Setting Up a Science Lab in Your Homeschool

Setting up a science lab in your homeschool on a shoestring budget in no time at all.

Setting Up a Science Lab in Your Homeschool

Experiments don’t have to come from ready made kits. You can be about the business of setting up a science lab in your homeschool.

There are many great experiment books that require materials you can find at home. For example, your an make an electric motor using magnets, batteries, cork, pins, a knitting needle, copper wire, clay, a small base of wood, a knife, and tacks. Most of us have these things in our home. A ready made kit isn’t ncessary.

Plan to organize your science lab supplies

There are many sources for lab supplies, but my favorites are the do-it-yourself kind.  You can use tackle boxes, plastic totes, and even pencil boxes to store your lab supplies. Keeping these items on hand saves money in the long run.

Finding materials for your homeschool science lab

There are many places you can find even the hardest to find materials. The hardware store, an arts supply store, an electronics store, and of course- Amazon. But, what do you buy? What do you need to have on hand?

Lab equipment on a shoestring budget…

  1. large magnifying glass
  2. eye droppers
  3. coffee filter paper
  4. thermometer
  5. labels
  6. candles
  7. baby food jars
  8. spice jars
  9. heat-proof measuring cups
  10. measuring spoons
  11. a balance
  12. kitchen scale
  13. funnels
  14. sieve
  15. timing device
  16. metal spoon
  17. scissors
  18. sharp knife
  19. small brushes
  20. string
  21. paper
  22. pencils

Biology, chemistry, and physics use the above list and additional specialized equipment. A non-comprehensive list includes:

  • tweezers
  • sharp metal pick
  • plastic tubing
  • flashlight
  • microscope
  • dissecting kits
  • petri dishes
  • Bunsen burner
  • safety goggles

For a comprehensive list, I recommend my book, Teaching Science and Having Fun.

Creating a Safe Place for your Homeschool Science Lab

While much can be done at the kitchen table, there are some special considerations to take when performing experiments and setting up your lab. I recommend:

  • a clutter free space that is well lit
  • the kitchen or bathroom sink ready with soap, water, towels, and free of dishes, etc.
  • keeping a basket with emergency things such as a small fire extinguisher, eye wash,  goggles, and non-latex gloves
  • kitty litter to get spills up quickly
  • a chemical mask
  • a basic first aid kit
  • a carpet free flooring

Setting up a science lab in your homeschool doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With a little planning you can have one ready to go!

Check out the NEW! Creation Science Podcast channel on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Media Angels Creation Bundle Membership Site

 

Get an entire K-12 Creation Science Curriculum for less than $70.

About Our Books:

Why should you teach your children about Creation? Because everything else they read that is remotely science related teaches evolution as FACT. Shouldn’t your children learn there is more than one side to the story? We do and we consider this our mission at Media Angels.

About the Study Guides:

These study guides include a readable outline of the main points in the Creation vs. evolution discussion, the major talking points you should know and ways to educate the children in these points with hands-on activities and experiments. This series isn’t a read-it-one-time and forget it!

If you want a course in Creation Apologetics for kids, this is it!

Additional Resources

Activity Packs for each of the study guides which contain hands on activities you can photo copy for your family.

Creation Kids Classes: On Demand

-Six weeks worth of classes — one per week for ages K-8th grade (high school if you’ve never studied Creation).
-Audio Recordings
-Handouts and Websites to visit
-Further research
-Bonus interviews

media angels membership subscribe button

Teaching Science | Unit Study or Single Subject?

teaching science unit study or single subject | Whether you're teaching science as a single subject or unit study, the key would be to get out and do experiments and activities that tie in with the topic, no matter what the approach. Have fun!

Teaching Science | Unit Study or Single Subject?

“I like the ideas of using a scope and sequence, but how should I teach science as a single subject or as a unit study?” 

There are many ways to teach science, and you need to decide which is best for our family. Let’s look at some examples, starting with science as a single subject.

Teaching Science as a Single Subject

I could look at a scope and sequence and find that a single subject, say Astronomy, is one of the topics to be covered this year. Under this subject, I could choose a subtopic, such as astronomers, stars and constellations, galaxies, etc.

