Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Free Digital Libraries of Bilingual Materials



This is a truly amazing opportunity. If you will be homeschooling, you need to know about TeachersPayTeachers. The site sells downloadable lessons, activities, craftivities, and a bajillion other things that are designed directly by teachers. It helps them supplement their incomes, but more importantly, you know that the materials cover the concepts you are teaching. And if you just need a quick reading passage or experiment to supplement OR you need a complete curriculum for (example) 5th-grade math, you can find it on TpT. 

This is especially important for those of you with Spanish/bilingual children because you can find resources on here that you are looking for and can't find elsewhere. There are a lot of dual-language/immersion/Spanish teachers that sell their materials for as little as $2. 

NOW, that said, many of the Spanish educators have gone in together to create two amazing FREE packages. 


The first is an Elementary Spanish Distance Learning Resource Library. It contains 27 FREE resources for Elementary Spanish teachers and includes things like Boom Cards, digital stickers, minibooks, stories, and more. My new set of alebrije counting Boom Cards is included. 


And the second is a Secondary Spanish Distance Learning Resource Library. This is great for older children and includes 26 amazing resources. From vocabulary to verb conjugation to cognates and lesson plans, this is such a great set!

Both of these are worth signing up (for free) on TpT to download.


And while you are there on TpT, take advantage of their two-day Back-to-School Sale! Most sellers participate... and you know I am! My entire shop is on sale. Check out my freebies while you are there! And stock up on items in your wishlists that you need for the coming year.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Risas y Sonrisas Homeschool Elementary Program



We're kicking off the MommyMaestra Back-to-School Fiesta with a great program for homeschool parents wanting to teach their child a second language! I reviewed this program six years ago and it has done nothing but get better, year by year. 

Leticia Smith is the founder. She's passionate about her program that she's perfected over the last 20+ years. We're happy to have Risas y Sonrisas as a MommyMaestra sponsor for the last several years.

Risas y Sonrisas Homeschool Program

Kindergarten-5th grade

For Homeschools, Parents, and Tutors

The Homeschool Program is perfect for teaching and learning Spanish at home! It can be used in-person or remotely with students of all ages and abilities. Our curriculum is comprehensive and easy to follow, making repetition fun and accelerating learning. You don’t even need to speak Spanish to start teaching and learning with Risas y Sonrisas today!

The Homeschool Program includes a comprehensive Instructor Manual with over 100 hours of lesson plans as well as a complete set of high-quality, full-color printed materials. All this is complemented with our complete Online Program, the digital version of our curriculum, encouraging multi-modal practice and allowing you to teach and learn remotely!

The Giveaway


Leticia has generously offered one of her Homeschool Programs (a $220 value) to one MommyMaestra reader!

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below. 

¡Buena suerte!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 2, 2020

MommyMaestra's 2020 Back-to-School Fiesta!



Hola, MommyMaestra Readers!


August is here and that means that it is time for my annual Back-to-School Fiesta! And I'm so excited about the lineup! Several Spanish-learning curricula for different age levels, music albums, science kits, books and more are on the list. You don't want to miss this.

Normally, this comes after a quiet summer spent with my family, but it has been nonstop busy for me this year. Still, I'm excited about the upcoming weeks. During my BTS Fiesta, I share new, helpful, or just plain fun products and services that will help you make your coming school year more effective and/or enjoyable. You'll find resources for homeschoolers, parents, and teachers. So keep an eye on this website because I have a wonderful lineup for you every Monday through Friday this month.

A few notes on important things I want to sneak in today because the other days are already full.


First, don't miss the TpT Back-to-School Sale this coming Tuesday & Wednesday, August 4th and 5th. Everything in my shop will be on sale at their maximum 25% off... including new products. This is the perfect time to go through your wish list and stock up on items that you've been waiting for!

The coupon code is also good for my shop here on MommyMaestra.com, but it doesn't have all the items that are listed on TpT. However, the discount will be good through the end of the month!


And finally, if you aren't already signed up for my newsletter, please consider doing so. There will be a few freebies available only to my newsletter subscribers. This month's free download is an updated version of these Back-to-School Labels. I use them to make the first day special for my kids. I leave them a little gift to open, usually fun school supplies and books. I wrap them up to make it a little more exciting and leave one of these labels being sure to write the grade they're entering in the space provided. 

If you are shopping for the coming school year, please check here because you might win something!

Good luck to all and ENJOY!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

MommyMaestra Mid-Summer Update


I just wanted to pop in and give you all an update to let you know that I'll be taking a break for the next week as I prepare for my annual Back-to-School Fiesta, which starts in August.

