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FREE Copy of Autism Parenting Magazing

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am


Are you looking for the most up-to-date news and professional guidance for you and your child on the subject of autism?

Autism Parenting Magazine gives your family access to:

  • Expert advice from our team of respected professionals.
  • Solutions for dealing with sensory issues.
  • Advice for handling transitions.
  • Therapies to help develop your child’s potential.
  • The latest news and research that can help your family.
  • Real life stories from parents of children on the spectrum as well as from adults with autism to inspire and bring hope.

You can get a free copy of the magazine here.

Just thought you’d like to know…..

MySchoolYear – Convenient and Flexible




My School Year is mobile-ready, you can use on any device…..

When you are…

  • Waiting for your turn at the dental office…
  • Sitting in your parked car during co-op classes…
  • Letting the kids use the computer for math drills…
  • Listening to a homeschool talk with great resources being mentioned…

What you can do…

All these situations are now opportunities for you to use your mobile device to connect with My Year School and keep you on track with your homeschool goals. At the dental office check on the progress of your schedule with our visual aids. While waiting in your parked car, enter in some lesson plans for next week. If the kids are using the home computer then use your phone or tablet to enter in those grades from this morning. During a homeschool conference create a reading list of those great books mentioned by the speaker.

My School Year allows you greater flexibility with your homeschool record keeping. Now you don’t have to wait, get tired, forget, or lose motivation because your school year is available wherever you need it to be!

on phone



My School Year can be used on any phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or any other Internet connected device.




Where Giving and Volunteering Are a Natural Part of Everyday Life

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am

univ giv

UniversalGiving® is an award-winning nonprofit which allows people to donate and volunteer with top performing, vetted organizations all over the world.

100% of your donation goes directly to the cause of your choice.

UniversalGiving has been featured on the homepage of Bloomberg,, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  They have also been acknowledged three times on Great Nonprofits’ annual Top Nonprofits lists , highlighted in Huffington Post’s list of best volunteering matching websites, and are an exclusive member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council.

Their Vision is to “Create a World Where Giving and Volunteering Are a Natural Part of Everyday Life.”®  

Just thought you’d like to know…

Homeschoolers – Welcome Birds into Your Backyard!



Homeschoolers – Welcome Birds into Your Backyard!

This is just one of the interesting/informative articles in’s  virtual magazine

Includes #97 of’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list – Build bird feeders and baths.


Summer can be an exciting time to see a large variety of birds and it’s a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the birds that call your area home.

As homeschoolers, birds offer an easy opportunity to delve into Nature Study as they are easily accessible for observation. And it brings a great deal of satisfaction and confidence when your child is able to point out a bird based on its appearance or call. They become like well-known friends as their names are called out and their voices are recognized.

As we started making a focused effort to identify the birds around us, we found that we had taken these interesting creatures for granted. We had grown so used to hearing them that they faded into the background a bit. But we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the cheery song we began hearing each morning was a Robin’s morning song. And a chirpy little song that I had long associated with a memory from my childhood of my grandmother calling it a “tweety-bird” was actually a Black-Capped Chickadee. Observing birds really opens up your eyes and makes you more conscious to the beauty and intrigue that we so easily pass by every day.

Bringing the Birds to You

While it’s normally very easy to find birds to observe, you might want to encourage birds to come to a certain area so it’s easier to see them or to draw in additional species of birds.

A simple way to do this is to set up a feeding station or a water bath. It’s important that you place your feeder or bath somewhere that you can see easily but that is close to some trees or bushes so that the birds feel safe and are able to flit back and forth from tree to feeder.

Bird Baths

All birds need plenty of fresh, clean water and many enjoying bathing in it as well. Bird baths are available at Garden Centers and many other stores. You can also look at thrift shops or yard sales. And they can easily be made using a large shallow basin with sloping sides. You can find these at thrift shops and garage sales as well. You don’t want the water to be more than two inches deep and the sides must slope. Another very simple and inexpensive way to make one is to buy a large terra cotta saucer and place it on a wide tree stump.

