How I Homeschooled - Flowers & Bugs

Monday, April 27, 2020

Early in this quarantine / distancing / whatever this is officially called, my husband mentioned that it’s like living the song in the Rapunzel movie (Tangled). Last week, I realized we were going from painting, to reading to dance - we were literally living the song “When Will My Life Begin.” 

I heard from some readers that last week’s post helped, so here we go with a recap of our recent activities!

The sun was shining on Monday and we kicked the week of learning all about Flowers!
  • We started with some YouTube videos on how flowers are made. Man, I learned some things that I totally forgot!
  • Next up - flower painting. For our paintings, we’ve been using watercolor paper. It’s a bit thicker than normal printer paper. I had some 11x14 paper in my craft closet, and I’m totally going to Amazon some more.

  • It was nice day, so I thought a fun activity would be to plant something. THANK YOU TARGET for offering curbside pickup! We ordered a Fairy Garden. There are also some options from Amazon, but those delivery dates aren’t trustworthy right now, but hey! Who knows how longer we will all become homeschool teachers!?
  • Funny story about the Fairy Garden. I was so worried about not touching anything that once the girl put my Target bags in my truck, I drove home - only to find out that we didn’t have a Fairy Garden, but some Drain-o, Slim Fast, and something else in a large jug. I immediately drove back to Target and received my Fairy Garden and dish brush.

  • While we were waiting on the Fairy Garden, I had to keep the kid busy, so I broke out this flower puzzle thing that I bought when she was like 1.5 and way too young to care. SO, if you are in the market for a gift for a 3-4 year old - I’d recommend this!

The flower activities got us through two days, so thanks to an Amazon delivery we moved on to BUGS!

Let’s take a quick trip back to two weeks ago. I had a great butterfly day going. Lennon painted this awesome butterfly, we watched some Eric Carle on YouTube - you know, The Hungry Caterpillar - and other videos about how butterflies are formed. That night, she woke up because she had a bad dream - about bugs.

So heading into these activities, I had to go a little softer on the bug content.

  • Easing up on the hardcore bug videos, we revisited a favorite Netflix show - BEAT BUGS! A perfect way to introduce the kid you named Lennon about the Beatles! The Beat Bugs website also has some great coloring pages and printables for kids (just click on each character).
Guys - my lessons, or days, for that matter aren’t perfect. I had a project to get out the door, so bug day took a turn and Lennon watched some Ladybug and Cat Noir on Netflix. That’s still bug themed, right?
Read More

Add Substitute Teacher To My Resume

Sunday, April 19, 2020

There’s a part of me that always wanted to be a teacher. Like most kids, I would play “school” by setting up my stuffed animals and teaching them assignments. 

Fast forward to Great Social Distance of 2020 and I find myself playing the role of preschool teacher. Things started out okay, then my student began to rebel. My worksheets were no longer fun and she learned the term “I’m bored.”

This marble run game counts as STEM or STEAM or whatever, right? 

So what did I do? I channeled my inner kid and decided to take things up a notch with theme days. Sharing here in case you too are in a homeschool rut.

Last week, we had two big theme days - Space and Boutique.

Our kid’s preschool is sending home some activity suggestions and asking us to keep a journal. These two ideas are tweaks to their suggestions. 

Space Day
  • Ironically, Lennon woke up wearing unicorn space pajamas, so it really helped set the tone for the day.
  • I’ve been hoarding this spaceship pop up tent for almost two years now, so what better time to bust it out. This Toy Story tent is super cute too.
  • While finding planet printables to laminate, I discovered some fun planet songs via Netflix Junior on YouTube. Search around there and you’ll find several cute songs that explain the planets. 
  • After the excitement of the new tent started to wear off, the kid said “I want to paint,” so we gathered up anything circular shaped around the house and made our own little solar system. We used the flash cards to determine what color each planet would be and Lennon painted them. You know we touched this painting off with some glitter. 
  • When you ask Lennon what she wants to be when she grows up, sometimes she’ll say “An astronaut,” and I know that NASA has a YouTube channel - sadly the videos were a little too advanced for our preschooler. 
  • Warning - space lessons can get a little confusing in regards to whether Pluto is a planet or not. In this house, Pluto is a planet! 

Lennon’s Boutique
  • One of the school activities was to “make a grocery store.” Knowing that we have plenty of princess dresses, I took things up a little notch by working with Lennon to create her own store.
  • First order of business was to create a logo. Using PowerPoint, Lennon typed her name and the word “boutique” herself! I used a font that she could color in. 
  • While Lennon colored, I made clothing tags and faux money. We also made shopping bags!
  • I’m trying to teach Lennon what I do for work, so I printed a Facebook post template and had her help create an advertisement for the store. 
  • Next, it was time to get our store ready. We rearranged some clothing racks, shoes, set out accessories, and finally, priced the clothing with the tags! 
  • Finally, it was time to open! 

