Inspired On Our Own
What do we do when we are on our own?
What do we think about?
Are we inspired by our own thoughts?
Inspired By Others
How do our friends and family influence us?
What about our teachers, our community and our culture?
Are we surrounded by people who inspire us?
Are we happy with others?
Inspired By Learning
Where do we learn best?
And with who?
There are so many wonderful things to learn about.
Are we surrounded by what will inspire us?
*Even little children have the ability to be inspired- all by themselves, with others, and when
they are learning...
You just have to look at their little intent-and-joyful faces!
The changes of the seasons are wonderful opportunities to inform children about the earth turning and the earth going around the sun.
A tilt of the earth's axis means we have seasons.
At least in some parts of the earth!
And however it happens, in lots of places we celebrate springtime and the return of the warmth.
Green grass, spring flowers, blossoms...
And this year the Easter bunny is early! Egg hunts and chocolate!
For a little video on the seasons, push play...
Children love Valentine's Day!
Most schools celebrate this day with exchanges of friendly and funny notes. And at the younger ages, kids are encouraged to bring little Valentine notes or goodies for each of their classmates, leaving no one out.
Some communities hold family celebrations and include a dance for all ages. I think family dances are fabulous!
Valentine's Day is a great day for families to model caring and expressions of love. Even the romance between the mom and dad give kids a good message!
Imagine a fun day of celebration for children, ending with the parents heading out on their own, with children knowing their parents are solid in their relationship!
Now, that is just one scenario these days! Kids are getting used to a variety of family situations...for instance, lots of single parent families now!
But whatever the situation in the home, Valentine's Day can still be a lot of fun, with a message of love.
Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
Lots of fun with these dolly children when they are told they can only wear Valentines colors for their party, on our doll story site Hiya Dolly...
Kids are back at school. Or back to their school work at home.
There's school work, homework, and chores.
Are you dealing with an unmotivated child. Or unmotivated children?
It can be frustrating, worrying, and challenging.
I ran into a good article on 6 ways to motivate your kids.
And the article asks-do you want to motivate your child? Or do you want your child to self motivate?
For starters, good listening is an important component of the solution.
Check out this article at Empowering Parents.
1. Don't let your anxiety push them to get motivated.
2. Be inspiring.
3. Let your child make his own choices-and face his consequences.
4. Ask yourself 4 questions (explore so you understand)
5. Choose which door... (motivate or elicit self-motivation)
6. It's not your fault!
Read the article for specific steps and examples...
And remember that being an inspired parent, caregiver, or educator makes a big difference!
Now that Christmas is done...
It's time to inspire your children with great quotes.
Sometimes our lives are guided by a saying or two that we have heard from the time we are young.
My mom used to say, "Be true to yourself."
It didn't always make sense when I was younger but it sure came to mind in moments of choice and helped to guide my steps...
Choose a few sayings that reflect your family values and then use then now and then.
I found some great sayings, with graphics at Everyday Power.
"A dream is only a dream until you decide to make it real."
Posters are a great way to permanently fix a quote in a child's mind!
Look for a photo or visual that appeals to your own child, from tiny to teens.
Free printable quote posters at Activity Village.
Fancy Nancy and the Splendiferous Christmas
by Jane O'Connor
Fancy Nancy is a beloved character in a series of books. The character has been made into a real doll, available from small to big.
Of course, Fancy Nancy is in Dolltown at Hiya Dolly!
In this sweet and colorful book, Nancy has bought her own tree topper...
"What could be fancier than Christmas?
Ana's Alphabet Book A to Z is my own creation. It teaches the alphabet through 26 dolls. Each doll's name starts with a different letter of the alphabet.
Ana's Alphabet Book A to Z is an eBook. It can be read on a Kindle, a computer with Kindle program downloaded, or with a Smart Phone or a Tablet with the Kindle App.
Available for $3.01
The book has a pop up feature on every other page, one for each letter of the alphabet. It has over 54 pages with 26 dolls.
There are three very popular Little Darlings, including Ana herself. But there are also Barbies, a Patsy, an Ellowyne fashion doll, a tiny Madame Alexander, a Kidz n Cats boy, Harry Potter, and, of course, a Disney Princess...
