Posted in Homeschool, Parenting, Social Emotional

Mindfulness Games and Exercises for Kids of All Ages

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and aware of one’s thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. It is a powerful tool for children to develop focus, calmness, and emotional regulation. With the increasing demands and distractions in today’s world, mindfulness is more important than ever for kids of all ages. In this post, we will explore mindfulness techniques and activities that parents can teach their kids to help them cultivate mindfulness.

  1. Mindful Breathing: Mindful breathing is a simple yet powerful way to help kids become more aware of their breath and to focus on the present moment. Parents can teach their kids to focus on their breath and notice how it feels as they inhale and exhale. Encourage them to take slow, deep breaths, and to count to five as they inhale and count to five as they exhale. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes every day, and encourage them to use this technique when they feel stressed or overwhelmed.
  2. Mindful Listening: Mindful listening is a great way for kids to become more aware of their surroundings and to develop their attention and focus. Parents can ask their kids to sit quietly and listen to the sounds around them. Encourage them to identify different sounds, such as birds chirping, cars honking, or people talking. Ask them to focus on one sound and follow it as it fades away. Repeat this exercise with different sounds and encourage them to use this technique when they need to focus on a task or when they need to calm down.
  3. Mindful Eating: Mindful eating is a great way for kids to become more aware of their food and to develop healthy eating habits. Parents can teach their kids to focus on their food and to notice how it looks, smells, and tastes. Encourage them to take small bites and to chew slowly, paying attention to the texture and flavor of the food. Ask them to notice how their body feels as they eat and when they are full. This exercise can help kids develop a healthy relationship with food and to be more mindful of their eating habits.
  4. Mindful Walking: Mindful walking is a great way for kids to become more aware of their body and to develop their sense of balance and coordination. Parents can ask their kids to walk slowly and to focus on their feet as they touch the ground. Encourage them to notice how their body feels as they walk, and to focus on the sensation of their feet on the ground. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes every day, and encourage them to use this technique when they need to focus or when they need to calm down.
  5. Mindful Drawing: Mindful drawing is a great way for kids to become more aware of their creativity and to develop their fine motor skills. Parents can ask their kids to draw a picture of something that they see or imagine. Encourage them to focus on their drawing and to notice the colors, shapes, and textures that they are using. Ask them to take their time and to be patient with themselves as they draw. This exercise can help kids develop their creativity and to be more mindful of their artistic abilities.

Children’s Books about Mindfulness

In addition to practicing mindfulness exercises and games, parents can also use children’s books to teach their kids about mindfulness. Teaching mindfulness to kids is an excellent way to help them manage their emotions, reduce stress, and improve their overall well-being. There are various ways to introduce mindfulness to children, and one of the most effective methods is through reading. Reading books about mindfulness with your kids can help them understand the concept and practice of mindfulness better. Here are some of our top picks:

  1. “Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)” by Eline Snel This book is perfect for parents who want to introduce their children to mindfulness. The book is designed to teach kids the practice of mindfulness through fun and engaging exercises. It comes with an audio CD that guides kids through simple mindfulness exercises. The book is suitable for children aged four to eight years old.
  2. “Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere” by Kira Willey This book is a collection of thirty breathing exercises and mindfulness activities that kids can do anywhere, anytime. The exercises are easy to follow, and the book is illustrated with colorful images that make it more engaging for kids. The book is suitable for children aged four to eight years old.
  3. “Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids” by Whitney Stewart This book teaches kids how to practice mindfulness and meditation. It provides clear and simple instructions on how to meditate and how to practice mindfulness in daily life. The book also includes several exercises that kids can do to help them relax and focus. The book is suitable for children aged six to ten years old.
  4. “Moody Cow Meditates” by Kerry Lee MacLean This book tells the story of a moody cow who learns the practice of mindfulness and how to control his emotions. The story is easy to understand, and the illustrations are engaging. The book teaches kids how to practice mindfulness and how to regulate their emotions. The book is suitable for children aged four to eight years old.
  5. “I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness” by Susan Verde This book teaches kids the importance of mindfulness and how it can help them stay calm and focused. The book includes several mindfulness exercises and simple breathing techniques that kids can do to manage their emotions. The illustrations are beautiful and add to the calming effect of the book. The book is suitable for children aged four to eight years old.

