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Public to Homeschool

Public to homeschool transition can be easy!

Public to Homeschool

How to Survive – and Thrive –the Transition

Homeschooling is not the same thing as doing schoolwork at home. When you and your student transition from a public school to homeschool environment, you may both find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster. So we’ve gathered seven pillars of strength and practical advice to help you create a productive, thriving environment for this grand undertaking.Public to homeschool transition can be easy!

1. Gather Your Endurance for the Long Haul

If you are struggling with homeschooling, be encouraged — the first year is always the toughest, say Carolyn Morrison and Jennifer Leonhard of Guilt-Free Homeschooling. “Remind yourself that you have chosen to homeschool your children for very important reasons. There is a definite adjustment period involved in switching from public school to homeschooling, and that period can last at least a year.”

Even when parents and children are eager to homeschool, the change in attitude may not happen immediately, says Lee Binz of The Home Scholar. To illustrate, Binz offers the experience one homeschool mom, Kelly, who describes the gradual process that allowed her son to go from “the deadness of school” to sounding independent and happy. “After a year and a half of homeschool, the lights are starting to come on. He is realizing what an opportunity he has and the desires are starting to show. He is ‘getting it.’ He’s thinking creatively about high school courses. He is sounding independent.”

2. Understand the Emotional Changes

If your student had difficulties at public school or did not enjoy that experience, he or she may be relieved to be away from that setting, say Morrison and Leonhard. “At the same time, he may miss some of his acquaintances or the reliable routine of scheduled activities. Enjoying school, not enjoying school; missing the other students, not missing the other students; excitement, depression; up, down — most children do not have the maturity to effectively cope with the emotions they will experience.” The experts at Guilt Free Home Schooling recommend “help and hugs from their understanding parents.”

Shelly Frost, a freelance writer specializing in parenting and education, advices, “Talk to your child about the transition from the public school to homeschooling. Address her concerns or questions about the new schooling method without disregarding her feelings.”

3. Key on Your Student’s Interests
Morrison and Leonhard also encourage you to “spend some one-on-one time with your child, endeavoring to learn what things he is interested in and how he would prefer to study them, and then tailor a few lessons specifically towards those areas. “Find his areas of personal interest and focus on those. It can make a tremendous difference in his level of motivation and create a valuable bond between the two of you at the same time. (Mom is letting me study this?) Remember, education was taking place long before the first textbook was ever written.”
Topics that are rife with educational opportunities that will truly motivate your child include filmmaking, photography, acting, cars, dolls, boats, building toy models, to name a few.

4. Create Space

Creating your child’s learning environment will be one of the most important elements of your homeschooling success. You will also want to gather supplies/infrastructure that are fun, useful and tidy.

creating a space for the public to homeschool transition is essential. In “8 Steps to Homeschool Success,” Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine asks these questions: Will you be conducting classes at the kitchen table? Do you need a blackboard or a desk? How about empty wall space to post schedules, calendars, and completed work? Is there a computer nearby that’s connected to the Internet? Get organized by purchasing storage cabinets and bookshelves for holding textbooks and workbooks. Baskets are also useful for keeping loose supplies under control.

5. Create Time

You will want to create a homeschooling schedule with both structure and flexibility.
Linda Dobson, author of The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 101 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling’s Most Respected Voices, says, “While a schedule makes some people feel hemmed in, it helps, especially in the beginning, to be organized and have a mission. Purchase a plan book and consider how you want to break up your child’s academic schedule and each subject you want to work on. Consider how you want to break up your learning week by week, too. Make time for field trips and visits to the library. And remember, flexibility is one of the key appeals of homeschooling. You can always adapt your schedule to your child’s changing needs.

Morrison and Leonhard also encourage a casual discussion of expectations between teaching-parent and student may clear up many misunderstandings and motivate the child with the promise of free-time activities once the schoolwork has been completed.

6. Find a Good Curriculum

As a homeschool parent, you’ll be making up a lot of things as you go. But you don’t have to invent everything on your own. YesPhonics™ Express offers a comprehensive phonetic language arts curriculum, for example, that comes with a Program Manual, complete lesson plans, a Spelling Notebook, Chart of Spelling Rules, worksheets, the Creative Coloring Book, the Sound-A-Long DVD and CD, and more.

All the tools in the YesPhonics™ Express programs are built on proven educational principles. Each is designed to stimulate different senses (sight, sound, touch) to help fast and effective learning. No other phonics program provides the comprehensive program that YesPhonics™ does. Read more about the comprehensive YesPhonics™ Express Program for teaching reading, writing and spelling.

7. High School Diplomas

If you homeschool older students, they will eventually need a curriculum that offers a high school diploma, and prepares them for higher education as well as greater success in life. YesPhonics™ recommends American School. This is one of the oldest and largest distance education institutions in the world, which has helped more than three million students earn their high school diplomas. American School provides a top-quality curriculum in both print and online format, providing all the books, lesson plans, and educational materials, as well as teachers that grade each assignment. Attending the American After a Public to Homeschool transition, your student will need a hight school diploma, American school has you covered. School allows your student/s to earn their diploma faster than ever thought possible – up to twice as fast as classroom high schools – offering an accredited diploma that is recognized by major universities.

Something to Remember

Your child will be experiencing a completely different learning environment, as you move him or her from public school to homeschooling. It some cases, it will feel as though you’re all starting over from the beginning. Applying these guidelines will help you through this transition while not losing educational ground.

Resources:

• “Transition from Public School to Homeschool Takes Time,” Lee Binz, the Home Scholar
• “Deschooling Gently: A Step by Step Guide to Fearless Homeschooling,” Lee Binz, the Home Scholar  
• “Surviving the First Year of Homeschooling after Leaving Public School,” Carolyn Morrison and Jennifer Leonhard, Guilt-Free Homeschooling
• “8 Steps to Homeschool Success,” Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine
• “How to Pull a Child from Public School & Start Homeschooling,” Shelly Frost for Livestrong • American School – Distance learning for high school diplomas

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Creating a Thriving Homeschool Environment

Creating a thriving homeschool environment by teaching phonics

Creating a Thriving Homeschool Environment

Creating a thriving homeschool environment by teaching phonicsOne of the biggest risks of homeschooling has nothing to do with lesson plans or book study. The risk of isolation looms over every homeschool parent, and more deeply, in the quiet hearts of their children. Always taking a holistic approach, YesPhonics™ rounded up five important tools that every parent should know to ensure that their kids receive the proper social experiences in their homeschool adventure.

Creating Positive Social Interactions:

Engaged parents want to give their children the best education possible, and the following tips for creating social experiences will help students become unique and well-rounded individuals.

Dr. Scott Turansky, from the Homeschoolers Support Network, says, “Socialization is important to a child’s growth and development. Having all the education one might muster can’t overcome weaknesses in the ability to relate to others. On the other hand, good social skills can do a lot to overcome academic struggles when it comes to obtaining a job or being a productive adult in society.”

5 Great Social Opportunities

To give your homeschool child vital experiences in social situations, which are actually more positive than they may receive on the school bus or playground, try these five ideas, offered by Tiffany Washko of Nature Moms:

1. Local Homeschool Groups. One of the best and easiest ways to provide social opportunities is to join a local homeschool group. These groups are very popular and located nationwide. In addition to providing a support network to homeschooling families, these groups sponsor all types of educational field trips and gatherings. You can find other parents who have the same values and beliefs that you do and who do their best to inculcate these same qualities in their children. HomeSchool.com has a database where you can search for homeschool groups in your local area.