It's a book for girls and boys!
The Dolls Christmas
by Tasha Tudor
Available from Kindle at $12.60
Also in Hardcover and Paperback
June 2016 Update Even the used copies start at $49.23 Hardcover...Why?
The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden,
another favorite author.
This book is about a couple who want their own orphan child, a child who wants a family, and a doll....
Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she's sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney's luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.
It is the day before Christmas and the toys in Mr Blossom's shop know it is their last chance to be sold. Holly, a little doll dressed especially for Christmas, wishes hard for her own special child to come and buy her. But the day ends and Holly is left in the window.
The Christmas Doll
by Elvira Woodruff
This book tells the story of two orphaned sisters whose lives are changed forever by a magical doll.
This series of books for kids between 4 and 9 is excellent to learn how how people, with different beliefs, perhaps in different countries, celebrate at this time of the year...
Diwali traditions, for the child who is a little older. This is a part of a series by Rookie Read-Aloud Holidays. It is perfect for reading to a younger child, or for an older child, 6-9, to learn from or to read to a little one. At the back there are pictures with vocabulary words to learn, like diya, mandir, and rangolis. It gives the child the world knowledge to write stories and use the vocabulary.
Kwanzaa traditions, for the child who is a little older. This is a part of a series by Rookie Read-Aloud Holidays. It is perfect for reading to a younger child, or for an older child, 6-9, to learn from or to read to a little one. At the back there are pictures with vocabulary words to learn, like kinara, zawadi, and unity cup. It gives the child the world knowledge to write stories and use the vocabulary.
Chanukah traditions, for the child who is a little older. This is a part of a series by Rookie Read-Aloud Holidays. It is perfect for reading to a younger child, or for an older child, 6-9, to learn from or to read to a little one. At the back there are pictures with vocabulary words to learn, like menorah, dreidel, and temple. It gives the child the world knowledge to write stories and use the vocabulary.
This is a part of a series by Rookie Read-Aloud Holidays. It is perfect for reading to a younger child, or for an older child, 6-9, to learn from or to read to a little one. Just the right size and length, youngsters learn about the activities, gifts, food costumes, and dancing that represent the Chinese New Year, and the prayers, duration, traditions and fasting of Ramadan. In the back are words to know.
Christmas With Teddy Bear
A baby Board Book! This one is so good- both story and pictures- that it will last for years, interest wise, and sturdiness too. 12 things to do to be ready for Christmas, from building a snowman, to singing carols, to hanging stockings and waiting for Santa. This sweet teddy bear is kept company by his family and a little cat...
A Small Miracle
This is a new book for me. It has a nativity scene featured in it, involved in a magical and wondrous act of kindness. This is a "beautiful and satisfying tale" involving an old starving woman ready to help and set things right, despite what has happened to her. And the gift she receives for her kindness to others.
It's that time of year!
Get out your own books, or check out these two wonderful Christmas themed books.
Children love stories about the holidays and Christmas...
The Cobweb Christmas
Used from $0.31US
(Why is a new one over $30?)
I love this story! Even if it has spiders in it...spoiler alert!
This is the first book I get out before Christmas...
This little book is about an auntie, Tante, in a little cabin in the woods. She gets ready for Christmas every year, "Time to clean for Christmas", and cleans until all the dust and cobwebs are gone. But this year as she sits to wait for Christmas magic, it comes in a very unexpected way!
Here is the same book with a different cover and title...
I have the older one above..
The Night Before Christmas
Do your children dress up on the evening of October 31 and go out trick or treating?
Do your children go door to door in your own neighborhood?
It still seems to be a popular tradition...
But there do seem to be changes.
-more office dressing
-more people on the street and in stores
-more costumes available for sale, for people of all sizes
Halloween starts in the morning for adults now too, not just for school children getting ready for classroom parties...
People spend more time before Halloween, putting thought into the event.
In some countries, Halloween is not a big deal.
But here in Canada, and it seems, the US, Halloween is as big as ever...
What is your experience?
These learning strategies will work for you, for every person!
Even young children can learn
to use these great ways to learn.
In a classroom setting, or for tutoring, or home schooling,
just choose some of these strategies to build in.
