The Ultimate Learning Guide to Emotions

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Emotions are a part of our every day life. You don’t have to teach someone how to be angry or sad or happy. But you do have to help children learn names for these emotions and help them learn how to handle their emotions. So, I’m pleased to bring you the Ultimate Learning Guide to Emotions. These guides are meant to bring you many resources on one subject all in one place. This one is packed full of resources to help you teach your kids about emotions. As I was compiling this list, I realized it really ranged the gamut from just learning about your emotions to helping kids learn to deal with their emotions to helping parents learn about kids’ emotions as well. I really hope you can find something useful in here. Note: The Amazon links are affiliate links and will generate a small portion of income for me. 

Ultimate Learning Guide to Emotions

Wow! There are so many links and so many tools you can use out there to teach emotions! I hope this was helpful for you and that you’ve got some good ideas. What are your favorite activities for teaching emotions? Feel free to leave your favorite links or activities you’ve done involving emotions in the comments. 

Don’t Fall Into the Belief Gap

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When Education Post contacted me and asked me to check out their “Because They Can” Campaign and consider writing about it, I checked it out and I got pretty excited. “Because They Can” is exciting and it is so, so needed.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I’ve written in the past about how our kids are capable and we shouldn’t be selling them short. “Because They Can” is an excellent extension of my beliefs on the capability of our kids.

The “Because They Can” campaign centers around the idea of the belief gap. In case you are not familiar with the belief gap, it’s when people fail to see the full potential that kids and students can live up to. They sell them short and they believe that because of the circumstances that they come from and because of who they are that they’ll never amount to anything. But kids are born to rise to the potential that people see in them. When people believe in them, they are capable. They can accomplish, they can push, they can dream.

It is no secret that in recent years I have become disillusioned with higher education and that it is not the right fit for everyone. But that’s not because I think kids are incapable, rather that there are fundamental flaws in the system. But every kid should have the chance to live out their dreams, that they should have to chance to have someone believing in them, believing that they are capable of being all that they can be. That if they want to go to college, they can go to college. That they can be smart and that intelligence can grow. So that they can graduate high school with every door open to them instead of every door closed, so that they can be the ones that choose which door they go through.

If this is something you feel strongly about as well, I encourage you to check out the “Because They Can” campaign. There you can learn more about the campaign and you can sign the pledge.

I BELIEVE ALL CHILDREN CAN LEARN AND ACHIEVE.
I BELIEVE WE OWE IT TO THEM TO PROVIDE SUPPORTIVE
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AND THE CHANCE TO GO TO COLLEGE.

-“Because They Can” Pledge

Their site is full of inspiring stories of students whose lives were changed just by someone believing in them. I’ve included Kim’s story because it is really encouraging and a great example of what the “Because They Can” campaign is all about.

#becausetheycan

How do you support the kids around you to help them be their best self? 

Education Post reached out to me and asked me to consider sharing this with you, but I was not compensated for this post and as always, it is my thoughts, 100%. 

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert Story Exploration

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which will give me a small portion of your purchase if you purchase through them. Thanks for reading! I appreciate that you took the time to check out my post. 🙂 

I absolutely love Lois Ehlert books and the fact that she is an author from our state as well. I’ve already done one story exploration on her book Circus and today I’m adding another one, Waiting for Wings

Waiting for Wings Summary/Discussion

Waiting for Wings Book CoverWaiting for Wings is all about the life cycle of a butterfly. It includes beautiful illustrations of several different butterflies. You could ask your child several questions about the life cycle of the butterfly such as “How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?” and “What do caterpillars eat? Is it the same as what butterflies eat?”

Science

Waiting for Wings is great for learning about butterflies on a basic level. You could examine butterflies or watch some videos about them. There are even kits you can get online where you can buy caterpillars and grow them into caterpillars. Dominic and I had the opportunity to do this – our caterpillars are growing now! We ordered our caterpillars from Insect Lore. They are just chrysalides now, but hopefully we’ll have butterflies soon and I’ll be able to come back and add some pictures for you to see.

Caterpillar growth into butterflies

Here are some videos you could show your kids more about butterflies.

Math

For this book, I chose to focus on the concept of symmetry. Most butterflies are symmetrical and so, I thought this was a good time to introduce this concept. Symmetry is where an object has two equal sides. To explore this concept, we first looked at the book to see examples of symmetry. Then we looked for examples of symmetry around our house – they’re everywhere if you’re looking. Third, we took some toys we had around the house and made some symmetrical patterns with them. I put a line of tape on the table to help us visualize the symmetry.

