my children, is letting them take complete ownership over it. They helped me pick out the cleaners, the new vacuum, and dusters. They were thrilled to be part of the process of making choices and took pride in their daily chore times in our routine.

Little by little, I was seeing that I was feeling less overwhelmed and more accomplished with each passing week. My children were happier because routines were formed in our home and they were helping by being an active part of our family unit.

Our home is nearly always cleaned because of this system of each person doing their own part of keeping our home neat. This doesn't mean we don't create messes because we do.

We live in our home!

However, what it does mean is that we all make the messes and we all help to clean it up. We have chore times in our daily routine where we each do what is expected of us. I find that this allows us to be more hospitable and enjoy impromptu visits from neighbors and friends.

As our children grew, their responsibilities grew with them.

As we added to our family, we passed down responsibilities as we did clothes. The older sibling taught the younger sibling how to do the job well. The joy of the younger c that he could do what the older sibling always did.

To us, house responsibilities are like a rite of passage to adulthood with one responsibility learned at a time.

Our system for chores really works and the more children we have had, the more I realize that motivation starts younger and younger in our family because of the work ethic that we teach.

At the age of 7 1/2, our youngest child has learned how to mow our lawn with our riding lawn mower! I was shocked when my 15-year-old and my husband agreed to let him learn the actual mowing part, but he has been driving the mower since he was 5. My 15-year-old has been mowing for neighbors and our property and theirs are actually pretty big, so he wanted a little help keeping up with it all. Our youngest was only too motivated to offer to help.

I wanted to help you identify some great age appropriate chores for kids, and help you start delegating around your home.

 

How to Teach Chores to Kids

I'm going to answer every mom's question at one point in her motherhood. “How to teach chores to kids?” I hear it often, mostly because my kids do so many things around our home and do from early on in their lives and the chores increases with their age.

How to Teach Chores to Kids - Easy formula to teaching children how to do chores around the house. | www.joyinthehome.com

How to Teach Chores to Kids

I often see so many mothers overwhelmed by the responsibilities to raise their children in character, prepare healthy meals, and keep their home presentable. The one thing that really makes this all possible is to teach chores to kids and to do it early in their lives.

I often say that when kids are in the stages of acting like mommy or daddy is the right time to teach them things around the house. They are eager to learn and only need praise of a job well done for their payment.

I have fond memories of our first child wanting to help me wash windows, do laundry, cook, wash dishes, vacuum and anything else I was doing around the house. I took advantage of this sweet love of being my little helper because I was pregnant and it helped me to know where she was and what she was doing without having to chase her around the house.

By the time my children were 3-5 years old, they were doing so many things that most teenagers weren't doing in their homes. In fact, they did them without any complaining because it was just part of our routine and they were brought up this way making it natural.

Today, my children do far more around my house than I originally expected because more hands do make light work for everyone.

I want to share the formula I use to teach chores to kids because it is simple for everyone. It is a 4-part formula that can take days, weeks or months to work through depending on the age and skills of your children, but most importantly you consistency in going through the formula.

Watch Me

Children do this naturally, but it is a little more involved than just watch me. During this part of the formula, you will want to be sure your child is being completely attentive to what you are showing them.

I use this time to talk about what I am doing and why. I explain where I store cleaners, or put things in their place. I walk through the chore, talking the entire time about every step that I'm doing.

Teaching this attentiveness to details first is what is really important. Learning details from watching a demonstration will benefit your children when they get their first job.

Help Me

The next time I do the chore, I have the child help me go through the chore. I'm still talking but giving them some freedom to seeing what they remember and pointing out how they can improve on doing key things. I praise everything that they do to build their confidence and give them that feeling of accomplishment.

If a child is struggling with this stage, I would do a few more times with them being sure to talk through it like I did in the first step of ‘watch me'.

I Help You

Once I see that a child has the ability to do the chore with me, I let them take control and give me instructions he of what I can do to help them. This gives them that boost of confidence that I trust them and that I'm truly proud of what they have learned.

If I see that they are missing steps or being too quick with the details, I will draw attention to those things to ensure they are doing it correctly.

When I don't have to give instructions often, I'm ready to move on to the next step of the formula.

I Watch You

For the last step of the formula to teach chores to kids, I just watch them. I don't answer their questions but ask them ‘What do you think?' This shows them that I'm giving them the full responsibility and I trust their judgment until they give me a reason to doubt them.