Like...get up every 30 minutes (10-15 minutes for young children) and stretch, and have a drink of water.
General Learning Strategies
Keep a bottle or a glass of water near you while you work.
Drink water as well as juice, etc, if other beverages are included in your breaks.
Breathe and relax.
Breathe deeply 3-4 times as you are getting ready to learn. Notice any tension in your body before you begin and release it by breathing and relaxing. Repeat when you stop for breaks. Shrug your shoulders as you engage with your work.
Keep your attention on your learning. Choose the amount of time you believe is reasonable for a full focused attention eg 10-30 minutes. Get ready beforehand - get organized, eliminate distractions, set a timer- then work on your learning for the set amount of time. Take a short break, then focus again. Repeat until your assignment is complete or you feel like you have accomplished enough until the next time.
Move your body
Stretch or go for a brief walk before you begin. For a short break, get up and move around, do a few exercises like the cross crawl, the lunge or a few gentle neck rolls. After, engage in some movement-go to the gym, do some yoga, go for a run, dance. Think about your learning as you move.
Identify why you are learning and what you will get out of it. List what that motivates you to accomplish anything in your life. What are your inspirations? Reach for your motivators on purpose to get you started, move past procrastinations and blocks, and meet your learning goals.
Know your strengths.
Identify what you are good at already. How can you apply your strengths to the learning at hand? Link up your interests and strengths to the material.
Close your eyes and picture what you want to learn. Use all your senses in your imagining, as well as you can. Visualize accomplishing the steps to the end result.
Figure out what you have to learn, break it up into steps and make a timeline. Estimate the time it will take for each step. Make a list of materials you will need to complete your learning. Set a goal, choose your learning strategies, and plan a reward for yourself when you meet your goal.
Get involved with your learning.
Interact with your learning to increase its impact. Learning the alphabet? Create letter puppets. Memorizing capitals of states or provinces? Make flashcards and get out a map on the floor. Learning a language? Create a dialogue and get a friend to say the other part with you.
Jot down key ideas, lists, and thoughts. Use your notebook while you are learning but also at other times during the day to capture ideas as they come up. Notice thoughts that are related to your learning when you are exercising, doing mundane tasks like washing dishes, or before or after you sleep. Young children can draw pictures of what they are learning.
Turn your learning into questions. How will you answer those questions? By yourself? From a book? The internet? What other resources can you use to answer your questions? Who is the best person to ask? Ask yourself which specific learning strategies you will use to learn the material. Teach young children what a question is...
Define your terms.
Define the terms you have to use to understand your material. Use dictionaries, thesauruses, reference books. Ask someone about the terms-sometimes people give effective and memorable descriptions that you will not find in a dictionary. With young children, introduce the vocabulary, like "letter sounds" or "plus", "minus".
Brainstorm and create Mind Maps.
Write down all your ideas on your learning topic, or a part of it as you begin your learning, or if you get stuck. Don’t edit, accept all ideas. Make a list of them or create a mind map, then make connections, notice categories, add color, symbols, and pictures. Use the brainstorm to organize your learning.
Use a memory technique to help you learn. The most effective way to remember things is to turn them into strong picture images. Then attach each to something familiar, like the rooms in your house or your body parts, or your favorite sports teams. Check the Memory Strategies that can be modified for young children.
Accept help. Pursue help. Create a team to accomplish the learning. Choose people who work positively with you or give you support in the background to reach your goals.
Use computers and computer programs like iWorks, Word, Excel, create tables, add photos, insert clip art, use the internet for research, use tablets, explore interactive white boards, enjoy networks.
Evaluate your learning.
How well have you learned? How is it useful to you? Answer these questions for yourself as well as participating in the evaluations that may be set up for you, like the test to check your knowledge for a course you are taking, the marks you receive for a assignment you must do. Evaluate yourself and identify how you can use the learning as a part of your life skills.
Give yourself rewards along the way. Set up small rewards for each step you accomplish- a walk with your dog, time with a friend, a sticker chart on your fridge, a hot bath or cup of tea.
If it’s a big project, plan for a larger reward- dinner and a movie, a weekend off, a new book or an addition to a collection.
