EQ = Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence includes: reading social cues, self-motivation, delaying gratification, coping with life’s ups and downs, managing relationships, decision making, and problem solving.
A growing body of research suggests that improved emotional intelligence in children leads to readiness for school and may likely to lead to life success – career, relationships, health and happiness.
EQtainment provides fun activities for improving your child’s emotional intelligence, for practicing social skills and for improving your child’s overall behavior. These products are perfect for young children, 3-6 (and beyond).
Their products can be purchased singularly or as a bundle. We received, and we are reviewing theEQtainment combo package pictured below.
The bundle includes:
- a board game
- story book/CD
- a plush animal
- a coloring book
The main character in all of these items is a dusty leaf monkey named Q. He is one of the smartest monkeys in the world – he can make phenomenal inventions – but he still needs to learn a lot about life. For instance, he needs to learn how to share, to help others, to recognize social cues, etc. – all life skills that children need to learn too.
||In the board game Q’s Race to the Top, children help Q race to the top of his tree house by answering questions and performing fun activities. The questions are designed to promote feeling identification and verbalization; good manners; social skills; creative thinking; balance; and coordination.
The board game includes 150 fun question and action cards; the first storybook, Q’s Wild Ride; 4 colorful Q Monkey figurines; 1 big green dice, and a colorful game board featuring Q’s treehouse.
||The to-go card pack offers 90 question and activity cards (like those above), and packages them in a convenient carrying case.
||The storybook/CD combo is great way for kids to practice their reading and listening skills, and to learn social skills as well. The CD includes the author’s narration, page-turn signals, and sound effects.
||With the coloring book, kids can help Q navigate important social scenarios. The coloring book coordinates with the book mentioned above, but it also contains additional teaching opportunities.
||The plush Q is a stuffed animal friend that helps children develop focus (via a simple breathing exercise).
There are many things about the EQtainment products that we like!
All of the products are attractive and of very good quality. You will like them – and your kids will too.
With the board game – kids have an opportunity to answer questions and perform fun actions that improve their EQ.
Players can take as much time as they’d like to answer questions/practice the activities. As the parent, you can determine what is important to you/your family – and spend more time on these scenarios/cards (always a plus!).
The cards include –
- What does it mean to be brave? Are you brave? Give an example.
- Have you ever told on someone? Talk about when it is okay and not okay to tell on someone.
- Hop on one leg 20 times. Now try the other leg 20 times.
- Q felt jealous because his sister Mila got a brand new scooter and he didn’t have one. Have you ever felt jealous?
- And more.
The game is colorful and attractive. The play pieces are cute – even the dice are cute!
As with the board game, the card game provides kids an opportunity to answer questions and perform fun actions that improve their EQ.
The cards are housed in a cute, colorful tin, which is the perfect size for little hands, or a Mom’s purse. I’m a fan of toys that come with their own storage capabilities.
The storybook/Cd and the coloring book coordinate with one another and can be used together. This is a plus. In our opinion, the coloring book is a must-have as part of this set.
Coloring book questions include:
- Q worked very hard to invent a robot that helps his mom clean the house. What simple things can Q do himself to help his mom out with cleaning?
- Q sometimes cuts in front of his siblings to go down the slide because he doesn’t like to wait. What is wrong with cutting in front of other kids?
- How do you think Q is feeling in this picture? Circle one or more.
- Lead Q on his hovercraft through the maze to get to his baby sister, Nugget.
- Circle the words that begin with the letter Q.
- And more.
I love when a stuffed animal is associated with any educational product – and kids do too! This monkey = darling!
The price is affordable – for individual products and for the bundle.
Want to learn more? You can see videos of the products here.
BTW – EQtainment will be launching their Q Wunder App in mid-September. It will contain 24 episodes of their kids show, 13 original songs with music videos, games and podcasts for parents = additional ways parents and teachers can use EQtainment’s products in helping develop emotional intelligence.