Teaching mindfulness to children is an excellent way to help them manage their emotions and improve their overall well-being. Reading books about mindfulness with your kids is an easy and effective way to introduce mindfulness to them. The books listed above are some of the best children’s books about mindfulness and are suitable for children of different ages.

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Posted in Homeschool, Parenting

The Importance of Creativity in Child Development: Why It Matters

Creativity is an essential aspect of human development that enables us to think and come up with innovative solutions to problems. For children, creativity is an important tool that promotes their cognitive, emotional, and social development. When children are encouraged to explore and express their ideas, they develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. As a parent, it’s essential to foster creativity in your child by providing a supportive environment that encourages them to explore their imagination and express their ideas. In this article, we will discuss why creativity is crucial for children’s development and provide tips for parents to nurture their child’s creativity.

Importance of Creativity for Children’s Development

  1. Promotes Cognitive Development: Creativity stimulates the brain and encourages children to think critically, creatively, and imaginatively. By engaging in creative activities, children develop their problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning, and analytical skills, which are essential for success in various academic and non-academic areas.
  2. Enhances Emotional Intelligence: Creativity is also an excellent way for children to express their emotions and feelings. When children engage in creative activities such as drawing, painting, and writing, they learn to process and manage their emotions. This, in turn, helps them develop emotional intelligence, which is essential for building healthy relationships with others.
  3. Boosts Self-Confidence: Creative activities provide children with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. When children create something, they feel a sense of pride in their achievement, which helps to boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. This is essential for developing a positive self-image and a can-do attitude.
  4. Fosters Social Development: Creative activities also provide children with opportunities to collaborate and communicate with others. When children work together on a creative project, they learn to negotiate, compromise, and express their ideas. This helps to develop social skills, such as empathy, communication, and teamwork.

5 Tips for Nurturing Children’s Creativity

  1. Provide Opportunities for Creative Play: Children love to play, and play is an excellent way for them to explore their imagination and creativity. As a parent, you can provide your child with a variety of toys, games, and materials that encourage imaginative play, such as building blocks, dolls, art supplies, and musical instruments.
  2. Encourage Creative Expression: Encourage your child to express themselves creatively through art, writing, music, and other creative activities. Provide them with the materials they need, and give them the time and space to create. Don’t worry too much about the end result; it’s the process that matters most.
  3. Support their Interests: Pay attention to your child’s interests and hobbies and provide opportunities for them to pursue these activities creatively. For example, if your child loves dinosaurs, provide them with books, toys, and materials that encourage them to explore these interests creatively.
  4. Foster a Creative Environment: Create an environment at home that supports creativity. Provide a space for your child to work on creative projects, and make sure they have the materials they need. Encourage them to ask questions, explore new ideas, and take risks.
  5. Model Creativity: As a parent, you can model creativity by engaging in creative activities yourself. Share your own creative projects with your child and involve them in the process. This can help to inspire and motivate your child to pursue their own creative interests.

Creativity is an essential aspect of children’s development that promotes cognitive, emotional, and social growth. As a parent, it’s essential to provide a supportive environment that encourages your child to explore their imagination and express their ideas creatively. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can nurture your child’s creativity and help them develop the skills they need to succeed in various areas of their lives.

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Posted in Homeschool

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling: Tips, Resources, and Curriculum

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Your Children

As the world changes, so does the way we educate our children. One option that has been growing in popularity over the years is homeschooling. With homeschooling, parents can provide their children with a personalized education that fits their needs and interests. In this ultimate guide, we will cover everything you need to know about homeschooling, including tips, resources, and curriculum options.

Getting Started with Homeschooling

Tip #1: Know Your State’s Homeschooling Laws

The first thing you need to do before you start homeschooling is to research your state’s homeschooling laws. Each state has its own laws regarding homeschooling, and it’s essential to know what they are before you get started. Some states require you to register with the state or file a notice of intent to homeschool, while others do not. Additionally, some states may require certain subjects to be taught or have specific testing requirements. Knowing your state’s laws will help you avoid any legal issues and ensure that you are providing your child with a legally recognized education.