Feeding Station

The Birds and Blooms website has great ideas for making affordable bird feeders. A couple of our favorites from their site are the feeders that use an old tomato cage to make a frame to hold a feeding tray and those that use an embroidery hoop and window screen mesh to make a feeder.

You can also plant sunflowers as a fun bird-feeder project. These impressive flowers are fun to grow and provide food and a feeder all-in-one later in the Summer/Fall.

Optional Supplies

You may want to keep a Bird-Sighting Journal.  Even a simple notebook with names and dates can be fun to refer to in the future.  Or you can buy a sketch book to draw in and make notes of your sightings.  We even keep a Pinterest page called Birds We Have Seen.  It makes it easy to quickly scan through the images to find a certain bird we want to find out more about or confirm if that is the bird we heard or saw.

We like to keep a bird identification handbook close to our main window so we can easily look up the birds we see.  In addition we use websites like to identify birds. It’s been helpful to us to determine what they are based on their calls which are available on the website. Finally, a pair of binoculars are also really nice to have close at hand. Again, for those who are budget conscious, handbooks and binoculars can often be found at yard sales and thrift shops if you keep an eye out for them.

So whether you go out and buy the supplies you need or use some crafting skills, adding bird-watching to your list of summer activities can be fun and rewarding!

Here are a few more links for ideas —


Katrina Thennis

July 4th – Did You Know?

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am

On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Did you know–

  • John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest.
  • Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

The above information was found on the website  Interesting!

Happy 4th!


4th of July Fun

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am


101-2016-Mini’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list contains lots of great activities and educational ideas.  Some are perfect for the 4th of July!  For example–

45. Have an old fashioned weenie roast– and make your own mustard. There are over 100 recipes for mustard on the following link.

71. Learn and tell summer jokes.

84. Understand the science behind fireworks.

Want to see the entire list?  It’s here.

And our Summer Fun magazine is tied to the list–so you might want to read that too!  :)


LOTS of Summer Resources Just for You




Are your kids complaining that they’re bored?  Are you wondering how you can prevent summer slide?  Good news, we have LOTS of resources that can help!  These include our 101 Things To Do This Summer list, Our Summer Fun Magazine (the list and the magazine coordinate with one another), info on how to prevent summer slide, a Summer Resource Guide, our Summer Freebies, plus So Much MORE!  We’d love to share ALL of this info with you!




Summer Survival mini 2016


Summe Freebie mini 2016

And we hope you have a wonderful summer, filled with lots of fun learning opportunities and adventures!

How to Make Homemade Sidewalk Chalk


How to Make Homemade Sidewalk Chalk

 Included on’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list – Make your own sidewalk chalk! 

This is just one of the exceptional articles in’s virtual magazine – Summer Fun

Summer is here and whether you choose to homeschool year round or take a few months off midyear there is always room for a little fun that is educational, frugal and gets the kids outside for a few hours.  Most kids love the chance to get their hands a little dirty creating something fun and this Homemade Sidewalk Chalk is a great experiment in science and fun that will keep them busy for hours once completed.  Not only can you incorporate a few great lessons on where the main ingredients  come from, but you can also use this as a fun tool for younger students to practice learning about measurements.  A bonus is the end result is great for encouraging them to practice writing their alphabet or numbers on the sidewalk or driveway outside your home.

To create homemade sidewalk chalk you need a few simple supplies you can gather from your craft closet or pick up at the local craft supply store.



1 ½ Cups Plaster of Paris

¾ Cup WarmWater

Paint Stick or Popsicle Sticks for stirring

Tempura Paint

Molds (toilet paper/paper towel rolls, candy molds, plaster molds, empty containers of various sizes that can be thrown away after use)

Paper Towels

Duct Tape if using toilet paper rolls as molds

Trash Bag or Bowl that can be thrown away after mixing “chalk”


We love using random containers from things like yogurt, sour cream or even salad dressing bottles cut in half for fun and different shapes.  You can also pick up various plaster molds at your craft supply store that will work if you are looking to create specific themed chalk like sea life, characters or numbers.

