How to Thrive with Your Kids in Summer

I’m excited it’s summertime.  I couldn’t be happier.  I mean, we welcome spring because it means newness, a fresh start – but it doesn’t mean we switch much more than our time outside planting.  But with summer, lots changes!

What Makes Summer So Different?

Summer means travel, AND it means kids’ schooling changes for both homeschoolers and “building” schoolers.   And any different schooling pace means a HUGE change.

Instead of dreading the change in schedule, this year, I decided to thrive with my kids in summer.

I took a look at what they love most about school.  They LOVE centers.  They love the focused time, they love the single activity, and they love what they learn through them.

How We Do It

So to start, we set up centers in our home.  I’m excited to share this with you so that perhaps it will help your family, too!

My kids are located among 5 locations in my own home (and outside), in rotation.  This makes sure there is less interaction between them.

Don’t worry, we have group activities, too.  They LOVE being together, don’t worry – I just want to ensure they have time when they are not being interrupted by a sibling.  We love to learn – I want to create an environment where they can learn themselves, and from each other.

I’m also an introvert and need quiet time.  This will ensure I don’t burn out this summer.  I’m just calling it like it is: I’m no hero.

Without Further Ado

Here are our centers!

1- The Independent Reading Center

independent reading center

From early on, I’ve had to resist the TV.  We watch about 30 min to an hour one day a week, and we have movie night on Fridays.  So we fill our media cup up through reading.  We participate in three summer reading programs:
– Barnes & Noble
– our local library
– our post/base library and
– my own geographically-unbound summer reading challenge (find out more here).

Having this independent reading nook is going to make excelling at all of these challenges possible!
I’ve been asked if one book counts for two or more programs.  I will tell you I’ve moved away from doing that.  Why?  Once they’ve completed a reading program, starting a new reading program keeps things fresh, and my kids feel the blessing of achievement more than once during the summer.

2 – The Activity Book Center
fingerprint book art

We decided on this center because as a result of being Book Boss kiddos, my kids have a ton of activity books!  I am able to buy brand new activity books at 33% cash back as a leader with Usborne Books & More, and earn even more free, so we have quite a few they didn’t get to during the school year.

The purpose of this is twofold: one, to be sure we stay within our budget this summer, and two, to allow my kids free space to work on things they’d already picked out! Here, my son is working on one of his Fingerprint Activity Books!  There are examples on each page of how to transform fingerprints into certain animals or objects.

3 – The Arts and Science Center

fairy garden magic painting art

I love to combine these two disciplines because at school they rarely get to combine them.  We did this a lot when I homeschooled my kiddos because I think wonder is implicit in both.
At this center, they get to choose from arts and science books to create something of beauty.  Again, we have a lot of art books because of my work with Usborne Books & More, so here, my daughter is using water to create color in her Fairy Gardens Magic Painting Book. 

My other daughter is enjoying exploring balance and gravity through craft popsicle sticks.  She isn’t finished yet 🙂
science craft

4 – The Baking Center

baking center summer

My kids love to bake, and that’s taken me some getting used to.  This summer, I’m embracing it and have created the baking center.  They can rotate through if they like for a portion of the day and create some goodness for the family to enjoy.

YESSSSSS!

5 – The Outside “Center”

water plants in garden

Now, I really wish I had a better picture to show you, but I’m just being real here! 🙂 We had such a busy May our poor flowers are just hanging on.  Hopefully with dedicated time we can help these babies thrive, or enjoy replacing them.  Obviously, we need focus on the outside daily!

Don’t worry, there are thriving plants on the back porch.

This is when we also bike around outside (this is a place we love to be together – there is enough space for everyone!).  We will also go to our local swimming pool.

BONUS #6 – The Snack Center

snacks

My son got really into this system.  He figured out what I was going for.  When he asked if we could therefore have a snack center, I nearly lost my mind laughing.  Then, actually, I decided it was a great idea!

So yes, we call it a center – that, and lunch, and chores, and laundry…. I also added a computer center where they can choose an educational game or coding practice using one of our coding books.

So you see, there is hope for your summer!  If you’re balancing a lot, you can work when the kiddos are doing independent work.

If you are in the season when they need you a lot, perhaps you can make yourself some centers.  That might help bring focus to YOUR life.

Either way, if this blessed you let me know.  I’d love for you to feel free to pass this along and share!