Symmetry practice

Art

For art, we made tissue paper butterflies. I remember tissue paper art fondly from my childhood. This is how we made ours. You will need tissue paper, black construction paper, and contact paper.

Take a sheet of black paper and cut out two B’s of the same size. Putting the B’s back to back, make a butterfly shape. Cut out a square of contact paper large enough to fit this butterfly shape. Peel off backing and put the butterfly shape on the sticky side. Cut or tear tissue paper and put on top of the contact paper, inside the butterfly shape. Once filled up enough to your liking, cut another square of contact paper. Place contact paper on top of the butterfly, sealing the paper in between the two pieces of contact paper. Trim contact paper around the edges. Hang on window if desired. 🙂

Butterfly Art Collage

We also colored some butterfly and caterpillar coloring pages. These are from the coloring book, I Can Color Everything, which my sister got for Dominic’s birthday, but if you google butterfly coloring pages you’ll also find plenty.

Butterfly Coloring Pages from I Can Color Everything coloring book

Music

For music, we sang “Five Little Butterflies” and pretended to fly away.

We also sang the kid’s praise song, “If I Were a Butterfly.” I included the video in case you weren’t familiar with it.

I also stumbled Waiting for Wings set to music and animated. That’s pretty cool eh? They took a few liberties with it, but otherwise, it’s pretty true to the text of the story.

Food

I created this fun butterfly snack for the kids to eat. I took a piece of bread and cut it into a butterfly shape, then I spread both pieces with jam and arranged the jellybeans. Notice the symmetry – we talked about symmetry here too before we ate it.

Butterfly snack

We also drank from our cups with straws, mimicking the proboscis.

Drinking from a straw like a proboscis

Bible Illustration

The butterfly is a great example to use to kids to talk about life after death. Dominic and I were able to have a conversation – about how, when the butterfly is in the chrysalis, it looks dead, it’s not moving or anything like that, but one day the butterfly emerges. There is new life there. Just like us too, when we die, to the world, we will seem dead, but we are alive and we will be raised from the dead.

Field Trip

This would be a great time to visit a butterfly garden if you have one nearby. We are very fortunate to have a butterfly vivarium at our Milwaukee Public Museum and the four of us took a trip there to see the butterflies (and all the other cool things they offer). (Look closely and see if you can see butterfly on my head!)

Milwaukee Public Museum Butterflies

Gross Motor/Movement Fun 

Ever do butterfly stretches when you were a kid? Well, I thought that would be fun to do with the kids. So I taught them how to do butterfly stretches. We also flew around flapping our arms, pretending to be butterflies.

Butterfly stretching exercise

 

Movie/TV Options

  • “The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories” – Tells the familiar Eric Carle story – available on Netflix
  • In Sid the Science Kid the episode “Seed the Science Kid” they investigate butterfly eggs – this episode is not currently on Netflix
  • In Zoboomafoo the episode “Bzzz” they cover butterflies and other insects – this episode is not currently on Netflix
  • In Wild Kratts season 1 episode 9 is “Voyage of the Butterflier” but this does not match up with the season 1 episode 9 that is available on Netflix and I could not find it on Netflix
  • The Cat in the Hat Season 1 Episode 28 “Flutter by Butterfly” – available on Netflix
  • The Magic School Bus Season 2 Episode 3 “The Butterfly and the Bog Beast” – available on Netflix
  • Guess with Jess – Season 1 Episode 2 “What’s Happened to Chloe the Caterpillar?” – available on Netflix

Which one of these activities would your kids most enjoy? Have you ever read Waiting for Wings? 

 

Beginning Homeschooler’s Guide: Homeschool Law

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I have been around homeschool groups for long enough now that I start to see the same questions many times by people who are new to homeschooling. I thought it would be great to have a resource for people who are new to homeschooling, to help answer some of their questions. So, adding another series to my blog (because I really like series, haha), I thought I’d try to cover some of the most commonly asked homeschool questions. I know I am just new-ish to homeschooling myself, but with the super power of Google and many, many, many hours of reading on my side, I think I can confidently answer some of these questions. I can’t answer every question about every specific situation, but I can answer some questions about more general areas of homeschooling. Starting with today’s, the Beginning Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschool Law.

Beginning Homeschooler's Guide to Homeschool Law

I decided to start with homeschool law because I think it is the most important question to answer. It’s important to homeschool legally, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because you don’t want truancy charges in your future either. Also, when you follow the law, it helps future homeschoolers. It reflects well on the homeschooling community.

