Friday, January 25, 2013

3 Ways to Reconnect with Your Child

When you are homeschooling and find that you and your child aren't connecting it's time to take a step back from SCHOOL and focus on HOME.

Here are a few things that I have done to move forward with my child.

1. Pray

Spend sometime asking God for wisdom, ideas and direction with your child. Take time to repent for  the attitudes, anger, judgements that have built up in your own heart around your current relationship with that child. Bless them in prayer. Start thanking God for all their positive attributes.

2. Have a Mediated Talk
Get the tea ready and perhaps an enticing snack. Sit your child down and ask them what they think of your relationship. Ask them how they feel when the both of you_____ (argue, get frustrated with each other, walk away, etc.) Ask them what they think should change.
Just listen. Ask questions and listen.

If you find that they are hesitant to share, start first. Be short and to the point. (ie. My heart is sad because you and I are fighting/getting frustrated/etc. I want to get along and understand you better.)

3. Make a Plan Together
I usually come to the table with a lot of ideas, but if we are going to move forward together my child needs to have ownership invested in the plan.
The first thing I announce is that any kind of "formal learning" is on hold. I tell them that their heart and their character is more important than science right now. I lay out the plan for the week ahead by saying, "We're going to read and play games. I also want you to teach me how to do something related to your current hobby."

For families who are very curriculum based, this may be hard for you to do. But relax, you can find many games that cover math, geography, spelling, etc.
The idea with game playing is to re-establish having fun together, build memories together and release laughter into your relationship again.

Some questions I ask are:
What games do you want to play?
What hobby are you currently involved? (In my case, my daughter loves animae drawing, so she is instructing me in how to draw a typical animae eye).
Name two activities we could do outdoors together.
If you and I were to cook a meal together, what would it be?
For some families, a question to ask might be, "Can you teach me how to play a certain video game?"
What can we build together?
What books do you want to read together?
What audiobook can we listen to together?

Once you have come up with enough ideas of things together, plan a time each day that will be "your together time" during the week. Talk with your family and let everyone know that right now you need to spend this time one-on-one with this child. For larger families, work out with the older children a time of working with the younger ones.

Enjoy reconnect with your child.

25 Ways to Overcome Letter Confusion

Take, for example, an apple. Turn it upside down, is it still an apple? Flip it over, still an apple? With any object you choose, no matter how you hold it, it will not change what we call it.From the moment we are born and start focusing, this is what we learn. Then, when we start to learn to read, the rules change; 'd' if we reflect it, it becomes 'b' but some of us still see it as 'd' just like the appleArticle Source:

We've been tackling letter confusion the past two weeks.

 I thought I would make a comprehensive list of different ways to help with letter confusion.
Our brain learns things when we touch, handle and feel things. Most of these ideas are kinaesthetic in their approach.
Have fun!

1. Use food. 
In this example, I used berries and bananas. We ate one piece of fruit at a time while saying a word that began with the letter "D"

2. Use your hands to make the shapes of the letters

3. Give the letter a  Phonetic Personality

4. Glow in the dark letters
Observe the letter in the dark. Ask the child to close their eyes and to visualize the letter they just saw.
Turn the light on and ask them to write it on your hand

5. Use a geo board

6. Press out the letters in tinfoil

8. Sand Paper/Sparkle Dust method
A Montessori teacher taught me this trick.
Using sandpaper or in my case, sparkle dust that has been glued onto the letter, have the child trace the letter with their fingers. As they trace it, say the phonetic sound- "Duh". 
Afterwards, have them trace it again and ask them, "What sound does that make?"

9. Trace the letter

10.Using rice, bird seed, shaving cream or salt have the child trace the letter

11. Lace 'em Up

12. Use glue and beans

13. Playdoh

14. Stamp it, then trace it

15. Write letters on your child's back and have them guess what letter you wrote

16. Write letters in the air

17. Use your body to make the letters

18. Try and find the letters in unusual places
(in this case, the taco shells are D's)

19. For  lower case "b" and "d", give them the thumbs up!

20. Use snow and food colouring
(salt or shaving cream works if you don't have snow)

21. Use glow sticks

22. Window markers

23. Close your eyes and draw the letter on paper 

24. Walk, crawl or skip along the letter
(use chalk in summer or newsprint and marker in the winter)
Sing out words that start with that letter

25. Play Wipe out

Monday, January 21, 2013


It's not goodbye. It's just, I'll never see you again. -My friend Amber, 1998 (And she was right. I have never seen her since) 

Due to other writing commitments and obligations, I am going on hiatus for this blog.
Feel free to keep visiting and checking the archives for Mediated Fun.

Thanks for reading.