Make sure to have a bucket or bowl with a disposable plastic bag in it to do the mixing in.  Plaster of Paris will set up quickly and cannot be flushed down drains or rinsed out of bowls in the sink.  Never pour mix down a drain as it will solidify and clog your pipes. 

If you wish to create different colors you will need to make multiple batches or separate the mix into more than one container for mixing.  Remember that the plaster sets up within 5-6 minutes so you must work quickly.  Multiple batches are recommended when working with younger children so you are able to focus on each color as needed.



  • In small bowl or measuring cup mix together water with 1 teaspoon paint in color of choice
  • Pour water mixture into prepared bowl or bucket and mix until well blended
  • Pour into mold of choice and set aside
  • Will begin to set within 5-6 minutes.
  • Allow to fully dry for at least 1 hour prior to use if making smaller pieces of chalk or 3-4 hours if making larger pieces.
  • Remove from mold and create a fun mural on your driveway!

Experiment with color combinations, mix them together for a tie dyed effect or even add glitter for a princess theme for the special little girl in your life.  However you make your chalk, this is sure to be a fun summer tradition for years to come.


Katie Hale is a homeschooling mother of one, freelance writer and blogger at You Brew My Tea who enjoys the simple things in life and finds joy in the world around her as the ultimate classroom.

Visual Math!

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , , — dailynews @ 9:04 am




Math Teaching Needs to be More Visual: New Brain Research Says

Per the recently released research paper, “SEEING AS UNDERSTANDING: The Importance of Visual Mathematics for our Brain and Learning,” the use of visual mathematics and the development of finger discrimination in students is vital for brain development and future mathematics success.  To download this paper, click here. The paper is authored by leading Stanford University mathematics researcher Dr. Jo Boaler and brain researcher Dr. Lang Chen.

“Our brains use visual pathways when we are learning math – our brains actually “see” a representation of fingers when we solve problems, whether or not we are actually using our fingers at the time, so training people on ways to perceive and represent their own fingers results in higher math achievement,” said co-author Dr. Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford Graduate School of Education and the co-founder of youcubed, a Stanford University center that provides research-based resources for teaching and learning mathematics. “Schools do not know about this important brain research and many schools even ban students from using fingers in classrooms.”

Because the research shows that everyone uses visual pathways when they work on mathematics, parents and teachers need to develop the visual areas of children’s brains. They can do this by:

  • Using visuals, manipulatives and motion in mathematics teaching and parenting
  • Providing opportunities for students to use drawing, visualizing or working with models in mathematics
  • Teaching algebra visually through pattern study and generalization
  • Asking students, at regular intervals, how they see mathematical ideas
  • Asking students to represent mathematical ideas in a multitude of ways, such as through pictures, models, graphs, even doodles or cartoons

“Visual mathematics helps students at any level formulate ideas and develop understanding,” said Dr. Boaler. “In fact, the quality of six-year-olds’ perception and representation of fingers has been found to be a better predictor of future mathematics success than performance on tests of cognition.”

In addition to dispelling common beliefs about how children and adults learn math, the paper provides resources for parents and teachers to help students strengthen visual pathways in their brains and achieve at higher levels in mathematics. These resources can be found here.

Interesting…..I think homeschoolers have always encouraged visual math!


About Dr. Jo Boaler

Dr. Jo Boaler is a professor of mathematics education at Stanford University and the co-founder of youcubed. She is also the author of the first MOOC on mathematics teaching and learning and the recipient of many awards, including the 2014 NCSM Equity Award. Dr. Boaler’s former roles have included being the Marie Curie Professor of Mathematics Education for Europe, a mathematics teacher in London comprehensive schools, and a researcher at King’s College, London University.

About Dr. Lang Chen

Dr. Lang Chen is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stanford University. His research focuses on the development of knowledge representations, currently in math and language, in the brain.


Journal Your Way to Lasting Memories this Summer!


Journal Your Way to Lasting Memories this Summer!

This is just one of the GREAT articles in’s Summer Fun virtual magazine!

Includes #1 and #57 from’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list!