Free Homeschool Curriculum and Educational Resources
There are many parents who want to give homeschooling a try, but they don’t have the money to be pay for pricey curricula. Thanks to the internet, they no longer have to worry about the money involved, as there are plenty of free resources available online. Here are some of the best picks out there, for all the core subjects:
Arcademic Skill Builders: If you have kids who love their video games, this site can help you combine that love with learning. There’s a huge choice of games available to help your kids solidify their math lessons, such as ‘Division Derby’ and ‘Integer Warp’. You can even pick games based on grade level or specific skills that you want to practice.
Math Drills Lite: This simple app can offer a lot to young learners. Using the touch screen interface, they can solve many math problems on their phone.
“It even offers an option for working out problems with fingers or wooden blocks, to help kids visualize how they’ll get the answer to a question,” says Gloria Kopp, homeschooling mom from Studydemic.
Free Rice English Grammar: This site tests your kid’s grasp of English grammar, and every time they get a question right, the site donates ten grains of rice to those in need. They’ll want to do better in order to add more to the bowl that’s displayed on the side of the screen.
Scratch: This programming language is easy to learn and free to use. Your kids can use it to create all kinds of things, including cartoons, games and music. You can use it on it’s own to teach computer science, or in conjunction with other subjects to combine the two.
“Why not have your kids create a story about the birds you’re studying, or an animation showing how rivers work? It’ll be so fun they won’t realize they’re learning at all,” says Carol Wise, educational expert from the Write My Essay website.
Kid’s Astronomy: If your kid is already crazy about everything space related, steer them towards this website. It offers lots of resources on everything to do with planets, galaxies, and the solar system. It’s designed with education in mind, so there’s free online classes they can attend, as well as information for you as their educator.
Weather Unit: This resource, aimed at kids aged 6-9, covers almost everything you want to know about the weather. This includes water cycles, seasons, temperature, and more. It’s full of downloadable resources that you can print off and work on together.
These are just a few examples of what’s available online. Try these resources out, and have a look around. You’ll find lots of things that can work with your kids ages, skill levels and personal interests. It’s easier and cheaper to homeschool now than it’s ever been.
Mary Walton is a homeschooling mom currently living in Santa Monica. She studied in Australia and taught English in Cambodia. You can read her educational blog Simple Grad and/or follow Mary on Twitter and Linkedin!
Take it outside: Tips for Fall Nature Study with your child
Going outside to explore the great outdoors and all its creatures is the perfect way to refresh and invigorate your child’s learning. With so much growing and buzzing all around them, your child can’t help but be inspired to ask questions and seek more information.
Here at ChristianBook.com/homeschool we’ve put together a list of our top tips for making the most of your child’s learning outdoors…
- Keep a nature journal – by recording their experiences outdoors and jotting down all the flora and fauna they come across, your child can practice their art skills and further refine their ability to draw and capture what they see.
- Encourage open-ended scientific thinking – Nature walks have a great way of spurring questions that may not otherwise be asked, or even thought of, in a classroom setting. When your child cannot simply flip back a few pages to find the answers, they are open to draw upon their own knowledge and reasoning for unstructured exploration of the world around them.
- Take advantage of fall – it’s the most wonderful time of the year to explore outdoors. With so much change, there’s plenty to be observed. Leaves provide an excellent tool for teaching tree identification, binomial classifications and developing drawing skills. They also make for fun art projects such as creating sun catchers, leaf rubbings and adding to nature journal pages.
- Harvest lessons – while we’re on the topic of fall, take a trip to a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard. There is an abundance of resources on the topic of these fall harvests – you may even want to integrate an historical component with lessons on Johnny Appleseed.
- Get out there – Visit your local arboretum, state park or science center. These places can provide rich lessons on environmental history
- Experiments and projects – put them in the shoes of a scientist and have them monitor a topic that interests them over a period of time. This will help to develop critical skills such as observing, interpreting and reporting their findings. Some fun projects could be recording the weather or temperature conditions each year, or keeping track of migrating bird species with Audubon.