If I were to emphasize the single subject approach, the children would take turns reading the books containing the topic we were studying, discuss the book, and supplement with activities tied to the topic. Other subjects, such as history, would be done separately.

Teaching Science as a Unit Study

Emphasizing the unit study approach, we would read as many library books and do as many experiments dealing with the topic as we could find. We would tie as many subjects together as possible. We’d plan to spend four to eight weeks on the unit. It’s ideal to cover as many subjects as possible, and science easily fits with history.

You can study the history of the subject, people, places, and even science tools as part of your science unit study. This lets children see the bigger picture, rather than learning things in isolation from one another. I’ve found they really enjoy making the connections themselves and having those aha moments.

Teaching Science to Multiple Ages or Grade Levels

If you are teaching a variety of ages, having more subjects overlapping makes your job much easier. A Unit Study truly unites the family!

A unit study is taking a topic and incorporating as many of the following school subjects as possible:  science, history, math, reading, language arts, spelling, grammar, creative writing, art, and music. New skills can be taught as old skills are reinforced. While our family chose to do phonics and math as separate subjects, you can easily incorporate those as well.

Multiple Level Teaching Example

Let me give you an example. We studied a geology unit. It took eight weeks to complete. You can decide how you want to lay our your day- who you work with when, what grade-level to “teach to”, and which activities you’ll directly supervise.  Teaching to the oldest is a popular way of teaching a variety of ages.

Let’s pretend you’re teaching four grade levels. Ages 2, 5, 9, 13, and 16 years of age. Watch how many subjects can go together.

  • Bible – read the Bible selection aloud. Discuss difficult words.
  • Reading – assign separate reading for the readers, have a read aloud, and read books to the youngers—all on the same subject.
  • Spelling – create an age appropriate word list from the reading selections
  • Grammar- ages 5 and under could use simple copywork, nine year old can identify parts of speech, and the older can diagram sentences from the reading selection
  • Science- a group experiment plus the 5-9 year old could work on a hands-on project together, giving the toddler a “helper” role. The older can do topic specific research with parent approved research tools, such as the internet.
  • Creation camp- hold a creation camp at home. Get everyone involved!

Whether you’re teaching science as a single subject or unit study, the key would be to get out and do experiments and activities that tie in with the topic, no matter what the approach. Have fun!

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Media Angels Creation Bundle Membership Site

 

Get an entire K-12 Creation Science Curriculum for less than $70.

About Our Books:

Why should you teach your children about Creation? Because everything else they read that is remotely science related teaches evolution as FACT. Shouldn’t your children learn there is more than one side to the story? Do you want your child to be informed? We do and we consider this our mission at Media Angels.

About the Study Guides:

These study guides include a readable outline of the main points in the Creation vs. evolution discussion, the major talking points you should know and ways to educate the children in these points with hands-on activities and experiments. This series isn’t a read-it-one-time and forget it! This series will be repeated again and again and is for K-12th!

If you want a course in Creation Apologetics for kids, this is it!

Additional Resources

Activity Packs for each of the study guides which contain hands on activities you can photo copy for your family.

Creation Kids Classes: On Demand

-Six weeks worth of classes — one per week for ages K-8th grade (high school if you’ve never studied Creation).
-Audio Recordings
-Handouts and Websites to visit
-Further research
-Bonus interviews

media angels membership subscribe button

How and What to Teach with Science

Unit Studies are an ideal way to teach science for how and what to teach with science in your homeschool. You have the flexibility and freedom to determine what your children learn when and still satisfy the scope and sequence. Have fun!

How and What to Teach with Science

You’ve asked the question, “Should I Teach Science in my Homeschool?” and have decided to make the jump. Now it’s time to decide how and what you should teach. Before you begin, you’ll want to answer a couple of questions.

  • Will you use a text book or a hands-on (unit study) approach?
  • What type of scope and sequence will you use?
  • What science disciplines will you choose?

What’s a good definition of science disciplines?

