24 Wacky Holidays to Celebrate With Kids

I was recently looking ahead, planning our first year of homeschooling (I seriously LOVE planning ahead!), and knew that I wanted to inject as much fun as possible in to our schedules. In my search for ideas, I came across list after list of wacky holidays. Honestly, there is a holiday of some sort for almost every day of the year! I read through all of the holidays and chose two for each month that seemed fun, child friendly, and could be educational with the right approach.

I have planned fun activities to go along with each holiday, and hope to celebrate with my kids all year long…..

 

January

January 18th– Winnie the Pooh Day: So many fun ways to celebrate this day! We are going to have a teddy bear picnic with honey sandwiches. This is a great time to take a moment to tell your kids how honey is made, and the importance to honey bees. Follow up the picnic with one of the many Winnie the Pooh cartoons. (The Tigger Movie is my favorite)

January 28th– National Kazoo Day: Snag a couple of kazoos and have some fun! Have each kid play a song, and see if everyone else can guess it. Listen to a favorite classical song, and then have the kids try to repeat it on their kazoo. Or, get a little tech-y and make a kazoo music video.

 

February

February 6th– Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: I know… this one is pretty obvious, let the kids eat ice cream for breakfast. Add a banana and strawberries to make it little healthier. Or, plan ahead and have the kids make their own healthy ice cream. Trust me, the kids will love this one!

February 26th– Tell a Fairy Tale Day:  Check out a book of fairy tales from your local library or snag one off Amazon, and have each child pick one to read out loud. Another twist would be to have each child make up their own fairy tale. This really could be an all-day project if you had each child write their own fairy tale, add illustrations, and a dedication page. Sort of a ‘young authors’ type project. This will certainly be one of my daughter’s favorites!

 

March

March 14th– Pi Day: Have the kids help bake a pie. They will be using math skills all along the way; measuring ingredients, setting the temperature, watching the clock. While the pie is baking, explain the meaning of pi, and how it directly relates to the diameter of the pie they are baking. And just to drive home the point of how long the number pi actually is, listen to the Pi Song on YouTube.

March 26th– Make Up Your Own Holiday: Can you imagine anything more exciting through a child’s eyes? Let each child come up with an idea for a new holiday. Then spend 15 minutes celebrating their holiday! I can’t wait to see what my kids come up with!! If you have too many kids to allocate that much time to, try splitting the kids into teams.

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School Shootings May Cause Uptick in Homeschooled Families

Year to Date

2018 has been a terrifying year for parents, students and teachers. As of today, there has been on average, one school shooting per week in the United States. A total of 22 shootings in just the first 20 weeks of the year. Even more shocking, that number is more than double the number of school shootings in 2017, a total of nine.

It has become common place to have kids as young as preschool practice “intruder drills” or “lock-down drills” at school. As a precaution, we are forced to teach kids as young as 3 how to be prepared in a life threatening situation at school. While I applaud our teachers and schools for being proactive, my heart is breaking that my kids have to be informed of the dangers in the world around them.

I can remember clearly the first time my son participated in an “intruder drill”. He was five years old, and it was just one year after Sandy Hook. My son came home and told me how scared he was, and how he had to hide quietly in the class bathroom with the lights out along with the other 22 classmates and his teacher. He was confused why a ‘bad guy’ would want to come to his classroom. It was a very hard topic to discuss with my young child. But, in my heart, I felt thankful that there was a plan in place.

Visual of Intruder Drill

In 2016 a picture went viral that a mother had posted of her three year old daughter standing on a toilet. The girl was practicing what she had learned at school during a “lock-down drill”.  The mom profoundly states in her post……”At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.”

I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our…

Posted by Stacey Wehrman Feeley on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The reasons for these shootings have become a hot topic. Is this a gun reform issue? Is this a mental health issue? Or have today’s youth become desensitized to violence? Honestly, I think it is a combination of all three. Regardless of which reason, it is clear that there is a heightened sense of angst among parents.

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Where Do I Start? Finding The Right Homeschool Path

Deciding to Start Homeschooling

Once we decided as a family to take the leap and start homeschooling, we had a lot of research to do. What is the best way to get started? Who do we contact? Will this be expensive? Will my kids have a chance to stay social? After turning to the internet and my trusty Google searching abilities, I found out that there are a lot of directions to take when starting to homeschool. Some homeschool programs will give tighter restrictions, and others hardly any at all. Please keep in mind that I did search for California homeschool programs. You will want to check with your home state to see what options are available.