- Look to the sky – Not all nature studies have to take place during the day. By integrating astronomy into your studies, you can teach your children the rich history of how people have used the skies for navigation and telling time. Looking to the night sky can also help your child learn about the phases of the moon, and how to use the pole star to navigate.
- It’s a bird! – On the topic of having our heads turned to the sky, try a little bird watching while outdoors. So easy to study right from your own backyard, whether in an urban or rural setting. Why not try a little bird feeder craft? Your child will love seeing the birds that return for the food set out for them.
- The not-so-creepy crawlies – Insects make for a thoroughly interesting study – between studying the phenomenon of swarms and their tendency to work together in large numbers, your child is sure to enjoy finding out more about these creatures. Why not keep an ant farm for closer study? Or visit an apiary to learn more about how bees turn nectar into honey?
- Breathe it in – enjoy the fresh air and the incredible environment that surrounds us. Have fun with it, and your child will too!
Christianbook.com/Homeschool is dedicated to helping homeschoolers easily discover the curriculum and resources that best fit with each child. Partnering together with homeschooling families as they work to meet their educational goals, CBD offers over 50,000 homeschool resources for grades PreK-12, including curricula, workbooks, living books, and resources for all styles and methods of homeschooling. To learn more, visit Christianbook.com/Homeschool, call a homeschool specialist at 1-800-788-1221, or email [email protected].
1. How To Make a Paper Mache Strawberry Piñata
This strawberry piñata is the perfect size—not too big, not too small, and you can adjust the size based on how big you blow the balloon. Paper mache piñatas are the most traditional (and the messiest), but make for a great pre-party craft activity.
Paper mache is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Mix one part water with one part flour and adjust with more water if it gets too thick. The key to paper mache is to squeeze out the excess paste from each strip. This allows it to dry faster, prevents mold from forming and gives a smoother texture. Make sure you give it at least 24 hours to dry completely before placing anything on the balloon or popping it.For the exact directions click on – http://www.berries.com/blog/how-to-make-a-pinata-three-ways.
For a variety of paper mache designs, check out Ultimate Paper Mache’s recipes. Enjoy!
2. How To Make a Cardboard Donut Piñata
A donut piñata can be used for an adult or kid’s party. Just change the colors to go with your decor. This piñata is cardboard and poster board based, so it’s pretty easy to create the circular shape. Fill it with fun treats like candy, party favors, confetti or even donuts!
We used a pizza box for this one, as it was the perfect size for us. Feel free to use larger or smaller boxes to fit your space. The key to wrapping the box is to treat it like a bandage. No need to cut the streamer until the whole box is covered. Who knew you would use your first aid skills in piñata making? For the exact directions click on –http://www.berries.com/blog/how-to-make-a-pinata-three-ways.
3. How to Make a Pull String Garland Piñata
Pull string piñatas are great as party favors stuffed with candy, but can also be loads of fun for a New Year’s Eve party filled with confetti. They’re also great for smaller children who are scared or don’t want to hit a piñata. But they might love to make a piñata!
This piñata is made with large coffee cups. But regular paper cups, red plastic cups and even toilet paper cardboard tubes will also work. The size of the piñata will be slightly different depending on which you choose. Remember the most important step is the first one. As you tape the string on to tissue paper, make sure the tape covers the entire X, otherwise some of the confetti or candy will slip out. For the exact directions click on –http://www.berries.com/blog/how-to-make-a-pinata-three-ways.
More Fun Treats for Your Party
As you can see, piñatas seem really complicated, but with the right tools and piñata tutorials it’s easy to host the perfect DIY party. If you need ideas for themes, check out our birthday invitation templates. And don’t forget to buy a variety of candy for these easy piñatas. Lastly, grab some treats for adults and others who might not want to dive into the candy pile. If you’re hosting a birthday party, you can’t go wrong with our confetti-sprinkled birthday cheesecake bites.
