Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bilingual Easter-Themed Activity Pages for Preschool


I've got several new projects in the works, one of which I can't wait to share with you. But it's not quite done yet. So in the meantime, I'm happy to announce that I have a new more comprehensive Easter-themed activity pack available for your little preschoolers!

I felt like I needed to replace the older Easter worksheets I'd made a few years ago. And since lots of MM readers are always writing me asking about preschool resources, I decided to expand the file with additional activities that help develop those skills your children should be learning in preschool to prepare for Kindergarten.


I really wanted to incorporate Latino culture in the packet, so in addition to the Easter Bunny and Easter chicks, you'll also find activities that feature one of my favorite Hispanic traditions: cascarones!

This packet is heavy on developing number recognition through fun counting activities. You'll also find pages that help your child recognize patterns and shapes.


And I didn't forget those vocabulary and pre-writing skills! Strengthen pencil grip and beginning letter recognition with tracing activities.

There are 10 pages of different activities and they are available in both English and Spanish so you can choose the ones that best suit your needs.

You can find this new packet both in my TpT store and here on MommyMaestra in my new shop.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tips for Homeschooling with Toddlers & Newborns Underfoot



When I wrote a post debunking some of the myths surrounding homeschooling, this was a comment that a reader left:

hs with toddlers.png

It is such a good question because I know many parents are nervous about trying to homeschool school-age children when they have demanding and busy little toddlers or babies in the house, too.

The main thing is to spend time with the little one first doing a special activity like reading or playing together. Little ones crave one-on-one time with Mami (and/or Papi), so before you focus on your older kids, give your younger ones the attention they crave.

Then there are quite a few options that homeschoolers use:

Purchase a no-prep curriculum (or one that requires little preparation on your part).


Your older child should be able to get out and complete at least one or more activities/subjects on their own. This is even easier when you buy a no-prep curriculum. Don’t get me wrong: no-prep doesn’t mean you don’t spend time helping and guiding your child. It just means that you don’t have to spend a lot of time getting materials ready for class. And older children should be able to read the directions and begin the work on their own.


Plan your lesson time around your younger children's naptime.


If you have your baby or toddler on a consistent naptime schedule, then you may be able to use this quiet time to teach your young student. Even if your baby doesn’t sleep long enough for you to finish homeschooling, try to concentrate the more difficult subjects that require your active input during this time.


Create a "quiet time" box of goodies.


This would include special toys that your younger children can ONLY play with while you are doing school with your homeschool child. Keep them in a large tote or several boxes that you can switch out during the week. Make sure the toys aren’t noisy or obnoxious. Things like play-doh, LEGOs, pipe cleaners, sensory bin, lacing activities, and special art materials make good choices.


Invite the younger child to "do school" with you.


Give them their own assignment(s) - drawing, coloring, playing with clay. Usually, this only works for one activity because their attention span is so short, but you might be able to squeeze 15 - 20 minutes out of them and then give them a snack that you prepared earlier. That's another 10 - 15 minutes.


Don't be afraid to take breaks.


You don't have to sit down and knock out the whole day's worth of work in one sitting. Maybe you focus on math and reading in the morning and science and geography after lunch. Some families find the evenings work best for homeschooling, when both parents may be home to take turns watching young children.


Invest in a good baby wrap or sling.


Little babies can stay content for an amazingly long time nestled against mom's chest in a baby sling. Musical boucy chairs and high chairs are also great for keeping baby safe and nearby while you work with your child. If they are old enough, teething rings and toys are good for entertainment.


Hire a Mother's Helper.


I've never done this, but I've read of homeschool families who do. This might be a teenager or adult who spends time watching the younger children while you are focused on your older child's schooling. They may read to the little ones, play with them, feed them, etc.


Other suggestions:


Jamerrill Stewart of FreeHomeschoolDeals.com says that she has her kids play outside for 30 minutes to 2 hours before starting school.

Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool switches off and has older children take turns playing with babies/toddlers while she works with first one child and then the other.

And check out Lauren Hill’s comprehensive Pinterest board dedicated to this subject.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Free Art Lesson: Ladders in Art

A few years ago, I was fortunate to be able to share with you "Teaching Art to Preschool and Early Elementary Age Children," a guest post by art educator Sharon Jeffus, the founder of Visual Manna. Today, I welcome her back to MommyMaestra with an original lesson for MM readers. Enjoy!