2. Band, Sports and Theatre. Another wonderful way to provide children with the opportunity to socialize is to utilize the extra-curricular activities offered by your local school district. Schools must allow children who learn at home the option to participate in activities such as band, sports and drama. Take the time to contact the school district, in which you reside, for further information on the specific extracurricular programs, available to your child.

If you have aspiring actors or filmmakers in your family, contact your community access television company for help in creating short films, renting equipment and help with editing sofware such as Final Cut Pro. Local theaters and universities are often looking for young talent in staging film and theatrical productions. If your children show a keen interest, consider investing in a DSLR camera, and they can make their own movies.

Another popular option, especially if you live in a bigger city, is to invest in a good acting workshop class such as the New York Film Academy (NYFA). There are also a wide variety of childrens’ improv Homeschool children who play outside boost their IQ which helps teaching readingacting workshops which help stimulate creativity through different acting exercises, all while being around their fellow peers.

3. Volunteerism. Allow your children to volunteer within their own community. If they are old enough, children can assist in many ways, while developing an understanding of needs outside their normal social circles. Some ideas: assist at the Humane Society, plant trees and restore habitat for environment groups, help stock items at the local Food Bank, assist with senior services such as Meals on Wheels. As a parent, you will need to accompany your child in these endeavors.

4. Book Stores. Visit popular bookstore chains to find out if they do weekly or daily book readings in the children’s section. Barnes and Noble offers two weekly readings of popular children’s books in many states. Libraries also have these opportunities, where children can hear a good book and socialize with other kids.

5. Play! Check your local YMCA or your city’s park and recreation department for their class offerings. Classes often include activities such as swimming, dance, cooking and crafts of all kinds.

Better Social Skills?

While some parents fear that homeschooling will impair their children’s social skills, Dr. Turansky suggests that homeschoolers are often more socially adept than their peers in public school. “By concentrating on the importance of each child and on building self-esteem, home instruction can develop strong self-confident children. The interest shown by the parent reinforces the child’s sense of security and identity. And, oddly enough, need not produce a child dependent on the family, but rather a child who is able to move with a deep sense of self-confidence into various situations.”

Planned events can be positive social experiences, says Washko of Nature Moms, “as opposed to much of the negative social interaction that occurs in the public school setting on a daily basis. Just think about the benefits that can be had by being able to choose who your child socializes with and under what circumstances. As a parent you can direct your child’s social activities so that for the most part, he or she is only exposed to positive, up-building people and experiences.”

Resources:
Nature Moms
Social Development and the Homeschooled Child,” By Dr. Scott Turansky, Homeschoolers Support Network

Subscribe to the YesPhonics™ blog here, for more ideas on creating healthy, happy, engaged children.

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Frustrated with Phonics?

YesPhonics comes to the aid of frustrated teachers teaching phonics

How can such a brilliant teaching system be impossible to learn?

YesPhonics comes to the aid of frustrated teachers teaching phonicsRomalda Spalding’s “Writing Road to Reading” has long been considered the seminal work in bringing phonics to the classroom. Phonics has been widely embraced as the best tool to teach children to read, spell and write by learning sounds and sound combinations.

The big frustration with phonics, however, continues to be that teachers need to go to special training just to learn how to teach it, and parents who home-school their children are simply being left in the dust.

One home-school parent said this about her frustrations with “The Writing Road to Reading”:
[quote style=”boxed”]I searched so long to find a user-friendly way to do Spalding Phonics. The method is unmatched, but “The Writing Road to Reading” is just so cumbersome to learn, plan and implement. With three children under 3, I’m just too busy to do it justice.-C.H. Omaha[/quote] Without the right tools, a teacher, tutor or parent can be totally lost in the labyrinth of phonograms and mnemonics. Which is tremendously unfortunate, because phonics is a highly efficient and effective educational tool when presented properly.

Not only does phonics teach exponentially more words than the whole language (see-say) method, but comprehension and enthusiasm for reading increases with phonics. Students learn more, test higher, build confidence, and achieve greater academic success.

Phonics also provides tremendous opportunities for achievement in dyslexic students, reluctant readers, and students studying English as a second language. (In fact, students who suffer from dyslexia or other learning disabilities often gain in learning faster than their peers without these challenges.)

But if every teacher must take time out of the classroom to learn how to present phonics, or a tutor or home-school parent is left to their own devices, phonics often becomes more burdensome than effective.

One teacher skipped teacher training altogether when she found the step-by-step YesPhonics™ Express Program online. Carmen Cobbett, B.SC., Certified TEFL Instructor and GraduateTeaching phonics with mnemonics of University of Michigan, reported, [quote] The YesPhonics program works fantastic with my [ESL] students and they are doing quite well. Ironically, my dyslexic student responded the best among the other ones who do not have reading problems. It’s working out so well that I’ve decided against going to the Spalding class.[/quote]

It is the wish of every parent for their children to read with enthusiasm, speak intelligently, comprehend their education, think critically, and embrace learning as a lifelong endeavor. In short, this is the very gift phonics offers to parents, teachers, tutors and children. On the surface, phonics simply provides the sounds and sound combination you need to teach language arts. Deep down, however, phonics proficiency offers a lifetime of learning, the joy of literature, and the fulfillment that comes through learning read and write.

Learn more about phonics, how to teach phonograms, and the special tools that help teachers deliver a comprehensive and effective phonics language arts program.

Whatever happened to that frustrated parent in Omaha, by the way? … [quote style=”boxed”]I am thrilled to find your [YesPhonics] program, and now that my 2-year-olds can even get some use from it, I couldn’t be happier.” -C.H. Omaha, NE[/quote]

Link here for more testimonials that illustrate how YesPhonics solved parents’ frustrations with “The Writing Road to Reading.”

*A note about YesPhonics: With teaching guides, flash cards, spelling rules and more, YesPhonics gives teachers, tutors and parents everything they need to teach the 72 Orton Phonograms, the Ayres Spelling List of the 1,000 most common words (+300 additional words), and manuscript and cursive writing skills. No special training is required.

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5 Simple Techniques to Help Kids Pay Attention

Teaching Phonics to improve concentration

Listen Up!

5 Simple Techniques to Help Kids Pay Attention

“Pay Attention!” How many times have we heard that? And yet … the next thing we know, our minds are wandering to places unseen and unheard by other people. We are on a journey ofKids pay attention when using the right techniques the imagination or we are mentally reviewing our grocery lists.

Simple, fun and interesting … with the side benefits of greater attention, retention and comprehension: Who wouldn’t want to play, move, breathe, sleep and eat good food?

The mind is a powerful thing. But putting one’s mind to the matter at hand isn’t always easy, for grown-ups or for restless kids learning algebra, or civil history, or scientific method. The good news, according to Parents League, is that even in our multi-tasking society, attention skills can be learned. Most of the tools that help kids focus their attention in class, happen outside the classroom.

YesPhonics offers these 5 simple techniques that will help your kids pay attention to their teachers, parents and schoolwork … and encourage the imagination for later.

1. Play On!

Instead of zoning out independently in front of the television set, gather around the table together for a rousing board game with your children. According to author Rose Erickson in, “How to Help Children Pay Attention at School,” for Livestrong, board games “can also teach your child how to concentrate and pay attention.” A parent’s involvement has tremendous effects on a child’s attitude – in and out of the classroom. Board games offer an easy, fun, and engaging way to pique your child’s attention and hone his or her brain for the rigors of the classroom.