Tip #2: Determine Your Child’s Learning Style

One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to personalize your child’s education. To do that effectively, you need to know your child’s learning style. There are three main learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual learners prefer to see information in charts, graphs, and pictures. Auditory learners learn best through listening and speaking. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing and prefer hands-on activities. Understanding your child’s learning style will help you choose the right curriculum and teaching methods to help them succeed.

Choosing the Right Homeschool Curriculum for Your Child

Tip #3: Find Homeschooling Resources

Homeschooling requires resources, and luckily, there are plenty of them available. One great resource is your local library. Libraries have books, DVDs, and online resources that can help you with curriculum ideas, lesson plans, and teaching methods. Another excellent resource is homeschooling groups. These groups often offer support, advice, and resources to help you navigate the homeschooling journey. Finally, online resources like Khan Academy, TED-Ed, and YouTube can provide excellent educational content for your child.

Two African American parents helping their daughter with homework in the kitchen at home

Tip #4: Choose the Right Homeschooling Curriculum

Choosing the right homeschooling curriculum can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many curriculum options available, from traditional textbooks to online courses. Some popular options include:

  • Classical Education: This approach focuses on teaching subjects in a specific order, such as grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
  • Montessori Method: This approach emphasizes hands-on learning and self-directed activities.
  • Unit Studies: This approach teaches multiple subjects around a central theme.
  • Charlotte Mason Method: This approach emphasizes living books, nature studies, and narration.

There is no one-size-fits-all curriculum, so take your time to research and choose the best option for your child’s learning style and interests.

Tip #5: Create a Schedule and Stay Organized

Homeschooling requires discipline and organization. It’s essential to create a schedule that works for you and your child. You can schedule your child’s lessons around your work schedule or other activities. Additionally, it’s important to stay organized. Keep track of lesson plans, grades, and any other important information in a planner or online tool. Staying organized will help you stay on track and ensure that your child is receiving a well-rounded education.

Homeschooling can be a rewarding experience for both you and your child. By following these tips, finding the right resources, and choosing the best curriculum, you can provide your child with an excellent education that fits their needs and interests. Happy homeschooling!

Posted in guest post, Homeschool, Math

Top 10 Play-Based Ways to Teach Math to Preschoolers

Many families find that teaching preschool math through play is an appealing option. A play-based curriculum gives children the freedom to choose manipulative materials based on their learning concepts. It provides parents with the opportunity to use games that children love!

To help your preschooler develop early math skills, here are ten play-based activities.

Learn and Play with Money

Playing with money is a fun and easy way to teach children about math. You can let your child practice counting coins by giving him or her play money in different denominations. Your child will learn to recognize the value of each coin by playing this game. You can take it a step further by having your child count out the exact amount of change needed to buy an object or snack in the house.

Counting Activities

Counting activities are fun ways to teach kids how to count. They can use objects found around the house or in the classroom to practice counting. Kids can count plastic farm animals, crayons, blocks, or even people!

It’s important to count aloud with your child to reinforce the language associated with numbers and to let them know what they’re doing right. In addition, make sure you use different amounts and types of objects every time you do this activity so that their minds aren’t bored by doing the same thing repeatedly (which would cause them to disengage from learning).

Number Puzzles

A number puzzle is a simple game where you create a grid of squares containing numbers. Your child has to find a path through the numbers from one side of the grid to another. For example, he might have to work out which way he needs to go for the numbers on the squares he lands on to add up to seven.

Number puzzles are compelling because they’re good at developing problem-solving and math skills and can be played by kids of all ages. They are also adaptable for older children.

Make the rules more difficult or increase the number of squares in the grid if your child is in primary school.

Counting Routines

Learning math with your child is a lot of fun. It might not be the best way to teach math, but there are still plenty of ways to make learning enjoyable. As a parent or teacher, it’s essential to keep things lighthearted. Learn some counting routines so you can count out loud while walking around the house or while driving on the highway (the latter is also a great way to practice verbalizing numbers and other information).

Start by helping your child count objects as they go past them (for example, if you’re going shopping, you could ask him if he sees any oranges)—finally, many kids like counting games. If your kid enjoys playing with blocks and Lego bricks, find out what number he comes up with for each block or Lego piece, and then try counting it out loud.