Ladders in Art 

by Sharon Jeffus  
Copyright 2017

Younger children enjoy looking at master artwork.  Verbal skills are enhanced as they talk about the artwork.  An art project relating to the masterwork develops their fine motor skills and enhances language skills as well.  Teaching vertical and horizontal line is important.  A ladder is very basic and simple in structure.  In a ladder, we see vertical and horizontal lines. The line is the first element of art.


One of my favorite pictures of a ladder is this picture of the professor standing on the ladder by Carl Spitzweg.  He calls the wonderful picture “The Bookworm.”

“The Bookworm” by Carl Spitzweg

Do you think this man loves to read?  Can you guess how many books are in the picture?  It is fun to imagine.  Long ago some people had libraries full of books in their home.  You might see a ladder in a home or library, or you might see a ladder beside a tree.  August Macke did the painting below of a man climbing a ladder.  How many people do you see in the picture?  What is the lady doing?  Sometimes someone will hold a ladder to steady the person climbing it.  Do you think that there is a cat in the tree?  Why?

 "Obsternte" by August Macke

Ladders have been used for hundreds of years.  The man on the ladder below lived long ago.  The picture was done by an artist called Signorelli in the 1500’s.  What is the man doing on the ladder below?  What do you see in the background?  Things in the foreground are larger and things in the background are smaller.  Do you any cars in the picture?  Why? Do you see the horse in the background?  Do you think the man is building something?

'Man on a Ladder' by Luca Signorelli

We are going to do a picture of a ladder together.  We will make a tree first and then we will make a ladder next to the tree.  You will need paper, pencil and crayons or markers.  We are going to start with the letter “Y” and create a tree.  Follow the directions below to make a tree with a ladder.  It is an apple tree.  When you draw a ladder, you make two vertical lines.  A vertical line stands straight and tall.  You then put horizontal lines to connect the vertical lines.  Horizontal lines are flat.  The teacher can also cut strips of paper and the children can paste the ladder together.



To learn how to make this tree in all the different seasons, go to my lesson here.

There is also a Bible story about a famous ladder.  You can go here to read about it.

You can go to my website at visualmanna.com to learn about teaching programs available.

--------------------------------------

Sharon Jeffus graduated from John Brown University with a B.S.E. in Art Education and is the founder of Visual Manna. She has written over 22 books and has created the Visual Manna Teaching method which incorporates the elements and principles of art, art history and a variety of techniques in media along with each lesson. You can go to visualmanna.com for more information. Her books and materials are carried by Rainbow Resources.

You can email her at visualmanna@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

¡Todos a comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book


This is a sponsored book post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It may use affiliate links.

I have a soft spot for abecedarios. I just love books that teach the alphabet to kids... especially when they are bilingual! And today's book has one more bonus: culture. 

¡Todos a comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book (aff) is so much fun. It includes one food or dish for each letter of the Spanish alphabet (with the exception of W). The layout of each page consists of a delicious picture with Spanish text on the top and English on the bottom. 

The photos are colorful and feature some of the most popular dishes in Mexican cuisine. There are history lessons embedded in the short descriptions that will give parents additional topics to discuss.

Parents can read to their children or older children can read it on their own. This book makes a great read aloud and I love how it encourages communication between the readers. Each food description ends with a question designed to make young minds think for extended learning.
 

And just for fun, the author has included a picture glossary in the back of the book of Mexican cooking utensils, such as a comal, a cazuela, a molinillo and others.

Families with young children should have a growing collection of books at home to be read over and over to their little ones. And for those with children learning to read, a set of alphabet books - or abecedarios - are a must! They allow children to see how letters are used in different ways and how they make up the basis of our language. Alphabet books develop literacy skills and help prepare children to begin the process of learning to read. So it is imporant to have abecedarios that are fun, colorful, and engaging. ¡Todos a comer! does just that. 

But don't be surprised if you find yourself feeling hungry after you read it!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Celebrate Mr. Rogers' Birthday with PBS {Free Download}





Did you know that today is Fred Rogers' birthday? He would have been 89 years old. When I was a kid, I rarely missed an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I loved learning about how things were made in those little video clips he often showed and I was positively enthralled by Lady Aberlin in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

As an adult and a parent, I have a totally different view and a profound respect for Rogers' advocacy for children and education. He testified in court and before the U.S. Senate on behalf of children's programming. Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, some forty honorary degrees, and a Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, was recognized by two Congressional resolutions, and was ranked No. 35 among TV Guide's Fifty Greatest TV Stars of All Time. Several buildings and artworks in Pennsylvania are dedicated to his memory, and the Smithsonian Institution displays one of his trademark sweaters as a "Treasure of American History."

