Coronavirus School Closures



I know that with the sudden school closures, parents are scrambling to figure out what to do. Some are worried about how to home educate their kids while others are trying to figure out what to do with them while they are at work. You are now an Accidental Homeschooler! Times like this can be confusing, but I want to encourage you with some tips and resources that can help you during these next few weeks.

Let me first introduce myself. My name is Angela Linzay and I am a homeschooling mom of 5 years. I taught in the classroom for 14 years before bringing my 3 kids home (kinder, 3rd grade, 5th grade). I’ve learned a lot while homeschooling and made PLENTY of mistakes along the way. I wanted to share with you some key things that I hope will help you and not overwhelm you.

So take a DEEP BREATH. Exhale.

Let’s get started.

First, I want you to know that YOU.CAN.DO.IT! You CAN!!! You have a community of believers that are here to help and a God who loves you more than you know. We’re going to get through this together. I promise!

But I don’t know how to teach my children. I am NOT a teacher. I don’t know how to do …..
Let me clear the air here. It DOESN’T matters what level of education you have, you CAN homeschool your kiddos! In fact, as parents isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along? From infancy, we’ve taught our children what things are called, how things work, how to do certain tasks, how to pronounce and say certain words, and so on. When new homeschooling moms come to me, their #1 concern is always that they are NOT teachers and do not have degrees in teaching. Can I tell you something? I was a classroom teacher for many years, I have a graduate degree in education, I create teaching resources, and STILL, I know moms who have NONE of those and RUN CIRCLES AROUND ME in homeschooling their kids. They literally AMAZE and INSPIRE me. When our kids are sick, do we not find ways to help them, find remedies, do research, call our friends and ask for advice? What I’m trying to say is that our love for our kids drives us to just figure it out and get it done. This situation is no different. In fact, you love your kids more than your child’s teacher does (most days 😊 ), so you WILL find ways to educate them, even if that means outsourcing it (hello online learning!).

Tips:

1. Home educating DOESN’T need to look like “school” at home.
Kids don’t need to sit properly at a desk all day. In fact, we start our day at a table but then my kids know that they have options.  They sit on the couch, lay on the rug, they may even do their math outside on a blanket. Did you know that some schools have moved towards flexible seating in their classrooms for years now? They understand that sitting at a desk all day long is just not that comfortable (don’t you agree?). At home, you have the ULTIMATE flexible seating options!

2. Try to stick to a consistent routine
Since the kiddos are used to waking up at a certain time for school, try sticking to a start time that is close to what they are used to. For us, we start a little later because my kiddos love to sleep. We read first (my kids wanted to ease into their school day that way) and then begin our actual schoolwork around 9/9:30am. Whatever your start time is, try to keep it consistent.  

3. Be flexible
Wait. You just told me to be consistent??!! Let me explain. One of the goals during this time is that your kids continue learning. Some kids are sent home with packets, books, and resources for them to work on. You can decide if you want them to do it in the morning, or if you are a working parent, you can have them work on it when you get home. I’ve known homeschooling parents who have full-time jobs so they flip flop their day. They work in the daytime and have their kids do school in the afternoons/early evenings when they get home. Remember that everyone’s situation is different. Your school day may look different than another family’s school day and THAT’S OK! You do YOU!

4. Working parents
Enlist a high school/ college student to babysit/tutor.  They are also experiencing school closures as well and may want to make the extra money while you get the help you need. Ask around for referrals or for others to keep an ear out for any responsible student who wouldn’t mind making some extra cash during this time. Then spray them down with Lysol before they enter your house. 😊

5. Dive into their interests
Remember when you said/thought, “I wish we had more time for my kids to try ….”  Guess what? You now have the opportunity to try these things! You have the ability to tailor some of your child’s learning to their interests, something that traditional schooling doesn’t always have the capacity to do. Download a piano learning app, take some online art classes, online cookie decorating classes, learn a new language, do some STEM projects (Pinterest has TONS!), etc. Let them be kids and go outside and learn about bugs/nature.  This is a fabulous time for them to take some online enrichment classes that they normally don’t have time for. They will enjoy learning because they chose it.