2. Step Away from the Cookies!

Reduce the sugar in your child’s diet. Sugar is in everything from cookies to ketchup, but you can easily find healthy substitutes that will make a huge difference in your child’s ability to focus. Parent’s League asserts that excess sugar – and this includes refined carbs – found in a child’s diet “may contribute to hyper behavior and mood swings.” YesPhonics recommends sweetening food with natural Stevia or honey, giving your child the sweet without the buzz, and the inevitable crash and burn they will experience from refined sugar. Read more in “Eat Your Way Smarter” from YesPhonics.

3. Move!

“Insist that your child get some physical exercise every day, and preferably outdoors,” say the experts as Parent’s League. The Insciences Organisation states that even 15 minutes of exercise per day can improve your child’s attention in the classroom.

At the cellular level, “exercise encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage,” reports Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D., NY Times best-selling author, and the Huffington Post’s 2009 “Ultimate Wellness Game Changer.”

When outdoor pursuits are not an option, kids can get their kicks in a healthy way by practicing taekwondo, kung fu, karate, judo, tai chi or aikido. The martial arts develop discipline in children, as well as respect for themselves and others, self-control, socialization skills and mental focus.

Parenting Magazine reports that, “many parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report great success with these programs because self-control and concentration are exactly the skills underdeveloped in ADHD kids.”

4. Breathe!

Children pay attention with the right teaching tools Place a stone on your child’s stomach and teach them to focus on their breathing as the stone goes up and down.  Don’t roll those eyes! This breathing technique worked so successfully with 200 students in Madison, Wisconsin, that administrators are ramping up the program to introduce into the entire school system, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson, who conducted the experiment, used breathing techniques to hard-wire the students’ brains to improve their ability to focus on their work, says the Vancouver Sun article.

“Simple meditation techniques, backed up with modern scientific knowledge of the brain, are helping kids hard-wire themselves to be able to better pay attention and become kinder,” says Davidson.

Davidson  explains that, “to improve a child’s ability to pay attention — and also improve their studying abilities — a stone is put on a child’s belly, and they learn to focus on their breathing as the stone goes up and down … A simple anchor like one’s breath is a centuries-old meditation technique, but it turns out to have some very beneficial qualities in terms of changes in both the brain and behavior.”

5. Go to Bed!

The National Sleep Foundation Children says children ages 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, and many may not be getting enough of it. In their article, “Sleep: The secret weapon for school success,” the experts at Great Schools: Involved Parents, Successful Kids suggest that children who can’t focus or pay attention maybe simply be exhausted.

The Parents League says parents should “insist on a regular bedtime and adequate rest,” as insufficient sleep can cause attention problems. They advise a routine of story or talk time before bed and report that a brief back rub before sleep was “almost instantly calming” to an anxious child. The best time to go to bed is anywhere from 9-10pm as you can ensure your child is getting the proper warming and cooling hormones that regulate proper, healthy and restorative sleep. These hormones are produced from 10pm-2am.

To give your children their best chance to pay attention in school, make sure they are well rested and well fed, get exercise indoors or out, and engage their minds in productive, interactive games.

Resources for Parents
Helping Children Learn to Pay Attention,” by Jane M. Healy for Parents League

How to Help Children Pay Attention at School,” By Rose Erickson for Livestrong  

Exercise in Schools Can Help Children Pay Attention in the Classroom,” Insciences Orgaisation  

Meditation helps kids pay attention,” Vancouver Sun

Sleep: The secret weapon for school success,” from Great Schools: Involved Parents, Successful Kids

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5 Tips to Get Unruly Kids Interested & Paying Attention In Class

Unruly kids love learning to read!

5 Tips to Get Unruly Kids Interested & Paying Attention In Class

How can you corral a mob of unruly students and make them sit still and pay attention in class? Well, you can’t. But you can make them want to sit still. Students who are conducting themselves respectivelyGood manners and paying attention in class and by teaching Phonics towards you, each other and themselves are not only less disruptive, they will most likely learn and retain more of the information you are trying to teach. Good manners also help children develop self-esteem and self-confidence, says etiquette author Letitia Baldrige in, “Manners for the Modern Child.”

Drawing from the most successful resources for teaching kids manners, YesPhonics™, which offers phonics reading programs for kids, also offers you some helpful ideas on how to get your students – at home or in the classroom – to focus on the matters at hand, like learning to read, write and spell, instead of wiggling in their seats, sending secret texts, and doodling absent-mindedly in their notebooks.

1. Jumping Jacks

Have some serious fun when your kids are acting out. This technique works great for parents who home school, as well as reining in the antsy-pants in the classroom. When your kids interrupt you, gaze out the window, or are stupefied with boredom, institute a Jumping Jack policy. Ten spontaneous jumping jacks get the mind engaged and blood flowing through the body and into the brain and helps them re-focus their attention on their studies.

In a study at East Carolina University, exercise and sport science professor Matt Mahar found that after 10-minutes of movement-based exercise students were more attentive. The study showed the program worked especially well for students least on-task before the activity. Here are exercise ideas from YesPhonics™ in “5 Grade Boosting Activities that Have Nothing to Do With Books!”

Another activity used in the study was the “Over, Under and Through” energizer. The teacher decides on a pattern where students go over, under, around and through imaginary or real objects (over a wiggly bridge, under water, around a chair, through a sea of Jell-O). The teacher then leads the students around the room following this pattern. Awake, energized, and distracted from their distractions, your students should be good to go … until the next distraction. In which case, try this:

2. Create a Collaborative “Manners” Project

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has outlined a great class project that involves students in the process of creating a list of proper manners in the classroom, playground and cafeteria. Students then pick the most important rules, that they themselves have created, and then they use their art skills to make posters to hang in the classroom and school. Read the details from “School Manners and Student Behavior,” from Building Blocks for a Healthy Future.

3. No Monkey Business!

When students have a habit of monkeying around, another art project can help them learn good manner and offer visual and verbal cues to get in line. Educator Michelle Sullenberger, on Scholastic.com, advocates “reading the book Manners at School by Carrie Finn. This read-aloud is a great springboard for teaching and reviewing classroom manners such as lining up quietly, raising your hand, listening, sharing, and cleaning up.” After reading the book, the teacher pairs the students and they share ideas for good manners in the classroom, lunchroom, hall, and on the playground. Each child chooses one of the manners to write on the front of a monkey cutout. Pin the monkeys to a bulletin board display of Monkey Manners.Make unruly kids pay attention in class by teaching phonics “It makes for a great visual reminder of the responsibility, respect, and kindness we expect in our classroom,” says Sullenberger. “Throughout the year, the simple phrase of ‘No Monkey Business’ is all it takes for a quick reminder to use manners.”

4. Play the Good Behavior Game

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices discusses the “The Good Behavior Game,” which uses a classroom-wide game format with teams and rewards to socialize children to the role of student and reduce aggressive, disruptive classroom behavior.

In the classroom, “the teacher assigns all children to one of three teams with an equal number of girls and boys; aggressive, disruptive children; and shy, socially isolated children,” says NREPP. How the game works: Basic rules of student behavior are posted, and the whole team is rewarded if team members commit a total of four or fewer infractions of the classroom rules during game periods.