Vanguard Education provides educational materials for North American and international homeschool and Christian students. Much of the material is provided free of charge. Products that do have a cost, are priced very reasonably.
We reviewed the Daddy, I Want To Read books. Daddy, I Want to Read is a series of five beginning reading books written by Dr. Bryan. They were written while the family was on a Christian mission, living in a tent in the Kalahari Desert (thus, the reason they’re also referred to as Kalahari Readers).
The books are designed for beginning students who cannot read at all, and do not know the names or sounds of any letters. It takes approximately one year to complete all five books, at the rate of two reading lessons per school day (a morning lesson and an afternoon lesson).
There are three versions of the books. One version is for Americans, one for Canadians, and one for British and Commonwealth nations. The primary differences in the books is the use of American spellings for Americans, Canadian spellings for Canadians, British spellings for the UK and other English speaking nations.
In addition to the five reading books, an Instruction Manual explains how to use the books. If all five books are ordered together, the Instruction Manual is included free of charge. Since this is a unique way to teach reading, we recommend buying the bundle and getting the free Instruction Manual.
We really like these books. Particularly:
- They really do offer a unique and an effective way to teach reading.
- Lessons are short – and occur once or twice during the day.
- Lessons are relatively easy – they consist of reading the previous page, and one new page.
- The books use a combination of scopic and phonic reading. For the most part, words that can be sounded out phonically are taught phonically. Words that are difficult to learn phonically, are taught scopically.
- Scopic/new/difficult words are in blue ink, while other words are in black ink. Eventually, by book five, all words are in black ink.
- After completing the five books, kids can read difficult words such as cough, enough, because, won’t, eighty, concert, and more.
- After these books, children are ready for basic reading books and mathematics books.
- The books are of a nice quality – they have sturdy covers, attractive cover illustrations, they have good quality paper, etc.
- The books are very affordable – $40 for six books. Wow!
Also, FYI, the website offers lots of free downloads – https://vanguarded.com/free.html.
It’s an interesting site – and worth a look-see.
Adding chunks of pumpkin to your favorite chili recipe is a no brainer. The squash adds a bit of sweetness to the spicy stew. Try this vegetarian version from www.thekitchn.com or simply add pumpkin to your favorite version.
From www.thekitchn.com :
This is a vegetarian chili recipe. It can easily be made vegan, too, by adding extra olive oil to replace the butter, and serving dairy-free toppings in place of the cheddar cheese and sour cream, or skipping them entirely. The chili is also gluten-free, although you should check your ingredients just in case. (Some broths, canned goods, and tomato paste can have sneaky gluten.) Speaking of broth, feel free to substitute chicken broth or whatever you have on hand if you aren’t vegetarian. Heck, you can even crumble a little bacon over the top.
Serves 8 to 10
3-pound pie pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash such as butternut, Red Kuri, or Golden Hubbard
2 medium turnips, about 3/4 pound
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetarian broth
2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, such as Rotel
2 (16-ounce) cans chili beans, drained
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
Several dashes vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
Chopped green onions, to serve
Shredded cheddar cheese, to serve
Sour cream, to serve
Peel the pumpkin or squash and cut into 1-inch pieces. To make it easier to peel the pumpkin, cut in half, remove the seeds (and set aside for roasting!), then microwave each half cut-side down in a shallow dish of water for 5 minutes, or roast the halves at 450°F for about 15 minutes. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, shave off the skin with a sharp knife. (See our directions here on how to roast pumpkin and squash seeds.)
Peel the turnips and cut into 1-inch pieces.
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot (it should hold at least 6 quarts), heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the cornmeal until smooth, then stir in the chopped pumpkin, turnip, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes, beans, and corn. Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring back to a simmer then reduce the heat and cook for at least 1 hour, or until the pumpkin and turnip are tender. (It gets even better if simmered longer — a whole afternoon, if you have the time.)
