Tag Archives: lessons

Motivation Lost? 5 Steps You Can Take To Get It Back!

motivation

The months of May and June 2017 will now be known as the time that I lost my motivation.

It all started when our family kicked off  the summer with a vacation. It was a lovely time. I took a break from technology, and read books instead. We explored a cave, had fun on a boat, and laughed with family. motivation

I had every intention of working on a blog post, once I returned. After all, I had just experienced a relaxing week in a beautiful cabin. I was refreshed and could look at the world with a clear head.

But I did not get any writing done.

I kept telling myself that I SHOULD work, but I could do it tomorrow.

Even my beloved bullet journal suffered, it’s pages were lonely. I didn’t doodle, I didn’t track the weather or my mood, and worst of all, I had nothing to check off.motivation

Then, I realized something.

My journal is a huge KEY in keeping me motivated and organized.

When I stopped writing my tasks in my journal, and checking it daily, it gave me a reason to procrastinate. I also felt myself become more anxious and overwhelmed.

I had no plan to follow, so instead my brain just had a running list of things that I needed to do. Without putting it on paper, I quickly went into overload, and fell into my old pattern of just shutting down and doing nothing instead. The motivation was gone.


SO WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU NEED TO GET YOUR MOTIVATION BACK?


  1. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION FOR A BREAK

First of all, it is okay to take a break.

I think that in a way, my body and mind were telling me I needed to allow myself some time to do nothing. To read those books that have been piled on my nightstand, catch up on the magazines, and even take a few naps.

Of course, my first instinct was to beat myself up for being lazy and not accomplishing anything.

Instead, I changed my perspective. I gave myself permission to have that break. No writing or work was done, but I did get to enjoy some extra time with my family. I even did some crafts and tried some recipes. And did I mention the naps?!motivation

I was just productive in a different way.

And that is okay.

2. REVISIT YOUR GOALS

However, it is important not to stay in permanent break mode. The longer you remain in it, the harder it becomes to snap out of it.

I needed to take a look at my goals and remember why I was doing all that work in the first place.

When I was checking my bullet journal daily, I was reminded of what I was working for. When I stopped doing that, it became easier to ignore the steps that I wanted to take to accomplish my goals.

If you don’t already have a list of goals, with a plan of action, take some time to write some out. Or make a vision board. Or start a bullet journal.

Even if you are feeling unmotivated, just the simple act of looking at your goals each day will help remind and inspire you to keep working.

3. START SMALL

Part of the reason that I stopped being motivated,  was that I felt like things were piling up around me. Each day my mental lists grew longer, yet I wasn’t doing anything about it. I didn’t feel like it would be possible to get everything done, so instead,  I just shut down.

To combat this, pick just one thing and DO IT.

For me, I told myself that I needed to get out my journal each day and look at and start using my tracker again.

By doing my basic daily tasks again, I started feeling productive and like I was re-building my self discipline again.motivation

Still missing a lot of x’s, but let me tell you, checking off those boxes again when I completed something felt so good!

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, just pick one small thing and work it into a routine again. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to juggle too many things, or all of the things that you were doing before you lost your groove.

Baby steps!!

When you are feeling ready, add another task. For me, I will start doing my affirmations again. I need that positive reinforcement. 🙂

4. REWARD YOURSELF AND CREATE AN INSPIRED SPACE

This one is easy.

Make sure you create a fun space to help you feel inspired, and give yourself a little reward. Treat yourself to new journal supplies, find some inspirational quotes, clean your work area or re-arrange it, get a cute plant. Little rewards like this are good for motivation.motivation

Just have a little corner or space where you can plan, work, clear your head, or meditate to help keep you on track.

5. DON’T FOCUS ON FAILURES

Finally, be nice to yourself.

Don’t focus on what you did wrong, or what you didn’t accomplish. Negativity can kill motivation. As I mentioned earlier, a perspective change can do wonders.

I’m going to be honest, I still have my dark moments and there are days that I just want to remain in my blanket cave and ignore everything. Just getting out of bed is a simple victory, and it counts as a success.motivation

Think of and remember the successes that you experienced. Even if they are small. Write them down so that you can revisit them when you feel unmotivated.

I followed these 5 steps and was able to find my motivation and get to working and writing again.