5. Take Advantage of Teachable Moments

Etiquette author Letitia Baldrige links manners with kindness and good human relations, advocating the following:

  • Advise children of behavioral expectations ahead of time
  • Point out to children observed acts of kindness and manners
  • Admit your mistake if a child catches you using bad manners; discuss other ways you could have handled the situation

Through exercise, art, collaboration, team games and positive mentoring, your unruly students can learn good manners, along with learning how to read, write and spell. It’s important to remember that good manners are something learned, not gifted at birth. Respectful behavior can grow from the outside in, helping students with self-esteem issues reaching far beyond the classroom.

Resources for Parents

• “Can Jumping Help Your Kids Learn Math?” from Education.com

• “Classroom Success Requires Good Etiquette,” Baltimore Times

• “School Manners and Student Behavior,” Building Blocks for a Healthy Future, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

• “Simple Ideas for Establishing Classroom Rules and Manners,” Scholastic.com

• “The Good Behavior Game,” National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices

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Five Things Every Super-Mom Knows

How Does She Do It?

Five Things Every Super-Mom Knows

Home schooling your child is a huge commitment. But you knew that when you decided to do it. What you might not have realized, however, is how taxing the days can be when you’re Five Things Every Super-Mom Knows when teaching phonicsthe teacher, coach, field trip leader, mother, nurse, shopper, and personal advisor. Then your husband shows up. It’s enough to make a homeschool mom pull out her hair and run screaming through the streets.

So we checked in with five successful super-moms who home school their children, run their households, support their friends, nurture their marriages, and still have time left over for themselves. With these five easy tips, you’ll be wearing a Super-Mom cape, too, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, and saving mankind – or at least your own sanity – while you’re at it.

1. Get Support

Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman: They all had special powers that helped them get the job done. You, too, have powerful resources you may not be aware of. Draw them in, rally the forces, and never ever be too afraid – or too proud – to ask for help. Isabel Shaw, of Family Education, says that as a homeschool mom, you need to “draw the support you need.” She suggests turning to your spouse first. “Homeschool dads play a big role in alleviating or eliminating homeschool burnout, with one caveat,” says Shaw. “They need to be told to do it!” After interviewing dozens of homeschool moms, she discovered that “dads didn’t pick up on the extent of the mom’s difficulties. This, in itself, was often the cause of additional stress. So don’t hold your breath waiting for your mate to lift the burden — tell him exactly what you’re feeling and what you want or need him to do.”

Jill Hardy, from The Well-Trained Mind, suggests that you expect your children to pitch in with the housework. “If they contribute to the mess,” says Hardy, “they can contribute to the clean up! Develop a list of responsibilities that they can ease into, and increase it as they get older. And if they ask if they can do something, let them try!”
Shaw also recommends joining a homeschool support group. You may be Super Mom, but you don’t have to do it alone.

2. Surrender to the Chaos

You want everything to go perfectly, run on schedule, get pristine results, and unfold according to Your Plan. But things happen. Some days are just better than others. Sooner or later, you will reach a point as a homeschool mom when you have to let go of the perfectionist in yourself and give yourself – and your kids – a break. Not everything is under your control. Admit it, regroup, and move on. Be flexible and don’t over-commit. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children. Be flexible, rather than demand rigid adherence to a particular schedule.

Diane Flynn Keith, editor of Homefires and author of Carschooling, says, “There are times in homeschooling when trying harder and forcing what makes sense to us, on to our children, can kill our chances for success… Think beyond your self-imposed limits. You can create your own happy strategy for developing your child’s true learning potential.” While you can’t control everything that unfolds in any given day, control what you can and let the rest be.

3. Eat to Conquer

You are going to expend a great deal of energy pulling off a successful homeschooling schedule. You need to prepare your body, and mind, for the rigors of this commitment by eating and drinking right. Eat a lot of small meals to keep your blood sugar – and energy level – up throughout the day, hydrate with water, and eat super foods – such as blueberries, nuts and leafy greens – as often as possible.

Angela Ramos, homeschool fitness coach, says you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes to be at your peak. She recommends the following: eat protein at each meal and snack, stop eating processed food, eat only natural whole foods, eat five to six small meals every day, and drink plenty of water all day long. These fueling tips will help give you the energy you need to keep up with the demands on your time and brain. Always remember to nourish well your own body and mind as you offer your knowledge, energy and love to your children throughout the day.

4. Be Good to Yourself

Take care of your needs, too, or the well from which you draw your energy and inspiration will go dry as a cracker. “Parents must fill up their pitchers before they can fill up their children’s cups,” says Paula Harper-Christensen from BestHomeSchooling.org. “Do something for yourself. Go to the library alone for a change. Try having dinner with your best friend, go see a play, or take a dance class just for you. If we are running on empty, we have nothing to give our families.”

5. Get the Right Tools for the Job

Five Things Every Super-Mom KnowsGetting down to the brass tacks of homeschooling, you will need a strong curriculum to teach your children math, science, and language arts. The good news: you don’t have to make it all up on your own. To teach a phonics-based language arts program, for example, YesPhonics™ has developed a comprehensive curriculum, which you can test drive for free, and all the tools you need to teach reading, writing and spelling – to anyone.

Stephanie D. Scarboroug, homeschool parent and editor of The Old School House Magazine, says, “Even the website is rich with information and definitions… priceless to the first time teacher and homeschool parent. As a former classroom teacher, currently a private tutor and a homeschool mom, I personally feel the need for such a versatile product.” Link here for more information about all the tools – including lesson plans, flash cards, Spelling Notebook, Creative Coloring book and more – included in YesPhonics™ Express.

Resources for Super Moms
• “Avoiding Homeschool Burnout,” by Isabel Shaw, Family Education

10 Tips from Homeschooling Moms of Four or More,” by Jill Hardy, The Well-Trained Mind

• “Homeschool Advice: BEE Flexible,” by Diane Flynn Keith, Editor of Homefires, Author of Carschooling

• “Crock-Pot Homeschool: A Dozen Ingredients For Healthy Nourishment,” by Paula Harper-Christensen, Best Home Schooling

• Download a free “Home School Mom Transformation Guide,” by Angela Ramos, Homeschool Fitness Coach

• “Mom’s balancing act: How to take better care of yourself,” by Sherri Kuhn, She Knows Parenting

Super Mom’s Home School Blog

YesPhonics™ Express Program for Reading, Writing and Spelling

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Fast, Fun & Easy Phonics Teaching for Language Arts

Phonics made easy with Phonogram Flash Cards

Fast, Fun & Easy Phonics Teaching for Language Arts

Are we baking cookies or teaching phonics and language arts ? Should school really be fast, fun and easy? And if it’s that easy, are your kids really learning anything substantial?Phonics made easy with Phonogram Flash Cards

Well it is possible to teach comprehensive language arts with ease and efficiency. With phonics, teachers and parents get the best of both worlds: simplicity and sophistication. Woven underneath the ease and efficiency of phonics learning is real science, extensive research on learning, and mapping of brain functions.

So, if you want an easier, faster and more fun way to teach your students/children how to read, write and spell, keep reading. We’ll show you just why, and how, phonics works.

1. Decoding Makes Phonics Fast

Phonics decodes the English language, which is made up of the 26 letters from the alphabet. Once a student learns the sounds that letters and letter combinations make, they can apply that learning to virtually every word they see.  Which is why, when students complete the third level of phonics learning (using YesPhonics™ Express), they can read approximately 3,000 words. The whole language (see-say) method teaches about 900 words in the same amount of time.

