homeschooling · Kids love of Science · learning and kids · traveling with kids

L.A. Museums with Kids: Highlighting The California Science Center

We recently visited the California Science Museum in Los Angeles. I have to admit that I haven’t visited this place in years, so it was like going for the first time. I was very impressed with the space and exhibits. We didn’t do the special exhibits because we wanted to learn our way around the museum.

It turned out to be a fun experience as my son and husband went on a virtual ride and followed a photo time line of the Space Shuttle Endeavour making its way through Los Angeles. We also visited several of the permanent exhibits such as the Ecosystem exhibit and the Air and Space exhibit. We sat and listened to a presentation given by a scuba diver in one of the fish/shark tanks. My son was able to ask questions and interact with the presenter.

Our favorite part is definitely seeing the Space Shuttle Endeavour up close. It’s fascinating how much work went into making this shuttle and viewing different parts of the shuttle up close.

If you haven’t visited The California Science Center, I highly recommend you take your children. It provides a great learning experience as many of the exhibits have hands on learning activities. Please be aware there are strict COVID protocols in place. Adults have to show vaccination cards at the entrance and wear masks at all times unless we are eating.

Happy New Year!!

XOXO

Leticia

bilingual children · bilingual learning · homeschooling · Kids love of Science · learning and kids · literacy development and children · story time

Christmas Gifts For Kids

As we get ready for the that special time of the year, I wanted to share some fun kid items I found. If you are looking for last minute gifts, consider one of these for your child.

I love giving books to kids, let’s face it, our kids don’t need another toy. I feel like books are priceless and all kids should have their own library. If you are in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, consider visiting Mija Books at Lakewood Mall. Recently, I visited Mija Books and for the first time in my life, I see books that represent my culture! The store is beautifully organized by age. There is even a Spanish section. I am so impressed with the plethora of diverse books being offered. There are also stickers, coloring books, crayons and affirmation cards. I just love it! Books vary in prices and begin at $7 for soft cover books. If you are not in the LA/OC area, you can also order on line at https://mijabooks.com I highly recommend their store.

If you are looking for a hands on activity for your child, consider Professor Maxwell Kits. They come with special goggles while kids learn about Science and Social Studies. You can find the kits on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/s?k=professor+maxwell%27s+vr+atlas&crid=1V6336UTIKK46&sprefix=professor+ma%2Caps%2C300&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_12 These kits take the child to places around the world through the use of special goggles. It is a great way to integrate Science and Social Studies into your child’s world.

3. It’s so important that we take the time to talk to our kids. It’s easy to depend on a device, believe me, I’ve been there. I learned about these great conversation starters we can do with our children. You can ask questions such as, “What is the best thing that happened to you today?” Let’s get our kids talking to us and learning how to take turns talking and listening. There is nothing more impactful than face to face conversation! https://www.amazon.com/Kids-Conversation-Starter-Little-BestSelf/dp/B07Z75B81N/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=little+talk+deck&qid=1639890077&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&smid=A1FA57EE88Q1P&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFJRlUxMzZSOURVNUwmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA4NjM4MzMyMlMyUjg1STk3Tzk3JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAzNzEyMTRMRlo5QkIyT0pYVEMmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

4. Another favorite making it on my list this year is KiwiCo. I really love their age breakdown and their STEAM choices. https://www.kiwico.com They offer monthly, 3-month, and yearly subscriptions. I highly recommend this for children of all ages. They offer educational, but hands-on learning activities. Their directions are easy to understand and it’s an activity you can do with your child or let them challenge themselves and complete the task on their own.

Happy Shopping!!

XOXOXO,

Leticia

bilingual children · bilingual learning · homeschooling · learning and kids · literacy development and children · story time

Hispanic Heritage Month

It’s so important to highlight and celebrate our Latinx culture. September and October is a great time to highlight historical figures that made an impact in our world. Most importantly, we must celebrate our Latinx roots all year long! My son and I started this celebration with reading books about Frida Kahlo. It’s a colorful children’s book that lends itself to children of all ages. As you take your child through the pages you can talk about “auto-retratos” and the importance of embracing our Latinx features.

We talked about our skin color and the beauty of our culture. He was very thoughtful about choosing colors that represent his facial features. Crayola makes crayons for different skin colors now. This is a fun activity to do as a family and at the same time teach your child about an important person in history. You can also visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul virtually!

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month.