Heading off to my COFFEE CENTER now! 😉

 

 


VIPKID Tips: 2 Key Books for the Instructor

I was excited to learn of VIPKID, the program developed to connect English teachers with Chinese students.

I was excited because I am FOR anything that gives people financial options, which is why I joined Usborne Books & More in July 2014.

If you are here, you may know about VIPKID already, but suffice it to say, I was out of the running for it for time reasons.  I love my sleep.

Which is why my hat is off to you if you are an instructor! 🙂

Some of my book boss teammates ARE good at waking up early, though, and do this in addition to their Usborne Books & More careers, so I thought I’d ask them what books of ours they use to instruct their students.  Here was the result!

first words and dollhouse book VIPKID teacher tip

First Words and the Dollhouse Book for the win!

They use our first word books and the Victorian Dollhouse book to help their students learn more words in English.  I found that fascinating, but understandable! Here’s why.

The first word books are actually solid page format – so, not quite board book, and not quite regular pages.  This means they are easily held up to the screen a VIPKID instructor uses to do their instruction.  This ALSO means they are durable through MANY lessons.  WIN WIN!  With all of them, that’s at least 400 words to teach.  Brilliant.

The Dollhouse book contains both a book and the materials to actually construct a dollhouse, complete with characters and furniture!

This choice made sense to me after they explained it to me.  We have one of these and my children LOVED constructing it, (and reconstructing it when we moved) but I never considered that it would be PERFECT for doing instruction on FURNITURE!

Because you can actually construct the furniture and the people, they are easily held up to the screen, and used and reused.  The material used in this is durable too!

Victorian Dollhouse Usborne

I also know that as a teacher, it’s important to have variety and surprise.  Students love variety and knowing that you are a teacher who provides variety is key to keeping them excited.  Who knew you could actually hold up a couch?

If you’re interested in purchasing these for your in-home classroom, click here for the first words and here for the dollhouse book.  Of course you can always just use them for your own kids too! 🙂

I also welcome questions you may have about the options and website or affiliate link available to you when you join our literacy force as an Usborne Books & More consultant.

The 25% cash back is nice when you need a lot of teaching materials (with option to grow it to 33% cash back)!  Join us here to ask questions in a forum, or simply comment below and we’ll be in touch.

Happy reading!
Wendy

If you’re reading this and just wanting your children’s book affiliate link NOW, click here.

 


How to Earn a FREE Alaskan Cruise

Would you enjoy some time dedicated to travel where you are NOT the driver!? Me too.  Join me on an Alaskan cruise – for free – in summer 2019.

What’s Included?

  • A 7 day inclusive cruise aboard Royal Caribbean International’s luxury cruise liner: Ovation of the Seas
  • Stylish balcony staterooms for everyone
  • Travel Allowance
  • Cocktail Receptions

The plan

We earn points for sharing our AMAZING children’s books with preschools, schools, and families in fun events.  It is such a rewarding job in the first place – and then, to have the chance to earn the trip of a lifetime, too?

  1. I am offering hostess rewards to families who are interested in feeding their children’s growing and changing interests (click here if you’d like to schedule a book party online or in-home or in-coffee-shop, that one is my fave);
  2. I will offer our fundraisers to groups and schools and individuals who have big dreams but not the big funds (yet!) – click here to request more information;
  3. I will invite precious parents who simply want MORE for their families to join my Wonder Women & Supermen team.  We are a fabulous group: you might love the resources, training, and encouragement! Click here to request more information. Click here to investigate for yourself!
  4. I will train others on how they can offer these books and this business to others as well.

After all, every cruise needs superheroes, and my team is full of them!  Look at these amazing women!  We also have men on our team – we are the Wonder Women & Supermen – join us!

alaskan cruise team pic

We found out about this trip while attending our annual national convention with Usborne Books & More.  We were in our big session and they announced their bucket lists – and is there a trip that would encompass all of those things?

They are masters of suspense!

Well, they should be, right?  We are, after all, built on stories!

Some of the bucket list items that we will be able to check off:

  • Skydive simulator,
  • Whale-watching,
  • Cruise food (ha!)
  • Exploring
  • Bumper cars on a cruise ship
  • Putt-putt
  • Roller skating
  • Trapeze lessons
  • A 360 degree view
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Casino
  • Movie theatre

If you’d like to be part of the fun, contact me here.  I’m happy to answer your questions about how this might look like in your life!