As an example: In the whole language method, a child will learn the word ‘cat.’ And ‘cook’ and ‘care’.  With phonics, children will learn all the sounds ‘c’ makes, including the sound for ‘cat’ and ‘once,’ and when combined with ‘h,’ it makes the sound for ‘chair. When an ‘s’ is added, it helps make the sound for ‘school.’ As you can see, students are learning everything about the letter ‘c’ from the very beginning, and not being misled by thinking ‘c’ only applies to the sound in ‘cat’.

2. Phonograms Makes Phonics Easy

The alphabet represents 26 symbols, represented by letters. Like a game, organizing the symbols gives children the ability to read, write and spell. These symbols, alone or combined, represent 72 unique sounds, called phonograms. Phonics gives students the tools to decode any word in the English language by recognizing the behavior of each letter and letter combination (phonogram). As you can imagine, it’s much easier to memorize and integrate the 72 phonograms into a vocabulary, than memorizing whole words, one at a time, to build a random vocabulary list.

3. Flashcards Make Phonics Fun

Teaching reading with the sounds of the phonogramsFlashcards make learning to read super fun. Like finding clues to a riddle, flashcards can serve as decoding tools, building sounds, sound combinations, and words from the simple to the increasingly complex. The Flashcard Phonogram Pack  from YesPhonics offers the additional benefit of mnemonic illustrations, or memory aids, which help embed the learning into the students’ long-term memory. In the example below, you can see how the phrase ‘have a ball,’ combined with the clever illustration, demonstrates all three sounds made by the letter ‘a.’

When The Writing Road to Reading introduced the concept of phonics in the 1950s by Romalda Spalding, it represented a revolution in teaching methodology for language arts. Teachers and parents were challenged however, to create their own tools to present this great new material. YesPhonics has done all that work for you. With the YesPhonics Express Program, you receive a comprehensive curriculum, Spelling Notebook, the Flashcard Phonogram Pack, a Creative Coloring Book and many more tools.

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Nurture the Artist in Your Child

Drawing helps stimulate the right brain increasing IQ

Nurture the Artist in Your Child

The Creative Impulse

All children have creative impulses. And while drawing or coloring isn’t going to get their heart rate up, it does stimulate the right/creative/intuitive side of the brain, which is important to “whole child” development.Drawing helps your child stimulate their right brain increasing IQ

Art projects will also get your kids away from their computer/video game/cell phone and let them stretch their imaginations. Art projects come in many different forms and involve super fun things, like glue and glitter, scissors and tape, crayons and markers, paint and canvas, just to name a few. Family trips to a museum offer inspiration as well as interesting diversions from whatever is currently on television.

“Teaching the children in your life to draw opens up a world of creativity to them, and it also develops crucial physical skills such as eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills,” says Vex Morgenster, from Howard University.

Though you may just see scribbles when your child first learns to draw and color, he or she is actually starting to develop small, exact movements used such activities as buttoning clothing or handwriting. The more children draw, says Morgenstern, the better they will also get at eye-hand coordination.

Further, drawing helps to stimulate a child’s imagination increase his or her creativity, and offers an outlet for them to give form to their ideas.

Putting pencils and crayons in the hands of children helps them to understand and interpret everyday situations, says Morgenstern. They often draw things they see around them, they depict things that happen to them, and they learn a valuable way to interact with the world around them.

Art is used frequently with children in therapy and in situations of stress and high emotions. Creative activities can absorb one’s mind, distract away stressful thoughts, and create a meditative “flow,” says Elizabeth Scott, M.S., wellness coach, author, health educator, and award-winning blogger with training in counseling, family therapy, and health psychology.

Art projects, which spring from the sub-conscious mind as well as the imagination, can also help children understand feelings that may be confusing or troubling to them.

Children don’t need a lot of encouragement or instruction for most art projects. Give them some blank paper or a coloring book, a box of pencils or crayons, and they’re off!

When the weather isn’t cooperating for outdoor adventures, a box of art supplies can come in very, very handy. Being stuck indoors without TV privileges doesn’t have to be a dreaded punishment. Rather, it can be a fantastic opportunity to drag out glue, scissors, paint boxes and other magic wands of creativity.

Indoor games that don’t require technology of any sort can also inspire kids off the couch. Juggling, for example, helps develop coordination for their everyday lives and has been proven to offer measurable improvement in hand-eye coordination for sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis, etc. Juggling has also been shown to raise SAT test scores by 10% when a person juggles for 10-20 minutes before a test.

Schedule Time & Space

Part of creating your outdoor routine will be keying in on your children’s favorite places and things to do. Repeat experiences they love, while introducing new things on occasion to keep them from getting bored.

We all like routines and rhythms we can rely upon in our days. If introducing outdoor recreation is new to your children or your family, it will be important to create a structure that reinforces this all-important time, until it becomes a routine part of your daily lives.

Schedule a time every day that you and your children know they can count on and can look forward to for outdoor fun. Write in on a calendar in the kitchen. Mix up the activities to give yourselves variety, but stick to the discipline of a daily time slot for outdoor experiences. Soon the groans and feet-dragging will turn into genuine enthusiasm.

More Than Just Fun & Games

This is not all just fun and games, though. While your child is engaging in outdoor activities, getting physical exercise, and exploring their world, they are actually getting smarter. They are developing critical thinking skills, balance, diversity and pure brain power.

Resources for Parents
• The National Institutes of Health website offers advice, news, and other resources
• Find Art Resources
Art Therapy: Relieve Stress By Being Creative, Elizabeth Scott, M.S.
Benefits of Kids Learning to Draw, Vex Morgenstern

In Part 1 of the “New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” we discovered the truly damaging effects that television and video games can have on young minds. In Part 2 we learned about the healing power of the great outdoors. In Part 3 we offered 5 things to do to boost grades, confidence & well-being . In Part 4, we explored how reading books can help your children understand themselves and their place in the world in which they live.

Stay tuned for Part 6 of “The New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” where we’ll discuss the importance of parental engagement in your children’s success.

photo credit: seeveeaar via photopin cc

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Diet Changes That Will Help Your Children Thrive in School

Eating healthy by cutting down on sugar

Eating healthy by cutting down on sugar and improving diet through super foods

Diet Changes That Will Help Your Children Thrive in School

We’ve all heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” Which would turn some of us into Nacho Cheese Doritos. Notwithstanding, our bodies are not only what we eat, but our brains are, too. That’s why our diet is so important to consider when trying to excel in the field of learning.

Take sugar for example. Sugar hypes up our bodies and our brains, and it’s in everything from candy to ketchup. High fructose corn syrup is as bad as sugar, and can be loaded into bread, cereal, and snack bars, to name just a few. When we (children especially) are buzzing on a sugar high, it’s extremely difficult to focus our brains, concentrate our thoughts, and sit still long enough to learn something.

Sugar is just the tip of the brain-squashing iceberg of products we put into our own, and our children’s, bodies. Dedicated to holistic learning, YesPhonics™ offers five brain-feeding, grade boosting, school loving things you can do now as a parent, to help your child thrive in school. (No books required.) Read on for the details and research that explains why these five dietary changes are so important to your child’s education.

1. Cut Down On the Processed and Refined Sugar

2. Add Organics

3. Get Juiced Up the Healthy Way

4. Probiotics and Aromatic Spices

5. Super Charge with Super foods

 

1. Cut Down On the Processed and Refined Sugar

Period. No kidding. This prolific, toxic substance is very, very bad for your children. The good news is that there are healthy replacement sweeteners. Stevia, for one, comes from a South African plant that has been used for a ages to promote healthy teeth, lower blood sugar and build strong bones.