Homeschool law varies so much from country to country and even from state to state. Some states have virtually no regulation over homeschooling while others require yearly assessments or testing. For example, the homeschool law in Wisconsin is that you need a file a form (the PI-1206) in the year that your child is 6 on or after September 1st and every year thereafter and that you need to provide 875 hours of instruction of  a “sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health.” (Quoted from the state statutes).  By contrast, in Maryland, you must sign a written agreement and keep a portfolio of work that demonstrates that you are providing instruction and you must allow someone from the school district to review it. Do you see how different those two are? That’s why it’s so important to know what the law is like where you live, because there is such a variance. Especially when you move, looking up the law in your new place of residence is important, so you can follow it there as well. Sometimes people ask questions about how to follow the law based on their specific homeschool style (this mainly comes up with unschoolers – more on unschooling in a different post), but you can follow the law with pretty much every homeschool style there is and if you have questions, I can’t guarantee that someone has done it before, but the odds are good that somebody else in your state has done it a similar way before and they can walk you through it if you reach out to a local organization or Facebook group.

My favorite source to look for the homeschool law is local homeschool groups. Some of these groups have been around a while and have a lot of years experience in homeschooling in the state. They also have a vested interest in your community and in making sure they get the laws right because they have to homeschool their children under the same law. Lastly, when you start there, you know you have a group you can reach out to to get support and have your questions answered if you need to. There are many state and local Facebook groups that function in a similar way and often people in those groups can tell you the law for your state as well.

I thought I would lend you a helping hand and link to as many state homeschool group law pages as I could. I tried to link to secular, statewide organizations where I could, but that wasn’t always possible. Some are local organizations and some are religious organizations and some are individual blogs, but all of the pages linked include the law for that state or take you to a landing page that will take you to what you need to know. Wisconsin is the state that I call home and so that’s the only state I have firsthand knowledge of, but if you know a better link for a different state, send it to me and I’ll consider replacing the link I have here. Some may ask why I haven’t linked to HSLDA and while there are many reasons for that, which I’ll write about in a future post, in the simplest terms, as it pertains to this post, all of these links are accessible without having to give your e-mail address, like you have to give if you want to view the laws on HSLDA. And HSLDA in the past (not sure if they still do) provided inaccurate information about my state laws, so I don’t 100 percent trust them on this front. Final note: I have not scoured every inch of these websites, so this is not an endorsement of these sites. I’m just trying to help you out and give you a starting point. The direction you go from there will be up to you. 

There you go! I hope this helps. Happy homeschooling! I do have some topics in mind for future parts of this series, but if you have ideas for parts that you would like to see covered, please let me know! 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this should not be constituted as legal advice. I just google things. 

Podcasts for People: You’re the Expert

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I love podcasts. I’ve been into podcasts since I was in high school and most people had never heard of them. I often listen to podcasts in my home and Dominic can name most of them and sometimes pretends to be Peter Sagal. Now, they are much more popular and people often ask for recommendations. So, I am starting a series to share my favorite podcasts with you. I hope that you’ll discover newYou're the Expert gems along the way. I’m starting off today with a podcast called You’re the Expert.

Like some of my other favorite podcasts, You’re the Expert is a live show. It features a panel of comedians attempting to guess about the unusual studies on one professor. First they have to figure out what their job is and what they study in a 20 questions type format, then they talk a lot about their job and it includes fun games, like the game that involves jargon where the comedians have to guess what common words in their field mean. It’s a hoot and a riot. It combines information about research with humor for a witty combination that always has me laughing. For an idea of what it’s like, some of their guests have included neuroscientist Dr. Robert Provine, who studies behavior such as laughing, farting, and sneezing, and Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, who studies dogs to figure out what they think and feel.

If you want to get a feel of what they are like, they have a list of some of their favorite episodes to help you get a feel for the show.

I’d recommend this to anyone who wants a bit of humor while they learn something and who enjoys engaging their brain. I’m comfortable listening to this around my kids, but as always, I recommend you pre-screen because everyone has different levels of comfort with what they allow their kids to hear.

Have you ever listened to You’re the Expert? Are you a fan? Favorite episode? 

(FYI, I’m not being paid for this or anything, I’m just a bit podcast obsessed! They are great for doing laundry and dishes and other mundane tasks that I often have to do). 

I Let Fear Stop Me

People tend to think of me as a confident person. But I have a secret. Deep down, I’m afraid. Deep down, there is fear.

I’m afraid of a lot of things that are common fears. I’m afraid of spiders. I’m afraid of snakes. I’m afraid of getting into a car accident.

But none of that stuff is shocking or hard to admit.

But sometimes, I let fear control me.