Science disciplines are science topics with many sub-categories for study. For our purposes, we’ll talk about Earth Science, astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Earth Science is the study of geology. Astronomy is the study of matter in space. Biology is the study of all living things. Chemistry is the study of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter. Physics is the study of matter and energy.

What’s the difference between using a text book and a unit study?

There is a big difference! A textbook has limited, structured reading material for each year with a minimal amount of experiments.  By contrast, a unit study uses a scope and sequence to combine books, field trip opportunities, and experiments. It’s a general guide to appropriate grade-level topics for each subject and grade level from K-12.

Understanding a Scope and Sequence

A scope and sequence can be used as a guide to determine if there are any facets of academics, such as science, you have not yet studied, or would like to study again. Or it can be used as a casis for a unit study. Having a scope and sequence will give you an idea of what should be covered. Lifetime homeschoolers aren’t usually concerned about what’s studied at each level as in traditional schools.

Does this mean I advocate teaching whatever, without rhyme or reason? No, I don’t recommend that at all. You can cover the material required, during the grade level of your choice, and at your child’s readiness level. One of the freedoms of homeschooling is flexibility!

Grade Level Guidelines for Teaching Science

Following are basic guidelines (or a brief scope and sequence) for each grade level:

  • Grades K-3- Teach the basic scientific method, stressing observations, collecting data and basic measurement. Reinforce studies with field trips and nature studies.
  • Grades 4-8- Scientific method: stressing methodology, collecting date, recording observations. Long-term project, such a science fair. Reinforce studies with field trips.
  • Grades 9-12- A complete understanding and application of the scientific method in all phases of experimentation. Stressing methodology, data collection, recording observations. Long-term project, such as a science fair. Labs are important.

Is there room for rabbit trails and non-traditional study topics?

Absolutely! We’re homeschoolers, after all! We love our rabbit trails. You can study things such as gardening, physics at an amusement park, animal husbandry, and more.

So we can see, Unit Studies are an ideal way to teach science in your homeschool. You have the flexibility and freedom to determine what your children learn when and still satisfy the scope and sequence. Have fun!

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Media Angels Creation Bundle Membership Site

 

Get an entire K-12 Creation Science Curriculum for less than $70.

About Our Books:

Why should you teach your children about Creation? Because everything else they read that is remotely science related teaches evolution as FACT. Shouldn’t your children learn there is more than one side to the story? Do you want your child to be informed? We do and we consider this our mission at Media Angels.

About the Study Guides:

These study guides include a readable outline of the main points in the Creation vs. evolution discussion, the major talking points you should know and ways to educate the children in these points with hands-on activities and experiments. This series isn’t a read-it-one-time and forget it! This series will be repeated again and again and is for K-12th!

If you want a course in Creation Apologetics for kids, this is it!

Additional Resources

Activity Packs for each of the study guides which contain hands on activities you can photo copy for your family.

Creation Kids Classes: On Demand

-Six weeks worth of classes — one per week for ages K-8th grade (high school if you’ve never studied Creation).
-Audio Recordings
-Handouts and Websites to visit
-Further research
-Bonus interviews

media angels membership subscribe button

Do I Really Need to Teach Science in My Homeschool?

Do I really need to teach science in my homeschool?

Do I Really Need to Teach Science in my Homeschool

In a word — yes! Science helps us to learn about the works of the wonderful world God has created for us to live in.

Child development experts have shown that children learn best by experiencing with all of their senses. Science is multi-sensory; that is, science incorporates all of the five sense: smelling, hearing, feeling, seeing, and (sometimes) tasting. Science incorporates tactile or hands-on learning.

Multi-sensory experiencing shouldn’t stop at kindergarten and become replaced with textbooks and workbooks!

Why Should I Waste My Precious Time Experimenting When I Teach Science?

Children of all ages very rarely understand a subject completely just by reading about it. In Jane Hoffman’s book, The Original Backyard Scientist, the forward tells the importance of experiments in relation to child development. It states: “The study of science provides the child with all the necessary ingredients needed for active learning and cognitive growth. Therefore, it is one of the best avenues through which the child can learn about the world around him.”