If you are an education company or business owner, and would be interested in participating in this year's fiesta, feel free to reach out to me via email or my contact form.

In the meantime, you'll still be able to find me over in the Facebook group Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers.

Thanks for your patience. And come back in August for some fabulous giveaways to help families get started with school at home!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What It Means to Be a Teacher


Teachers. 

Right now, teachers from public, private, and charter schools are having a real time of it. So many of them are feeling the pressure to get back into the classroom in the middle of a pandemic and put their lives at risk. They are being asked to seriously consider what it means to be a teacher.

Our teachers are community heroes. And as they navigate these difficult times and make difficult decisions, we need to support them. 

What It Means to Be a Teacher - excerpt


I spotted this book in the pile next to my desk. After opening it and reading the entries, I knew I wanted to share it with you. 

What It Means to Be a Teacher (aff) is a small book dedicated to celebrating teachers. Inside are 150 entries that are meant to uplift or encourage teachers when they're having a rough day. 

What It Means to Be a Teacher - excerpt

This book is a vibrant and amusing way of recognizing the many hats that teachers wear as nurses, counselors, coaches, PR specialists, librarians, technology experts, writers and SO much more.

All the entries are presented so creatively that you could literally tear the pages of this book out and frame them to give as gifts. But the real gift is the book itself which is page after page of quotes that will make teachers laugh and smile. 

If you are looking for a way to tell your child's teacher(s) how much you appreciate them, then this is a lovely heartfelt gift that you can mail to them. 

What It Means to Be a Teacher - excerpt

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Free Bilingual Homeschool Planner



With so much uncertainty surrounding the coming school year, a lot of parents are looking seriously at homeschooling their children. We've been busy on our new Facebook group for Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers. A lot of our members are thinking about homeschooling this coming school year and are asking questions. We're there to encourage and support you!

Between the launch of the new group and the sudden realization that the MommyMaestra FB page has hit a milestone - more than 10K followers! - I wanted to celebrate by offering something of value to my followers. So I've taken my Bilingual Homeschool Planner and am offering it via my newsletter. And, yes, it has both English and Spanish pages.

If you'd like your copy, sign up! This month only, new subscribers to my monthly newsletter will immediately get to download their copy. If you are already a subscriber to the newsletter, keep an eye on your email this weekend. I'll send out the download then.

This free download is for the black-and-white, printer-friendly versions of the planner. If you want the full-color version, you can find it here in my online shop.

Thanks to everyone for supporting MommyMaestra and the resources we share!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Free Download: El Parque y Colores


Are you able to get out of the house where you live? I have a lot of friends who are making trips to their local parks with their kids (and masks!) to get out of the house. But I do have other friends who are really missing their park trips because they've been closed.

If either of these two situations sounds like you, make sure you check out this month's free download from MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You! 

This month's freebie is all about learning the colors... and trips to the park! The four-page file includes an instruction page and vocabulary list, picture and color cards, a speaking activity page, and a Speak, Listen, Do activity (with a discount code for any Spanish for You! purchases!). There's also an audio file to help with pronunciation.


Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!




Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers

For a couple of years, now, I've been dragging my feet. It's been apparent to me for a while that Hispanic and bilingual homeschoolers need one national group where we can ask questions and get support from each other. I'm talking about answers to questions not normally found in other homeschooling groups, such as where to find bilingual materials, how to incorporate culture into our lessons, where to find co-ops with other Hispanic or Latino families, and how to find basic homeschool information.

With this crazy pandemic, the need for this group finally overwhelmed me. So I have finally gotten my act together and asked a few other Latina homeschooling moms to help me get this group off the ground.

I'm happy to announce that today, we are launching the Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers group on Facebook. Are you looking for answers, curricula, or simple support? Come and join us!

Our mission statement:
Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers is a supportive community which brings together homeschooling families from across the United States and the world. We work to provide information and support among homeschoolers in our community and oppose any kind of discrimination. Our mission is to inspire and support homeschooling parents, caregivers, and educators raising the next generation of global citizens. We do this by creating educational and parenting content which celebrates Hispanic and Latinx cultures, languages, and belief systems and by promoting diversity in all its forms while recognizing our common concerns and dreams for our children.
We aren't there to criticize members in the group or others outside of it. We're here to help each other succeed in our journeys to homeschool our children, whatever the reason may be. 

If you are a Hispanic or bilingual homeschooler - newbie or veteran - we would love for you to join us and ask questions or share advice. We even have a few giveaways to celebrate our launch!

Abrazo!

Monica


Monday, June 29, 2020

Summer Reading Book Packs Available

Like so many others, I've been cleaning the house during our self-imposed quarantine. It's allowing me time to reorganize and purge in preparation for the next school year.

