learning and kids · summer and kids · traveling with kids

Staycations

A few weeks ago we decided to take a mini trip locally. For years I have lived bicoastal between New York and California. As I spend more time on the west coast, I am rediscovering some fun areas. We decided to have a mini vacation by the beach. That is what California is known for, it’s beautiful blue beaches and a lot of sun. Maybe too much lately….ha!

We stayed at Kimpton Shorebreak at Huntington Beach. I learned about it while searching online for kid friendly hotels. Let me tell you this exceeded our expectations. This hotel is not only family friendly, it is also dog friendly! It is a resort style hotel just an hour away from L.A. Upon our arrival, we are greeted with valet parking (although I chose to park myself) and smiling guest service employees. We were given a free bottle of white wine and shown around the premises. We were allowed to checked in a few hours earlier at no extra charge!

Our room was clean, well air conditioned, and we had a partial view of the ocean on the balcony. It was truly incredible! Their bed is comfortable and spacious for a couple or a family of three. Our favorite part is that each room has a record player! How awesome is that! We had a Beetles record that we loved! If wanted more choices we can go down to the lobby and browse the plethora of record choices in their collection.

They have a lot to offer visitors. If you want to spend the day at the beach, they offer scooters, bikes, surf boards, and beach toys for the kids. When lounging at the hotel, they offer refreshments, ping-pong and a life sized chess game. At night, get ready for fire pits and s’mores activities. It’s really a place for all young and old. There is enough quiet areas, if you want to curl up and read a book by the fire or join in the activities. They also offer a gym and a rock climbing wall. Their restaurant has a wonderful open breeze feeling and you can order some delicious choices such as their signature burgers.

Upon waking up in the morning, grab your yoga mat and enjoy some yoga at 9am in the outside garden area! They offer coffee and tea as well.

We had an amazing time and did not want our trip to end. If you are interested in staying close to the beach, you should check them out.

https://www.guestreservations.com/kimpton-shorebreak/booking?gclid=CjwKCAjwgaeYBhBAEiwAvMgp2msTfZhXBDZZ8pJnTeUSDGWa7bhSUlPRW1nYWCzNbqHwYK9DGCHHBRoC7J4QAvD_BwE

XOXOXO

Leticia

Back to school supplies · bilingual children · bilingual learning · Developmental stages of chldren

How can we connect with our children’s teachers? What questions can we ask teachers?

Kids are back in school! So, what now? Take advantage of Back To School Night and ask your child’s teacher how you can continue to support your child at home. Here are some questions you can ask your child’s teacher:

  1. How can I support my child’s social/emotional well being?
  2. Can you recommend some books that help my child talk about their emotions.
  3. Do you have a feelings chart you use in school? I’d like to use it at home as well.
  4. Can you share your daily schedule with me?
  5. How can I support my child in math, reading, and writing?
  6. What strategies do you use in reading that I can use at home?
  7. In math, what counting strategies can I apply while helping my child with homework?
  8. Share a success story about my child.

These questions open up the conversation to learning more about your child as a student. It helps you, as the parent, learn what happens throughout the day. Ask your child’s teacher for resources. If you are not sure how to explain math to your child, ask the teacher to share some sample strategies used in the classroom. If your child struggles in reading, ask the teacher what are some strategies you can use at home to help your child. Covid has affected our little ones in different ways. It’s important that we take time to support them not only academically, but also emotionally. Teachers have so much insight into our children’s world. Asking these questions help parents have a bigger picture about your child as a learner.

Don’t forget to ask your child’s teacher how they are doing as well. Teachers do so much behind the scenes work. A little cafecito or special drawing from your child is always welcome too.

xoxoxo

Leticia

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 · 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

Children and letter writing · Developmental stages of chldren · homeschooling · learning and kids · literacy development and children · Uncategorized

Connecting Parents and Teachers: What can I ask my child’s teacher?

Kids are back in school! So, what now? Take advantage of Back To School Night and ask your child’s teacher how you can continue to support your child at home. Here are some questions you can ask your child’s teacher:

  1. How can I support my child’s social/emotional well being?
  2. Can you recommend some books that help my child talk about their emotions.
  3. Do you have a feelings chart you use in school? I’d like to use it at home as well.
  4. Can you share your daily schedule with me?
  5. How can I support my child in math, reading, and writing?
  6. What strategies do you use in reading that I can use at home?
  7. In math, what counting strategies can I apply while helping my child with homework?
  8. Share a success story about my child.