Granted, it would be much easier just to tell the child, “A grapefruit and vinegar are both sour,” but doing helps the child remember.

What Are Some Other Subjects That Science Encompasses?

Science encompasses reading, comprehension, writing, spelling, mathematics, history, and critical thinking. Just doing one science project or unit study can encompass all those subjects and more.

Can You Give Me an Example of a Unit Study?

Yes- here’s a thumbnail sketch of a Geology Unit we studied which demonstrates how many subjects and though processes are naturally incorporated.

  • I read aloud and we discussed books on geology.
  • The children retold the information using their own words.
  • They read books independently on the subject.
  • From the books we read, we formed a list of spelling and vocabulary words.
  • Then wee made sentences out of these words for our grammar.
  • Geography was covered as we graphed information on a world map and studied famous geologists of the past.
  • For Bible, we read Genesis 1:1-31 alongside parts of Streams of Civilization, comparing evolution and creation through historical perspective.
  • They loved classifying rocks into types and organizing a rock collection.
  • Classical music from the periods we studied helped keep an historical perspective.

Experiments in a Unit Study

From my Geology Unit, I used experiments from several sources.

Using the scientific method, the children placed drops of lemon and vinegar on different pieces of stone, then observed the results. Previous knowledge told them that vinegar and lemon are sour. The children now expanded their base of knowledge by learning that vinegar and lemon are acids. They used reasonoing and logical thinking skills to deduce the effect that acid has on rocks.

When a child does experiments, it helps build the character traits of confidence, attentiveness, perseverance, cooperation, and more.

In conclusion, teaching science in your homeschool is an important part of growing your child’s character, their knowledge of their Creator, and cooperation among their siblings. It’s well worth your time.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Media Angels Creation Bundle Membership Site

 

Get an entire K-12 Creation Science Curriculum for less than $70.

About Our Books:

Why should you teach your children about Creation? Because everything else they read that is remotely science related teaches evolution as FACT. Shouldn’t your children learn there is more than one side to the story? Do you want your child to be informed? We do and we consider this our mission at Media Angels.

About the Study Guides:

These study guides include a readable outline of the main points in the Creation vs. evolution discussion, the major talking points you should know and ways to educate the children in these points with hands-on activities and experiments. This series isn’t a read-it-one-time and forget it! This series will be repeated again and again and is for K-12th!

If you want a course in Creation Apologetics for kids, this is it!

Additional Resources

Activity Packs for each of the study guides which contain hands on activities you can photo copy for your family.

Creation Kids Classes: On Demand

-Six weeks worth of classes — one per week for ages K-8th grade (high school if you’ve never studied Creation).
-Audio Recordings
-Handouts and Websites to visit
-Further research
-Bonus interviews

media angels membership subscribe button

How to Choose the Right Work from Home Opportunity for You

How to choose the right work from home opportunity for you starts with determining what will work for your family, personality, and budget. There are so many options. Pick one and start today! FREE Podcast.

Announcement: Starting in May, Mommy Jammies will be a once weekly show! We’ll no longer be “live” but, we’ll have some fun and exciting things for you! Keep up with us!

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Today’s Mommy Jammies podcast is with special guest, Lindsey Stomberg, from TalkingMom2Mom.com.

Subscribe to Mommy Jammies here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mommy-jammies/id781633557

I love your five star reviews and feedback!

Scroll down to player to listen to the podcast with Lindsey Stomberg from Talking Mom 2 Mom.

Topic: How to choose the right work from home opportunity for you.

How to choose the right work from home opportunity for you

 

 

Show References:

Work from Home as a Medical Transcriptionist (also includes the link to the free one hour webinar).

TalkingMom2Mom.com Articles on Home Businesses

Big Sisters Boutique – the start-up business of Lindsey Stomberg with her daughters.

FREE Guide to Raising Tiny Entrepreneurs 

VIP Kids

Elite Blogging Academy

Different options for making money from home.