I make sure that I'm evaluating their chores often to be sure they don't grow lazy or haphazard about what they are doing for the family unit.

Once I see that they are being faithful with their new found responsibility, I give them ownership of it.

Next step is to start this formula over again with a new chore to help them learn and participate in our family unit even more.

Patriotic Activities for the Family

We are a very patriotic family and I thought it would be fun to pull together some of the best patriotic activities for the family to do together. These would be perfect for Memorial Day, July 4th and Veteran's Day. Don't forget about Flag Day, and Patriot Day!

Patriotic Activities for the Family | www.joyinthehome.com

Patriotic Activities for the Family

There is nothing more patriotic to do than to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  This printable Pledge of Allegiance will help your children understand what it means while they work to memorize it.

Our family loves patriotic music. One of our favorite collection of songs is Wee Sing Book & CD. It has so many patriotic songs that kids will just love to learn how to sing about our country, flag and message.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the best tips around the web for families to do together. Patriotic holidays are days that family should be together enjoying one another and the freedoms that our past, present and future military sacrifice to uphold for all citizens.

Raising your children to have some wonderful family memories around these patriotic days are a wonderful way to raise children who are thankful for their country and their military.

PATRIOTIC CRAFTS

4th-of-July-Craft-Idea-Patriotic-Kids-Blower-fb-600x600


Patriotic Kids Blowers Craft Idea
is a fun way to get your children creating and having fun with the patriotic colors of red, white and blue.

Bald Eagle Craft is a great way to introduce your family to our national bird.

This Patriotic Cutting Practice printable is a great way to get your younger kids involved with the crafts as well.

Your toddlers may love this Patriotic Discovery Bottle.

Have fun competing to create the best American flag with this Red, White, and Blue Homemade Play Dough.

PATRIOTIC BOOKS

I love reading to my children. These are some great books to read around any patriotic day that will give them a heart for their country.


PATRIOTIC DECORATIONS

I love seeing patriotic decorations. I thought it would be fun for me to share some a few of my favorite ones that I want to do with my own family.

These are just adorable!

 

I could so pack these for our annual picnics at the local park.

 

 

PATRIOTIC FOOD

Almost every year, we go to enjoy watching outdoor concerts and fireworks on July 4th. We take a cooler full of refreshing food, and I have been so inspired by some of my finds on Pinterest that I may just go over board this year.

You just have to love these ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

PATROTIC FUN

I have some many memories of sparklers, streamers and laughter leading up to the firework for the 4th of July. It is one of my favorite memories as a children that surrounds a holiday. My dad served in the military, as did all of his brothers and his father. Patriotic holidays were important in our family, and I have made it important in my own family, as well.

Glowsticks and Glow wands seem to be as popular today. I love that they help to keep your kids lit up when it grows dark.

Enjoy parades, concerts and fireworks, if they have them going on in your area.

My last recommendation is something that I hope you will do all year long with your family. If you come across a veteran (they often wear hats to share their service) or a solider in uniform, take a moment and thank them for their service to our country.

The recognition isn't something that they expect but when you do it, it brings pure joy to their eyes like you wouldn't expect to see. The one act of kindness can impact a veteran or current soliders life in a way that you don't even understand.

50 Number and Counting Activities with a Book List

Hands-on learning is a perfect way to use these number and counting activities. Your preschooler or kindergarten children will love these activities, and book suggestions.

50 Number & Counting Activities with Book List | www.joyinthehome.com

50 Number and Counting Activities

My son has loved learning his alphabets through hands-on activities, and learning his numbers has been no different. Here is a collection of some of our favorite number activities on the web.

Numbers Activities

How to Teach Numbers with Legos www.joyinthehome.com

How to Teach Numbers with Legos by Joy in the Home
Magnetic Rocket Puzzle by Fantastic Fun and Learning
DIY Numtum Fun by Adventures of Adam
Train Track Number Hunt by Craftulate
Learning Numbers with Balloons by Teaching Mama

DIY-Clothespin-Number-Line...hands-on-way-to-practice-number-recognition-and-number-sense-concepts-with-kids
DIY Number Line by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Transportation Connect the Dots with Numbers by Craftulate
Race Car Math: Number Recognition by Frugal Fun with Boys
Homemade Numbered Popsicle Sticks Puzzle by Artsymomma
Active Number Game by Pieces by Polly