Honey offers another sweetening option that is completely natural in its raw form and has many health benefits when used in moderation, including as many antioxidants as spinach, according to health advisor, Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Sugar wreaks havoc in young minds. It alters their dopamine pleasure response, and is particularly disruptive to their ability to concentrate. According to a report in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, a 1986 study took a look at the effects of sucrose on preschool children. Researchers discovered that in all subjects, there was a decrease in learning performance after children were given a sugary drink. This was most notable within 45 to 60 minutes following ingestion of the sugar. These findings seem to suggest that learning performance may be affected by the dietary intake of sugar.

A study conducted by the University of South Carolina concluded that the more sugar hyperactive children consumed, the more destructive and restless they became. A study conducted at Yale University indicates that high-sugar diets may increase inattention in some ADHD kids.

Aspartame: If you haven’t heard about aspartame, you’ll want to know that this is the ingredient that sweetens all diet soft drinks. Aspartame has been linked to a mind boggling list of bad physiological issues, including headaches, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, memory loss, and joint pain. (These are just a few of the 90 different documented symptoms of aspartame.) Aspartame also parades around in pretty pink, yellow and blue disguises labeled, Equal, Splenda, and Sweet-n-Low.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Call it liquid sugar, concentrated fructose, a thickening agent, or whatever else you want, but please try not to purchase products that contain high fructose Improving you and your child's diet health by cutting back on sweetscorn syrup. The fact that we live in an increasingly overweight society has been thoroughly documented, and high fructose corn syrup is one of the leading culprits in this disturbing trend. Often termed a poison worse than sugar, high fructose corn syrup addicts our brains, increases weight, causes liver damage, and adversely affects as many as 600 different functions in our bodies.

Please don’t take all the blame if you’ve been letting your children eat unhealthy foods. Much of this trend in our culture can be traced straight back to the doorsteps of fast food restaurants and their highly-effective marketing campaigns. A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center, shows that children overwhelmingly gravitate to products with highly-recognizable packaging, such as the McDonald’s logo. Such fast-food logos are branded into the minds of children from an early age, long before they develop self-control. Dr. Amanda Bruce, who led the study, says, “Without the necessary inhibitory processes to aid in decision-making, youth are particularly susceptible to making poor choices about what to eat.”

The bitter truth about sugar is that is not only trashes your body and brain, it is largely considered an addictive, gateway drug, that can lead to violence [American Association for the Advancement of Science], and a predilection towards cocaine, by altering the dopamine-related reward pathways in the brain.

What to Do About it:

Avoid chemical sweeteners at all costs, and substitute with Stevia or honey. Always have a bowl of fruit available on the kitchen counter and grapes in the refrigerator. (Eat fruit in moderation, though, as it contains natural fructose). Also, without a consistent stream of candy, frosted cereal and fruit juice, you might be surprised at how sweet a carrot can taste. Pretty soon your sweet little student will have an easier time concentrating in school.

2. Don’t Panic It’s Organic!

There is only one reason to feed your children organic food: it’s better for their bodies and brains than conventional foods. You might find many reasons not to go organic, such as, organics can be harder to find, and are often more expensive than conventional choices. All true. But – seriously – organic food is not only better for your children, some of the conventional foods you are feeding them are actually detrimental to their health.

If you think the price of organic food is too high, consider this: conventional food is “a delivery device for artificial colors, additives, preservatives, added growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and so much more,” according to Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.

“Making healthy choices today can go along way in saving you from expensive medical bills later on,” says Michelle NAME, medical herbalist and lifestyle educator.
O’Brien documents the increase in organic choices from stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Kroger and Safeway and food producers “from Kraft to Nestle … because they have kids battling conditions like asthma, allergies, diabetes and cancer, too.”

“Food, clean from antibiotics, added growth hormones and excessive pesticide residue, should be a basic human right, afforded to all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status,” says Robyn O’Brien.

Mislabeling food is a federal offense, but labels can still be misleading. According to the Mayo Clinic, “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. You may see “natural” and other terms such as “all natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free” on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don’t confuse them with the term “organic.” Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.  Widely misconstrued, “natural” products are often considered better than “organic,” although exactly the opposite is true: Only certified organic foods are guaranteed by the FDA to have been produced without synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

This brings us to the really nasty element: genetically modified or genetically engineered foods (GM/GE). Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology
says we’re playing “genetic roulette” with genetically modified food, that can lead to many potential health problems. “Studies observing the effects of GMOs [genetically modified organisms] on mice and rats,” says Smith, “linked genetically modified products to allergic reactions, liver problems, sterility, disease, reproductive problems, infant mortality and excessive cell growth, which can lead to cancer.”

Unfortunately, the genetically engineered wolf is guarding the hen house, and the FDA is not protecting our country from genetically engineered food. According to Smith, “The same biotech companies that engineered GMOs are in charge of determining whether these foods are safe, Smith says. He also noted that the FDA official who was originally in charge of the GMO-friendly policy, Michael Taylor, was the former attorney and later the vice president of Monsanto, a large biotech company.” Even worse, big biotech companies like Monsanto andOrganic vegetables for a healthy diet Cargill, which have invested millions of dollars in research and development, refuse to label their genetically modified foods, preventing the people from knowing what’s in their food supply.

Monsanto, in fact, has invested $4.3 million to defeat California’s Proposition 37, which would require manufacturers to label all GMOs, according to Medical Daily. This cannot help but beg the question: Why? If GMO’s aren’t harmful to us, why not label them for everyone to see?

If you’re still wondering why labeling is important, link here for 3 Reasons to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, from the political action committee, “Label Genetically Engineered Foods 2012.”

The only way to know for sure that the food you’re giving your children is free of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irradiation, industrial solvents, and chemical food additives – and has not been genetically engineered – is to look for the USDA Organic food label.

What to Do About it:

Labels to look for: 100% organic, organic (contains 95-99% organic ingredients), made with organic ingredients (contains 70-94% organics). Look for milk labeled “RbGH-free” or look for products without high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors. Strictly avoid processed foods. You know without being told all this that your children will be healthier and more attentive, and will miss less school days when fed a wholesome, organic diet.

3. Get Juiced Up the Healthy Way

Eat your vegetables! We’ve heard it – and said it – over and over and over. But the truth is, many kids don’t like most vegetables, the vegetables we eat have been cooked or processed past the point of nutrition, and our digestive systems – weakened from poor diets – can’t absorb all the nutrients anyway.

So what’s the point? Why force down unpleasant food that isn’t doing us as much good as it should in the first place?

This is where juicing comes in. Throw a tomato, several stalks of celery, one or two carrots, a big bunch of leafy greens such as spinach, some broccoli or cucumber and a clove of garlic into a juicer. Add some raw honey, Stevia, Xylitol, or cranberries for sweetening, and you’ve actually created a powerful, efficient, super concentrated, and easily absorbed food that (albeit green) tastes fantastic.

The upswing in your child’s education: juiced vegetables provide energy, detox sluggish body functions, builds immune systems, and hydrates our cells, among many other health benefits. This means sharper brains, active bodies, and less sick days spent absent from school.

And it happens fast. “In fact, studies have shown that the nutrients from juiced vegetables are within our bloodstream within 30 minutes of consumption,” according to “Juicing for Health,”from Energise for Life.

What to Do About it:

Drink your vegetables!