  • Handcrafted items and selling online/ Etsy/ local vendor events (great to do as a family)
  • Not talented enough to do crafts? Options online to design and sell your own tShirts/ mugs/ etc. and you don’t even have to keep any inventory. (Teespring/ Cafepress just to name 2)
  • Multi-Level Marketing (not for everyone but if you have an outgoing personality and a lot of supportive friends/ family these can be super successful)
  • Blogging for profit (Elite Blog Academy)
  • VIPKid (must have a four year degree for this one but pays $14-$22 an hour for teaching English language online)
  • Medical Transcription (Deb Burns – free one hour webinar offer)

How do you know what is right for your situation and budget needs?

  • All work from home opportunities come with risk, some more than others.
  • To some degree all work from home opportunities have start up costs and require extra time devoted to the building of its foundation.
  • Some things require skill immediately and others require just a passion to begin. All will require effort and attention to grow and sustain.
  • It is important to sit down with your spouse and discuss the following:
    • What job will work best for your personality and skill set?
    • What job do you see as being something you can potentially stick with and continue building long term?
    • Are there any budget concerns that need to be addressed when it pertains to start up costs with one vs. another?
    • What is the end goal of your pursuing this? Is this meant to be a hobby or a legitimate income source? How much are you expected to bring in per month and what is the expectation for hours worked?

Choosing to work from home can be very satisfying on many levels. For my personality, I need something that feels like mine separate from homemaking and homeschooling. I pour my creative energy into what I do and it is therapeutic. It also fulfills a need for us financially and that is important too.

 

Meet Lindsey

Lindsey is a stay at home, work from home mom to six children ten years and younger. She homeschools and enjoys large family living. When Lindsey is not changing diapers, cleaning house and cooking meals, she enjoys binge-watching shows on Netflix with her husband … because let’s get real, who has energy after 8PM when you have this many kids?

As her husband would say, Lindsey is a chronic hobbyist. She is always learning a new skill whether that be graphic design, making cloth diapers, or streamlining a start up business with her 9 year old daughter. Lindsey likes to DIY her way around the home, explore natural remedies, and create new and exciting recipes in her Instant Pot during her downtime.

Lindsey is the author of The ABC’s for Godly Children Bible Curriculum. She is the co-author of It’s the Heart Not the Hemline: A Biblical Unit Study on ModestyThe Five Solas: Signs to Follow on the Narrow Path, and Filling Hearts while Cleaning Homes: Five Minute Devotions for Families.

Contact Info

For all questions, comments, and/ or advertising requests please contact us at info@talkingmom2mom.com

You can contact Lindsey individually at lindsey@talkingmom2mom.com


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Like Arrows!

FamilyLife’s first feature film LIKE ARROWS, explores the joys and heartaches of parenting with a story that spans over 50 years. Join us in theaters across America for a special 2 night showing of LIKE ARROWS followed by exclusive after-show content with the film-makers, including celebrated faith-based film-makers Alex and Stephen Kendrick as well as FamilyLife Today’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Bob Lepine. You’ll leave encouraged and equipped with powerful next steps to make Christ the center of YOUR parenting.

LIKE ARROWS will be in theaters for two nights only, MAY 1ST and 3RD. To view the trailer and find theater info, visit the link below. If you missed the movie in theatres be sure to check out the Digital, DVD and Blueray versions on the website, LikeArrowsMovie.com

Visit here to learn more.


Graduation and Graduation Party Ideas

Graduation & Graduation Party Tips | Plan your graduation and graduation party for your homeschooler with tips and tricks from a veteran homeschool mom

 

Graduation party ideas may have come sooner on your list of things to Pinterest than you’d planned, but the time is here. How do you plan to celebrate? What are some things you’ll want to remember from your years of homeschooling?

Finally Answering the Critics

Graduation is the day when you officially get to answer the critics without saying a word. When the child you’ve poured hours upon hours of teaching and training into crosses the platform and you hand them a diploma, it just feels GOOD!

 

I’ve graduated three and will graduate my youngest this year. This means I’ve gotten to answer the critics repeatedly. Homeschooling works. Now it’s up to my kids to make the most of the opportunities they’ve been given.