Hands-On Math Games

Math games are a fun and easy way to include math in your child’s day. From simple counting games to more complicated addition, multiplication, and division skills, there are tons of math games that kids will love.

It can be challenging to know where to begin with many options available.

It’s time for you to get your game on. I mean, math on!

Color Collages

As they work, your kid will be exposed to various shapes and sizes, introducing them to the concepts of volume and area. They’ll also begin to understand the properties of different materials, like what happens when you glue or staple pieces together, which is an introductory science lesson.


They can hang these colorful creations on their bedroom wall or turn them into greeting cards they could send to Grandma. Colored paper collages are fun to make, and kids have tons of creative freedom – who knows what kind of colorful works of art your child will create next?

Patterned Planting

When you teach patterns using seeds and pots, you can place the seeds in various designs.

Use a variety of materials to teach patterns to preschoolers. You can use plastic animals, pom-poms, or other small objects you may have on hand. Tell students they will play with different shapes and make different pattern designs each day.

Press the pieces into modeling clay and tell students that each color represents a number. Show them how to match up the numbers and ask them which is more or less than another number. Patterns aren’t limited to only math concepts; you can also use patterns as writing activities for your preschoolers by having them draw or color different patterns on paper for practice purposes.

When teaching preschoolers about patterns, you may use any object, such as buttons, blocks, or even random household items like spoons and forks, to teach kids about varied sizes and shapes while reinforcing mathematical concepts like more/less than comparisons.

Card Games

Playing card games to teach preschoolers math is an interesting one. It’s a concept I tried with my daughter when she was young, and I had some success in that regard. The basic idea is to use a set of cards, each with a number on it—like playing poker or solitaire—and have the children learn about addition and subtraction by seeing if they can match their cards to the teacher’s cards.

Tracing Shapes

shape tracing and crafts with kids

In addition to these things, tracing shapes helps build self-confidence in children as they feel a sense of accomplishment when they see their final work come together. It also helps spark creativity in children because there are no rules when it comes to tracing shapes.

Your kid can draw each shape in any color or pattern they desire. Have your child pick out a sheet and then trace over the lines on the sheet using crayons or markers in whatever colors they want. Using different colored lines makes it easier for them to follow along and get feedback as they go along.

Measuring Ingredients

You can also teach measuring units like teaspoons and tablespoons by asking them to use a tablespoon to scoop up some flour or put three teaspoons of baking soda in the bowl. They can also be introduced to order—as in, “First we put in 3 cups of flour.”


Teaching ratios is another skill that kids need for math literacy. When you’re making a recipe with your preschooler, talk about the ingredients you’re using: “We’ll need twice as much flour as sugar” or “We’ll need 2 cups of butter for every 3 cups of sugar.” These are all skills that will help when they get older and have to do calculations independently.

Painting With Shapes

Painting with shapes is an easy, fun, creative way for preschoolers to learn about conditions.

Using a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of shapes in your painting can make the artwork enjoyable. You can use these techniques with paint on paper or other surfaces. The art is also great for other projects such as collages or scrapbooks.

You can cut out the different shapes you need from cardboard, wood, or even heavy paper. If you have a computer and printer available, it’s also easy to print out the required shape templates on card stock before cutting them out with scissors.

Encourage your preschooler to experiment! It doesn’t matter if they don’t color each shape carefully within its lines; they should enjoy creating with color and patterns as they paint their masterpieces.

You can easily teach your preschooler basic math concepts through play.

Play is an essential component of quality early childhood education. Through play, children learn and develop a wide range of skills.

It also aids children in developing their social and emotional skills, as well as their knowledge of math, science, and literacy. Play provides kids with natural opportunities to make sense of the world around them.

Researchers have found that play connects with the pleasure centers in our brains, which encourages learning and creativity. Play teaches self-regulation and promotes resilience because it allows you to try out new ideas that may not work right away.

You can easily teach your preschooler basic math concepts through play. The simple act of counting items together or stacking blocks reinforces essential number recognition while having fun playing together.

About Our Guest Post

Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.

If you want your article featured on – submit a request form.