It feels good to be back.

What do you do when you find yourself in a funk and need to find your groove again? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

xo,

Melissa

discobumblebee

 

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How a Tea Party Gave me a Little Perspective

tea party perspective

This week, my daughter organized a tea party, and ended up giving me some important perspective.

This is how she did it.

This year, I had visions of a holiday season filled with baking, crafting, and decorating. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and made a checklist. I was ready to go!

However, the flu decided to make an appearance and work its way through my family. I had no choice but to put everything else on the back burner.

My blog, the crafts, the baking, were all replaced with what seemed like never ending loads of laundry, holding back hair, rubbing backs and disinfecting the house each time the flu hit another family member.

It. Was. Rough.

Once we were through it, my daughter Bean suggested that we have a tea party for her stuffed animals and dolls, because we missed out on so many festivities. Since we were all starting to feel human again, it seemed like the perfect way to ease back into things.

My brain started to plan out all the cute fancy things that we could make for our party. Tiny sandwiches, white and pink napkins, cupcakes, doilies, glitter, and fun punch to fill our tea cups. I was so excited to put together a perfect party for her.

But Bean had other plans.

She informed me that she wanted to make it a picnic tea party. Instead of white and pink, she wanted orange, yellow and maybe blue. She spoke of lanterns, invitations in the shape of tickets and immediately ruled out cupcakes.

I was tempted to take control and try to do it all myself. After all, I wanted it to be perfect and fancy for her. Just as I was getting ready to tell her how I thought we should do things, something inside me told me to be quiet.  I decided to stop, and listen to her specific vision.


In the end, instead of me trying to convince her to do it my way, I let her take the lead.

I followed her instructions and assisted her in writing out a to-do list. I pulled out the orange and yellow construction paper and helped cut out ticket shapes for her invitations. She carefully labelled each ticket with the news of her tea party, and even made a special one just for me! I could have made the lettering perfect, and uniform, but seeing her working so hard to write each letter so carefully was awesome. She put so much love into her work.

tea party perspective

Next came the decorations. We learned how to make paper lanterns to use as centerpieces. Once she figured out which stuffed animals and dolls would most like to attend her event, we made them paper name cards for their place settings. She was really excited when I remembered that I had a tablecloth with some of her color choices.

It was decided that the party also needed signs for decoration, so we made one out of popsicle sticks and chalkboard paint. It turned out so cute, and we can even use it for future parties.

tea party perspective

The final step was the menu. She reminded me that she doesn’t really like sandwiches and preferred to have ham rolled up and secured with toothpicks. Then, she filled bowls with blueberries, m&m’s, and pretzels and arranged some sugar cookies on a plate.

My only contribution, other than my help, were my special teacups and teapot from my collection.

tea party perspective

Finally it was time for the tea party!

As we sat on our tablecloth drinking tea with our pinkies up and talking in high pitched voices, Bean exclaimed,


“This is so FANCY mom! It is perfect!”


I looked around at the hodge podge of handmade decorations that were carefully arranged, the bright colors, her stuffed animal and doll guests, the interesting food assortment, and I smiled.

She was right.

tea party perspective

It WAS perfect.

I really needed that change in perspective, I so often get caught up in my own vision of how things should be, and it doesn’t often leave room for flaws.

Bean reminded me that there is more than one way to be fancy and perfect.

This is a lesson that I am going to try really hard to remember throughout this year, and the next time I need to plan a party, I know who to ask!

Happy New Year!

xo Melissa

discobumblebee

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Lessons and Activities for November

lessons and activities november pin graphic

November has arrived, and that means it is time for some new books, experiments, lessons and activities in our homeschool classroom!

In addition to our regular work, we will focus on being thankful, and the history of Thanksgiving, which I will be incorporating into our lessons and activities throughout the month.

I found a great resource on the Scholastic website. It has a ton of information on The First Thanksgiving, so we will definitely be using that as a resource this month.

LANGUAGE AND READING

We are continuing to use our sight word list from our word hunt last month. They have been helping Bean learn some key words that she is seeing more often now that she is reading.

We’ve also been working on identifying long and short vowel sounds. I have a little game I found at the dollar store to help her with that.

