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Homeschooling Ideas

March 13, 2020

A lot of families are experiencing a little bit of an Emotional Whirlwind right now with everything going on. I have seen a lot of people concerned about their children being out of school for a period of time. Others might just be looking for some fun and educational ideas for their families. As a homeschool mom, I wanted to share some of our favorite learning tools for anyone who might be looking for some fun new options for learning at home. I always keep a list of websites, learning apps and hands on learning that I share with anyone who asks about homeschooling, so I just added a few more items to that list to share with you all. I will keep updating this post as I think of more fun things my boys enjoy that I want to share.


Educational Websites:

Adventure Academy - This is one of my boys top choices for learning games. Discover Knowledge, Quests and Adventure while learning reading, math, science and social studies. It is $59.99 per year and is for ages 8-13.

Prodigy My boys love playing Prodigy. It is like a video game where you have to complete math questions to win battles. They have both a free and paid option and it is for 1st through 8th grade.

Generation Genius - They educate and inspire kids in Science with really engaging videos. The site will let you watch a select number of videos for free before signing up. Grades K-5.

Mystery Science - Science videos and curriuculum. Offers a FREE membership for a year.

Education.com - Great resource for worksheets, reading, math and typing. 

Moby Max - You can register for Free. They also have a paid membership.

Science 4 Us - K-2 Science. Offers a free 30 day trial. 

Khan Academy - FREE math curriculum. 

Tynker - Coding games for ages 5+. Create a student account and get a limited number of games free.

Kickstart Reading - 2 minute videos that teach your child how to read. For ages 3-6. Offers a monthly plan for $7 a month or a Forever plan for a one time charge of $57.

Educational Games/Apps:

Osmo - Easily one of our favorite learning tools. They have so many different options for hands on learning games. From coding to tangrams, drawing, math and reading. A few of our favorites are: Coding Awbie (coding), Pizza Co. (math), Osmo Monster (drawing game), Coding Jam (coding & music) and Words (Reading). But honestly, we love all Osmo games, so you can't go wrong. Osmo Little Genius is perfect for preschool age kiddos. Games are compatible with Ipads and Fire Tablets. 

Jungle Time - They have a set of 4 apps that are all great and can be adjusted to learn multiple things within each concept: Time, Coins, Fractions, Geometry. We use this one all the time.

Brain Pop & Brain Pop Jr. - Videos that cover a range of topics: Science, Social Studies, Engineering, Music and more. *Request FREE access during the school closure. Also can be used on the computer as well as the app.

Phet - Free science and math simulation for teaching STEM topics including physics, chemistry, biology and math.

Science 4 Us - Interactive science curriculum for K-2nd grade. You can try it for Free for 30 days.

Teach Your Monster to Read - Fun reading game and the computer version is FREE! 

ABC Mouse - Educational games and stories that cover reading, math, science, art and more. For kids ages 2-8 years old. They have a deal for $45 for a whole year going on right now. You can use the app or the computer. Be sure to check out their ABC songs... my boys love the letter B song! 😁

Math Cards - Math flash cards

Hands on Projects & Subscription boxes:

Kiwi Co. - Fun projects delivered monthly to your door. They offer different crates for all ages and interests from engineering and design to science, art and geography. They even have ones for the littlest learners ages 0-24 months.

Linkin working on a catapult basketball from Kiwi Co.


Beakerz - Science made fun. Explore a wide array of sciences through fun lessons with experiments and activities while being lead step by step by a video teacher.

Ivy Kids - monthly subscription box for ages 3-8 years old. Each kit includes a new book along with over 10 science, math, art and literacy activities. My favorite part is you can make it a sibling box for and additional $5.95 and they will include supplies for 2 children for every activity in your box. Use code IVY20 for 20% off you subscription. Or use code PASTKITS10 and take 10% off any past kit of your choice. Single kits are $39.95

Luke working on a paint project and letters from Ivy Kids, with help from little Ledger of course. 😉


Green Kid Crafts - Monthly boxes filled with 4-6 science and art kits. Get outside and have some fun with these kits. The last one my boys did sent them on a scavenger hunt at the park for bugs. 

Build-it-yourself woodworking kit. Landon built an airplane and Link built a birdhouse. 


Little Passports - Kits for geography, science and world cultures. They offer kits for different ages starting at age 3 and going up to 9+. $19.95 per month.

Other fun ideas:

Stickbot Animation, Stick Nodes (App) - My boys love creating stickbot stop motion animation videos.

Sensory Bins - Some ideas to use in Sensory Bins are Marble Beads, Rice, Easter Grass, Magic Sand. A lot of these can be found at Lakeshore Learning which has a ton of great educational tools or you can search for items around your house to use. 


Board Games - Need some new ones... here are some of our family favorites are Las Vegas, Disney Song Challenge, Ticket to Ride, Disney Eye Found It, Pictionary, Clue, Monopoly, Harry Potter Chess, Clank, Operation, Disney Challenges, The Grimm Forest, Sculptapalooza, Beat the Parents, Western Legends. If you want more idea, just let me know... we love board games!

Square Panda - Learn phonics and reading with this playset that has a variety of different games to chose from. 

Wax Musem Project - Have your child select a person from history and make a poster board about them. They can learn facts and dress up as their person. Then put a "button" that you can push where they come to life telling you about their life as that person. Here is Linkin as General Patton. 

Connectrix & Connectrix Jr. (you can find them both on amazon)

Kinderbot - Beginning coding for preschool aged kiddos.

Art Hub for Kids - A great drawing channel on youtube with a dad and his kids teaching step by step drawing tutorials of popular characters.

iMovie, Splice or another video editing tool - Teach the kids how to edit videos and make a slideshow of pictures from your family adventures.