Reggio-inspired-math-games

Exploring Loose Parts for Math by One Perfect Day
Learning Numbers by Activity Mom
Numeral Card Games by Kids Activity Blog
Playful Numeracy Math by Racheous
Number Recognition & Ordering with Paper Tubes by Learning with Play at Home

How to Teach Number Recognition with Sequence www.joyinthehome.com

How to Teach Number Recognition with Sequence by Joy in the Home
Number Recognition with Marbles by Parenting Fun
Chalk Number Recognition with The Mother Huddle
Sort the Mail Play & Number Recognition Game by No Time for Flashcards
Number Sort by Learning 4 Kids

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Star Number Cards by Teaching Mama
Working with Numbers by Kids Activity Blog
Simple Games for Number Recognition by Reading Confetti
Number Recognition Activity by The Princess and the Tot
Number Recognition Bean Bag Toss by The Sun Scholars


Counting

There is a different between number activities and counting activities. Children can learn how to identify numbers but then they must learn how to count in order to move forward with learning.

math-games

Math Games with Dominoes and Cards by Kids Activity Blog
Let's Go on a Counting Walk
by Creative Family Fun
Play Dough Numbers by Here Comes the Girls Blog
Counting Practice for Toddlers with Pom Poms & Tubes by Where Imaginations Grows
Homemade Number Boards – Learning to Count by Artsymomma

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Dump Truck Counting Math by The Measure Mom
DIY Counting Math Games by Where Imagination Grows
Counting with Play Dough Flowers by Here Comes the Girls Blog
Race to Fill the Cup – Counting Game by Frugal Fun with Boys
How Many by 1+1+1=1

Number-Sort-1024x644

Magnetic Pom Pom Counting by Teaching Mama
Race to Loose a Tooth by Toddler Approved
Counting Blocks, Building Towers by Hands on: As We Grow
Hot Chocolate Math by The Measured Mom
Paint Chip Number Punch by Reading Confetti

number-game1

Kids Number Game by Kids Activity Blog
Counting Game: Run and Count by The Pleasantest Thing
Preschool Math with Lego Duplos by Frugal Fun for Boys
Numbers and Counting Egg Carton by Pocketful of Poises Blog
Ladybug Number Match and Counting Activity by Coffee Cups and Crayons

The-Way-We-Count-Eight-Early-Learning-Skills-in-One-Activity

The Way We Count by For This Season
Number Line Run by Coffee Cups and Crayons
Number Rocks Math by B-Inspired Mama
Count and Sort Mailing Box Math Game by The Imagination Tree
Counting with Dice and Blocks by Hands on: As We Grow

 


50 Alphabet Activities

Do you like hands-on activities? These 50 alphabet activities that you can do with your preschooler or kindergarten age children will be a great way to learn through play.

50 Alphabet Activities for your preschool and kindergarten hands-on activities. | www.joyinthehome.com

50 Alphabet Activities for Hands-on Learning

My son absolutely loves hands-on learning. We started many of these ideas when he was just two years old. He was learning the letters so quickly because he was engaged through play. That is what I love best about our learning boxes, and the hands-on activities around the web. Children are literally learning through play!

I want to share some of our favorite alphabet activities, and some great book ideas with you.

Alphabet Title Learning Box by Joy in the Home
DIY Touch and Feel Alphabet by Montessori En Casa
Garden ABC Hunt by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Letter of the Week Crafts by Crystal & Co.
ABC Bingo by My Joy-filled Life

How to Teach the Alphabet with Legos | www.joyinthehome.com

How to Teach the Alphabet with Legos by Joy in the Home
Hungry Bear ABC Game by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Sandpaper-Like Letters DIY by Frog in a Pocket
DIY Light Table Alphabet by Winegums & Watermelons
ABC Scavenger Hunt at the Park by Craftulate

DIY-Alphabet-Pocket-Chart-for-Learning-Letters-and-Letter-Sounds-from-Lalymom

DIY Alphabet Pocket Chart by Lalymom
Geoboard Light Table Play Letter Shapes by Where Imagination Grows
Outdoor Alphabet Tracing by Artsy Momma
Alphabet Board by My Life of Travels and Adventures
Alphabet Order Game by Learn with Play at Home