To get Lennon excited, I asked for her help to brainstorm some themes for the upcoming days/weeks. I'm going to work on my "lesson plans" later today. Here’s our preliminary list - and, if you have any fun ideas for these themes or in general, PLEASE send them our way!
  • Rainbows
  • Cooking - Goal - To have her cook a dish start to finish by herself. Think PB+J or maybe a quesadilla 
  • Life Skills - Laundry, maybe some banking, writing an email, etc. 
  • When I Grow Up 
  • All About Me - making sure she learns phone numbers, addresses, etc. 
  • Health Day 
  • Take Your Kid To Work - yes, this has become the everyday, but like really learning about our jobs
  • Magic 
  • Gardening 
  • Friendship Day - the kid picked this one! 
  • College - WVU, duh. Thankfully, they made some resources for parents!
  • Music - When mom’s in charge, we about to learn about some hip hop. Stay tuned for a Tootsie Slide. 
  • United States - exploring the states
Read More

The Smiths' Social Distancing Survival Kit

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Today I’m bringing you yet another post about things that are helping us survive social distancing! Yes, I know there is an abundance of information being shared, but I have to be honest - some of the posts are helpful, so I thought one of these suggestions could spark something for you!

Without further ado, here’s how we are thriving during the great social distance of 2020.

Guess Who: Yep, I ordered this classic board game and it’s provided hours of entertainment. Not only in our house, but by allowing our kid to play via Facetime with her cousins! Best $8 spent so far on Amazon!

Kid Made Modern Craft Box: I suggested this as a gift for my daughter and my uncle purchased it for her two years ago. It’s been great to have on hand for random crafting. Additionally, my years of hoarding craft items has finally paid off - and then some. We have construction paper, paints, canvas paper, beads, and markers in full rotation up in here.

Printables: Thank you lord baby Jesus for the people that made printables in just about every theme available online (just use Google and then go to the images tab). When my preschooler watches a movie, I try to incorporate a learning activity. She’s watching Aladian? Let’s color our own magic carpet. Toy Story? Let’s do a maze to help Bo Peep find her Sheep. I’m also using the Miss Kindergarten pages to help Lennon learn how to read.

My Laminator: This goes hand in hand with the printables. When I discovered that we were going through a lot of pages - especially for writing activities - I busted out the laminator and started covering our entire household. Yes, my to do list is now laminated. Best. Investment. Ever.

Palomas: Several years ago, I worked with a tequila client. I learned how to make just about the best tequila cocktail - The Paloma. Fast forward to our honeymoon in Cabo and Paloma’s were on heavy rotation. I bought this drink back around Christmas and recently got my hands on one of the key ingredients - Squirt - so I’ve put the Palomas back in rotation. You seriously just need some tequila and Squirt (bonus points for lime). Goes great with tacos and quesadillas - or any day that ends in y!

Online Workouts: I recommend free trials from Amazing Yoga and Obe Fitness. I also hear Peloton workouts are free. For my birthday in February, I asked for gift cards to purchase a spin bike for my house - since I love a good CycleBar workout. Boy, I didn’t realize how much those cards would come in handy! My under $300 bike arrived this week and I’m loving the classes from my studio. If you are looking for a bike, my checklist was something that was small, cost-effective, could record speed and hadipad holder. Amazon has a lot of options, but sadly they keep selling out given everyone being at home!

Just Dance: My daughter's dance studio has been earning their tuition with daily dance combos. When my kid didn’t want to dance alone, I took one for the team and purchased my own tap shoes from Amazon. I mean, I’ve always wanted to take up some adult tap. Let’s just say I’ll be ready to go on stage in June if they need an extra dancer - especially for the “peanut butter jelly.”


Nailed It!: We’ve been watching this show nightly Netflix and decided to recreate our own Nailed It Challenge for Easter by making a bunny cake. The premise of the show is that mediocre bakers are challenged to create extravagant cakes. The winner receives $10K! While not all of our bunny cake supplies arrived on time from Amazon, the key ingredient was here - fondant! For the cake, I used Duff’s white cake recipe and *tried* to make Magnolia Bakery buttercream icing. However, I only had granulated sugar and let’s just say it’s totally not the same as confectioner’s sugar. I’d give us a C+ on appearance here and the taste...well, I may not even go there lol.

I’m hoping to try a few more survival tactics this week and I’ll let you know how they go! That list includes:

MadMex Big Azz Margarita Pick Up

Firstleaf Wine Delivery (just waiting for my order to ship!)
Read More