I also selected some books that fit well with the Thanksgiving season:

Being Thankful by Mercer Mayer

The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose

The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola

Please and Thank You Book by Richard Scarry

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

Pete the Cat by Kimberly and James Dean

SCIENCE

Another fun part of Thanksgiving is the food, so I have picked out a few food experiments for our science lessons.

Bendy Bones

When you make turkey, set aside some bones for this fun experiment (chicken bones would work too, you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving turkey time for this one).

First, make sure to clean and scrape any meat off of the bones.

Then, make some observations and discuss your findings. Are the bones strong? Do they bend? What color are they? How long are they?

Next, fill a container large enough to submerge the bones, with vinegar.

Place the bones in the vinegar and let them sit for four days. If it gets smelly, cover the container with a little plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band.

After four days, remove the bones from the vinegar. Observe and discuss again.

Because of the acidic vinegar, the bone should bend because the calcium has been broken down.

You can even try other acids, like lemon juice or soda.

Re-Grow Food

lessons and activities green onion experiment image

Find a fun recipe that calls for green onions, and when you use them, leave about 3 inches of the root .

Place your trimmings standing up in a glass container.

Fill the glass with water, leaving an inch or two above the water.

Find a sunny window, and set the glass nearby.

Change the water every other day, and in a few days, green shoots should begin to appear.

Once you have some growth, trim and use in another meal. Leave your roots in the jar, you should be able to get a few cycles of re-growth. See how many you can get!

Bouncy Rubber Egg

lessons and activities bouncy egg experiment image

Grab a glass jar, an egg, and white vinegar.

Place the egg carefully in the jar, and add enough vinegar to cover the egg.  Let it sit for 24 hours.

Once that time period has passed, carefully remove the egg from the jar, and dump out the vinegar. Replace egg and cover again with vinegar. The wait is a little longer this time around, let it sit for 2 days.

Remove your egg from the jar, and observe. What does it feel like? Does it look different? What happened to the shell? What do you see?

Now is the fun part! See if it will bounce! Gently bounce it from a short distance- it is still fragile and could break.

Because an eggshell is made of calcium carbonate, the acid in the vinegar reacts and produces carbon dioxide. The egg membrane may absorb some of the vinegar, which will make the egg larger.

CRAFTS

lessons and activities art supplies image

I found a few fun activities on Pinterest:

Paper Bag TeePees

Paper Bag Turkeys

T.P. Roll Totem Poles

Herb and Spice Play Dough

Handprint Turkey

You can also find these on my Arts and Crafts board. Follow me for easy access!

I hope you found these November lessons and activities helpful. I would love to hear about what is happening in your homeschool classroom too, tell me about it in the comments and be sure to link your blog so that I can visit!

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. 🙂

 

 

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Try These Fun Fall Lessons and Activities

fun fall lessons pinterest graphic

The weather has started to cool off and I can wear my hoodies again. The leaves are beginning to change, and it is perfect campfire weather. The arrival of fall also means that it is time to change things up a bit in our homeschool classroom. So I’ve put together a list of some fun fall lessons and activities.

fall lessons fall leaves graphic

The past couple months we learned about plants, and explored nature. We took a field trip to build our own STEM kit. We also discovered a workbook that Miss Bean loves. It has a little bit of each subject, and has kept her attention quite well. It has especially helped her take off with her reading. I’ve noticed that she has started to catch more word blends while sounding things out, and she has become so confident in her own abilities! So, as long as she requests it, we are going to keep completing those pages.

However, we need some hands-on fall lessons and activities to round out our homeschool plan.

Reading and Writing

My last blog post was a list of 10 Fall books to read, so I have already completed our book list. Because we have some apple activities, I’m also going to add Johnny Appleseed to the list.

I came across this word hunt, and it looked like so much fun, I had to create our own. I ended up making two versions. One with some of the sight words that we are working on, and another with some spooky words.

If you’d like to play along, you can click on the pictures to download and print your own.

SIGHT WORD HUNT FLASHCARDS

printable sight word flashcards for word huntSPOOKY WORD HUNT FLASHCARDS
printable spooky words flashcard for word hunt

 

Science and Math

pumpkins and apples fall lessons graphic

The leaves are changing, and apples and pumpkins are abundant.

I found this great state by state guide to fall colors and we’ll discuss why leaves change colors.