Get mega nutrients in your diet by juicing vegetablesThe amount of vegetables to consume each day varies slightly on your age and gender, and range from 1 cup per day (for children aged 2 to 3 years) to 3 cups per day (for boys over the age of 14 and men). Calculate your personal recommended vegetable intake by linking to the Vegetable Calculator from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people find it difficult to incorporate their fresh vegetables in today’s western diet where much of our food is prepackaged, processed and “already done for you” convenience foods. But a glass or two of fresh juice per day would incorporate all the vegetables you need into your diet, according to “Food and Cancer – Juicing Benefits – The Simple Key to a Long Disease Free Life,” from squidoo.

The best vegetables to juice, according to Energise for Life, include:
– Lettuce
– Endive
– Cucumber
– Celery
– Kale
– Spinach
– Broccoli (stalk/stem)
– Herbs
– Chard
– Spinach
– Cabbage
– Bok Choi
– Garlic
– Sprouts
– Fresh ginger
– Essential oils (such as Udo’s Choice and Flax Seed Oil)
– Wheat grass
– Watercress

“It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long,” says health advisor Dr Joseph Mercola. In his article, “Juicing, Your Key to Radiant Health,” Dr. Mercola has outlined great suggestions on which vegetables to start with, and which ones to add as you become more and more accustomed to drinking freshly juiced vegetables.

Choosing your juicer is almost as important as what you put in it. YesPhonics recommends using a slow juicer that will press the items, preserving nutrients and excreting more juice. (Centrifugal juicers cut vegetables into a thousand pieces, destroying the nutrients.) Good juicers range from $200 – $500. The Joyful Juicer offers a chart of recommended juicing products, a as well as juicing benefits, tips, and recipes. If you’re overwhelmed already, YesPhonics confidently (and without paid endorsement) recommends the Hurom Juicer.

One last very important note: Juicing is fun. You and your kids get to stick a bunch of whole foods, such as carrots, celery and lettuce, into a juicer and watch a rich, healthy ambrosia flow into your glass. How fun is that?

4. Probiotics & Aromatic Spices

You’ve got guts!

Your guts – stomach, intestines and colon – play an important role in a your behavior and mood, believe it or not. As it happens your “gut” is full of busy, healthy microbes, doing their jobs to prevent bad bacteria from growing, as well as producing various vitamins and hormones – at least they’re supposed to be. Many modern lifestyle choices – including antibiotics, chlorinated water, fluoridated water, aspartame (see above) and processed foods – can compromise a thriving gut flora, as it is called.

It turns out that our stomachs and our brains were developed in utero from the same type of tissue. Brain cells morphed into your central nervous system and your gastrointestinal cells into your intrinsic nervous system. So when you get a “gut feeling,” it just may be your brain talking.

According to renowned health advisor Dr. Joseph Mercola, “… scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the beneficial bacteria found in traditionally fermented foods (or a probiotic supplement) is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control.”

Aromatic Spices

Surprise: Smells enhance your health.

Aromatic spices are probably one of the biggest overlooked aspects to living a healthful life.Aromatic spices help fight disease and improve overall health diet health

Spices are absolutely essential to healthy living, as they provide important health benefits that you can’t find anywhere else. In fact, Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, at the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has some very eye opening things to say about aromatic spices:

”…researchers have discovered that spices contain compounds that fight oxidation and inflammation, the two processes underlying most chronic disease. Countless studies have linked culinary spices to the prevention and treatment of more than 150 health problems.”

Now That’s Spicy!

Here is a short list of these excellent spices; cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, fennel seeds. Incorporating even a couple of these spices into your daily diet will help increase overall health and well being. Research has shown that smelling aromatic spices stimulates different parts of the brain that may, until this point, never have been used before. Not only do they stimulate the brain, they also promote special healing properties. Cinnamon, for example, has been shown to help balance blood sugar and fight cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

Turmeric has long been a staple in Indian cooking and culture not only because of its delicious flavor but also because of its intrinsic ability to fight cancer. Studies show that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, fights 80% of all cancers when used on a daily basis. This is because of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that this amazing spice wields by reducing inflammation, the number one culprit to most all chronic disease, it’s preventive and curative characteristics makes it number one on YesPhonics’™ recommendation list.

Coriander is another spice that is worth mentioning, as it aids in digestion because it acts as an antispasmodic drug helping relax and sooth the contracted digestive muscles. Two of the volatile oils that you’ll find in coriander seed (linalool and geranyl acetate) are powerful, cell-protecting antioxidants, which are the main elements in this wonderful spice for preventing disease. Many benefits of this spice include: fighting cancer, helping ease irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as, bloating, cholesterol problems, colic, colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, high blood pressure, indigestion, insomnia, lead poisoning, liver disease, psoriasis, rosacea, stomachache, ulcer, and vaginal yeast infection.

What to Do About it:

Probiotics: Every day you should get – and give to your children – a probiotic that has more than 4 strains (10 or more is ideal). Probiotics come naturally in some yogurts – but be sure Eat probiotics to increase longevity and improve diet healthyou are purchasing organic yogurt specifically labeled and made with probiotics. Probiotics also come in acidophiles, or capsule form. Make sure the products you buy come from pure, wholesome ingredients that don’t have the caching agent ‘magnesium stearate‘ in them.

Spices: We’ve highlighted just a few spices out of many. The best way get a wide variety of these spices is by indulging in a hot, delicious chai tea, this tea will have anywhere from 5-10 aromatic spices ready to nourish you and your child from the inside out. You can find any number of good chai tea brands at your local supermarket or health food store, the important thing to remember here is that you’ll want to look for a tea that is ‘fair trade certified’ or an organic tea, as most conventional teas are over processed and have been farmed with pesticides reducing their inherent ability to fight disease.

Confused? Do what your gut tells you.

5. Super Foods

The best foods on Earth!

You’ll get more bang per forkful if you incorporate super foods into your and your children’s diets. These foods are packed with good stuff and can help prevent – and even reverse – disease. But do they make your child smarter? Consider the immune-boosting, super energizing factors of the following super foods, and you can easily imagine how your little super-star will be more attentive in school and less prone to sick days out of school.

But first, what is a super food? According to NaturalNews.com, “a superfood is generally recognized by a few characteristics: high nutritional density and low calories, high fiber, high in omega-3 fatty acids, lots of antioxidant activity, and rich with phytochemicals that have the potential to prevent or even reverse disease.”

According to Dr. Frank Lipman, Founder, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, the seven most nutritionally-valuable foods you can buy are:
• Avocado
• Beans
• Blueberries
• Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and bok choy)
• Spinach
• Wild Salmon
• Walnuts
Dr. Lipman calls these “the building blocks of excellent nutrition and sustainable wellness.”

Super foods and the amazing health properties they possess when eaten as part of a healthy dietWebMD also recommends these additional superfoods, to “help ward off heart disease, cancer, cholesterol, and more:” oats, oranges, pumpkin, soy, spinach, tea (green or black), tomatoes and turkey.

Some other examples include: acia berries, gogi berries, chia seeds, keifer, and oats. Attention chocolate lovers! According to Frank Mangano,  NaturalNews.com author, health advocate, researcher and entrepreneur in the field of alternative health, dark chocolate (organic, non-gmo with 85% cacao) can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.

If you or your children like to eat cereal for breakfast, NaturalNews.com has some recommendations for cereals that are truly healthy, with these charateristics: sprouted, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, not genetically modified, and raw. Try finding that on your standard grocery store shelf, lined end-to-end, three rows high, with dead, processed foods and loads of sugar.