5 minute mom


How inappropriate to call this planer Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. - Arthur C. Clarke

Food prints

Outdoor play

marble painting sea back drops

Ocean playdoh
inspired by pinterest

Paper art of Jacques Cousteau 

Goggles on...

Dive in!
A water bucket filled with many different sea mammals

After the dive, we add shaving cream.

Mix it around and...

the ocean is alive and well

Undersea art

Fish found in the sea

A sideways squid

Sand moulds used on snow...
an unconventional way to play with beach toys!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Digital Age Documentary

An excellent look at what is happening with the brain in a digital age. This may just change the way you use technology in your home school.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Know Any Good Stories?

I was feeling under the weather today.
Sick and laid up with the cold that is going around and seems to have everyone talking through their nose.
Being sick does make you think of your Mama.
You remember the way she would bring you hot lemon tea to soothe your throat.
She would lay her soft hand on your head and pray words of comfort and healing over you. They would fall down on me like a shower from a bubble breaking.
My mama would entertain me with stories of her childhood--wild berry picking, how she met my Dad and their whirlwind romance.
I would snuggle under the blankets and hold her hand while she sang to me hymns and old songs from her childhood.
She'd whisper that I shouldn't talk. Tuck me in. Kiss my forehead and tell me to rest.
Being sick is a time to miss your mama.

Today I miss mine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 8

The day begins with decadence...
crunchy French toast with whipped cream topped strawberry banana smoothie

The Book Cookie Jar
As my daughter reads a book, we write the title onto a cookie.
Then we add the cookie into the jar.
When the jar is full of books she's read, we will make some cookies together!

A fun spelling game
Math games

A few rounds of Farkle!

This past weekend we were in the city and visited the library there. We tried to show self-control but it was very hard....70 books later, we left.
We chose 5 different books on chemistry as we realized it was a while since we had done anything with chemistry.
The book we brought out today is Kitchen Science.
Loads of fun!

There are many experiments and we had most of the materials needed for the experiments.

We learned about popcorn seeds rising to the top and salt remaining under

Then a great time of fun with pressure and potatoes.
This was very fun and we stabbed this potato many, many times

Amazing floating eggs and the effects of salt water and pure water on eggs
Watching milk become colored and the effects of dish soap on milk


Then we brown bagged it and tested several food on the brown paper bag.
Interesting....oils leave the biggest impression on the paper 

This was fun. We mixed food colouring and vinegar with warm milk. Drained the casein, and had...

pliable milk.
We used cookie cutters to make shapes out of the soft material

A host of ice experiments followed,
including the ever popular "string on ice" trick.
It's funny how excited one can still get after you salt the string and find that you can actually lift up the ice cube. So fun!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christian Youth Reads I *Heart*

I love youth fiction. 
When I was a new mother, I needed to read books that were short, but written well.
Enter the youth fiction genre.
I recently had a friend ask me for some recommendations on some stories of faith for her fourteen year old daughter.
Here are my top picks.

In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April Grace is a hoot!
I love the spunk that this red-haired, no frills girl has throughout the ups and downs of her life in the Ozarks.
April Grace's life is flipped upside down when her grandma gets a boyfriend, new neighbours from California move into her life and her older sister gets a large dose of hormones.
Can April Grace's faith in Christ help her learn self-control, kindness and forgiveness?

Fun fact: this book is set in the '80's and the references to workout videos, big hair and fashion from that decade add to this fun read.

Confessions of April Grace Series:
In Front of God and Everybody
Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks 
Chocolate Covered Baloney

Jenny B. Jones is my hands down, favourite, I- would-push-you-over-to-get-a-chance-to-meet-her, favourite, favourite,faovurite author.
No one writes comedy like my girl, Jenny B. (see how I make it sound like we are close friends. That's just in case she stumbles on this blog and sees my devotion. Spread the word, friends! I heart Jenny!)

This book is hilarious.
It's the first in a three part series. The story of Katie Parker, a never-been-to-church, trying to make sense of life foster child who suddenly finds herself living with a foster family who pastors a church.
Katie is trying to restart life, but reality keeps interrupting in embarrassing ways.
She thinks she is a temporary kid, but does God have different plans?

Fun Fact: I put this book down from laughing so hard. Twice. Belly laughing, friends. The character Mad Maxine is one of my all time favourite characters in youth fiction. She is worth reading all three books for.
I am just giggling thinking about her.