To celebrate Fred's legacy and encourage fans to share their personal stories of how Fred, PBS and member stations have positively impacted them, PBS will be celebrating his life all day today on their social media. Be sure to keep an eye out for their posts!

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a new animated show on PBS KIDS based on one of Rogers' characters in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Today, there's a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Trolley-themed takeover of pbskids.org and a special new Trolley kart in PBS KIDS' online world Kart Kingdom (now also available as a free app for iPad).

They've also created these new Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood iOS stickers and added them to the free PBS KIDS sticker pack. You can download them here:




Disclosure: I'm a PBS KIDS Ambassador, which allows me to share special news and materials with my readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Magic Tree House Classroom Challenge

This year, the Magic Tree House will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. Hard to believe, isn't it?!? The popular series is just as fun to read today as it was back then. To celebrate, MTH invites students and teachers around the world to participate in their Magic Tree House Read Around the World Classroom Challenge!

If you are raising global citizens, you probably are already familiar with this series, which has books with settings all across the world. So participating in the challenge is easy. According to the website:
  • Magic Tree House adventures take place all over the world. Together, set a goal for how many titles you would like to read about each continent. The books can be read alone, in pairs or groups, with older reading buddies, or read aloud by you. As you help students select books, keep in mind that there are now three distinct lines in the series that are explained on the back of this page.
  • Download the starter materials. Hang up the poster to record your students’ progress and place the accompanying seals on each continent on the map as reading goals are met. Hand out the enclosed Progress Tracker Cards to each student, which you can use to track their individual progress.
  • Once you’ve reached your goal, take a photograph of the poster and upload it here along with an official submission.
  • You will receive a confirmation that you and your students are official Magic Tree House World Travelers and a certificate of achievement will be e-mailed to you.

Three random classrooms will be selected to receive:
  • A Skype classroom visit with Magic Tree House author Mary Pope Osborne
  • A class pizza party to celebrate their achievement
  • A full set of Magic Tree House books

To sign up and download the materials, visit the Magic Tree House Teacher's Club website.




.,.and in Spanish (like these)!
(aff links)



And don't forget that I do have an activity kit to accompany your reading of the first three books in the Magic Tree House series. It's available in English and Spanish. Click here to read more about it and to download a free sample.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spanish Movies with English Subtitles for Classrooms


A week or so ago, a thread popped up in a Facebook group asking for movies in Spanish with English subtitles that were appropriate for classroom settings. There were some interesting suggestions that some teachers shared. So I decided to do a little research and this is what I found.

IMPORTANT: Many of these movies are made in other countries. It is imperative that you watch the movie before showing it to your students so that you can check for any inappropriate content and take note that some trailers before the movie may also be inappropriate!! I've tried my best to only select movies that are family friendly, but I have not seen all of them.

This post uses affiliate links.


Atlético San Pancho


A group of kids has a dream: to play a soccer championship and to win. Their dream is going to be fulfilled by Don Pepe, an old guy with lots of expectations for his kids.
Rated: Unrated

NOTE: This movie has been highly recommended by Spanish teachers. Read the reviews on Amazon.


The Harvest/La Cosecha


Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools, and homes to pick the food we all eat. Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida's tomato fields to follow the harvest. From the Producers of the Academy-Award® nominated film, WAR/DANCE and Executive Producer Eva Longoria, this award-winning documentary provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America.
Rated: Unrated



Viva Cuba


In a tale akin to Romeo and Juliet, the friendship between two children is threatened by their parents' differences. Malu is from an upper-class family and her single mother does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background coarse and commonplace. Jorgito's mother, a poor socialist proud of her family's social standing, places similar restrictions on her son. What neither woman recognizes is the immense strength of the bond between Malu and Jorgito. When the children learn that Malu's mother is planning to leave Cuba, they decide to travel to the other side of the island to find Malu's father and persuade him against signing the forms that would allow it.
Rated: Unrated