Alphabet Beads Learning Box - with a free printable. Hands-on learning of the alphabet that kids really like. | www.joyinthehome.com
Alphabet Beads Learning Box by Joy in the Home
Access Letters and Sounds with Puzzles by This Reading Mama
Alphabet Box by Living Montessori Now
Letter Sound Matching Game by Teaching Mama
Printable Letter Outlines by For This Season

drivewayabccreativefamilyfun

Driveway ABC Game by Creative Family Fun
Alphabet Train by Craftulate
Water Bead Letter Recognition by Where Imagination Grows
Alphabet Party by Learn with Play at Home
Simple Alphabet Play Dough Tray by Little Bins for Little Hands

Alphabet Clothes Pin Learning Box - Hands-on learning of letter recognition. | www.joyinthehome.com

Alphabet Clothes Pins Learning Box by Joy in the Home
Seek and Shoot ABC Basketball
by My Joy-filled Life
Alphabet Hop Game by Teacher Mama
Alphabet Rainbow Hunt by Adventures of Adam
Alphabet Lapbook with Game by The Mommy Talks

Race-Car-Alphabet-Practice-773x1024

Race Car Alphabet Practice by Teach Beside Me
26 Ways to Learn the ABCs by This Reading Mama
Around the Table ABCs by Teacher Mama
DIY Alphablock Dominos by Adventures of Adam
Magnetic Letter Alphabet Soup by Pre-K Pages

Play-Doh Alphabet: A Pre-Writing Activity www.joyinthehome.com
Play-Doh Alphabet: A Pre-writing Activity by Joy in the Home
Alphabet Mat by Teach Beside Me
Homemade Tactile Letter Cards by Teaching Mama
Active Alphabet Activities by Toddler Approved
ABC Alphabet Clothes Pin Activity by The Chick n' Coop

Alphabet Stamping: A Pre-writing Activity www.joyinthehome.com

Alphabet Stamping: A Pre-writing Activity by Joy in the Home
Alphabet Train Matching Activity for Kids by Toddler Approved
Letter Delivery by Growing Book by Book
Alphabet Garden by No Time for Flash Cards
Treasure Hunt Alphabet Activity by B-inspired Mama

7 Preschool Activities to Teach the Alphabet - Hands-on learning to teach the alphabet. | www.joyinthehome.com

7 Preschool Activities to Teach the Alphabet by Joy in the Home
31 Days of ABCs by All Done Monkey
ABCs of Movement Flashcards for Kids by Golden Reflection Blog
Learning Letters with Pipe Cleaners by Make and Takes
Alphabet for Starters by No Time for Flashcards


Journaling Through the Alphabet

Journaling through the alphabet contains 26 journaling ideas for all ages on most subjects. This is a great way to get your family working together on the same topics and learning together through journaling. We have used Binder Books to do some of the ideas listed in this round up of ideas.

Journaling Through the Alphabet provides 26 journaling ideas over all subjects for all ages. | www.joyinthehome.com

Journaling Through the Alphabet

If you love the idea of journaling or want to get away from using so many textbooks then these ideas are a great way to include more living books and journaling into your homeschool day. If you aren't sure how to journal, take a look at my Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling to get inspired.

Anatomy Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

A is for Anatomy – Anatomy is the study of the body. There is so much to learn about the body and this study will only make your child (and you) to grow more in awe of the Creator.

B is for Biography – Biographies are huge in our homeschooling method. So you can imagine the amount of biographies we read. Our favorite biographies that we have ever read are from YWAM Publishing.

C is for Composers – A perfect way to add a Charlotte Mason method into your homeschool

Get tips on how to implement these three letters.

Founding Father Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

D is for Dinosaurs – All of my boys have loved dinosaurs and being such creationist, we make the study of dinosaurs part of our homeschooling journey. One of my favorite journaling ideas for boys is to have them journal dinosaurs.

E is for Explorers – One of my favorite ways to study the explorers is in a unit study format. I share some great lesson plans on my Charlotte Mason Way blog.

F is for Founding Fathers – We are a very patriotic family and studying the founding of our country is something we start at a very young age. One of our necessary things to study is the Declaration of Independence.

See ideas to add these three letters to your family's learning.

History Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

G is for Geography – I love that geography can be taught by itself or within any study of a person's life. My son loved when we really took a full year to journal and learn about some great places across the globe.

H is for History – I love using journaling in history! In our high school American History, our children have journaled historical eras in Binder Book form and each of them learned different aspects because it was interest-lead with a few guidelines of what was necessary to include.

I is for Israelites – To study the Israelites, it is fun to do a family tree, study the locations that they settled and a little history for each of the tribes.