The top five super foods recommended by NaturalNews.com are:
• Chorella: Boosts the immune system and helps detoxify Read more
• Spirulina: Boosts the immune system and helps curb an overactive immune system, which is often responsible for autoimmune diseases Read more
• Aloe Vera: Potent immune booster that has been proven to cure AIDS and liver cancer Read more
• Barley Grass: Powerful antioxidant, improves digestion and promotes absorption of vital nutrients, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, eases inflammation, and more
Read more
• Pure Powdered Whey: Helps your body create abundant glutathione, the master anti-oxidant that creates and regenerates antioxidants Read more
These supplements are efficiently consumed in capsule form, flakes to spread on your food, and as powder to add to liquids, such as juice or protein shakes.

Dummies.com claims the following benefits from eating super foods:
• Improving your nutrition
• Strengthening your immune system
• Fighting free radicals
• Reducing the risk of cancer
• Keeping your heart healthy
• Feeling better
• Boosting metabolism and watching your weight
• Maintaining your youthful complexion
• Flooding you with flavor

What to Do About it:

Nobody eats perfectly in this modern, busy society! The point is to move you and your family in a healthier direction, at least some of the time. The sooner you shift these dietary pitfalls, the better, and easier, it will be to create good eating habits that support a lifetime of health and learning.

Many of the super foods discussed here can also be found as supplements in your natural health food store.

Alternative Meals and Snacks That Feed the Brain and Fuel the Body:
Organic/Non GMO Oatmeal with organic peanut butter
Organic/Non GMO Celery sticks with organic peanut butter
Organic/Non GMO apples sprinkled with cinnamon
Garden of Life’s Raw Meal; Beyond Organic Meal Replacement – A great alternative for someone who’s on the go!

Resources for Parents
Sugar & Attention Deficit
How to Reverse the Damage of a Sugar Addiction, Livestrong, The Limitless Potential of You
This Addictive Commonly Used Food Feeds Cancer Cells, Triggers Weight Gain, and Promotes Premature Aging, Mercola.com
Aspartame is, by Far, the Most Dangerous Substance on the Market that is Added To Foods, Mercola.com
Sugar? Gateway Drug to Violence?, American Association for the Advancement of Science
The Sugar Wars: Using Diet to Treat ADHD Symptoms in Children, ADDitude: Living Well with Attention Deficit
Non-Drug Options are Highly Effective at Treating Behavioral Problems Like ADHD, Mercola.com
What Behavioral Problems Are Linked to a High Sugar Diet?, Livestrong, The Limitless Potential of You
I’m Lovin’ It: Fast-Food Logos Imprinted on Children’s Brains,” Medical Daily
A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain, Princeton University
HFCS: the poison that promotes obesity and liver damage,” NaturalNews.com

Organics
Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?, Mayo Clinic
Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Stanford Study Missed, Huffington Post
Organic Eating: A Much Healthier Choice, Natural Health Restored
GMO Health Risks, Institute for Responsible Technology
“I’m Lovin’ It”: Fast-Food Logos ‘Imprinted’ in Children’s Brains, Medical Daily
3 Reasons to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, from the political action committee, “Label Genetically Engineered Foods 2012”
• “Monsanto supported GMO labeling in Europe, but not in US,” NaturalNews.com

Juicing
Fruit and Vegetable Calculator, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
• “Nutrition for Everyone: Fruits and Vegetables,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention
• “Juicing for Health,” Energise for Life
• “Juicing, Your Key to Radiant Health,” Dr. Joseph Mercola
• “Food and Cancer – Juicing Benefits – The Simple Key to a Long Disease Free Life,” squidoo
The Joyful Juicer
Improving Health and Energy, B.B. Martin

Probiotics and Aromatic Spices
• “The Importance of Probiotics for Mental Health,” Mercola.com
“5 Healing Spices,” Experiencelife.com
• “Does Your Supplement Contain this Potentially Hazardous Ingredient?,” Mercola.com

Super Foods
• “The top five superfoods to always keep stocked in your pantry,” Natural News.com
• “The Super 7: Foods With Benefits,” Huffington Post, by Dr. Frank Lipman, Founder, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center
• “‘Superfoods’ Everyone Needs,” WebMD
• “Consume Super Foods for Super Health and Disease Prevention,” NaturalNews.com
• “Superfood Cereals: A review of the most delicious and nutritious superfoods for morning meals,” NaturalNews.com

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc
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photo credit: Food Thinkers via photopin cc
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Help Your Child Love Reading

help your child to read

Help Your Child Love Reading

The Facts in Black & White

teach your child a love of reading at an early age! One in four children think texting with friends counts as reading. This from the Kids & Family Reading Report published in 2010. If you haven’t just leapt from your seat to snatch the cell phone from your child’s hand, read on. It gets worse. 28% of kids ages 9-17 think that looking through postings or comments on social networking sites like Facebook counts as reading (Reading in a Digital Age).

Children who don’t read, or can’t read, or are even semi-illiterate, enter the adult world with distinct disadvantages. In their report, “To Read or Not to Read,” the National Endowment for the Arts reports that deficient readers will earn less money than their peers, have fewer opportunities for advancement, and are less likely to become active in civic and cultural life. They are more likely to wind up in prison one day, according to statistics released by the Washington Literacy Council and U.S. Department of Education. The ability to read can also affect the length of one’s life, as disadvantaged readers have a higher mortality rate (Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago).

Unfortunately, illiterate and reluctant readers are many in number. The Department of Justice reported in 1993 that 21 million Americans can’t read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can’t read their diplomas.

The Power of a Good Book and a Great Habit

The studies that demonstrate the profound impacts of literacy go on and on. The important thing to note is that readers read, and readers who read, read better the more they read. “Whether or not people read, and indeed how much and how often they read,” says Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, “affects their lives in crucial ways.”

The good news: nine out of ten children say that they are more likely to finish book they choose themselves, according to the report, Reading in the Digital Age.

Which leads us to one of the greatest inventions of all time: The Public Library. It doesn’t cost any money to own a library card. Children can read books for free. Most libraries also host reading programs, classes and literary events.

Putting down the video game and picking up a book might help advance your child’s GPA. In Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that those students with higher grades (A’s and B’s) spent less time on video games and more time reading than those students with grades of C’s and D’s.

While digital media tools offer convenience, instant gratification, and world wide access, it cannot and must not be expected to replace good old-fashioned books – ink on paper, bound pages, all-yours, single-tasking, great-smelling, book books, and the deep, personal, incomparable experience that only print offers.

Says Gioia, of the National Endowment for the Arts, “… print culture affords irreplaceable forms of focused attention and contemplation that make complex communications and insights possible. To lose such intellectual capability – and the many sorts of human continuity it allows – would constitute a vast cultural impoverishment.”

Which is to say, in short, put a good book in the hands of your child/children – on a topic that they are interested in and that presents material at their reading level – and encourage them into the wonderful, beautiful world of reading, where only books can take them.

Resources for Parents
• The National Institutes of Health website offers advice, news, and other resources
• Find a Public Library in your area
Reading at Risk, National Endowment for the Arts
Reading in the Digital Age, Scholastic.com
To Read or Not to Read, National Endowment for the Arts
Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds, Kaiser Family Foundation

In Part 1 of the “New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” we discovered the truly damaging effects that television and video games can have on young minds. In Part 2 we learned about the healing power of the great outdoors. In Part 3 we offered 5 things to do to boost grades, confidence & well-being.

Stay tuned for Part 5 of “The New Roadmap for Smarter, Happier, Healthier Kids,” where we’ll help you nurture the artist that lives inside of every child.

photo credit: Book Aid International via photopin cc