Before serving, taste and season with salt and pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve hot with chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream.
- Vegan & gluten-free pumpkin chili: Substitute olive oil for the butter and offer dairy-free toppings to make the chili vegan. The chili is naturally gluten-free, as long as all prepared ingredients are gluten-free.
- Storage & freezing: This chili freezes well, but it’s also a crowd-pleaser, so we rarely have any left!
Children often ask “why” questions. One “why” question typically asked during this time of the year is, “Why do leaves change colors?”. The answer to this question follows.
The process in which plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.
During the fall and winter, there is not enough light for photosynthesis. Without photosynthesis, the green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the green fades away, the yellow and orange colors of the leaves become visible. Some of these colors were already in the leaves, they were just covered up by the green chlorophyll.
Some sugar (glucose) is trapped in the leaves when photosynthesis stops. Sunlight combined with cool temperatures causes the glucose in the leaves to turn red. The brown color of leaves is made from wastes left in the leaves.
All of these conditions cause the change in fall foliage.
Why don’t you suggest the kids rake a pile of leaves, look at the varying colors, and then have fun jumping in, playing in and tossing the leaves. Because after all, fun learning is forever learning!
5 Reasons to Read with Your Child – and 1 Easy Way to Get Started!
Do you remember the joy you felt the first time you read a book without any help? As momentous as that occasion was, it was probably even more fun to share your achievement with a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend. Reading is a cause for celebration, and what better way for a child to celebrate than by beaming up at a loved one as they turn each page?
As Emilie Buchwald said, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” While your child is learning to read, you are an instrumental figure in the process. Your involvement and encouragement will show your child that reading is a lifelong skill and fun for all ages! Although your child is becoming more and more independent, they still need you there to offer guidance and support. Here are 5 reasons why you should read with your child:
- Reading is the gateway skill to learning. The better a child can read, the better they can learn other subjects, such as math, science, and history.
- Reading books helps children develop social-emotional and self-regulation skills.
- More than half the children in this country—13 million—will not hear a bedtime story tonight.
- Even in higher-income households, nearly 40% of families do not read aloud every day.
- Literacy empowers people to better their lives and the lives of their families and our communities.
When you take an active role and read with your child, you create lifelong memories that lead to an increased interest in literacy. Globally, 91% of people between ages 15 and 24 are literate. If you start early, your child can easily join that ever-growing number of readers. So how do you and your child get started?
With Hooked on Phonics, your child will read, guaranteed. Our award-winning program is based on research, approved by the Children’s Reading Foundation, and designed in conjunction with leading educators, renowned authors, and most importantly, parents. Over 5 million children have learned to read using Hooked on Phonics, and your child could be next! After learning the building blocks of reading, your child will be confident enough to curl up with a good book and start the reading journey.
The highly effective, incredibly fun Hooked on Phonics Digital Edition is perfect for children from Pre-K to 1st Grade, or any young reader who wants to brush up their skills in an exciting, interactive way. Each lesson takes about 20 minutes, and the app has over 200 songs, games, lessons, and eBooks, so your child will never be bored!
Play along with your child as they learn words by popping balloons, launching rocket ships, growing flowers, and singing along to fun music videos. Celebrate progress by visiting the trophy room, where emergent readers can proudly display their accomplishments and progress. Best of all, each lesson is capped off with an eBook specially designed for your child to read to you on their own!
Hooked on Phonics is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle, and syncs across all devices so you can pick up where you left off, no matter where you are. You can register up to three readers per account and track the progress of each individually. Hooked on Phonics is the easiest, most fun way to learn to read. Start your child on the path to reading success today, and they’ll be reading by your side in no time!