These three letters have some wonderful tips here.

King Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

J is for Jesus – Studying the life of Jesus is one of the best ways to share your Christian beliefs with your children.

K is for King – Kings are a great way to study a country, empire or nation. Using a good timeline from Bible times to current times is a good way to study the line of Kings for different countries, their titles and what they are best known for, including the battles or wars that happened during their reign.

Be sure to check out the ideas for these two letters.

Lewis & Clark Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

L is for Lewis & Clark – In 1803, Lewis and Clark led the expedition into the Louisianna Territory known as the Corp of Discovery.

M is for Monuments – The United States if full of great historical monuments that every child should be able to identify at a glance.

Be sure to check out the ideas for these two letters.

Ocean Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

N is for New World – We have read a lot of different books about the New World, the 13 colonies and the beginning of our nation. There are so many journaling ideas that you can do for these studies, but allowing a personal interest to lead what is journaled during these studies will really be exciting for the children.

O is for Oceans – What child wouldn't love to have a study on the ocean and all that is within it.

P is for Plants – The study of plants can be such a fun way to add hands-on learning through journaling.

More ideas for these letters are a click away.

Science Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

Q is for Queen – Just with studying Kings, Queens can prove to be a great way to introduce history of other countries and times.

R is for Recipes – Calling all cooks into the kitchen to journal a recipe is so much fun!

S is for Science – Our family loves science and we utilize journaling so much within this subject, even into high school!

More ideas for these letters are a click away.

United States | www.joyinthehome.com

T is for Trees – I love using nature as a journaling opportunity. Studying trees is a great way to introduce journaling into your homeschooling.

U is for the United States – Being citizens of the United States is a blessing and one that I want my children to appreciate.

V is for Vivaldi – Vivaldi is a composer of the famous Vivaldi's Four Seasons classical music series.

Get inspiration for these three letters.

Extra Activities Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

W is for Writing – Within our Charlotte Mason journey, writing narration has become a given part of our assignments and it is an easy thing to add to journaling.

X is for eXtra Activities – I love having my children journal about what they learned on our field trips and bring their own perspective into their learning.

See ideas to add to your homeschooling with these two letters.

Zoology Journaling | www.joyinthehome.com

Y is for Yearly Evaluation – One thing I love about the Charlotte Mason method is how she taught to do evaluations. Her evaluations were not things that the children filled in the blanks or pick an answer from multiple choices, but rather were the concepts of the child from their memory of what they remembered from something they studies.

Z is for Zoology – There is nothing so exciting to a younger child than learning about animals and the study of zoology is a wonderful journaling idea.

Gain inspiration with one click for these two letters.

How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day

It is often asked of me, “How do you schedule your homeschool day?”  So if you have asked me this question or are curious about the answer, this post is just for you!

A word of caution, before I go into the details…

Our home is not your home.  What works for us, may not work for you. Prayer and discussion with my husband have helped me find the priorities and keep them.  If you don't like something we do, ignore it.  If you love something we do, feel free to give it a try!

How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day - With nearly 20 years of homeschooling, I share how our schedule works perfectly to get it all done. | www.joyinthehome.com

How I Schedule Our Homeschool Day

My days can start early, but I prefer not to start it with an alarm. I seem to have my mom in me these days, but that hasn't always been the case. I have experience with waking early with an alarm and allowing my inner alarm (what my mom calls the thing that wakes her up around 4:30 AM or so) to tell me that it is time to get up.

With that said, I have my days when early rising is just not what my body needs. I'm so thankful for homeschooling to allow me to go with my body's needs and take the day as it comes.  Please don't read that to mean that I don't have a schedule because if you spent one week with me, you would quickly see that we may not start the day at the same time, but our days flow the same regardless of the clock.

This is the best tip I can give anyone who desires to find a rhythm for their homeschool day… create a natural flow for your own home!

I cherish my morning hours for some quiet time and getting some blogging work accomplished, but often times I have it interrupted with early risers.  When this happens, I have my little guy curl up with me for ‘morning love‘ but when he has had enough, I keep him close to me in a quiet way but turning on one of his learning shows.  This time is always precious, as he loves to narrate to me what he already knows when he is watching a show he has already viewed a few times.

Now that my little guy knows his numbers, his digital clock next to his bed is helping him to learn to stay in bed until it says 8:00 AM. He isn't faithful in my request for this, but in time that will all change.