XOXO

Leticia

bilingual children · bilingual learning · homeschooling · learning and kids · literacy development and children · story time

Back to School

It’s that time of year! We are getting ready to send our children back to school. We are enjoying the last few weeks of summer, getting that back to school list together, and look for clothing and supply deals! This is another unique year! We are still living in the times of COVID. Two years later. We have to prepare our kids the best way we can. We have our checklists, supplies…check…..clothes…check, room assignment…check…Let’s not forget the most important part of all. Let’s make sure our children are emotionally ready. Don’t forget to check in with them. Ask them how are they feeling? What are they most excited about? Are they scared? If so, why? Plan something fun right before school starts. If you haven’t already, start those back to school routines. Get to bed early, early rising, have breakfast planned out, and get them out the door. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be for you.

Don’t forget to read some fun books with them! I am including some back to school books along with a bilingual book titled Basquiat coming out soon from https://lillibros.com/collections/fall2021. If you haven’t learned about him, you must get this book. It’s also a great opportunity to support a Latina owned book publishing company.

Isabel is starting school and she doesn’t speak Spanish. She shares her language with her classmates through her artistic work.
It’s about a little girl who feels like an outsider and isn’t sure where she fits in. She stays strong through it all.
Children learn about a Brooklyn, New York based artist and how he changed the world through his masterpieces.

ENJOY!
XOXOXO

Leticia

homeschooling · learning and kids · literacy development and children · story time · Uncategorized

Reading Nook

I wanted to give my son a space where he can enjoy his reading time. I really want to give him a sense of ownership and responsibility when it comes to putting his room together. He is a vivacious reader, so he asked for a special reading nook. I wasn’t sure what that would look like in his room, so I had to think outside the box. We looked around his room and tried to pick a quiet space where he can focus and read without distractions. We chose a corner of his walk in closet!. I know it sounds outrageous, but it’s even more outrageous that a child would need a walk in closet, so it will be part walk in, and part reading nook.

We started with going to Home Depot and picking out a color. He chose green, I had to bite my tongue! I know that means letting go as a mom and allowing him to make choices on his own. I decided I will add some neutral decals to it to balance out the bright green.

He really enjoyed painting the wall and learned how to paint up and down instead of side to side. I decided to let him paint as long as a he wanted to and then even out the paint when he tired out. That happened very soon. I could see the pride on his face as he painted his wall. Once he gave up, I took over and finished the painting project.

Next, I ordered some hot air ballon decals from Amazon and my friend sent inspirational quotes to put on his wall. It all came together well. He is so happy with his reading nook. This is an easy and simple way to give your child space to enjoy reading without the outside distractions.

bilingual children · bilingual learning · homeschooling · Kids love of Science · learning and kids · summer and kids

Summer Learning Activities

As summer comes to a close I want to share some of the fun activities I did with my son. I provided some days where he was able to sit around, play, and watch a little TV. Sometimes we take fun day trips that include visiting friends or going to the beach. I created a short schedule for my son that includes some academics and afternoon playdates. This seemed to be the best mix for him.

I really love the Learning Bridges books! They are a great review of what he learned and he is introduced to new concepts for the upcoming school year. He completes about 2-3 pages daily and reads two chapters of Magic Tree House (he also has to write a reading response). This takes him about 1-1.5 hours to complete.

I decided to invest in two programs this summer. The first one is Kallpachay. Please read my prior post about my son’s experience. The next one I chose to invest in is KiwiCo. I’ve heard so much about them. You can have a monthly subscription, or every 3 months, or a yearly one. KiwiCo provides all the materials for your child. The directions are easy to follow and it has a lot of visuals. My son is a lego lover so following these directions is very simple for him. He needed minimal help from me. I chose a Science based subscription with some art activities. It is very much STEAM driven.

In his first subscription he made a claw for a game. He was so excited and it was wonderful to see his face light up as the claw came together. He even went as far as making a box to hold toys in it. Then, he asked me to take him to the 99 cent store so he can buy small toys to put inside the box and he made some fuzzy dolls with the KiwiCo materials. Now when his friends visit, they can grab a small toy using his claw. This is hands hands-on learning, literacy, science, and art all in a fun box!

Happy Learning!

XOXOXO, Leticia

homeschooling · learning and kids · summer and kids · traveling with kids

Covid Chronicles. . .Yes Day!