Posted in Homeschool, phonics, Reading

12 CVC Word Family Classroom Wall Decorations (FREE Print-Outs)


CVC stands for consonant-vowel-consonant. CVC words are words like cat, zip, rug, and pen. The vowel sound is always short. These words can be read by simply blending the individual phoneme sounds together. A word family is a group of words that share a common root word with different prefixes and suffixes. I created 12 CVC word family classroom wall decorations. I originally got this idea for these posters from multiplication fact posters I saw on Pinterest. They were super colorful and featured adorable animals. It got my creative juices flowing and I decided to make similar phonics-themed posters. I hope all of the teachers, educators, and homeschool families enjoy these posters.

CVC word posters

Decorate your classroom wall or use these posters to actively teach sound blending. Children love the bright colors and identifying the animals. They may even have a favorite animal or color and choose to read the poster because of the animal or color. Use these posters to get children engaged in phonics word building. Continue exploring the Unabashed Kids blog for more word-building activity ideas. Download these 12 sets of word family posters for FREE.


5 Ways to use CVC Word Walls in a Classroom

Below is a list of ideas for using the CVC word family classroom wall decorations.

  1. Hang it up for decoration! Reminds students and visitors where the reading center is located.
  2. Reading Center Activity – Have students trace the laminated boards at the reading center or have them choose a poster to copy that word family down on a piece of paper.
  3. Spelling Word Wall Reference. Tired of being asked how to spell cat. Use these posters as a reference for spelling 3 letter words. Tell the students to find the correct word family and check if they spelled the word correctly.
  4. Circle time games! Word family of the week – have students practice reading and spelling the CVC words as a group during circle time.
  5. Group Work – pair students into groups of 2 or 3 and have them practice reading the words together.

Posted in guest post, Homeschool, Parenting, Reading

How to Choose Books at Your Child’s Reading Level

Teaching your kid to read is one of the most satisfying things you can do as parents. There is nothing more exciting than watching our babies grow and learn.

We all know that reading is an important skill. Children tend to learn to read their first books between the ages of 3 and 7. The earlier he or she begins to discover the love of reading, the easier it will be for them to become confident and independent readers as they get older. There are many online resources you can use to develop your child’s reading skills. It is important that once a child gets a small grasp of phonics we encourage them to continue building their literacy skills. This can be done by choosing books that are on their reading level and of interest to them.

Twin boys reading a book

Keep in mind, that children will not master reading skills overnight. The process takes time, and you must be patient with your child. You must also be supportive of their needs as they learn. The best way for a parent to teach their child how to read is by choosing books that are at just the right level.

Girl reads to her stuffed animal toys.

As a parent, it is important to choose books at your child’s reading level. By doing so, you are making the reading experience more comfortable for your child. Choosing books that are too easy will not challenge your child. He or she will not feel as if they are making any progress. On the other hand, choosing books that are too difficult can cause frustration for your child. It can lead to him losing interest in reading altogether.

The tips below will help you learn how to choose books at your child’s reading level.  This article will make the process of choosing books easier for you.

5 Steps to Choosing Books for Your Child (On Their Reading Level)

The 5 steps below are super easy ways to choose interesting books that your kid can actually read (on their own).

1. Learn your kid’s measured reading level

The first step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is knowing your child’s reading level. For this to happen, you will need to administer a reading test.

The best way to do this is with the help of a professional. They can tell you what level your child is at in reading. Then they can recommend books that are at that same level. It will allow you to choose books that are fun and challenging for your kids. It also ensures that they are learning new things while they read each book.

You can also do a reading test at home. One ideal way is by using the San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability (SDQA). The SDQA measures a child’s recognition of words out of context. This means that the child will read the words independently, not in sentence or story format. Generally, proficient readers

read as accurately both in and out of context. This test consists of 8 graded word lists from Pre-K to 7th Grade. The words within each list are of about equal difficulty.

This test is very simple and easy to do. You can do it at home in just a few minutes.


A minor fault of the SDQA testing method is that it is not suitable for comprehension testing. So, if your child pronounces words correctly but has trouble understanding what they are reading then this test may place them at a higher level than what is best for their reading enjoyment. Who can enjoy a story that they do not understand?