Which Way Home


This award-winning film and Academy Award nominee takes viewers along on freight trains with children from Mexico and Central America who are trying to get across the U.S. border and to a better life. Cammisa captures children begging for food, hopping the trains, and clinging to the tops of their dangerous rides. The film crew is so close to the action, viewers can almost feel the train lurch. While the journey itself is wrenching and suspenseful, Cammisa's best decision was to allow the travelers--adolescents without money, adult supervision, or basic human comforts--to do most of the talking. Their guileless recounting of how they came to be riding "The Beast" and what they hope for makes this an exceptional program. The risks of this activity are highlighted through the introduction of a young woman who lost her legs and a family that receives a coffin bearing the decomposed remains of a son who died on the trip. The film offers no solution but illustrates with each frame that finding one is crucial. Viewers who are moved to get involved can do so through the website www.whichwayhome.net. Bonus features include deleted scenes and English and Spanish versions of the film. Strongly recommended for children's and immigration advocacy groups and general viewers.
Rated: Unrated



Under The Same Moon (la Misma Luna)


In her feature film debut; director Patricia Riggen weaves their parallel stories into a vividly textured tapestry of yearning and devotion that portrays a child's courage and tenacity, and a mother's sacrifice. Nine-year-old Carlos aka Carlitos (Alonso) is one of the countless children left behind by parents who come to the U.S. seeking a way to provide for their families. His mother; Rosario (del Castillo) has worked illegally as a domestic in Los Angeles for four years; sending money home to her son and mother to give them a chance at a better life. When the death of his grandmother leaves young Carlitos alone; he takes his fate into his own hands and heads north across the border to find his mother. As he journeys from his rural Mexican village to the L.A. barrio; Carlitos faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles with a steely determination and unfettered optimism that earn him the grudging respect and affection of a reluctant protector; a middle-aged migrant worker named Enrique (Derbez). The unlikely pair finds its way from Tucson to East L.A., but the only clue Carlitos has to his mother's whereabouts is her description of the street corner from which she has called him each Sunday for the last four years. Unaware that Rosario is only hours away from returning to Mexico to be with her son; Carlitos and Enrique desperately comb the vast unfamiliar city for a place he has seen only in his imagination.
Rated: PG-13


A Better Life


Carlos Galindo always dreamed of a better life for his wife and newborn son when he crossed the border into the US.  But when his wife left him, Carlos's only goal became to make sure his son Luis was given the opportunities he never had. 

From the director of About A Boy comes a touching, multi-generational story that follows father and son as they embark on a physical and spiritual journey where they discover that family is the most important part of the American dream.
Rated: PG-13


El Estudiante


After retiring to the beautiful Mexican town of Guanajuato, a 70-year-old decides to follow his dreams and enroll at the university where he stumbles upon a new generation and they are bound together by the novel Don Quijote de la Mancha.
Rated: PG-13


The Colors of the Mountain


Young Manuel lives with his hard-working farmer parents in the remote, mountainous region of the Colombian countryside. While the adults in their lives try to avoid both the armed military and the guerrilla rebels fighting each other in the area, Manuel and his friend Julián are obsessed with playing soccer any chance they get. Shortly after his birthday, the new ball Manuel received as a gift gets kicked off to a minefield, and he, Julián and their albino friend Poca Luz will do everything in their power to recover their prized belonging an essential part of their everyday lives and dreams.
Rated: Unrated

**Note: The reviews on Amazon say this is a great movie but is very sad. Be sure to watch it yourself first to determine it if is okay for kids!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Child Safety Laws Along I-95

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Did you know that each state may have different rules regarding children's car seats and seat belts? And, technically, it is up to us to be aware of each state's law if we are traveling with our children. It would be so much easier to just have it one way for everyone, because, come on, our children's lives don't mean more in one state and less in another.

Here is an infographic to help you know what is expected in each state along the East Coast and I-95 corridor. Click on the menu bar at the top of it then hover over each state to learn its requirements.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Homeschooling Older Kids


Homeschooling older children is a bit different from teaching the younger ones in Pre-K through 3rd grade simply because they are able to do so much more on their own without your help. And this is exactly what you want. Our goal is to foster their ability to learn independently while being available to give instructions and guidance or answer questions when needed. This does not mean you simply hand your kids their work and walk away. On the contrary; your input is not only critical for their continued success, but your children still need and want that personal interaction with you.