I’m always trying to change it up and do fun things as family. We were watching TV and learned about the movie “Yes Day.” If you haven’t watched it, it’s a must see! It’s silly and over the top. The most important message is let your kids have a voice, don’t forget to be silly and have fun with them.

As we are watching the movie, my son and I look at one another and start laughing. He excitedly asks me if he can do it. I wonder oh gosh what crazy things are my husband and I going to have to do? He creates a list of activities: card games, running around the backyard, visiting the playground, and having play dough fun. We laughed so much together. It turned out to be a wonderful day that included running around and laughing. We ended our day with pizza at the beach.

This year of COVID has taken a toll on my son. He’s had frequent nightmares, cries a lot and asks for a lot of hugs. My husband and I give him as much of a normal life as we can, filled with outdoor fun and special family time. Having Yes Day isn’t just about letting a child have his/her way, it’s about providing new experiences and making memories. I hope that he will one day look back and remember all the fun things we did as a family.

homeschooling

Home Schooling Online Resources

Hi Families,

There are so many wonderful online resources for our children. Here are some that I’ve collected along the way. They provide learning experiences for questioning, exploration, and discussion.

Here are some fun online resources you can do with your children at home.

Enjoy!

XOXOXO-Leticia

Facebook live Farm Sanctuary

http://www.farmsanctuary.org

Facebook Live Cincinnati Zoo

https://www.facebook.com/cincinnatizoo/

Museum Virtual Tours:

https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

Friday Kahlo Museum Virtual Tour! La Casa Azul-Mexico!

Happy Numbers-math games

https://happynumbers.com/?redirect=no

Raz Kids-reading books online with questions and children can record their reading

https://www.raz-kids.com/Kids

Suzi Shelton– She is an incredible singer! She is an award winning singer and song writer. Tune in everyday.

https://suzishelton.com/

Museum of Natural History Smithsonian and New York Location

https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour

https://www.amnh.org/

Live Read Alouds on PBS Live Youtube/Facebook with Michelle Obama at 12:00 pm E.T.

https://www.youtube.com/pbskids

homeschooling · learning and kids · literacy development and children

What does home school look like during a pandemic?

The pitter patter of kids running through school hallways has come to a halt. As families are readjusting to this new life of working full-time and teaching their children, education is taking on a new form. Children have limited outdoor resources due to social distancing.

Although I am a teacher with over 15 years of experience, even I am shaken up by the rapid change of quarantining and scrambling for an online classroom experience.

So what does home school look like in the middle of a pandemic? Home school is taking on its own life in our home. In traditional home schooling, parents create a schedule that fits their child’s need, families meet up with other children throughout the day, and parents use the outdoors for memorable learning experiences.

Now parents are faced with developing a schedule that fits their work schedule. Everyone is scrambling to work from home while watching their children. Children can’t go outside and learn through nature, they can not met with friends, and babysitters can not come over to help.

I am fortunate enough to have some flexibility when it comes to my son’s school schedule. My son completes work during small blocks of time. He is offered a lot of breaks that include play time and art projects. It’s a transition for everyone, but we try to focus on the positive. We are healthy and together!

Yes learning is important, but my priority is his social-emotional well being. He can be the smartest child in his group, but in this situation, it doesn’t matter. It takes a toll on our little ones. Children show stress/anxiety/sadness in different ways. They might yell or cry a lot. Their sleep cycle can change or they might not make it to the bathroom on time. They might feel angry too. It’s important for parents to recognize any signs of stress their child is feeling.

That being said, we do a lot of fun activities together. we bike ride, learn to draw different animals, tune into live zoo activity streams, and listen to music for children. Whatever we do, I try to create as many fun experiences for him. His happiness is more important than his academics. I know it sounds terrible, but I don’t want him to live in fear. I want him to look back on this time and say yes we were home a lot, but my parents taught me to cook, created art projects with me, and participated in imaginative play with me. I had lot of  fun! Children are perceptive and notice every change and stress in their parent’s lives.

I don’t have a concrete answer for what does homes schooling look like during a pandemic. What I can say is to make it special and memorable. As tiring as it can be, our children look to us for love, support and stability. Do we have tough days, of course we do! We have more special, memorable, and happy days. These are the days that matter.

Give your child a lot of hugs and kisses, that is the most important part of homeschooling. Parents we are in this together. I strongly believe that parents are the first teacher in their child’s life. Teaching them at home is a blessing, not a burden during this time.