6.  Take back family time
You know how you hate that you’ve been Ubering the kids to school, sports, lessons, then back home for dinner and homework, just to put them to bed to start this madness all over again? Well, this is your chance to take back your family time. Redeem it. Take advantage of this well-needed break. Don’t feel like these next few weeks have to be all academic. In fact, I personally think that it SHOULDN’T be. Read chapter books to your kids, yes, even the older ones will love it (mine still do!). Have family movie nights, go on hikes, do game nights, puzzles, build Legos together, bake, build forts, have dinners together again. Chances are, your family time together will be just what their (and your) hearts needed in such a busy world. This is what they will remember. Even if they do not do as much work during this time, you will never regret spending family time together. See this as a blessing to SLOW. DOWN.

7. Serve others
We have a unique opportunity to serve others during this time. That means a phone call, making cards for those in nursing homes, checking in on your neighbors, especially the elderly ones, offer to buy and deliver groceries to the elderly. If you have friends that still need to go into work, offer to watch their kids one day. Since your kids are normally busy with school and can’t participate, this is a great time to get them involved in serving and caring for others. Trust me, that lesson will be FAR more valuable than any schoolwork that they do. We can be a light in our community and share the love of Jesus during this time.

All these tips are great, but my family is so stressed out about all this. I can’t add another thing on my plate.
Then DON’T! You DON’T have to home educate during this time at all. WHAT??!!! Yes, it’s true. Do only what you can do and if it gets too crazy stressful, then just enjoy each other. It’s only for about 2 weeks (plus Spring Break). Your kids won’t forget all that they’ve learned. Trust me. Enjoy spending time together and do fun things (refer to #6)….Legos, forts, puzzles, movie nights, crafts, painting, baking, etc. Do not create a stressful environment in a time where people are already acting on their emotions.  When this is all said and done with, it would be an amazing thing for your kids will look back at the Coronavirus outbreak and have fond memories of when schools were shut down and they were at home creating memories with you, NOT a stressful time where being at home was worse than going to school. 

Resources:
In a world where the political divide is heavy, I have seen so much good through this crisis. Companies have come together to help and serve those who are in need and have been very generous by providing their resources and services for free.

Below is a list and some descriptions of my favorite resources. I tried to keep it SIMPLE to cover the core subjects. If you'd like a printable version, click here

I've also put my PAID product here for FREE during this time. Grab it here:






Click here for this resource on Google Drive. It will have all the clickable links to each program. 




I hope that this helps you get through the next few weeks. 

You got it! I believe in you. Remember, WE love our kids the most and will make decisions for them that we feel is best, so we will get through this together!

Blessings,
Angela















Back to School Signs





It's that time again!

For us in Cali, summer is ending and parents/teachers are getting ready for school to start back up.

Every year I make my First Day of School Signs for my kiddos. I created these as a great way for me to stop time a bit and to not forget my kids in their current stage of life. I love this sign because I enjoy looking back and remembering my kids at a certain age. I keep them every year and we pull them out at the beginning and end of the school year and compare. My kids even love looking back and see how their interests have changed (or stayed the same!). You'd be amazed at how much kids can change in just 10 short months!

I mean, just check these side by side first/last day comparisons from this past school year!





I even have ones from YEARS ago that we love looking at. They were soooo little.

Look at my Isaac from his last day of 6th grade!!! He had such a baby face! That year, we used this sign that was more detailed. Either way, the kiddos always say, "I can't believe that I used to like....." or "OH! I remember when I was soooo into...."




What I love about these signs is that all the fonts are embedded. That means you DO NOT HAVE TO DOWNLOAD ANY FONTS (ain't nobody got time for that)!! Just type it right in and VOILA! The sign is done!




I also have a printer friendly version in white.



I get them printed at Staples because it always comes out so vibrant!



I get mine printed on regular size paper (8.5" x 11").  Here are some examples of others that have printed the sign in a different size.