And while I was cleaning the bookshelves next to my desk, I realized that I have accrued a LOT of books to review for MommyMaestra or other sites over the years. Most of them are like new. And I did buy specific titles to sell in my online shop simply because I enjoy them and think they're great for kids.

So instead of hauling them off to my local used bookstore or selling them on Amazon, I thought that I would give MommyMaestra readers first pick. I have clumped them into packs. I will not sell individual books. I honestly don't have time to make a million trips to the post office to mail them. So I have put some of the ones from my shelves into summer reading packs that are grouped by reading age.

If you are interested, click on the link for each pack.

Enjoy the summer reading! (Or use them next school year?)


Summer Reading Pack #1

For preschool & early elementary

Includes the following books:


  1. The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote by Tony Johnston, illust. by Tomie dePaola
  2. The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos by Lucía González, illust. by Lulu Delacre
  3. Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers, illust by Julie Maren
  4. The Park Our Town Built / El parque que nuestro pueblo construyó by Diane Gonzalez Bertrand
  5. Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya, illust. by G. Brian Karas (not shown)



Summer Reading Pack #2

For kids ages 8 - 12

Includes the following books:

  1. From Farmworker to Astronaut/De campesino a astronauta by José M. Hernández (Bilingual)
  2. The Shameless Shenanigans of Mister Malo/Las terríbles travesuras de Mister Malo by Alidis Vicente (Bilingual)
  3. The Taco Magician and Other Poems for Kids/El mago de los tacos y otros poemas para niños by Diane Gonzalez Bertrand (Bilingual)
  4. Vincent Ventura and the Mystery of the Witch Owl/Vincent Ventura y el misterio de la bruja lechuza by Xavier Garza (Bilingual)
  5. Ghost Fever/Mal de fantasma by Joe Hayes (Bilingual)
  6. Hammer of Witches by Shana Mlawski (English only)


Summer Reading Pack #3

For TEENS or YOUNG ADULTS (or ADULTS!) only. These two books are in SPANISH ONLY. They're hardbacks that are harder to find in bookstores.

This pack features two Spanish titles by the wonderful Isabel Allende:

  1. El bosque de los pigmeos
  2. El reino del dragón de oro



Summer Reading Pack #4

For teens and young adults.

Includes the following books:


  1. Drawn to You by Janel Rodriguez Ferrer
  2. Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  3. All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  4. Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall



Summer Reading Pack #5

For teens and young adults.

These contain adult themes, so keep that in mind. Includes the following books:


  1. On the Other Side by Ray Villareal
  2. Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez
  3. Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera


Thursday, June 25, 2020

It's National Pollinator Week!

© Can Stock Photo - artjazz

National Pollinator Week? What's that?

This week, all across the U.S., states are celebrating National Pollinator Week. This is the time for celebrating these remarkable creatures by creating friendly outdoor environments for them and spreading the word about the important role they play.

2020 has been THE year of the garden. Everyone I know seems to be growing their own vegetables or spending more time landscaping their yards thanks to the pandemic and (self) quarantine. We are no exception, though we typically garden throughout the year. So a lot of people are looking at making their gardens pollinator friendly... for the benefit of their gardens.

Pollinators help plants reproduce by transferring pollen between flowers and sometimes between plants. Pollen is produced by the male parts of a flower. When it transfers to the female part of a plant, fertilization happens and seeds are produced. For those of us growing vegetable gardens, this results in beautiful fruits and vegetables.

There are many types of pollinators, but the most common ones are bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats. (Honey bees alone are an essential part of our commercial crops. They're responsible for more than 15 billion dollars worth of fruits, nuts, and vegetables!)

Plants go to a lot of effort to attract pollinators. They produce flowers of different shapes, colors, and fragrances. For example, long tubular red and purple flowers are preferred by hummingbirds who use their long bills to drink the nectar deep inside.

Ah, the nectar! That's the plant's most precious lure and reward for pollinators who cannot resist the sweet liquid.

Some pollinators are very specialized. The squash bee, for instance, only feeds on squash, pumpkin, and gourd flowers.

But pollinators, in general, are endangered. Pesticides, especially, have had a harmful effect on pollinator populations.

Which is why we celebrate National Pollinator Week.


And as part of my way of celebrating, I've created a printable information sheet and coloring page that the kids can color while learning which type of flowers attract different pollinators. Click here to download them.


And don't forget that I have a free board game you can download and print, too. It's a sample activity from my larger Bees of the World Packet.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Homeschooling vs. Distance Learning: What's the Difference?



