FREE Bookmark With a Quote From Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh bookmark with quote.

We love Winnie the Pooh at our house.  That inspired me to design a free bookmark with a literary quote from Winnie the Pooh. This happens to be one of our favorite quotes from Pooh and you can have it on a book mark.  Click on the link below to print your freebie.

Click to print your free bookmark.

Winnie the Pooh has the best quotes about friendship
A lovely bookmark for you

10 Easy S.T.E.M. Activities for Your Homeschool

10 fun and thrifty STEM activities

 

 

Have you heard of S.T.E.M.?  I hadn’t heard of the term until my husband and I coached a F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League team in Alaska.  I wasn’t completely sure what it meant, you know, I know what the acronym stood for but didn’t understand why exactly science, technology, engineering, and mathematics needed to be “special“.  I had always thought of these areas of study as a natural connection.  While we were coaching our homeschool F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League team I soon realized that while the boys saw the connection they still were not putting the subjects together.  While that has been said, it is fair to mention that our team did win First Place for Engineering.  Other then joining a LEGO Team, I do suggest forming one, I have listed 10 easy S.T.E.M. activities  for your homeschool that you can do with materials around house and with little expense.

10 Easy S.T.E.M. Activities

  1.  Read.  You probably new that would be the first choice , we are Book Bound, after all .  Some suggestions for S.T.E.M. reading are:  Anna, Kid Engineer by Dr. Shenek Alston, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkawmba,  my son’s favorite, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.
  2. From The STEM Laboratory you can use the LEGO Challenge Cards and other fun stuff.
  3. Straws! I give these to little boys at the restaurant I work at when it looks like their parents are getting tired  of entertaining them.  I cut them up into a variety of lengths and challenge them to build something and show it to me after they eat.  If you want to get serious you can visit Play Dough to Plato about building straw bridges,
  4. Playing Cards.  Not only can you have hours of fun using critical thinking and math skills you can build houses and towers with them!
  5. Did I say VIDEO GAMES?  Yup, Enter the National STEM Video Challenge using SCRATCH, Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, where you can design “interactive stories,  games, and animations” for free.
  6. For the future pilot in your home join the Aircraft Engineering Challenge and construct an aircraft at The Homeschool Scientist.
  7. Years ago, when my middle son was around 8 years old, we gave him a box that was filled with Duc Tape, foam board, craft sticks, paper clips and anything we could find that we thought he could be creative with.  You probably have made one before but now there is a cool name for it: S.T.E.M. Inventors Box.  Our little friend Anna from Anna, The Kid Engineer has an inventors box too.
  8. If you don’t have a marble run you can make one from paper towel tubes!  It looks like a lot of fun to put together.  Hmm, I think you could construct a straw bridge to this project.
  9. This wouldn’t be the easiest activity but it would certainly be a challenge.  What are your thoughts on toothpicks?  We already built bridges and houses with straws how about a pyramid with toothpicks?
  10. Here is my favorite!  It’s my idea however the idea was not as unique as I thought. I did find several resources for this science project and this Build the Three Little Pigs houses I found to be better used in a homeschool setting.  The idea came from this Build A Tiny House .

S.T.E.M. science books, reading, read

These 10 simple activities will make bringing S.T.E.M., science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, easy to bring into your homeschool. What other ideas do you have?  There must be more. .  .

 

Anna Kid Engineer
ANNA, KID ENGINEER a wonderful book for inspiring S.T.E.M.

 

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Book FRIENDS WITH BOYS

Books to read

Graphic Novel Book History

 Since the late 1980’s there has been a rise in the popularity of the graphic novel book. Not to be confused with the comic book. As much as I have enjoyed reading graphic novels myself when I was younger, much younger, the content has not typically been what I would have my son read. The purchasing of such a book has been avoided. Then my son received a graphic novel book as a gift. My mind has been changed after I read the book Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hick, published by Square Fish in October 2015. This 225 page book is intended for 12 to 16-year-old kids who want a fun easy read.