Acknowledge yourself and anyone who has helped you. Name your success and accept it.
Use effective strategies that become second nature to you as you begin to focus or end your learning session. Get water, stretch, use a timer, put on some 60 beats a minute music, set a short learning goal for the focus session, review the material before you put your books away, reward yourself when you are done, take a deep breath to start and finish.
Get Involved!....Create good habits immediately.
It takes 3 weeks to create a habit. Notice what works!
This post is from my Best Learning Strategies site!
For great info on identifying your learning style, or your child's,
check out the Universal Strategies page
on Best Learning Strategies!
Today I discovered a great You Tube Channel called Geography Now...
The channel belongs to a young man, Paul Barbato. I don't know much about him...yet, but after watching several of his videos, I do know he is inspired and has a vision. A vision to post short, eg 9 minute, videos about every country in the world. So far he seems to be in the "B's".
Paul appears to collect info from a variety of sources, including people native to the country he is talking about. He uses photos, maps, and useful, fun graphics to help him describe the information. His delivery is fast and expressive, so he is entertaining to watch and you have to keep up. His info is geared to older kids or interested adults, giving not only a few geographical and historical facts, but also the country's demographics and its relationship to other countries. All in less than 10 minutes.
I am a fan of short bits of info, Sesame Street style. It helps us figure out what topics we want to learn more about. And I love overviews. So if he does 10 minutes on, maybe, 160 countries, that's about...27 hours total, more or less.
I would have shown these videos to my intermediate class (Grades 4-7) and told them to hang on to their seats and take notes later during a following discussion. Or replay it!
And I will definitely play some of Paul's Geography Now videos on my big screen TV at home for G, and also for visitors who come over. Entertaining! And I always love things educational....
Paul reaches out to his many subscribers, asking for them to send in photos and info about his upcoming countries.
He also has started to fund his magnificent endeavor by signing up with Patreon, a site that allows you to request patron support so you can go ahead and focus on your project.
Good luck, Paul! And I hope you, dear reader, have time to check out this You Tube channel.
I found the link to it on an inspired homeschooling site, Savvy Homeschooling Moms.
I will definitely be returning to this site full of Podcasts and resources for the homeschooling crowd...
So check back!
Okay, here is the Geography Now video on Australia...
Language alert. I have to say, before Paul gets going on his info, he does use the words "frigging" and poo. Just be warned. Not words I used when teaching in a class... Homeschooling has its own language rules. lol
My first book, a children's educational book with doll's as characters...
This little eBook is live on Amazon this week. Very exciting!
Here is the description....
Learn the alphabet with Ana and her doll friends. A is for Ana, B is for Butler…Z is for Zoey.
Level One 26 letters, 26 sounds, with 26 dolls!
There are 45 Sounds in the English Language.
More or less…
English is a phonetic language, which means the simplest and most direct way to learn to read English is by learning all its sounds, and matching them to the alphabet letters.
But we only have 26 letters! So some of our sounds are represented with 2 letters…sh, th, ee, etc
And when things get complicated, a sound may be represented by 3 or even 4 letters together …igh, ough
And we all know that English gets complicated!
However, by learning the basics, before the harder stuff, learning to read English can be a breeze.
Level One- learn the first 26 sounds that match the alphabet letters
Eg A for Ana, S for Sam
Practice, Practice, Practice!
And have fun!
And Little Darling Ana is here with her friends, like Gabby, to help you do just that…
Enjoy meeting 26 dollies-males and females, from babies to Barbies, from vintage to new, from around the world- these dolls will help your child learn the names and sounds of the alphabet!
Clear and colorful photos. Alphabet chart included.
Guaranteed to be a favorite!
I am combining my interests in education, reading skills, photography and doll collecting in this little book...
Check it out on Amazon!
If you buy it and like it, write a review! Thanks!
Or send me feedback through the Contact Us page...
Once again I am drawn to this You Tube Channel, with a father teaching his kids to draw! This time this dad and his 6 year old daughter are drawing Joy, from the movie Inside Out. This is a movie that is on my to-see list. Maybe it's time this weekend! I think it would be a good movie to open up discussions about expressing emotions. We'll see!