I can't tell you how many times I saw people complaining on Facebook toward the end of the school year about how much they hated homeschooling. But upon further reading, they talked about how stressful the zoom meetings were or how they didn't understand what the teacher was expecting or couldn't figure out the assignments.

This isn't homeschooling. It's distance learning. And the two are VERY different.

Distance learning is any form of remote learning where the student is not present at school but is being taught through communication with the school/teacher. Correspondence courses are a typical form of distance learning. They typically grade the assignments and keep track of all their grades.

Homeschooling is when a parent or other caregiver is physically present in the home and actively teaching the student. It is HOME education and the biggest difference is that the caregiver (usually a parent) is the primary educator.

Oh, sure, homeschoolers can take online courses or even attend classes outside the home (in a co-op, or at a museum/zoo/gallery, etc.). In fact, most homeschoolers have very active schedules outside the home. For example, last year, in addition to his school work at home, my homeschooled 14 yo had Civil Air Patrol meetings on Tuesday nights, taekwondo classes on Wednesday mornings, and we attended a homeschool co-op on Fridays where he took Texas History, World Geography, Drawing, and Spanish. When it was closed because of COVID, he finished the first two classes on Zoom.

But the difference is that I remained his primary teacher, overseeing all of his classes, teaching the majority, making sure that he completed assignments for all of his classes, and keeping track of all his grades. His main schooling was done at home.

Many of you are thinking about keeping your kids home this fall. And you are thinking about how your kids are going to learn.

If you enroll your child in an online program (a public school course that teaches everything), then you'll be doing distance learning.

If you yourself, buy a curriculum that you will teach or help teach and you are keeping track of your child's assignments and grades, then you will be homeschooling.

To be clear, even if you have a high schooler, who can pretty much do most of the work on their own, you'll still be homeschooling if you are keeping track of grades and assignments and oversee their transcript (even if you have someone else put it together).

I hope this clears everything up!

Friday, June 19, 2020

3 Things to Do to Start Homeschooling

© Can Stock Photo / jolopes

It's time to talk about beginning homeschool. So many people are looking ahead to the fall and realizing that given the current state of things with the pandemic, there's a good chance that schools may not reopen and many don't feel safe sending their child to school.

If this sounds like you, then it is time to start preparing to homeschool. Here are the steps that I recommend you take to get started.

This post may contain affiliate links.

1) Research


Once you have decided to take the leap and homeschool your kid(s), then the first thing you need to do is a little research so that you can make some decisions. 

I wanted to share this list of the posts I wrote right after I started MommyMaestra. These all reflect the things I thought about or learned when we were starting. And there are also some posts from guests who contributed their perspective and tips for navigating homeschool as Latino parents.

So if you are thinking about homeschooling your child, these are all good posts to read to prepare yourself. 
All these and so much more are included in my book, The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling. You can find it on Amazon (aff link)...




2) Decide on a Homeschool Method


Or a combination of methods. Don't worry. It isn't set in stone. You may discover that what you thought you would enjoy most isn't actually what works best for you and/or your child. But we all have to start somewhere, no? So carefully review my post with a brief description of homeschooling methods. Think about what your child enjoys and see if you can find one that appeals to you. You might even ask your kids what they think and include them in the decision.


3) Look for a Curriculum


Honestly, THE BEST ADVICE I got when I first started was to get a complete curriculum. I can't remember if I bought one gently used on eBay or if a homeschooling friend lent me theirs after they were done. But either way, this absolutely 100% helped ME understand my child better and made teaching so much easier. I learned what was a realistic amount of time was for my child to spend on any one subject - it was WAY shorter than what I was trying to make her do! I also learned how to teach and what to teach. 

If you pick a particular homeschool method, you can easily Google it plus the word curriculum. The one thing I want to recommend is that you ALWAYS download the sample pages that the program offers so that you can see what it is like before you buy it. Even if you buy it on eBay, go first to the publisher's website and download the samples.

For a complete curriculum, here are some of the more popular ones with curricula for PreK - 12th grade:


Again, these complete NEW curricula can be very expensive. But homeschoolers often take good care of their curricula so that they can resell it as soon as they are done. So look for gently used ones available on eBay or also on Facebook homeschool buy/sell/trade groups.


4) Familiarize Yourself


I know. I know. I said three things. I'm sneaking in a fourth, but really it could be part of #3. 

This is actually just a reminder. After you've purchased your first curriculum and received it in the mail, go ahead and open it and look through it yourself BEFORE you start teaching. Don't be surprised. Read through the first few lessons in their entirety so you can get an idea of what will be happening.

Con mucho cariño...

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