There are a plethora of online tests that you can give your child, to test word pronunciation and comprehension. Most will only take 10 to 30 minutes.

2. Searching for books that match your child’s reading level

Once you know your child’s reading level, it’s time to go out and buy the books. Of course, it will help if you can find out what the level is ahead of time. You can always get help from a teacher or librarian for this purpose. It will help you avoid buying books that are too easy or too difficult for your child.  Amazon’s children’s book section offers books for every age and stage.

3. The five-fingers spelling check and how to do it

The next step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is to do the five-fingered spelling check. It will tell you if you forgot any words to make sure that they are included in the words list. And it will prevent you from buying books that have words that your child can not pronounce.

You can do the five-fingers spelling check by asking your kid to hold up five fingers and read one page of a book. Put one finger down every time your kid doesn’t know a word. If all the five fingers end up down, the book is too difficult for your child.

This test can be done when buying a book in a store, at your local library, or while shopping online. If you are shopping for a book online, browse the look inside feature and ask your child to read one of the preview pages. 

4. A Quick Comprehension Check for Kids

The next step to choosing books at your child’s reading level is to check their comprehension. I mentioned this earlier when discussing the reading test. Who can enjoy a book that they don’t understand?  You can do this by asking your kids questions about what they have read. You can ask questions like “Who is the main character?”, “What happened in the story?” or “Why did that happen?”. Make sure that you do this as soon as your child finishes reading a book. If you wait too long after, they may have forgotten all about the story they read. So, it is best to do this right after they finish reading a book. If you notice a certain level of books or even books by a certain author are too difficult for your child to comprehend, try doing one of the following.

  • Re-read the book with your child.
  • Slow reading down and ask comprehension questions every page or every other page.
  • Go down a level and read books that are a tad bit similar. There is no shame in leveling down, your child will eventually be able to understand. We do not want to overwhelm children. We want them to develop a love for reading and acquiring knowledge.

5. Checking your child’s word pronounciation

The last step in choosing books at your child’s reading level is to do an audio check. It will help you find out if your child has any trouble pronouncing the words in the book. You can ask them to read short passages from the book. You can ask them to repeat words until they have them perfectly memorized. Make sure you provide the correct pronunciation before asking them to repeat words over and over. If you are unsure of how to pronounce a word, be open and honest with your child. Tell them “I am not sure about that one, but I will sound it out slowly so that I can say it correctly. Will you do it with me?”

8 Helpful Tips: Developing A Child’s Reading Skills Early

  1. Start reading with your kid from a young age.  It will give them the desire to learn how to read. Kids always want to do what they see mom or dad do.
  2. Encourage them to read books that are appropriate for their age. For example, if a young child is going to read a book about dinosaurs, make sure that the book doesn’t have any scary images. We don’t want our kids to be afraid of opening a book because a big scary dinosaur is there.
  3. Read with your kid every day. It will help them enhance their reading skills and learn how to appreciate stories. Bedtime is a perfect time to read.
  4. Encourage your kid to engage in conversations using what they have read. Talk about the books we read. It will help them to expand their knowledge and get ideas from the books you are reading together.
  5. Make sure that your child is always interested in what they are reading. “I can’t wait to read this book!” should be the feeling a child has when introduced to a book. Give your kids the opportunity to pick book topics that interest them. It will encourage them to keep reading.
  6. Whenever possible, turn regular TV time into reading time; for example, you can read aloud while your kid follows along with his book. As your child’s reading ability improves, he or she can even take over when you need a break!
  7. Give your kids multiple opportunities to read books based on their interests; this will help them develop their interests and differentiate between what they like and do not like, thus creating a more positive attitude towards learning. This will result in your child developing a love of reading.
  8. Actively teach phonics skills. Children as young as 2 or 3 years old can learn to read. Learn how to teach your child to read with these easy phonics videos, workbooks, and materials.  

We hope this article has helped you learn how to choose books at your child’s reading level. You can use the tips and strategies we have included in this article to make choosing books easier. Above all, the most essential thing you can do is to read with your children!