I am inspired once again by a father spending quality time with his kids. And the art learning WILL be a factor in the choices these kids make, somehow or other....
This is one of the earlier songs I discovered when I explored Lennon and Maisie's You Tube Channel...
I am just noticing that these sisters are acting on the TV show Nashville... Now, I watched a few episodes of that show early on, and if I had known that these girls were coming I would have stuck with it.
Okay. I am off to check when the show is on while you enjoy this....
School has begun again in many places. Here's some inspired learning help....
Have you been to Khan Academy?
If you have any concepts to learn, check out this amazing site!
"You can learn anything.
For free. For everyone. For ever. "
Several years ago, most people went on Salman Khan's site for some Math help. But he has not stopped at Math...
From the site...
"Take control of your learning by working on the skills you choose at your own pace with free online courses."
About the site...
"Khan Academy is a non profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide "a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere." The organization produces micro lectures in the form of You Tube videos."
"Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more."
My daughter recommended this site to me several years ago. She was tutoring students in university level math, and Khan Academy was a help to her and her students. My students were a lot younger. But when I looked into it, I discovered that this wonderful young man, who started this academy to help a young niece with early math concepts, started at the beginning...1+1=2
And his style was so much like mine that my students felt very at home watching it. And found it fun because it was on TV. Well, computer.
We used it together as a class, and then also put it in use for small groups or individual students to preview, or review, their math concepts. AND Khan Academy added great features for students and teachers over the years-questions for the students to practice, and ways for the teacher to track the students' progress. Students learned to navigate around the site for the concepts they needed.
I recommended it to parents. Now I am recommending it to you, if you haven't already signed on.
For you, for your children, your students, your friends, nieces, nephews, mom and dad....
And this site has grown a lot! There are so many subjects now. This is a big vision!
I am so impressed by this Salman Khan...
2,238,867 subscribers today!
But look for yourself!
Check out the site, Khan Academy. You might have to sign up now to explore. But it's free!
And watch this great little inspiring video....
Back to school next Tuesday! For lots of kids...
In this part of the world, kids return to school after Labour Day( or Labor Day in the US).
Labour Day is a holiday, the first Monday in September.
This year the kids get a few extra days of summer. Most of them will be getting ready for an exciting start to a new year.Whether they love it or don't-love-it, school plays a big part in a child's life.
Even if a child is home-schooled, the flow of the school year is often followed-school start, school holidays, even the hours...
Enter into your children's anticipation of the coming year. Talk to them about it. Get their mood so you know if they are looking forward to school, and what they like. Or notice if they have worries about any part of it-new teacher, new school, new routine, different friends. Reassure them, show your confidence in them, but listen to their concerns. There might be some small thing you can do that makes a big difference.
Stay positive yourself so your children have a good model of thinking about school and the learning that is coming up for them.
It's a good time to talk about schedules, homework times, extra-curricular activities, expectations.... Sometimes it's time for new responsibilities, or privileges, because of the ages of your children.
Be sure your kids have down time. School start can be stressful, or at least a busy time. Ease into the new routines. Do a few outdoor or nature activities to help your kids transition. They've been outside a lot in the hot summer weather! A camping trip by the lake in late September is fun to look forward to, or at least a fall picnic...
The years go by... Make the most of this time with your children!
Check out our page on Inspired Learning...resources and ideas for school and learning at home.
Or wherever you learn!
Last year we found a great YouTube channel called Art for Kids Hub.
Their latest post looks great! It's all about making a clay person-starts soft, dries hard. Ron and his little boy use Crayola modeling clay that can be painted when you are done. How fun is that?
"How to sculpt a person for young artists."
10 minutes of enjoyable, easy to follow instructions.
Time to focus on learning!
School time soon here. And school has already started in some places. Or never stopped!
Here is a cute ABC video to get the littlest ones ready-for Kindergarten or Nursery.
It's also good as a refresher for your Grade one child who is still getting the hang of the alphabet names. Capitals in this video.
It's also fun to watch for your tiny tyke. Get 'em started young with colorful attention getting learning.
Easier when the time comes.
Remember to sit for a minute with your children and share...