Maggie, the Homeschooler

It was surprising to me that I would have enjoyed a book as much as I did Friends with Boys. Young Maggie, the main character is relatable as a teenage girl. Her fears of the first day of high school are creditable because the author connects the idea of being the new kid and a freshman with the building maps showing were the classrooms are located, the cafeteria and the locker bay where kids sleep. Okay, so an area where kids sleep? That is an idea that should be shared with your local school board. There’s no one to talk to, have lunch with, she is alone. Until she meets a girl named Lucy and her brother Alistair. Lucy and Alistair have their own story and what they look like is shown in the graphics which really conveys their personalities.  I liked being able to  see the characters which is different for me because I prefer words to pictures. I found it interesting how the artist was able to show the personalities. And wait until you meet Maggies’ three brothers. You have the twins, Llyod, Zander and the oldest brother, Daniel. These brothers really care about their sister, Maggie.

Lucy and Alistair

Then we have Lucy and Alistair. These two have not been homeschooled. Their experience in high school seems realistic. I seem to recall seeing my friends go through what this sister and brother go through. Another reason to love this book! If you are a homeschooled kid you get a peek at public school. As the reader you see that Alistair does what’s right and stands by his little sister. As a parent this is something we want in a story. A story that shows the character doing what is right which is often not the popular thing to do. Faith Erin Hicks gives Alistair a fault that many people have but she shows the reader that even if you do the wrong thing at first doesn’t mean you can’t make the right choice in the end. Who can’t relate to doing that, right.

The Oldest Brother

While I like all the character’s in this book you might be surprised who my favorite character is. It’s not Maggie, although she is wonderful. It is the oldest brother, Daniel. I have seen him somewhere before, haha. I wonder if there weren’t an illustration how would he be described and would it fit my vision of him. I can say that his appearance fits his personality. He is funny, caring, easy-going, and it is obvious that he cares about his sister.  It is great that he is involved in theatre.  In my home school experience many of our kids get involved in theatre.  I don’t know why that is a “thing”.  I guess there is a lot of talent out there.  But I digress.

 

The Story

The story is set in today’s time period in what appears to be a small town. Maggie, who used to be homeschooled, is off to public school and entering her freshman year. Yikes! As she has to tackle all these first year new kid issues she also has a ghost following her around. This character, the ghost, has remained a mystery to me. I kept reading portions of the book where the ghost is featured but while I kind of know who she is, I just don’t feel like her story, the mystery, was resolved. The ghost is important in bringing Maggie and Lucy’s families together. She is an important character I just don’t have any solid foundation about her. Solving the mystery as to why this ghost is following Maggie around is the BIG problem. It is the mystery that brings both families together.

The Message

I loved the message that this book has for siblings and families. First off, we meet Maggie and her dad who is the new police chief of the town. He is portrayed as an easy-going man. His wife left him after all the kids were ready to attend high school. I did not like that at all because I thought the author was going to put home school families in a negative light. I am glad I was wrong about that. Her brothers are funny and act as I would expect them too. The entire family is encouraging and let’s Maggie know that they are there for her. Loved that!

A Book Worth Reading

Friends with Boys surpassed my expectations!  Shoot, how many times did I say “loved” in this review.  Wonderful example of morals and values.  Of how we can make mistakes but we can redeem ourselves too.  A big THANK YOU to Faith Erin Hicks for creating Friends with Boys.  I am ready to read her next book.

How to Motivate Your Son to Read

A Happy Boy Reading Books

After my oldest son moved away to college he confessed to me that classic books are a far better read than some of the nonsense published today.   My oldest son also told his Grandmother that he enjoyed poetry because I used to read poetry to him and his two younger brothers.  Yes, I did pat myself on the back and couldn’t be happier.  I felt successful.  If you noticed I have three boys and each one is different.  You know how that is, children are unique, and maybe that’s why you homeschool. To customize your child’s educational experience or maybe you purchased pricey curriculum and you are determined to get your son to read the material.  But it is not a simple process to customize or follow a curriculum.  If your son is not interested in the topic you are likely to feel him digging his heels in the dirt and your hair falling out.  What are we to do?