Learn About Our Guest Author

Andrea Gibbs is a blog contributor and stay at home mom
Andre Gibbs

I’m Andrea Gibbs! Born, raised, and still living in New York. I’m a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I’m a blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Rego Park, New York to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.

If you want your article featured on – submit a request form.

Posted in Homeschool

How to Create an Effective Homeschool Program

Step 1: Research Homeschool Laws in your Country, State or Local District

Homeschool laws very by country, state, or even county. In the United States America many states are very lacks when it comes to homeschooling, no testing or registration required. Other states require official withdrawal from the public school district, specific curriculums to be followed, yearly testing, and/or home visits. These requirements very across the world, so if you live in Canada, United Kingdom, or the West indies, you must also research. You can get into quite a bit of legal trouble if you live in one of the stricter states and miss some check points.

Homeschool parents may consider purchasing a planner to keep track of state laws, contact information for local school districts, yearly testing, benchmarks reached, and lesson plans.

Simple Homeschool Planner
Pages from Teaching Kids at Home: A Simple Homeschool Planner

To ensure that you have no legal trouble when making the decision to homeschool your child research the laws regarding homeschool in your state. A good place to start if you live in the USA is Click on your state to see what regulations are there, even low or lightly regulated homeschooling states may have some surprise requirements. In the next section there is a simple breakdown of the New Jersey Homeschool Regulations which are very lacks. We will then compare them to the state next door, Pennsylvania, which has one of the strictest homeschool requirements per any US state.

Breakdown of New Jersey State Homeschool Regulations

A Glance at NJ Homeschool Law as of 2021

  • Homeschooling Option
  • School is REQUIRED for children ages 6 to 16
  • No notification needed to homeschool
  • No teacher qualifications required
  • No State Mandated Subjects
  • No Assessment Requirements
  • No Immunization Requirements

Under NJ law homeschooling parents must provide an education that is academically “equivalent” to what children would receive at school. The word equivalent is important, because it does not mean identical. Parents have to make a good-faith effort to give their child an education that is appropriate for their age and covers major subjects (reading, writing, arithmetic, science). If you live in NJ and are tasked with providing your child with an “equivalent” education at home, looking over the NJ core curriculum by grade level will help you understand what your child should be learning.

NJ homeschool laws do require parents to track the number of days your child receives instructional learning. These records may be requested when a child applies to college, joins the military, or tries to get a license before age 18.

Breakdown of Pennsylvania State Homeschool Laws

PA Homeschool Laws at A Glance

  • Four Homeschooling Options
  • School Required for Ages 6 to 18
  • Notification REQUIRED
  • Teacher Qualification (with exceptions)
  • State Mandated Subjects
  • Assessment Required (with exceptions)
  • Immunizations REQUIRED

There are 4 options to homeschooling in PA. Parents can choose to operate under the Homeschool Statute, homeschool with a private tutor, enroll your child in a “satellite” of religious day school, or enroll your child in a “satellite” of an accredited day or boarding school.

In the state of Pennsylvania, when a child turns 6 years old (on or before September 1st of the academic year) he or she must begin their record of attendance. These attendance records may be requested for social security benefits, military enlisting, college applications, or getting a driving permit before age 18.

To begin homeschooling in PA, parents must fill out an affidavit, get it notarized, and mail it Certified Mail to the superintendent of the local school district. Unlike New Jersey, Pennsylvania homeschoolers must follow a curriculum with Mandated State Subjects.

If you are looking to homeschool your child out of fear of vaccinations, you have to research your states homeschool laws. In the state of PA , parents must submit a Certificate of Immunization Form. There is a separate form that must be submitted for immunization exemption based on religious beliefs.


Step 2: Research best homeschool academic material (that fits your goals)

What do you want your child to learn? Or, what should your child know at their age? What are the local schools teaching? What are the best private schools in the world teaching? How do you get your homeschooled children access to that material? Research! Research! Research!

Get a notebook out or open a document processor to brainstorm. Think what did you know at your child’s age? Write a list of a few things you were taught, if you have a partner ask them to add to that list. What do you want your child to learn? Make that list.

Look at your country or states education requirements. Visit private school websites, download free brochures or even send an email to request information about the school curriculum. You may not want to teach your child all the things listed, but you will have an idea of what children your child’s age are learning.