These questions open up the conversation to learning more about your child as a student. It helps you, as the parent, learn what happens throughout the day. Ask your child’s teacher for resources. If you are not sure how to explain math to your child, ask the teacher to share some sample strategies used in the classroom. If your child struggles in reading, ask the teacher what are some strategies you can use at home to help your child. Covid has affected our little ones in different ways. It’s important that we take time to support them not only academically, but also emotionally. Teachers have so much insight into our children’s world. Asking these questions help parents have a bigger picture about your child as a learner.

Don’t forget to ask your child’s teacher how they are doing as well. Teachers do so much behind the scenes work. A little cafecito or special drawing from your child is always welcome too.

xoxoxo

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

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 · 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.

 

learning and kids

Adult-Child Conversation: Giving Your Child An Edge

Oral language plays a very important role in developing vocabulary and reading comprehension skills for young children. The more you read, talk, and expose your children to language, the more vocabulary knowledge they develop. What is important is that it is “authentic language exposure.” In other words, flashcard drills are good, but that’s not what develops a child’s language. Instead going to the grocery store and talking to your child about what you are going to buy, “oh look there are the oranges” (as you point and grab an orange). This is what authentic language looks and sounds like.

The New York Times recently posted an article, “Language Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K” discussing the language gaps between upper class (median income $69,000) and working class families ($23,900). Past studies show that children of wealthier parents have heard millions of more words in comparison to children of working class families. Current research conducted by Ann Fernald a psychologist at Stanford University found that 18 month-old children from wealthier families can identify words “dog” and “ball” faster than children of lower income homes. Additionally by the age of 3, children of wealthier famlieis hear 30 million words than children from low- income households.

In a separate studie done by Fernald, she records the vocabulary of 29 children from low-income households. Fernald differentiates between words overheard from television, adult conversation and adult-child conversation.  Children of 19 months heard as little as 670 ‘child-directed’ words compared to their peers who heard 12,000 words.  This is about double the amount of words. Although there are many great television programs and apps out there for children, nothing compares to carve giver-child conversations and interactions.

Educators and administrators are taking an active approach and pushing for Pre-K in all elementary schools.  Schools are also working closely with parents. They are providing workshops for parents on parenting, play, literacy, and English classes. These are great free resources for parents to take advantage of.

So next time you go to the grocery, make a list with our child and point out the fruits and vegetables you see while shopping.

Please click below for the full article

learning and kids

Vowel Extensions

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In order for children to learn how to read they have to understand the language, rules, and explain why words are pronounced a particular way.

Vowels are difficult sounds to learn because children need to learn that vowels make short, long, and schwa sounds. Early literacy contains short vowel sounds, so they’re the first vowel sounds kids are taught (cat, bat, sat, mop, top).

Many of us were taught letter-sound correspondence by listening to caregivers, peers, and teachers. But as children, we don’t truly understand why vowels make different sounds. We’re taught rules such as “i before except after c” but it’s all abstract (there is an exception to this rule; stay tuned in future postings!).  The letter “y” is pronounced /ē/ (“ee”) in a two syllable word (such as baby). Why is that? Just one of many odd exceptions to the rule that the English language is full of, making it one of the hardest languages to grasp for foreign speakers.

Once  children start to make sounds, this is a great activity to do with them. You can do it daily or a few times a week. For school-aged children in the lower grades (K-2) you can make it fun and use a puppet. For upper grade children (3-5) you can have them be “the teacher/leader” and make a song or rhyme out of it. For middle school children (6-8), ask them to lead the activity as well. Record them so they can hear themselves and learn to distinguish the sounds.

What is a vowel extension:

This activity is taken from the Fundations Program created by Barbara Wilson.  http://www.fundations.com/overview.aspx

Do this exercise with your child as often as you’d like and it will help them identify the vowels in isolation and in words.

Steps to teaching Vowel Extensions:

1. Say the vowel – a

2. Say the sound, but extend it and exaggerate the sound and follow the dotted line (get silly with it-little ones love this).

3. When you reach the picture of the keyword, say the keyword

4.  End with saying the sound again before moving on to the next vowel.

Let me know how this works out for your child!

Click here if unable to view below:  video