Be the superhero in your child’s life!

wonder women cape convention 2018


Summer Reading Program & Challenge

I remember distinctly the days of library visits in the summertime.  We would enjoy a little program put on by the librarians.  We would get hyped up.  Then, we would register for the summer reading program or challenge.

Swimming + Ice Cream + Reading = Delicious Summer

Reading throughout the summer is one of the joys of life!  Sharing that joy with your children makes it even sweeter.  So much progress is made in their reading development when there are only the distractions of swimming and ice cream.  It makes a great combination.

The Story Behind Our Challenge

summer reading and moving

Enjoy reading no matter where you are this summer

One day a couple of years ago, when we were moving (yet again!), I realized my kids would be missing out on the library’s summer reading program.  They could sign up for it at the current library but would not be able to complete it!  Similarly, when we moved to our new location, their library’s program would already be complete.

My solution? Construct my own summer reading program!  [If you’re ready, go ahead and register here: https://www.tinyurl.com/kidsearnbooks ]

Tracking Sheets + Pledges + Reading = Prizes

I am so excited to launch this program again this summer.  It is a HIT with my kids, and has been for several others as well (I do not have a count but I should have kept track, I know!).

Just like in reading programs you know and love, your kids will sign up and receive all the information they need to succeed!  You can sign up even if your kids can’t read yet: your reading aloud counts.  You can stage your own read aloud revival this summer!

Will you join us?

Step One: Register

Simply fill out the requisite information on this sheet! Don’t worry, it will open in a new window, so you can just hop on back! Register here: https://www.tinyurl.com/kidsearnbooks

Step Two: Join a Community

You’ll want to join our summer reading community so that you can experience the prizes and surprises along the way!  You’ll NEVER guess what the prizes are – oh wait, okay – BOOKS! 🙂  You’ll see the community links on the registration sheet – both instagram and Facebook communities are offered, so it’s up to you. Register here: https://www.tinyurl.com/kidsearnbooks

Step Three:

Start reading!  You can even start a “books we want to read” chart.

Keep track of minutes read, or minutes read aloud with our handy dandy tracker!  You know by the tracker on the right or bottom of your screen, I’m ALL ABOUT handy dandy trackers.  They make my kids so excited to get to color in shapes and track their progresss – even my 11 year old!

Step Four:

Collect pledges – these will translate into books and prizes!

Make sure the friends and family in your child’s life know he or she is reading for the summer reading challenge.  Your child collects pledges as they tell (or you tell) others the goal to read for 6 weeks.  Here’s a quick chart to show all they can earn.  You’ll also get this in your registration packet!

summer reading program and challenge rewards

The top numbers in the chart show the number of minutes read, and the bottom numbers equal amount in pledges.  Do you see all the prizes!? Like I said, BOOKS and GIFTS!! SO FUN! And tons of encouragement and freebies along the way (not featured here, but I assure you we have a blast in our community).

Ready to go for it? Register here: https://www.tinyurl.com/kidsearnbooks

Step Five:

Complete the challenge.  Snap a photo of the reading chart or charts, and then I’ll help you convert the pledges to the books and prizes.  Isn’t that awesome?!

I have to say, I never got a chance to earn free books OF MY CHOICE at the summer reading programs I did!!!

Scroll a little after this picture to see what ELSE I offer – yep, there’s a cherry on top!

AdobeStock_6591452.jpeg

WE ARE MAKING READING FUN AGAIN!  That’s my driving force.

Optional Step

I have an amazing referral program.  Share this blog post or, after you register for the program, refer a friend to the program itself.  Both of you will experience an extra freebie after registration!  I appreciate you for reading this far 🙂

After all, I’m all about reading!! And you are, too, I bet!

I’d love to see you hop on board!  Register here: https://www.tinyurl.com/kidsearnbooks

 

 


Who Would YOU Be?

One of the most amazing things about being a reading advocate for busy families is the people I meet.  Their incredibly diverse goals inspire me!  I was also recently inspired at a conference this weekend with Brenda Ster and Melissa Fietsam… and by the book “Creating Magic” by Lee Cockerell.

People join our mission for so many different reasons.  And every single person’s goals matter.

I did my very best to put what I learned there into a graphic.  I’m curious!  Which would you be? Comment below!

Short Term GoalPart Time JobSuper Saver (4)

If you have questions, hit the contact form here!  I’d love to chat about YOUR goals.  Our team members’ goals are so incredibly diverse – it’s a blessing! I even have training in place for each type of goal.

You will love equipping your family with the very best in children’s literature, as well as giving others that opportunity.