Time to Rise and Shine is at 8:30 AM in Our Home

This has exceptions, like if we are dealing with sickness or have been out of the house really late the night before.  I'm a strong believer in the body needing a lot of rest at a young age and I always desire my younger children to get 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour of time. This is so important during growing spurts!

My husband works from home a lot, so I have the joy of being flexible often when it comes to making a wholesome breakfast.  On days that he leaves the home earlier than the children get up, I will reach for the cereal boxes and make it an easier morning for me, unless there are leftover waffles.

If I'm still working on breakfast and my children are awake, they start on their household chores.

Independent Work Comes Right After Breakfast

I have raised my children in independent work and in the early stages of this training, I would require them to be at the kitchen table, so I can make the most of my morning energy and my crockpot or rice cooker with what is on the menu for dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.

When my children became more independent in their homeschooling, I would do more of my own responsibilities during this time or work with the younger children who need more dependent help at this time. Depending on their age, this could be 5 minutes or up to 2 hours for high school.

Dependent Work Together

After independent work is finished and evaluated, I then work with my children. We always do read aloud together, nature and history regardless of their age.  The younger ones will get what they get and you will repeat it when they are older, most likely.

Lunch Time

By this time, we are usually arriving at lunch time.  For my children in elementary and middle school, this concludes their homeschool lessons unless they had a difficult day and need additional work because of attitudes. (This is our detention version)

For our high school children, they would take a break for about 30-45 minutes and then head back to the lessons until their daily work is finished. This is mostly done by 2 PM.

Responsibility Time

Our family has always put responsibilities above free time.  If their chores were not finished in the morning, this is their time to complete them.  My children have about 30 minutes a day of responsibilities and more when they are older.  We always desire to have a clean house and be able to be hospitable at a moments notice, so this is something we all share in our home.

Free Time

Following the teaching of Charlotte Mason, I have always held free time in the afternoon as important as I hold rest for my children.  It is during these hours that two-thirds of their curriculum are covered: something to love and something to do.  Sibling relationships are key in our home and we have always put these before outside relationships, even though this too is important.

Another big focus during this time was their focus on hobbies, not lead by me, but themselves.  Of course, some hobbies needed my help to first learn but the joy my children had during these hours were priceless. Nothing helped formed them as much as these hours, with the exception of the Bible.

Dinner Time

My husband has always appreciated that I have been faithful to have dinner time around the same hours of the day, with very few exceptions. It has been easy when I used independent learning time to start dinner and let my kitchen tools do my work for me.

My husband used the 30 minutes after dinner to relax and turn off work and get ready for the family.  This worked perfectly because it was during this time that the children and I would clean the kitchen.  As they got older and could do this by themselves, I was able to have those 30 minutes with my hubby, talking about our day. This is such a good thing!

Family Time

This time was always different in the seasons, but my husband tries to spend doing something with the children outside, or taking nature walks with the family, watching something we all enjoyed together or just talking together.

Bed Time

This hasn't changed in all of our parenting years that I can remember.  My husband will help get the children ready for bed, mostly because I have a hard time seeing them get all crazy right before bed, so I'm happier to remove myself and let them make memories. Once all the routines are done, I join my husband and children in one bedroom and we pray together as a family, usually lead by my husband and our youngest child who loves to pray. Sometimes, my husband isn't home and then the next son in line will lead us in prayer.

During school time, bedtime is at 8 PM (remember, I aim for 12 hours of sleep for my children) and 9-10 PM for my high schoolers.  I can't quite explain how my second high school made it to 11 PM in his junior year, but it happened and by the time I realized it, it was too late.

I miss the times my husband and I had hours at night to ourselves but I'm often reminded that one day we will have all the time in the day to spend together and I will miss my blessings around the house.

I hope it helps seeing how it works in our homeschooling day.

 

6 Keys to Raising Christians

How are you raising Christians kids like your kids? I hear this question often. Isn’t it every parent’s heart to have their children share their Christian faith as adults? Yet, so many parents are having the heartache of their adult children walking away from their childhood faith shortly after leaving the nest.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Yet, when I’m looking back on our parenting over nearly 23 years, there are a few key things that stood out to me that seemed different from my own experience growing up and from those raising children around us.

6 Keys to Raising Christians - Effective ways to parenting your faith into your children. | www.joyinthehome.com

It often amazes me that amidst all of my parenting mistakes, and personal issues that I display in front of my children that they have such a solid faith in their early twenties.