I printed out this fun fall leaf hunt activity, which will call for visits to a few parks to find our leaves. We will grab a few extra for art projects, and also to learn how leaves breathe.

After we stock up on some apples we are going to put our STEM kit to use.  We are going to try to keep an apple from browning, and make apple volcanoes.

For Math, we are going to work on the concept of greater than and less than by using candy corn.

Also, this free printable Oh Nuts! game looks like the perfect way to work on addition, time and money.

Of course, I can’t forget using pumpkins this time of year.

I plan on doing a few experiments that I found on this site.

And finally, once we clean out our pumpkins for carving, I am going to set aside some seeds. When I clean and bake them, I am going to fill a few different containers and have Miss Bean guess how many seeds are in each one.

Arts and Crafts

I think this is always the super fun part. I found some great projects using leaves and fall colors, and even one for our toilet paper rolls!

Autumn Handprint Tree

Q-Tip Fall Tree

Leaf Rubbings

Autumn Leaf Suncatchers

Wax Paper and Crayon Fall Leaves

Autumn Ballerina

T.P. Roll Monsters

Our fall break just ended, so we start on our new lessons Monday. If you have any fun fall lessons or activities planned, I would love to hear about them in the comments. Happy Fall!

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. 🙂

 

 

 

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How To Build A STEM Kit (even if you are on a budget)

STEM Kit

Having a STEM Kit on hand at home is a wonderful thing for planned or impromptu experiments, and I am going to show you how to build one, even if you are on a budget.

STEM Kit

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Including STEM in education is important, and it is a good thing to introduce STEM learning at a young age.

Why is STEM important?

Children have a natural interest in exploring how things work. Because of this, STEM activities are perfect! They are hands on and student-centered. By questioning, examining, and problem solving, kids are then able to learn to solve real life problems.

The role of the adult is to guide the students through the problem solving process.

How do you build a STEM Kit?

Building a STEM kit, may take a little bit of time, however, it is pretty easy and inexpensive to build up supplies.

First, look around the house.

Check the recycling bin, junk drawer, and be sure to raid the tool box! A more complete list is included at the end of this post, but look for things like plastic bottles, cans, nuts, bolts.

Once you’ve searched your house, chances are, you will find that you need to purchase some things to round out your kit.

My absolute favorite spot to find my material is the Dollar Store. They have a little bit of everything, and it is very easy to build up a good stock when things only cost a dollar. Make a list, or print mine, and take a field trip to get supplies. While you are there, be sure to grab a notebook to record designs, observations and results!

STEM Kit

I’ve got the supplies, now what?

Once you have your supplies, it is finally time for the fun! Pick an experiment, or create a challenge, and get to work!

Remember, this is a chance for your child to figure things out on their own. Your role is to guide, create curiosity, passion, and give them an opportunity to push limits.

I will have some more detailed posts about our specific activities and experiments as we do them in our classroom. Currently, I am working on a list of fun fall themed activities.

Subscribe to my newsletter by clicking on the link in the sidebar, or even follow me on Pinterest to receive updates.

In the meantime, here are a few activities to get you started:

Popsicle Stick Catapults

Marshmallow and toothpick structures

Grow crystals

Baking soda and vinegar eruptions

Rubber egg

Do you have a STEM Activity that you have tried? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about it!


     

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. 🙂

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Top 5 Homeschool Game Changers

top 5 homeschool game changers pin graphic

There are times in our homeschool classroom in which we have perfect days. Our lessons go exactly as expected, because Miss Bean is happy, cooperative and willing to learn. Of course, those are the best kind of days.

However, there are also the other days where things just seem off. Those days have tears, protests, frowns, and my well thought out lesson plans just don’t seem to do the trick.

What do I do when that happens?

I switch things up and use my homeschool game changers. They usually help to end the frustration and aid Miss Bean in changing her attitude. Most of them are visual, and also give her a little break from having me as her teacher.

homeschool game changers

Here are my top 5 homeschool game changers:

1. Amazon Prime Video and Netflix

Recently, PBS moved most of their shows over to Amazon Prime. If you don’t already have a Prime subscription, I highly recommend it.

Currently, our favorite shows are Peg + Cat and Reading Rainbow. However, there are so many other options available.