This step back is a relief for some parents, especially those who may be worrying that they cannot possibly teach a particular subject. I wasn’t too excited at the idea of having to teach my children math because I struggled with it when I was in school. And I have a friend who was totally stressed out about teaching her soon-to-be high schoolers science for the same reason.

I found ways to work around that fear. I found a computer math curriculum that does all the work: It teaches the student through lectures, helps them practice what they’ve learned, gives periodic quizzes, and keeps track of their grades all in one go. (See Teaching Textbooks aff link)

There are still times when my daughter needs a specific concept explained better, in which case I just go online to find videos or sites that can explain it in such a way that we both understand. Sometimes I have my kid teach ME (which is a super sneaky way to get her to enjoy learning because she loves teaching me something I don’t know!). Khan Academy is also an excellent resource for parents and students alike. And you know what? I found that as an adult, I am better able to understand complicated formulas than I was a child so my kid isn’t the only one learning!

Homeschool co-ops, museums, and online programs also offer classes in specific subjects. So if you are worried about science, you might prefer to enroll your child in an online class that they can stream. Or send them to a class with other homeschool students.

We also still do read alouds on a regular basis. Just because my kids can read on their own doesn’t mean that they still don’t benefit greatly from the time I spend reading to them. Studies show that older children’s reading level doesn’t catch up to their listening level until about 8th grade. So reading to older children helps them become better readers. And it also motivates them to read on their own. Children (and adults!) become much more engaged and emotionally invested in stories other people tell them. I can see it in my kids when we read remarkable books aloud, such as Don Quixote, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and The Little Pilgrim’s Progress.


If you have a teen, I recommend you get the book, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens (aff) by Deb Bell. From middle school through high school, this book is a wealth of information and resources, including forms you’ll need and tips for preparing for college.

The amount of school work and the complexity of it will increase, as well. Now's the time to be actively preparing for college, if you aren't already. You may be thinking about AP classes, volunteer work, building a portfolio, and more.

Another thing to keep in mind: your homeschool schedule may change a bit as your teen matures. All those raging hormones will be keeping your teen up later at night and sleeping in longer in the morning. That extra hour or two of sleep in the morning will actually benefit your teen and make it easier for him/her to focus on his/her studies (and make their mood swings a bit less dramatic).

This is also a time where your child can begin to seriously explore their passions. Photography classes, graphic design, landscaping, architecture...there are so many opportunities available thanks to museums, community colleges, professional clubs, and online websites.

I can’t stress this enough: Remember that you don’t have to teach your child all of the subjects yourself. Don’t feel pressured to do so. Use the numerous resources and tools that are now available in communities and online. You just have to oversee that they get covered. You don’t have to know all the answers, but you do need to be able to find the answers when need be.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Burbujas en el pelo de Jon Jon

This is a sponsored book post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It may use affiliate links.

So I have to tell you that I get inundated with requests from authors and publishers to share their books on MommyMaestra. There is a gigantic pile of books next to my desk and I could quite easily spend all of my time simply writing book reviews. But there's a lot more to homeschooling than just reading books, so to make sure that I have time to write about other materials, I've scaled back to (mostly) sponsored book reviews that run at most once a week. I want to be clear, however, that I ONLY agree to share books that I think are well written and that I feel will interest my readers.

Burbujas en el pelo de Jon Jon (aff) is one of these. When the author reached out to me, I agreed to take a look. And I was so pleasantly delighted by the book when it arrived! Ingrid Aranzamendi Rivera was born and raised in Puerto Rico. And her mastery of Spanish is obvious. I always get requests from MommyMaestra readers asking me for original stories in Spanish that are NOT translations. This is a perfect example.

Spanish-speaking parents of children 8 years old and younger will enjoy reading this story to their children. It's the somewhat fantastical tale of a young boy who doesn't heed his mother's advice to be sure and rinse away all the shampoo in his hair. She says...



And he experiences the consequences!



This is Ingrid's first book, and the rhythm and rhymes are vivid and enchanting. She clearly is a native speaker and an excellent storyteller.

The illustrations are by Tirzah Pieters-Kwiers Benítez, a general biology student at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao. They are a unique blend of watercolors and digital images that combine to enrich the storyline.

This story was such a pleasure to read! I recommend it to all bilingual families with young children.


