Month: May 2016

Spring Decor on a Budget!

Spring is in the air and as with any season, or holiday, my kids love to decorate accordingly. The problem is, all this decorating can get expensive! Also, quite honestly…I just don’t have the time to go to some crazy place like Home Goods or Pier 1 (plus ouch on the wallet!) and pick out something fancy. I have kids, three in fact, and I have limited time, money, and patience to deal with all that crazy. So I will let you in on a little secret…I am a party supply hoarder. It’s true. I hoard birthday supplies, unused balloons, used tissue paper, bags, the rest of the plates, napkins, cutlery, and cups no one touches from the end of the party. If I have to buy supplies for a birthday party, I always prepare for the max amount of people but we all know not that many guests actually end up coming, 9 times out of 10. So I save it all in a large (organized) tote that hangs out in my garage neatly on a shelf. What that means for me is when my daughter insists we FINALLY take down the winter wreath a few weeks ago and put something ‘pretty’ and ‘springy’ up…I needed a quick (and cheap) plan.

Enter my party supply tote. I have all sorts of fabric flowers in there from doing her Butterfly Garden themed 4th birthday party from over a year ago, a basket with foam in the bottom that I has used for fall that I don’t use anymore-the kind that is flat on one side, perfect for hanging on the front of my house, and some wire cutters from hubby’s workbench. I let her pick out a few bunches, many which were unused because when things are a dollar (hello Dollar Tree), we may get a little crazy with the craft supplies, and set to work cutting off the bottoms and letting the kids stick them in where ever they wanted in the basket until it was all filled up.

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Mommy OCD may have kicked in a bit and when they weren’t looking…I just may have rearranged them just a bit. Or maybe just a tiny bit more than a little bit. 🙂

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And there I had it! A free (or cheap) flower basket to hang on the front of my house after I finally took down the winter one. I now feel slightly less behind on everything else now that the front of my house officially shouts SPRING!

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Netflix…For Homeschooling? Absolutely!

I am not one of those parents that sit my kids in front of the TV all day and let them be however, I am also not on the other extreme who doesn’t let their children have any TV time at all because I feel technology can be a useful educational tool. Besides entertainment, which is what most people use TV for, television can be useful especially with a little known service named Netflix. My oldest is almost 10, and he thoroughly enjoys learning about history from documentaries such as The Men Who Built America and science facts with shows like Planet Earth and Frozen Planet. They are great ways to have a textbook essentially come alive! My son was not a kid that particularly loved to read so for him, soaking up all the informational text in an animated way, was crucial to him learning as well as he does with Netflix. And at not quite $9 a month, it really is a steal!

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Here is a list of our favorite titles that we have either already used or will be using for either or both my homeschoolers*:

Science

Sid the Science Kid
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Planet Earth
The Blue Planet
Human Planet
Frozen Planet
Wildest Islands
Frozen Planet: an epic journey
Human Planet: behind the lens
Frozen Planet: on thin ice
Our Planet
Schoolhouse Rocks: Earth
Tesla: Master of Lightening
NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals
NOVA: Bigger than T. Rex
NOVA: Emperor’s Ghost Army
Life
The Wildebeest Migration

History

The Roosevelts-An Intimate History
JFK: A President Betrayed
Last Days in Vietnam
Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story
NOVA: First Air War
NOVA: Rise of the Drones
NOVA: Ground Zero Supertower
First Man on the Moon
Henry Ford
Hitler and the Nazis
Ken Burns: Prohibition
Ken Burns: The West
The Pyramid Code
Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes

*Please note that some of these titles are not suited for a younger audience such as elementary school aged kids. Some documentaries are more suited for high schoolers. Please use your best parental judgement 🙂

So as you can see there is a ton of amazing resources right at your fingertips from something your family is already paying for and using! How we implement it is if there is a day we need to fill, or a super busy day with doctors appointments or anything else that comes up last minutes, I will simply find a video that correlates to what we are already learning and let them watch that as a nice supplement. For some reason if there isn’t one, then I give my child(ren) a choice of what they would like to watch to help encourage their love of history and science. Sometimes there is a subject that my son has been really eager to learn about in history, and we simply haven’t reached that unit yet. Why not let him dive right in!? That is the beauty of homeschool after all, you do not have to always go ‘in order’ for every subject. Besides, it’s fun to let them be excited about what they want to learn and be able to easily provide that for them.

So the next time you need a little something extra for history or science, go ahead and let them splurge with some educational screen time. And don’t forget to watch it too…they really are great movies!

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