When fictional Dr. Doolittle sang, “if I could talk to the animals, just imagine it,” the concept of smart devices and Bluetooth technology was a far off dream. Thanks to Bluebee Pals, stuffed animals really can talk (technically lip synch) to tots! Just prop up a laptop, tablet or smart phone onto their laps and tuck into their plush arms. The pal’s lips move while singing a downloaded tune or engaging with various learning apps. Even foreign language apps work (if an app has sound, it will work with Bluebee Pals). The pals can also be used as a hands-free telephone with the built in speaker and microphone. How cool!
Bluebee Pals come in five animal styles: Riley the Zebra, Sammy the Bear, Hudson the Puppy, Lily the Lamb, and Leo the Lion. Each is $64.99 and available at www.BluebeePals.com, or online at Target, Walmart or Amazon.
You can check out Bluebee Pals in this YouTube video.
Christmas and Channukah are right around the corner!
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Blended Learning- Shaping Education Around Your Child’s Needs
“Perhaps the hardest thing to predict… is the future.”–Yogi Berra
Scientific advances and electronic networks are permanently changing the global landscape at an incredible pace. Without a doubt, our children will encounter enormous future challenges in this uncertain world. How can we prepare them to solve problems we cannot even anticipate? What are the most essential skills they will need to find the answers to questions that may not even exist yet?
Literacy is one of the most important foundational skills for successful learning. The best way to prepare your children for the future is by helping them become confident, competent, and motivated readers. We need to equip our children to read information critically and analytically so they do not just believe everything they see and hear. Reading develops the mind, improves understanding, and enhances the imagination.
The Reading Comprehension Crisis in the U.S.
If your children do not like to read, you are not alone. The reading comprehension crisis in the U.S. is real. Two-thirds of our nation’s 4th, 8th and 12th graders consistently score below the” proficient” level on national assessments. Many of our nation’s children have difficulty understanding a text’s purpose, determining what is important, locating information, making inferences, summarizing text, and figuring out the meanings of new words. Knowing this, how can we help our kids succeed?
What Humans Do Well
Humans are geniuses at finding patterns and making connections. The human brain understands content and context, and can also read mood. Even when our children are not directly telling us, we know through their body language when they are engaged and motivated. We also know when they are confused, bored, distracted, or turned off.
What Computers Do Well
Computers, on the other hand, are great at distinguishing between discrete pieces of information. Powerful, research-based computer programs can present information differently based on each of your child’s responses. This is something a quality computer program can do brilliantly.
Why Watering Down Content Hurts Struggling Readers
Children at all skill levels need to be prepared for future challenges. We cannot simply ignore the root causes of their reading problems. It is unacceptable to lower our expectations and just “water down” content. Watering down content means that our children do not have access to the same rich information other children have. This jeopardizes the future of our children and puts them at a great disadvantage.
Helping Parents and Children with…Blended Learning
As your children’s teacher, you are essential to their learning. You have an awesome responsibility. You have great power to influence your children and to shape the course of their futures, for better or for worse. This is where blended learning can help you. Blended learning is not accomplished by just having your child use computer programs. The important thing is to choose the right ones. Research-based, adaptive programs can help your children succeed. These programs can engage your children with rigorous academic content, at their individual levels. They should also provide you with specific data on your children’s progress, and with downloadable resources so that you can continually meet your children’s specific needs.
As a long time educator, literacy coach, and curriculum director, I became all too familiar with the frustrations of children who struggle with reading. The problem only increased when they read nonfiction, especially in science, because of its many unfamiliar concepts and its new vocabulary. I was determined to address this problem head on. I worked with a team to develop Readorium. This blended learning solution is designed to enable children at all skill levels to understand the same rich, grade- appropriate science content. This is accomplished with text and support systems that automatically adjust to each individual’s needs, as they read. Using Readorium’s Instructor Resource Center, you can always access your child’s progress reports as well as downloadable resources to help your child succeed. To learn more about this program go to https://homeschool.readorium.com/.