OPPORTUNITY!!


This book is available in both a paperback and digital format. I am told that readers can download a free promo eBook on Amazon beginning (tomorrow!) Saturday, March 11th, through March 15th. Click here to get yours! (aff)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Free Download: Women's History Month Trading Cards



Yesterday was International Women's Day and this month is Women's History Month. So naturally, I have been thinking a lot about the remarkable women in my life and those who have had an impact on world history.

I had such a great time working with Multicultural Kid Blogs on a new no-prep reading packet featuring 20 women in world history, that I felt inspired to update a free printable I created last year. This set of trading card templates now features 20 women (instead of 18) and complements the women featured in the reading packet. There's still room for your child to fill out the details under each figure, and I've included a blank sheet in case your child prefers to choose their own historical figures. And all of them are available in full color or a printer-friendly, black-and-white version.

From Cleopatra to Harriet Tubman to Malala Yousafzai, these trading cards are a way for you to introduce your children to a diverse group of influential women. Six Hispanic women are included: Isabel Allende, Celia Cruz, Sor Juana de la Cruz, Frida Kahlo, Ellen Ochoa, and Queen Isabella I.


In addition, I'm super happy to be participating in MKB's annual Women in World History series!

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs

You can join us for this series, which celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don't miss our series from 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women's History board on Pinterest


March 1 modernmami on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 3 Reasons Why We Celebrate Women's History Month 
March 2 The Jenny Evolution: More Children's Books About Amazing Women 
March 3 Colours of Us: 32 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models 
March 6 modernmami: 103 Children's Books for Women's History Month 
March 7 A Crafty Arab: The Arab Woman Who Carved Exquisite Beauty into Science 
March 8 Hispanic Mama: 5 Children's Books About Latina Women 
March 9 MommyMaestra 
March 10 MommyMaestra on Multicultural Kid Blogs 
March 13 Crafty Moms Share 
March 14 Mama Smiles 
March 15 Bookworms and Owls
March 16 Creative World of Varya 
March 20 La Cité des Vents on Multicultural Kid Blogs 
March 21 Pura Vida Moms 
March 22 Melibelle in Tokyo 
March 23 All Done Monkey 
March 24 playexplorelearn 
March 27 Family in Finland 
March 28 the piri-piri lexicon 
March 30 Let the Journey Begin

Don't miss our Women's History Month Activity Printables, on sale now!

Women's History Month Activity Printables

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Free Download: Fill Your Grocery Cart Game in Spanish



Happy March, MM Readers! It's time for a new download from MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You! This month, the focus is on a trip to the grocery store. Your young Spanish learner will discover new vocabulary related to grocery shopping with this fun game.

This printable 4-page activity comes with an audio file for learning proper pronunciation. The game includes a game board (not shown), game pieces, and picture cards. The first player to fill their cart with all the grocery items wins!



Before or after the game, you may also enjoy reading: 
(aff links)

• Abuelita fue al mercado: My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone


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!

Monday, March 6, 2017

8 Advantages of Homeschooling


Families homeschool for a number of reasons and all of them have to do with the advantages to their children and/or families.


You can nurture your child’s bilingualism and biculturalism.


Not everyone has the opportunity to enroll their child in a language immersion program. But for many parents, passing on their heritage - including the language - is extremely important. While there are not many Spanish-language homeschool curricula available, there is a growing collection of bilingual resources that parents can use or create on their own to help them raise bilingual kids.


You can foster positive family relationships.


For most Latinos, nothing is more important than family. So homeschooling is often a perfect fit! The reality is that many families in the U.S. actually decide to homeschool to nurture a close relationship between family members. Close families may simply enjoy spending time together and love learning together. Other parents can see that their relationship with their child(ren) needs work or is suffering as a result of outside influences and a lack of time spent together, so they choose homeschooling as a way to reverse the situation and improve family ties.


You can travel!


Homeschooling doesn’t necessarily happen at home. Some families who travel a lot take their lessons on the road. Even if you do the majority of your teaching at home, as I do, it is absolutely wonderful not to be restricted to a spring or summer break schedule in order to take family trips. My husband’s work often requires him to travel and we frequently join him. Those trips are usually educational for my kids anyway, but I love that we can just pick up and go without worrying about whether or not my kids will be penalized for it by their school. Last fall, we traveled to Europe for a conference my husband had to attend. And we went a week early to spend time with my family in Spain. It was the trip of a lifetime in which my children learned so much and it was an experience they will NEVER forget. I’m so thankful our homeschool schedule made this three-week trip possible.