Katie Parker Production Series
In Between (Act 1)
On the Loose (Act 2)
The Big Picture (Act 3)

I love Sandra Byrd's Friends for a Season series.
She has several stand alone stories of two girls who meet and become friends. Sometimes they share the same faith, sometimes they don't. The characters learn how to honour God in their friendships and learn more about who God created them to be. 
A lot of fun and filled with all sorts of neat tricks for girls--everything from fun snacks described in the stories to easy hair styles. 
My two favourite stories in this series are:
 Island Girl-a story about a girl who visits her grandparents every summer and has to decide if she is going to live with her father or her mother, once her father returns from active duty overseas. Great faith and prayer lessons in this book.
My other favourite book in this series is Chopsticks. Byrd does a great job bonding two girls over their shared faith in Christ, only a serious dilemma arises. They are both entered into the same worship song contest. And there can only be one winner. When both girls desperately need the money and are praying to God to win the contest, what will happen? This book is based on the scripture Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition....
Great stories!

Friends for a Season (Stand alone novels)
Island Girl
Red Velvet
Daisy Chains

How can you be a Christian girl and not know of the Christy Miller series?!?!?!?!
Robin Jones Gunn wrote these stories in response to the youth group girls she was mentoring. They complained that there were no books around that dealt with girls finding faith and navigating the waters of friends, boys and growing up. Beautiful themes of purity, handling relatives who don't understand your faith and building friendships based on God's word.
I really love that these characters have an active prayer life, a committed role in church and encounter problems in a very real way.

Christy Miller Series
Christy Miller Vol.1
Christy Miller Vol. 2
Christy Miller Vol. 3
Christy Miller Vol. 4
Christy Miller's Diary
Christy and Todd: the College Years
*four books in each volume

I like the Sierra books even better than the Christy books. Mainly because Sierra and I are cut from the same cloth. Sierra is impulsive, blurts out thoughts before thinking them through but really wants to honour God. Can't say enough about this series. Sooooo good.
Robin Jones Gunn handles very well the pressures of being a teenager who is trying to be counter culture.
I really respect the parent/daughter relationships in this series. Very positive.
In the books towards the end of the series, Sierra is forced to look at friendships that she has had for a long time. 
Her stand for purity and God go under attack and she learns how to pray for others, make amends when needed and let go when the time comes.

Sierra Jensen Series
Sierra Jensen Vol. 1
Sierra Jensen Vol. 2
Sierra Jensen Vol. 3
Sierra Jensen Vol. 4
*four books in each volume

And if there is any book series by Robin Gunn Jones that I like better than Christy and Sierra, it's Katie's series. I Loooove this series. I literally read all four books one summer day. My kids got hotdogs and all the juice they wanted as I sat in our back porch summer reading area devouring these great stories.
Katie's story picks up in college (She is Christy Miller's best friend and a good friend of Sierra's).
This story will be for a more mature reader, but I include it in here because it is part of the series that Robin Gunn Jones started long ago.
Katie is bold, fun and completely not a girly girl. She is independant and high strung and has a heart of gold.
I absolutely love how this character encounters Christ. There are many moments in this book series where Katie is challenged to trust Christ and does so beautifully. There are beautiful moments of healing from a broken relationship with her parents and Gunn Jones masterfully handles a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship in a very honouring way. 
Spoiler: the character realizes that she and this guy are not really a good fit, but struggles with the fact that she  really does love him. This is a dilemma that some girls have faced and I think that it is great book to read together with your daughter and talk about why it is important to really know yourself  before going into a relationship.
Robin Gunn Jones has characters who don't kiss til their married, don't date til they feel led by God to pursue a relationship that's headed to marriage, girls who do date, girls who choose not to date, girls who are not allowed to date. 
I like that she covers a whole lot of different scenarios for girls because there are many girls out there who are coming from all walks of life and various stages of commitment to Christ. 
It is probably why her books are so popular.
Great reads!

Katie Weldon Series
Peculiar Treasures
On A Whim
Coming Attractions
Finally and Forever

My last pick is so fun. I am glad that my library had all four books, because I foolishly only got one out. The next day, I got the remaining three out and quickly read those.
Sandra Byrd has created a perfect character in Savvy Smith and the London Confidential series.
Savvy has just moved to London with her family. She longs to be a writer and joins the high school newspaper.
Savvy suddenly finds herself as the anonymous advice columnist. Using the book of Proverbs as her guide, she gives advice to the students in her school.
This 4 book series is fun and has Savvy dealing with moving to a new area, trying to fit in to a new school while realizing that her old friends are moving on without her. I like the parent/daughter relationship in this book. Very positive, as is the sibling relationship. Savvy's family tries to find a church that is right for them which is a great experience to read about. 
The character is very likable and who doesn't love a girl discovering who she really is in London--complete with accents, fish and chips and all things British!

London Confidential Series:
Asking For Trouble
Through Thick and Thin
Don't Kiss Him Goodbye
Flirting with Disaster