If you're interested in these signs, you can grab them here (click on the pic):





I know that this says "Last Day of School", but if you'd like a first day one like this in my store, let me know! :)



If you get the First and Last Day Sign Bundle, you can save a couple of dollars!



If you don't have time to make one, don't worry! I got you covered! I can do it for you for just a few dollars more! :)

I know that you will find these as a great keepsake as you cherish them year after year! I think I will put them together and make a little booklet out of them and give them to my children when they graduate high school.

Hope you that you enjoy the beginning of your school year!


5 Engaging Activities for the Classroom in May


It's May and most of us are winding down our school year before summer vacation. We want our last few weeks of school to be fun and meaningful, but we are tired and new ideas can take a lot of energy that we don't have right now. I'm here to share with you a couple of meaningful activities that you can do with your classroom that are not difficult to implement.

1. Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? There are many easy ways to acknowledge these wonderful cultures and this is the perfect month to introduce them to your class.

Background: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a celebration of the culture of Asian -Pacific Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. It originated as a congressional bill in 1978 and by 1992, it was expanded from a week to a month-long celebration. The month of May was chosen to pay tribute to the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese Immigrants.

Here are some helpful books that you can read in class (taken from www.readingrockets.org):





Grandfather's Journey

By: Allen Say
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Say narrates the saga of his grandfather who as a young man travels to the United States in the early 20th century, marries, and returns to Japan. Watercolor portraits of people and places glimpse the contrast of cultures and parallel the lives of grandfather and grandson. It could lead to the discovery of family histories. Country of origin: Japan


The Name Jar

By: Yangsook Choi
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her.




Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines

By: Shirley Climo
Illustrated by: Francisco Mora
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Birds sing the people of Maynilad on the Philippine island of Luzon to sleep at night — until Tuko the haughty gecko prevents the birds from doing their job. Repetition and onomatopoeic animal sounds make this a lively, memorable folktale to share aloud. Tagalog is sprinkled throughout and is included in a glossary.
Country of origin: Philippines





Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

By: Ai-Ling Louie
Illustrated by: Ed Young
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Based on an ancient Chinese story (which pre-dates European versions), a girl overcomes her wicked stepmother to marry the prince. Jewel-like illustrations by Caldecott medalist Ed Young bring this variation of the classic tale to life.
Country of origin: China

For more children's books, visit Reading Rockets.

Chapter books for older kids:


Ruby Lu, Brave and True (Book #1)

 By


Ruby Lu is an 8-year-old Chinese-American girl. She is an adventurous, enthusiastic, imaginative and playful girl. The author integrates the Chinese culture into the book and offers the opportunity for young readers to experience and learn the life of Ruby Lu, who identifies as a Chinese-American and immerse herself into her own culture. Another wonderful feature of Ruby Lu, Brave and True, the first chapter book in a series, is the glossary in the back of the book, that contains explanations of Chinese words that might be useful for readers. 



Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Book #1)
by 

Alvin Ho, who is a Chinese-American second grader who is afraid of many and most things. He is quiet and keeps to himself unless in the security of his own home. In other words, he decides where and when he will not be mute. Alvin is scared to make friends and reach out to others. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.

Activities to do:

1. Have fun with origami! Teach students the origin of origami and let them have a shot at making cranes and swans. Check out the resource for that here.

2. Practice eating with chopsticks. Play games picking up noodles, gummy bears, etc. Make it fun!

3. Learn about notable Asian Americans who made a difference in our world.  Here is a list of 10 mini-biographies from scholastic.


2. Work on Open House Projects

I love working on open house projects during this time! By this time of the year, we have been getting ready for state testing and district assessments so my kiddos need a break! Working on projects is a nice way to give their brains a rest as well as not rushing to finish everything last minute. Here are some of my favorite things that we've done in class.






I used this resource here:



3. Have kids work on End of the Year Memory Books

I seriously love the end of the year memory books from both sides: as a mom and a teacher. As a mother, I love looking at my kiddos school year memories and reflecting on how much they have grown. As a teacher, I loved watching my students work together on these books and laugh. They draw, reflect, and have fun! The memory book that I use also has an autograph page where kids can sign their names and add any messages to that student (remember BFF, K.I.T,??). 