Oh, and another bonus is that many popular vacation spots are cheaper and way less crowded during the school year!


You can help protect your child.


Is your child dealing with bullies at school? Are you worried they might be in physical danger? Are drugs or alcohol or porn/sexual pressure a constant threat at your child’s school? All of these are legitimate reasons to change schools. Sadly, parents don’t always have that option. But homeschooling can certainly be a lifesaver in these cases!!


You can give them a better education.


If you are unhappy with your local schools and want a better education for your child, homeschool may be the answer. You might not have access to the fancy tools that many schools have, but studies show it is the one-on-one instruction time that actually makes the biggest difference in what and how much a child learns. And there are many options for homeschoolers now with museums and libraries loaning expensive equipment to homeschool families, or offering special classes just for homeschool students.


You can tailor your lessons to complement their learning style.


If your child is really struggling at school, it may be because he or she learns best in a way that is different from how they are being taught. For example, your son may learn best with hands-on activities, but the school focuses on teaching through textbooks and lectures. Homeschooling allows you to teach your child in the way that they learn best. And if you have more than one child, you can even modify your teaching style according to each child’s needs.


You can nurture your child’s individual talents.


Maybe your daughter is a budding pianist and you want to give her plenty of time and opportunities to focus on her passion. Or maybe your son has shown remarkable talent in swimming and is considering competing on a national level. Homeschooling is flexible enough to work around a rigorous training/practice schedule and will allow your child to focus on his or her talent.


You can prepare them for adulthood.


Too many children graduate from high school (and even college!) with no clue about how to communicate with others, hold a job, and balance a checkbook. Homeschooling gives parents a chance to model and teach life skills essential for a successful adult life.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The New MommyMaestra Online Store


I am so excited to announce that MommyMaestra now has a new online shop! For parents who aren't comfortable purchasing my printable materials from other sites like TpT, my new shop allows you to download all of my printables directly from me. :)

You can find a link to my new shop in the menu bar at the top of this page. My web developer and I have been working on this site for a few months. On it, you'll find my educational packets, (bilingual) homeschooling books I find on my travels, and even some bilingual children's music. I'll be transferring all of my free downloads over to this site, too, so that they are all in one place.


New products will be constantly added to the shop, so please check back often. The current printables that have been added are those related to upcoming holidays. As we move through the year, I'll be adding my Dia de los Muertos and Las Posadas collections, and many others.

Some of the books you find will be special finds; I may only have one or two and some may be gently used. Others will be popular and/or modern books of which I try to keep a good stock.

To stay updated about new products, special sales, and freebies, be sure to sign up for my newsletter! Don't worry. I won't bombard you with emails. I don't honestly have time to create the newsletter very often, but I'll try to do it once or twice a month.

And just for signing up, as a thank you from me, you'll get immediate access to a free download! The sign-up form is located at the bottom of my shop's home page.

As always, I welcome your feedback. I'd love to know what types of downloads would help you teach your children or students. Even if it is just a theme. I get quite a few requests but will do my best to help you, if possible.

Thank you for buying and using my products! I put a lot of thought into them. In fact, they frequently begin as materials I create to use with my own kids. And your purchase helps me to stay home and homeschool my children.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Read Across America Books, Ideas, & Printable

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

And did you know that every years on his birthday, March 2nd, the National Education Association celebrates Read Across America Day? It is a day when communities across the country are encouraged to spend some time reading. Most libraries have celebratory events today...call or grab your kid and go visit your local library to see what sort of fun activities they have planned!
There's hardly a person in this country who hasn't read one of Seuss' books at some point. Especially if you are a parent! But did you know that many of his books are available in Spanish, too? The best ones are those that are translated by Yanetzia Canetti.

And lucky for us, she has translated quite a few of Dr. Seuss' wonderful tales for children including:
(affiliate links below)





Activities & Printables


And if you're looking for last-minute ideas of low-prep activities to do today or later this month, be sure to check out all these fabulous crafts and printables I've compiled on Pinterest.





And just for fun, don't forget about my free little worksheet to get your little ones rhyming. It's available with both English and Spanish text.

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