Two EASY Teacher Gifts – Oh My!

I have zero recollection of my mother or father preparing a teacher gift.

I have zero recollection of bringing one in to my classroom.

I would like to think this trend of giving teachers gifts explodes even more so than it has in the past ten years!

Please comment below what gifts you gave/ or are giving your kids’ teachers this year.
Or, if you are an administrator, what did you do for your teachers?

Anyway, we gift books.  It’s what we do.  Now this year we are moving – again – so that’s been a challenge to get my act together… well, not going to lie, it is in years we AREN’T moving, too!

But having homeschooled for a teeny bit of time, I do know the effort that goes in to breathing life into your childrens’ academic lives, while keeping your head on straight!

And that was just with THREE children!

Anyway, if you gift books, and you would like to have this printable (4 tags on one sheet, to save paper, natch!), please be my guest.   You may download it at the end of the article!
Copy of rBOOKS ARE READ APPLES ARE TOO I'M SO GLAD I SPENT THIS YEAR WITH YOU

It’s going to be so much fun to help my friends put together teacher appreciation gifts, and now with these tags, they will feel confident presenting these books.

Are you looking for a teacher appreciation book or item?  Try this link which categorizes children’s books by ages – a super quick way to get books you need for the teachers in your life!: https://b4108.myubam.com/c/30/age-levels

Here’s another idea, too!  This is the Box of Awesome and wow – I don’t know of any teacher who wouldn’t give you a huge hug for this gift!

Box of Awesome

Box of Awesome! Who’s Awesome? YOU’RE AWESOME!

Perfect for any parent, too – I plan on getting mine to have available this summer for rewarding my kids all summer long.

Yes, I reward my kids in the summer.

Because, hello – SURVIVAL!?

Purchase yours here: https://b4108.myubam.com/p/7707/box-of-awesome

Alright friend, thanks for reading – here’s your free printable for those teacher book gifts.

No tricks: just enjoy!  Here’s the link to the PDF:

BOOKS ARE READ APPLES ARE TOO I’M SO GLAD I SPENT THIS YEAR WITH YOU (1)

And Happy Reading!


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! 😉

 

 


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