I used this resource here:



4. Prepare the end of the year class gifts

Option A:
I love giving useful gifts to my kiddos for the summer. In the past, I have given summer sand buckets, books with bookmarkers, candy, you name it. A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of creating road trip/ travel kits for my kiddos. My own kids tried them out on our 2-week long road trip and LOVED them! It kept them busy and entertained, and more importantly, off of media for HOURS! The best thing is that it is cost effective. Just purchase the resource and make the copies for your kiddos in the classroom. You don't need to put it in a folder for them. Just clip it all together, tie a bow on it, and VOILA!  I blogged about the road trip kit here.






I used this resource here:


Option B:
Make a Last Day of School sign for your students and take a picture with the student holding it. Then send it home with the kiddos for their parents to enjoy. Try and find editable signs that have the fonts already embedded so that all you have to do is enter the text without having to download any fonts.




You can also make a Class Memories sign and take a class picture. Whichever sign you choose, you can send it home with your students as a great keepsake for the year!




 I use this one and this one.


5. Enlist kids to help get supplies ready for your next year's class

Kids LOVE to help. I had the girls in my classroom coming up to me towards the end of the year asking me if I needed any help. After I began putting them to work, the boys caught on and wanted to join in on preparing for next year's class. I had them fill the pencil boxes and supplies for next year. Then I stored them in my cupboard all ready for the next class. After summer, I opened up my cupboards to get ready for the upcoming school year and my heart skipped a beat because all the student boxes were DONE! It was awesome!



Hope this helps you get through May. The end is near! Enjoy the last couple of weeks with your kiddos!

Blessings,

Growth Mindset Awards



Hello Friends.

We've been working on Growth Mindset a great deal this year. After watching the Ted Talk from Angela Lee Duckworth about grit and perseverance and the amazing Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset a couple of years ago, I was SOLD on the idea of teaching my kids about the difference between growth and fixed mindset. 

At the end of every year, we do the infamous candy awards that celebrate my kiddo's achievements for the year. Although they are great and fun, I wanted something that reinforced what I had been working hard to teach them all year long. 

That's when the idea for my Growth Mindset Awards was born!

There are PLENTY of AMAZING awards out there, but I was looking for something SPECIFIC. Something that had the same verbiage that I had been using with them these past couple of years. Words like..."grit",  "perseverance",  "progress", and "the power of yet". 

I found none. 

So I created some.

I love these awards because they are EXACTLY what I have been trying to instill in my kids. The growth and learning are in the PROCESS. I've changed. I used to be all about the results but after hearing about Growth Mindset, I slowly began changing my focus and seeing the HUGE benefits of a growth mindset. 

Sadly, when we focus too much on the achievement, then our kiddos won't take chances and challenge themselves for fear of failure. They will shy away from doing hard things because their goal is to "achieve". 

I love the words on these awards because they celebrate the PROCESS. Here, take a look at some of them.

There are 42 different awards with 4 different versions of each. That means that there are 168 versions to choose from!!!



Each one has a girl clipart and a boy clipart. 

Then we have a neutral clipart if you like that one better. 


I also added a version with black and white clipart for those older kids (they don't look so "young") or even a printer friendly version. You can print them on colored paper for that added POP of color!




To be honest, I really LOVE the black and white version. I love the look of the icons! 

To manage all these awards I have a planning page. I highlighted every other line with yellow so that it doesn't get confusing. Maybe it's just my old eyes, but the yellow sections help.

I also added a column for the middle of the year awards because...why wait until the end of the year to celebrate these qualities??? I figure that I can do a little award ceremony right before Christmas break so the kids know what to focus on when they get back. I put the middle and end of the year column right next to each other so that I could see who already got that award the last time. 

I also made the awards EDITABLE. What that means is that you can type the names and dates right onto the awards. Copy and paste will be your best friend and a MAJOR time saver!




If you've been teaching about Growth Mindset, then these awards would be the PERFECT way to end your year by reinforcing what you've been focusing on!




Blessings,