They even have yoga and exercise videos. Sometimes, a little deep breathing, stretching, and a wiggle break is all we need for our day take a positive turn.

Also, Netflix has Magic School Bus and Bill Nye The Science Guy episodes. Both are fun ways to learn about how things work.

2. YouTube

There are so many different educational channels on YouTube. Most of the videos are short, which helps to keep Miss Bean’s attention.

A few of our favorites are:

Crash Course Kids

SciShow

MashUp Math

Storyline Online

3. Starfall

This website is one of Miss Bean’s favorites.

We are currently working our way through the reading units together. She likes to try and read each page herself, and then check her work by having it read out loud to her. There are even math games available. Whenever she gets a little independent learning/free time, she loves to play the different songs and interactive games.

Parts of the website are free, and you can also choose to pay a small fee in order to get full access.

4. Pinterest

Honestly, Pinterest is my best friend,

I can find anything that I need there. Seriously, it is a life saver.

It helps me find fun material for my lesson plans, and quick art projects. Miss Bean loves to look through my pins and pick out which experiments or crafts she wants to try next. I try to pin a lot, so feel free to follow me!

5. The Library

homeschool game changers

Sometimes, the day is just not going as planned at all. That’s when a change of scenery is a great solution.

Impromptu field trips to the library are easy, and they are free!

We are quite lucky to have a library within walking distance of our home. Because of this, we can make frequent trips. Sometimes, we even like to make it more of an adventure by visiting the huge library downtown. While there, we enjoy looking for Reading Rainbow books. Also, there are also a ton of easy readers so that we are able to keep lots of variety in our learning to read journey. Miss Bean is always sure to bring a backpack, so that she can bring a few books home with her.

If you haven’t visited in awhile, be sure to check out your local library and give it some love!

Do you have some classroom game changers that have worked well for you? Be sure to share them in the comments.

 

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Plant Lessons: Adventures of Miss Bean

This week, we kicked off the homeschool adventures of Miss Bean with plant lessons. It is quite hard to say goodbye to lazy summer days, and get back into a school day routine. However, we managed to ease back into it by staying in our pj’s during morning work and taking lots of wiggle break dance parties.

This year, the big goal is for Miss Bean to be able to read independently. Therefore, there will be lots of sight word practice. To help with this, we have been using Bob books, and also making visits to the library for simple readers. She enjoys using Starfall as well, so we have been working through the lessons that they provide online.

During the next two weeks, the theme will be plants, seeds and growth. I’ve found fun activities in math, reading and science to keep with our subject.  Jack and the Beanstalk is the story that we are using to go along with our lessons and experiments. We also have several books from the library about plants, cycles, and seeds.

This week, we started our first experiment; which is growing a beanstalk. First, Miss Bean placed a lima bean in a mason jar along with some damp cotton balls. Next, she colored and cut out a castle, and taped it to a stick.  By doing this, it will help her observe how high her seed will grow.

lessons

lessons

lessons

We found that the glass jar is perfect for her frequent check-ins. She is very excited to observe that the seed is already beginning to open up!

Next week, I have a few more fun science lessons planned. We will dissect a seed, create a shoe box maze, and will also learn about how plants absorb water. I even have a snack time planned out, in which she will eat the parts of a plant.

Math is not one of Miss Bean’s favorite subjects. So, for one of our math activities, I made up a dice game to help illustrate the concept of more and less. I made a simple beanstalk themed sheet. Then, we roll the dice, write and tally or diagram our numbers. Whoever ends up with the most numbers in the more category, wins! (You can download the worksheet too: moreorlessbeanstalkworksheet)

Finally, to help Miss Bean learn more about numbers, I drew a flower. Again, she rolled the dice and added the numbers together. Next, she wrote the number in the center, and used each petal to either tally, add, subtract, diagram, spell, or fill in a ten frame. Having multiple visual examples is always the best way for her to pick up on things.

lessons

Next week, we will do these activities a few more times, as well as  working on number sequencing.

I feel that our first week was a success and that Miss Bean seemed positive about it too. We are both looking forward to our lessons for the second week of exploring the world of plants. Since our weather is not supposed to be quite as hot, I have a nature walk scavenger hunt planned. I will share the printable I created next week, so be sure to check back in on our adventures!

 

 

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