Not the fear of spiders or the fear or snakes or the fear of getting into a car accident.

No, it’s a different fear. A fear that I suspect is more common than we let on.

The fear of being judged. The fear of people making negative comments. The fear of people not liking me.

I am afraid sometimes that if I open my mouth and disagree with someone that people will like me less. I am afraid that the more people know about me the less they will like me and that the only reason they like me is because they don’t really know me. That they will think I’m a bad mom or a bad human being (the propensity of strangers to give me unsolicited, unhelpful, sometimes judgmental parenting advice doesn’t help me either).Me climbing the ropes course at Kalahari Theme Park

I let this fear stop me. I let it stop me from saying things that I really want to say. I let it stop me from doing things I really want to do. I let it nudge me into doing something I don’t want to do because I’m afraid if I don’t do it that they’ll think less of me. I let this fear control me.

I know who I am, but I find it hard to set myself free of caring about what other people think. Perhaps it’s insecurity. Perhaps it’s just my struggle with people pleasing. Perhaps it’s a million different things, but why should I let those things stop me? I am a redeemed child of God and my friends and family love me for who I am. I know this. But yet, I doubt myself all the time.

Towards the beginning of April, Nick and I went away for the weekend, just the two of us, for the first time. Part of the time we went to this indoor theme park and they had a high ropes course. So I thought, I’m going to do it.

Getting all hooked up, I wasn’t afraid. But it was terrifying once I was actually up there. And I was shaking. But I thought to myself, if I just keep moving, if I just keep going, I can do this. This is perfectly safe. I can do this.

And I did it! I completed the whole course.

But then, I decided to try the climbing wall. And I didn’t even make it halfway up. I came back down, defeated, unable to do it. Because while I was up there I started to think about how I couldn’t do it. And then I got nervous and I got scared and I couldn’t do it. Even though I had seen kids half my age doing it with no problems.  I quit.

And I think sometimes that’s my biggest issue, that I get inside my head too much and I think about it too much. I think about how people will perceive me too much. And really, it’s all wrapped up in me. I highly doubt other people are thinking about me as much as I think they are thinking about me.

Me attempting the climbing wall at Kalahari Theme Park

We’ve been reading (affiliate linkThe Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst in my moms’ group and I’ve been thinking a lot about why I say yes to things and no to things and sometimes I do think it is fear. But fear, I don’t think, is a good reason.

I don’t really have a conclusion to this blog post. I’ve been trying to think of one and I’ve got nothing. The fear part of me says, “Without a conclusion people will think this is a terrible post!”

But so what? So they think it’s a bad post, then so what? Does it change who I am? No. I am who I am and I want to live confidently in that.

Is this a struggle for you? How do you combat feeling like this? 

Simple Pleasures Book Review

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Regardless of getting it for free, you know I will always give you my 100 percent honest opinion. This post also contains affiliate links, for which a small portion of the funds will be credited back to me if you buy through them. 

Name of book: Simple Pleasures: Stories from My Life as an Amish Mother

Author: Marianne Jantzi

“Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker in Ontario, Canada. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her “Northern Reflections” column for The Connection, a magazine directed mainly to Amish and plain communities across the U.S. and Canada. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store among the Milverton Amish settlement of Ontario.”
Summary: “Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family’s life on the snowy plains of Ontario. The mother of four 

Simple Pleasures Book Coveryoung children and wife of a storekeeper, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers across the United States and Canada. Never sugar-coating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God. “

Rating: 4

Reason for rating: This book is full of brief snippets and stories of the life of one Amish family. When I was reading it, it felt very similar to reading a blog of a good friend, if that makes sense. The stories are easily read and short. I was really surprised by how much I connected with Marianne. I have always viewed the Amish as very different from me, but in Simple Pleasures, I realized just how similar we are, the common bond of motherhood between us. All of my experience with the Amish has been in other books or tv shows, written by non-Amish, but like the brief note in the beginning of the book, these books are meant to bring words from the Amish people directly to us, to allow the Amish to speak for themselves. I remember thinking, in one of the very first pages, where she talks about using Johnson’s baby lotion, that it never even crossed my mind that they would use the same products as us. In my mind, I imagined the Amish made everything from scratch, the way some of my friends do, making their own lotions and other personal care products. I love how even though we were two mothers, with different backgrounds and different lives, living in different countries, and yet, her stories felt so familiar to me, as I could see my own kids doing or saying similar things, as I could relate to the common struggles of motherhood. It definitely made me rethink the images that I had held of the Amish in my head prior to this. I would recommend the book to mothers and to those interested at a glimpse inside Amish life.  

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