I know their faith isn’t a reflection of my own faith, but their personal relationship with their Savior.

I can only give a few key things that I’m certain makes the difference in passing on our faith to our children, and seeing them walk in their own faith in a mature way that neither myself or my husband experienced in our early twenties.

6 Keys to Raising Christians

When my older two children were young, I had taken them to a park to play. An older lady was there with her grandchildren, and before long, we were talking. I don’t remember everything we talked about, but one thing she said stood out to me, and has become a motto in my parenting.

“If only more people would realize that they aren’t raising children, but they are raising adults.”

In a nutshell, the older lady was saying that parenting needs to have the end goal in mind. That is how we parents should reflect on what we want to see in our children and then work hard in developing it in them.

I remember pondering this saying for years, and keeping it as my guide in raising our children on a daily basis. Over the years, I began to picture a garden in my mind, with each child being their own garden.

With this mental picture, I began to think about a gardener and how when they plant their seeds they label them as what they will be, not what they are at the time. For example, cucumber seeds will have ‘cucumbers’ labeled over them. Tomato seeds will have ’tomatoes’ labeled over them, and so on.

The gardener doesn’t say this is where the ‘cucumber seeds are’ or ‘baby cucumbers’, but labels the garden based on the end goal in mind. Then the gardener cares for the garden based on the needs of what he is growing, taking great care to ensure that nothing of harm will come its way to becoming what he expects them to be.

Raising Christians is just like raising a garden of any kind.

Planting Seeds

Our parenting has been one where Scripture has been our tool for planting seeds of our faith. We used key verses from the time our children were babies through preschool to get the basis of why we required certain behavior at home and out of the house.

We didn’t require our children to memorize them as Scripture, but we used these as pillars in our parenting.

If a child was disobedient, I would tell them “The Bible says ‘Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.'” (Ephesians 6:1). If I needed to remind them often, I would say “Children obey your parents” as a quick reference to the verse.

After many times of using the same key phrases in these verses, our children were memorizing what ‘the Bible says about their action’.

As they grew, I would literally just ask them, “What does the Bible say about how you are acting?” Nearly every time, our children were able to come up with the right scripture to match what we wanted them to consider when they were going against what we wanted for them in the end goal.

This helped them to better understand how to judge their own actions based on their own knowledge of Scripture from a very early age.

As they grew, we added additional Scripture as pillars to our parenting, and required Bible memory work throughout their schooling years.

These seeds that we planted were molding our children into Christians because they were self-evaluating their actions, and lining it up with Scripture from a very early age.

In addition to these Scripture practices, we also read Proverbs daily until our children got into middle school, where our focus went into the New Testament strongly.

Healthy Soil

This one aspect of raising Christians is so very vital, and where many have lost their children.

When a good gardener places seeds in the soil, he does so with the utmost care to ensure that the soil is healthy for the seed to grow to the end goal. The Bible explains just how important soil is in the parable of the Sower.

As parents, we carefully protected the environment that our children were placed.

We choose friends that shared our Christian faith, when Sunday School influences resulted in our oldest learning to use a swear word perfectly in a sentence, we made the decision to keep our children with us during church services.

Although I know that homeschooling isn’t an option for everyone, it was for our family, so we took the opportunity to teach from a Bible world view on subjects that are void in the school systems today.

We live in the world, so it is important to do our part to ensure the world is not your children’s teacher. Trust me, the world wants to be your children’s teacher, so you will need to be intentional about getting to their heart before the world does with their agenda.

NOTE: If your children are part of the public school system, I would encourage you to add Creation studies as a family, and even some American History of our founding fathers, to help with the things that are pulling Christian children away from their faith. In addition, I would also recommend talking to your children about what the Bible says about sex, before the school system and students educate your children in things that tempt them away from your faith. 

We were often laughed at, and shunned because of our choices with our children, but our intentional plan of being our children’s main influence in their formative years has proven time and time again to be what they needed to reach the end goal.

Plenty of Water

Plants need water, and a lot of water, to grow healthy and strong.

Children need praise and encouragement just as much as plants need water.

What we have found in our parenting is that our children try harder when we praise them before, through and after the task in front of them.

We are building their confidence before they attempt something. Then we are building their perseverance to complete the task. Lastly, we are building a sense of accomplishment when they have completed a task.

This is so important for a child learning to obey, or a teen making his way through peer pressure.