Go to the Library

When we first started homeschooling I had the fortune to learn about  Lifestyle of Learning an approach to homeschool that resonated with me.   A suggestion from the author was to take your children to the library and let them select books that they would enjoy reading.  This has been the best idea to motivate my sons to read.  Not only did they voluntarily read but I got to know their interests better.

Read-Aloud

Many of you may already have a special time to read-aloud together.  I have heard from many homeschooled children that this was a special time and a happy memory for them.  When your children are not reading on their own, it is an opportunity for them to hear great literature inspiring them to read quality literature in the future.  This is a great opportunity to share your love for reading and another time where you will discover your child’s favorite genre.  An important key to reading aloud is to not make this a drudgery.  Most young boys are active and will gladly sit while you allow them to do a quiet activity while you are reading.  My oldest son enjoyed sitting next to me while the youngest two built with blocks and colored.

Book Club

One of the homeschool groups I was a member of had the wonderful idea of a book club.  It was a book club for boys but I don’t remember if we just all happened to have boys or what.  Keeping up with your peers is an incentive to do about anything.  The boys met at our library (45 minutes from where I lived).  I can still see the big smiles on their faces.  I forget to mention that I was responsible for the book club.  Our first meeting was fun.  Jokes were told while the boys shared about what they liked to do and laughter filled the back meeting room as they ate cookies.  The first book was Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary.  They just thought Ralph, the character, was the neatest thing.  The boys read the books and enjoyed the comradery.

Reading Incentive

When I worked for a homeschool correspondent school we started a reading incentive program.  When the student read a certain number of books, depending on the grade level,  a small prize was given.  For each book read, a link to the bookworm, a paper creature stapled to the wall, was added with the students’ name and the title of the book.  The bookworm ended up twisting and turning through the office.  We had a lot of happy kids and satisfied homeschool parents.  To do this at home you will want to have a start date and end date.  Let’s say you decide that it will last for three months.  Your son is 10 years old and says he hates to read.  You want your son to feel accomplished.  Remember, the goal is to create a love for literature.  If reading 3 books would be an achievement for him then that’s his goal.  When you share this with him and he thinks 4 would better and that’s what he wants to do than follow his lead.  You know your child best.  If you believe that he will feel defeated if he doesn’t read four books,  then make it 3 books and 4 books would be a bonus.

Read, Read and Read

Read, read and read some more.  There is nothing better than a model like yourself.   If you enjoy reading then more than likely so will your child.  It can be hard though when boys don’t have a male role model that reads with them or is seen reading.  This is true across the board for many areas in a boys life.  You can research this further in The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.  In my household, I am the big reader, not my husband.  Oddly enough my sons enjoy a good book but with video games and social media, it is a challenge.

Goal Chart

Not much different than the reading incentive idea is to use a goal chart to track the books he reads.  This is a nice visual that can motivate your son to complete the chart.  What is different from the reading incentive is that you can have a goal of 6 books for the year but have 12 on your goal chart.   The idea is much like a game.  Once the goal of 6 is achieved seeing that you can go further your son may think “I can do one more.”  and so on.  Of course, he may read the 6 books and be happy with that.

Be Positive and Encouraging

No matter if your son reads online magazines, articles, graphic novels or classic literature, recognize that he is reading.  Never be judgemental about what he is reading (within reason).  Take an interest and perhaps read what he is reading.  Be positive and encouraging.  He may not want to read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens but instead, he would rather read The Runaway Robot by Lester Del Rey.  He is reading and that is a good thing.

These approaches have been collected from seasoned homeschoolers and they work.  The hardest part is finding what will work for your son.  And I hate to tell you, what works today may not work tomorrow.  You may not be aware that all the effort you put in today will be seen years later, like me.

What are some ideas for motivating your son to read?