Programs

Private Homeschool

Register as a private homeschool: Home educators can file a private school affidavit online to the California Department of Education. This affidavit does not in anyway licence or accredit you as a private school. This affidavit is necessary to effect the child’s exemption from public school enrollment and attendance. There are very little requirements that go along with the choice. No teacher or school will follow or track a students progress when registering as a private homeschool.

Independent Study via Public School

Independent study through a public school: This option allows a student to take all of the same courses as their peers, but from home. This is often chosen for kids that have serious health issues, or other issues that keep them from attending the classroom setting. The student would be guided by a public school teacher. There is no room for changes in curriculum or content as the work has to match the classroom work.

Private School via Satellite

Private school satellite homeschool program: This is a private school which has filed an affidavit. Parents then can join the private school essentially as teachers to their own kids. These programs usually offer arranged activities together, such as field trips and play dates. However, these programs also usually have a say in what kind of curriculum is being used. These programs are often religious based.

Public Charter

Public charter homeschool program: This is a state funded program. Each child will be assigned to a certified teacher that checks in on a regular basis (usually monthly) to review samples of work and progress made. Most charter programs have funds available to help pay for materials and enrichment classes. Students in this program still take part in state testing.

Program Decision

Although some parents prefer total flexibility and choice in their homeschool experience, I actually do prefer to have checkpoints along the way letting me know that I am on track with the goals set up for each of my kids. Based on that, I knew that filing to be my own private school was not the right route for our family. And honestly, the idea of having funds available for materials and enrichment classes made the public charter programs very appealing. After reviewing the options, we knew that the public charter program was a good fit for us. Although that is one decision down, there are still so many more to make!

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Choosing To Homeschool: The Top 5 Reasons We Decided To Homeschool

A New Mission

A close friend recently told me that when it comes to kids, “The days are long but the years are short”. Such a true statement! And really, a great reminder of how precious time really is with our little ones. I currently have a 1 year old, and 7 year old and a 10 year old. Sometimes I look at my toddler, and I can picture my oldest doing the same things like it was just yesterday.  I was always so anxious for the next step or milestone that I did not realize that I was missing out on some of the joy that comes along with the ordinary moments. So now, I am on a mission to celebrate childhood together. As a family! We are going to make the most of these short years we have left with little feet running down the hall. Part of that mission is to find a way for my kids to thoroughly enjoy their education and we feel that homeschool is the perfect solution.

Choosing Homeschool

After making the choice to embark on this mission, I began to ask myself what I could do to improve the quality of life for my kids and for my family. This of course led me to what causes the most stress in the family, and how can I remove that stress. After a lot of thought, I realized that a majority of the issues circled back around to school; low self-esteem, bullying, following strict schedules, peer pressure, and the list goes on. I started asking myself, “Could homeschool work for us?”. And even if my crazy idea could work, would my kids even want to be homeschooled? I began making a list of reasons why I feel that homeschool would be a positive change for my family.

First, I should let you know that I am not against public school. In fact, I love our local school! I even served four terms on the PTA. However, public school is not tailor made for each child, it is setup to serve the majority. I do understand that this is the only way the public school system can work, and don’t expect them to change their practices for my children. With that in mind, the choice to homeschool was not made quickly. I put a lot of thought and research into this decision.

My Top 5 Pros for Homeschool

#1 – Nurture

Nurture the creative genius– Kids are naturally creative! And I want to keep my kids that way.  I read an article about a study that tested a child’s ability to think creatively. The study showed that 98% of 5 year old kids scored as creative geniuses. The same kids were tested five years later, and the results were startling. Only 30% scored as creative geniuses by ten years old. I can’t help but wonder if sitting in a classroom using workbooks day after day has something to do with that. My daughter is the perfect example; she is constantly making creations out of any materials she can get her hands on (not kidding, she made a hot air balloon for her Calico Critter dolls using scraps she found out of the house!). At 7 years old, she has come up with some pretty amazing things! It really is one of my favorite things about her! The thought of that part of her being snuffed out, just breaks my heart.

#2 – Pace

Work at their own pace– I understand that in a classroom of 30 kids, you have to stay on schedule. But what about the child that finds the work too easy and wants to move on? And what about the child that is totally lost when it is time to move on to the next subject? My kids have fallen on both sides of these scenarios. It would be amazing if my son could say, “Mom, I already understand this. This is getting boring”. Or if my daughter could say, “Mama, I am so confused and I am getting really frustrated.”. Kids can say these things at school, but that doesn’t mean that the class will follow their learning schedule. At home, I can work at the exact pace that my kids learn.

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