Gardening, Puzzles, Cooking, Modeling Clay, Scrapbooking... you can turn anything into a fun learning experience.

As always, if you have any questions about any of these programs or ideas, I would be happy to share my boys' experiences with you and help however I can. If you use any of these, I would love to know your experience with them and if your kids enjoyed them. Do you have any other fun websites, apps or ideas that I didn't share? I am always looking for fun new learning tools for my boys, so please share them in the comments. 

We hope everyone stays healthy and has fun learning!


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Onward Movie IMAX Screening

March 11, 2020

We were invited to a special IMAX screening of Disney Pixar's Onward this past weekend and had so much fun! When we arrived we saw GWNIVER, the van from the movie, and were able to check out all the awesome details inside and take pictures. The boys had fun dressing up as the characters from the movie... Can you tell who each of us are?


The kids got to take pictures in front of a green screen holding the magic staff. Then they printed their pictures and put them in a frame for the kids to take home. The kids loved this! 





Watching the movie in the IMAX theater was awesome. What an incredible way to watch a movie! Onward is about 2 brothers who are gifted a magic staff from their dad once they are both at least 16 years of age. This includes a magic spell that will bring their dad back for 24 hours so he can meet his boys because he passed away when their mom was pregnant with the 2nd son. Half way through the magic spell the crystal shatters, so the dad is only half of himself (pants and shoes). The brothers spend the movie going on a quest to find another magic gem that will help them complete the spell and finally be able to meet their dad face to face.

It is a movie full of emotion, so be prepared to shed a few tears at the end. Overall it is very well done and kept my older two on the edge of their seats the whole time. Luke (my younger son) had a few times he got scared and buried his head in me, but overall he said he liked the movie too.  


I love that Disney/Pixar did a movie that focuses on the bond between brothers. As a boy mom, this was a special movie for me to see with my boys. 



After the movie there was delicious food and treats, good music and airbrush tattoos. We had so much fun hanging out with our friends... @EverleighMcDonell, mom and grandma.




One our way out we had to stop and take some more fun pictures with Gwniver.



We had such a fun day and are excited that the movie is now out for everyone to enjoy! Have you seen Disney Pixar's Onward yet?



Thank you @imax for inviting us. And a special thanks to @luckydogentertainment and @ctandco for including us in this special early screening of Onward.


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Board and Brush Creative Studio

March 10, 2020


This past weekend I tried something new with some of my mommy blogger friends. I was invited to a DIY wood sign workshop and I have to say I am so excited with how my creation turned out. I am not a crafty person at all, but at Board and Brush Creative Studio in Lake Forest I totally felt like a Pinterest mom. 


I have been wanting to have a sign made with my boys names and birthdays on it... I just never thought I would be the one to create it. At Board and Brush you don't need any previous crafting or wood working experience. They provide all the materials and the guidance you need to create your own beautiful personalized sign. 

When you sign up for your workshop, you can choose from any of their beautiful designs. When I saw this option, I knew it was the perfect one for me to make. 

When you arrive, your table is set up with your project pieces laid out for you. The stencil stickers are already printed with the information you provided when you signed up online and chose your design.  

But first, cheers to sweet friends and creating our own masterpieces!

I had no idea what I was doing, but the instructors at Board and Brush walked us through every step of the process. They are very hands on when you need help and are so patient for people like me that are first timers with DIY projects.

They first guided us through distressing, sanding and staining our wood.


Then we added the backing to keep the individual boards together.

Next up was laying our stencils on the board and peeling them. After they were placed where we wanted them, we selected our paint colors and began painting the words. Then we peeled up the stencil and would use a small razor like tool to touch up or peel away any extra paint spots or sticker pieces that were left behind.




 

An extra little note I wanted to mention is that one of our friends was unable to attend the workshop at the last minute. The instructors were so great in helping complete it so that we could take her beautiful sign home to her. They were so very kind and helpful with everything. 

They even have a bar menu if you would like to enjoy a beverage while working on your masterpiece. Because of this, the studio is 21+ at all times. The moscato was delicious in case anyone is looking for a sweet recommendation. 

These beautiful ladies are from 3 different mommy blogger tribe's. You can find each of their pages here from left to right: @Chrystincooks, @sweet.p.and.sky, @Monicaplus_2, @Mommy.in.the.middle

My sign is so special to me and I can not wait to hang it up in our house. I showed it to my boys when I came home and they said, "Wow mommy you did a great job!" That was the icing on the cake after having a great moms night out with friends and pushing myself to try something new. Thank you so much to Board and Brush Lake Forest for having us and making this experience one that I will not forget. I can't wait to come back again and create another masterpiece!


Board and Brush offers workshops as well as private parties, bridal showers, corporate events and fundraisers.

For anyone who would like to check out the workshops at Board and Brush in Lake Forest, click here for their website.

Their address is 25432 Trabuco Rd #104 Lake Forest, CA 92630 

(949)742-3101

LAKEFOREST@BOARDANDBRUSH.COM

And if you are not in the Lake Forest area, just head to the Board and Brush website to find one of their 272 locations across the U.S. and Canada that is near you.

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Howard Johnson Anaheim

March 4, 2020

Heading to Disneyland this week or looking for a last minute Staycation? Well, I'm here to share that Howard Johnson Hotel in Anaheim is having a flash deal of 50% off hotel rooms for this week only. (Today through Sunday) 

Click here: HoJo Anaheim to go to the hotel website and use code: 1000029325

Here is a fun look at the awesome water park they have for you to enjoy during your down time from your magical Disney vacation.



Here is a fun video from the Pirate Party at Castaway Cove HoJo Anaheim.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B29utLKnvSB/

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Finding the Magic in Every Day and sharing our candid life with 4 boys.

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