Looking for something new to do this summer?  Journaling about all of your summer activities might be just the thing for you and your children.  Not only does keeping a journal provide you and your children with something productive, constructive, and FUN to do this summer, it also provides a tangible, lasting way to remember your time together.

I have 3 children still being homeschooled, and they all journal, including my son.  Even those who don’t normally enjoy writing very much, like my son, can enjoy jotting down a short description of each day’s activity, knowing that it will be a keepsake for years to come.  I have encouraged my children in this way, to see their journals as precious things that they will enjoy revisiting at some point down the road, when they are older.

Your kids can start their journals with a list of things they hope to do over summer vacation (#1 on the 101 Things To Do This Summer list).   Parents can sit down and brainstorm with their children about new things they would like to learn about, places they might want to visit, recipes they might want to try, etc.  You can find a list of hobbies HERE .   I printed a copy of this list off for each of my children and asked them to try and find at least a couple of new things to learn about or try.

Summer doesn’t have to be the same old routine every year.  These days there are virtually unlimited resources with which to learn new things or attain ideas for things to do and places to go.  Most cities have many free summer activities (# 57 in the 101 Things To Do This Summer list) that we can participate in with our children or that our children can participate in on their own.

If you have the resources to attend venues or activities that have a fee or admission cost, you have almost more options than one family can fit into a summer.   Even if you seldom leave the house, you and your children can find many new things to do and try.   HERE is a website that has lists of games and activities to try at home.

After you make these memories with your children, encourage them to write in their summer journals as much as they can remember about the outing or activity.  If they have a way to take and print pictures, they can have a visual reminder as well.  Let this be something fun that doesn’t necessarily have to be spell-checked and corrected.  They will be less likely to enjoy it and may not even want to chronicle their summer vacations if we make it too much like school.  The important thing is that the memories are being recorded for future enjoyment.

Ideas for types of journals and ways to decorate them are only limited by you and your children’s imaginations.  I have a nice leather journal purchased from our local store.  My children have everything from spiral notebooks to small hard-backed journals from the dollar store.  You can even use a scrapbook or a ring-binder notebook with loose-leaf paper.   Another idea for a journal is a ring-binder photo book with plastic slots for pictures.  Each slot can hold an index card describing each activity, recipe or outing, or it can hold a photo of the activity.

Kids can leave their journals undecorated if they prefer, or if your children are particularly crafty, they can be decorated with markers, crayons, glitter, buttons, stickers, or craft paint.   Some of the most fun I had as a child was decorating my possessions or projects, whether it was my folders from school or just a doodle notebook at home.  The more enthusiastic we are about this summer project, the more our children will catch the spirit and want to join in.

If they leave a page at the front blank when they first start their journals, they can go back at the end of summer and add a table of contents if they wish.  Then they can number their pages and easily find certain memories when they want.   Alternately, they can add an index at the end of their journals with corresponding page numbers.  Neither of these ideas is hard to do, and even younger children can be guided into adding one if they want.

Boredom is one of things that we always try to avoid around our house.  If the kids cannot come up with something fun and/or constructive that they want to do, we find something for them to do.  Encourage your children to branch out and seek new and fun things to do.

Be willing to buy or round up raw materials for them to work with, whatever the project may be.  Help them to look up information, recipes, rules for new games, sports, or fun books to read.  Set aside whatever time you can to take them to the activities or places around your town that have interesting, new things to do or look at.

Remember before each summer activity to tell your children to observe and remember as much as they can in order to journal about it when they get home.  They can even take their journals with them if feasible, or they can be left in the vehicle to write in on the way home.   Take photos for them, or if they are old enough, remind them to chronicle the outing with pictures themselves.

Journaling is a summer activity that provides a lifetime of memories.  It is something that can be done each summer while they are still at home.  My children already treasure their journals, and I’m sure yours will too!


Debbie Newman:

I am a 15 year homeschooling veteran with four children, two of whom are still in school.  My hobbies include blogging, gardening, herbs, and reading.  We live on a mini-homestead in the country, and have chickens, ducks, geese, and two very spoiled herding dogs.  You can find me on facebook or my blog


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