The earlier we start being our child’s cheerleader, the easier it will be for them to look at us as their coach in the game of life, and trusting our decisions on faith.” Dollie Freeman

Along with praising and encouraging our children, we need to also learn how to be attentive to them from their first moments on, so they trust us when they are teens.

Having eye-contact with our children when they are sharing what is pressing on their heart as a two or three year old will build their confidence that you really care about the small things and trust you with the big things.

The distractions of life, the electronics that we own and our busy schedules could easily unravel the best attempts to building that bridge for a child.

Be diligent in giving your child plenty of water, and as often as you can.

Direct “Son” Light

With the pillar of parenting in place, we had set the precedent that our children should live to honor God through their actions, and that when they fail they disappoint Him, not just us, as their parent.

We literally took the weight of raising Christians off from our shoulders, and put it on theirs. The daily decision to choose Christ at an early age built the habits that are much needed when reaching adulthood.

We utilized Joshua 24:15b – “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, as our family verse to ensure that our children knew that while they lived in our home, our family would serve the Lord.

Over a period of time, through daily practice and pointing our children to Jesus for their weakness, and forgiveness, they saw that there is peace in knowing Him.

The only time we used Scripture to correct our children’s action toward us as a parent is with the 5th commandment, “Honor thy Father and Mother”.

When a child dishonors their parents and gets away with it, it is when the pillars of all other structure you have done crumbles.

It is in this one Scripture that allows us, as parents, to still be humans, walking along the same Christian journey as our children. It gives us the ability to fail as parents, and allow our children to witness the failure, but still pay honor to our position as their parents. By admitting our failures in front of our children, we are showing them just how much we still need Christ in our own lives.

Tend to the Weeds

You can’t have a garden without weeds. Any gardener will tell you that the best gardens are ones that are faithfully weeded, so the roots don’t grow deeply, and take over the healthy plants.

The weeds of the heart are no different.

Remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine, and it is the weeds of life that harm the heart of a Christian.

In parenting, there is always something that we need to deal with. Sometimes, it can be when your child started to tell lies, has a hard time forgiving a sibling, or maybe just struggles with asking forgiveness.

These are all weeds, and the sooner you deal with them, the easier they are to pull and the less damage is done to the healthy plants in their heart.

There has been times in our parenting that we have had to make some hard choices for a season. Times where we needed to remove our children from relationships that creating more weeds than we could keep up with.

Hopefully you don’t have any of those experiences. If you do and you aren’t sure what to do with the situation, I highly recommend removing the weeds, for your children’s sake. Keep the end goal in your mind, and it will help you to make the best decisions for your family’s faith than anything else.

Re-Pot for Growth

If you have ever grown a house plant, you may have some experience with re-potting plants for growth. It is so important to the roots of a plant to have room to spread out and grow.

If you don’t re-pot a growing plant, you can actually be stunting its growth, or causing root decay and kill it all together.

A child’s faith is very much like a growing plant.

It needs the opportunity to stretch their faith to grow strong roots.

I want to be sure you understand that I’m not encouraging you to send your young child into the mission field at 6 years old. I known a family who actually thought that doing that with their child at a young age in their neighborhood was wise, allowing play time at the unsaved neighbors home time and time again.

Sadly, that resulted in the opposite way. The unsaved family converted their Christian son, who is still not walking in faith today.

What I am encouraging is allowing your children the opportunity to act out their Christian faith, in your care, to those they can minister to in your circle of trust.

They can recite Scripture, sing songs they are learning in church, make cards for the sick, visit neighbors, do kind acts for their neighbors and most of all share their faith with anyone that will listen.

We have allowed our children to openly talk about their faith wherever they go, and praise them for doing it.

The more they practice, the easier it will be when it matters the most. One day, they could be witnessing to a future Christian and that my friend, is the end goal, isn’t it?

Raising Christians isn’t easy, but with these keys you can become intentional in the areas that we have seen reap the harvest with our children. These were the things that we were doing differently than others around us, and our results were also different than those around us.

There are times when my older children talk about their faith and standards, and I stand in awe because many of their standards aren’t ones that we expected of them, or even mentioned to them.

They are walking in their own intimate relationship with their Savior, and as their parents, we are blessed to know that the fruits of our labors were blessed in such amazing ways.

Keep up the good work, mama!

6 Keys to Raising Christians | www.joyinthehome.com