Find a community of other homeschool parents. This can also help with getting playdates, saving on field trips, and building social skills for your children. Seasoned homeschool parents can be a great relief to beginners, as they are proof that it can be done successfully. They can recommend great homeschool programs, lesson plans, and a curriculum that will take some of the stress away from teaching your kids at home.

For elementary aged children the Welcome to Elementary School series created by Unabashed Kids Media is a great supplement for homeschool children. All workbooks contain over 150 pages of academic worksheets in the subjects of math, science, reading, writing, and geography. These workbooks can be purchased on Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Nobles online.


Step 3: Determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses, then set goals for improvements.

Now that you have a broad idea of what you want your child to learn at home, we should assess our children to see what they know already. This can be done with a test prep book for your child’s grade level. Don’t worry if the material on the test is too hard, ideally you will give your child the same test in about a years time to see how much they have improved.

After giving your child a benchmark test, you can then find FREE or PAID resources to build your child’s skills. This can include buying math, reading, or science flashcards, registering for online learning platforms, workbooks, and/or textbooks. Or printing out free game boards, worksheets, selecting videos from free online resources. Be more interactive by planning activities and outings, like going to a museum, planting a garden, going fishing or camping, learning to swim, or traveling to see historical landmarks.

Most homeschool parents have a planner to help them keep track of academic goals, lessons, and activities. Teaching Kids at Home is a simple homeschool planner created with love and care by Unabashed Kids Media.

Monthly Homeschool Organizer
Pages from Teaching Kids at Home: A Simple Homeschool Planner
Weekly homeschool Organizer
Pages from Teaching Kids at Home: A Simple Homeschool Planner

Step 4: What Homeschool Material Should You Purchase? Where can I get FREE Homeschool Material?

It will be beneficial if you set up a study area that your child can go to everyday while learning. This will require a desk, pencil storage, and a small bookshelf. Wall decorations are a fun addition to the learning area.

Textbooks and workbooks will be needed for each subject. Buy textbooks based on the curriculum plan you chose to follow. Scroll down and you will find affiliate links to some great homeschool décor, storage, utensils, and academic material. is a great resource to get FREE or low cost worksheets and lesson plans for children of all ages. Khan Academy was created by a father aiming to help his child develop stronger math skills. The platform has grown quite large and have many free videos and questions to help build math skills from Pre-K to college level.

Also check out

Elementary School Material List (Click to Shop on Amazon)

Middle School Material List (Click to Shop on Amazon)


Highschool Homeschool Material (Click to Purchase on Amazon)

PBS KIDS FREE trial through Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Kids+ Special Promotions

Purchase a Simple Homeschool Planner

Cover image for homeschool planner

SIMPLE HOMESCHOOL PLANNER: The Teaching Kids at Home Planner by Unabashed Kids Media is a softcover planner that includes monthly and weekly planning pages plus a helpful yearly overview. This large academic planner features 12 two-page monthly calendars and 48 weekly layouts for lesson planning, goal planning, scheduling extra-curricular activities, and more. The all-in-one academic planner book also includes note pages, curriculum material budgeting, contact information logs, a book reading tracker, and more.

SUPERIOR ORGANIZATION: Sectioned by months and weeks. Including 16 pages for individual lesson planning. Each section is designed for neatly organizing each component of the lesson and allowing you to add notes for future reference.

GOAL SETTING SUCCESS: Set goals for your children in the monthly planners, then record steps for completion in the weekly sections. Check if each goal has been accomplished at the end of the month on the monthly recap page.

Step 5: Follow your plan and build a consistent learning routine

Consistency is the key to learning. Set a schedule for when your child will intentionally learn academic material. A reading, math, writing, activity, arts, and science time should be included in your child’s daily or weekly schedule. Studying does not come naturally to every child. A consistent learning routine will build-up a child’s stamina when it comes to learning new material, especially when said child must read or write for a long period of time to understand the material. Set a schedule for younger children and teach older children how to independently set their own work schedule. Provide guidance so that children follow their study schedule consistently.

Set weekly goals and follow lesson plans. Mark if your child has mastered a new skill or needs to work on improving said skill. Praise and celebrate all of your child’s accomplishments.