 Participating in a Homeschool Graduation

There are a variety of ways your homeschooler can participate in a homeschool graduation ceremony. Here are a few:

  • Check with your local homeschool group to see if they offer one.
  • Talk to your church and see if other homeschool families are planning anything.
  • If you’re the only homeschooling family at your church, at least participate with the graduating seniors from public and private school, if the church does a blessing and sending off type of ceremony.

If no opportunities exist, you can do the legwork and put something together yourself. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

The Graduation Party

If you participate in an organized ceremony you might find that it also comes with a little after-party. Celebrating with fellow homeschooling families or even your own church may be enough for your family.

In our experience, we were asked to decorate a table to represent our graduating senior.

 

 

My children also decorated their caps.

 

After returning home, we also had a private graduation party. Here are some things we did for this:

  • We had a taco bar.
  • A   timeline of pictures for the guests to look through was displayed on a table.
  • We had a box for people to leave words of wisdom, like this one.
  • We had jumpy thing (what my daughter calls them) also known as a bounce house or inflatable for the little kids to use while everyone visited.

Tips and Tricks I’ve Learned Along the Way

One of the beauties of homeschooling is the ability to keep the public school traditions you want and scrap the rest. Make new ones! These are some tips and tricks for graduation and graduation parties that I’ve learned that might work well for you, too.

  • Order invitations early. Include your graduating senior in the selection process.
  • Invite everyone and include an RSVP envelope and card. No everyone will attend, but everyone likes to honor the graduate.
  • Create a Facebook group to keep everyone on the same page with planning.
  • It’s a one-day event to commemorate years of work. Focus on what will make a memory.
  • If you’re planning the party outdoors, have a back up in case of rain.
  • Keep a short window of time for the open house. This keeps food fresh, you from being overwhelmed, and guests happier. No one says it has to be an all-day event.
  • Have a discussion with your teen about the potential monies they may receive and plan to put them to use. This can be a savings account or towards school.
  • Don’t spend a bazillion dollars. Do Graduation on the Cheap.
  • Think about gifts your graduate will actually love. Don’t guess, ask them.
  • Bring tissues! It doesn’t get any easier with each one that graduates.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Any special memories? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know!

Literature in the Homeschool

Literature in the homeshcool

Literature in the Homeschool, Part Two

You can listen to Part One here.

a Family Renewal Podcast with the Waynes.

You’ve asked for a more specific list with recommendations that are age-based and appropriate. We really enjoy the missionary biographies from YWAM publishers. That’s not necessarily classical literature, but our kids enjoy it, too. We had one son finish all 48 books in the series!

When we think of literature, we tend to think of those great books. Some books are also great for read-alouds.

You do need to be mindful that not everything that’s considered “classic” is something you should hand to your children unfiltered. There’s a lot of teaching that needs to happen. The Scriptures are our plumbline for what’s good.

Join Israel Wayne every month as he discusses life, theology, Christian Apologetics, education, family and cultural issues from a Biblical worldview. Israel is an author and conference speaker who often speaks at homeschooling conferences, and churches, as well as marriage and parenting seminars.

Finally, the information he teaches around the nation will be available to listeners like you. Each broadcast will be about a half hour and will feature interviews and thoughtful commentary from Israel and his guests.

Subscribe in iTunes. 

An author of six books and a regular author in several publications. Israel writes about homeschooling, Christian Apologetics and family-based Biblical discipleship.

Israel is a popular conference speaker who desires to see God’s people learn to think and live Biblically. He is a regular keynote speaker at events nationwide.

Israel publishes frequently on Facebook and Twitter about his thoughts on current events. Follow him online and join in the discussion and learn about events!

Cybersecurity Tips for Homeschoolers

Cybersecurity Tips for Homeschoolers

Cybersecurity Tips for Homeschoolers

Homeschooling has so many advantages, it’s hard to list them all! Direct and consistent teacher-to-student interaction, a tailored education, and better teaching materials are just a few of the many reasons so many families feel drawn to homeschooling. Overall, parents have much more control over their child’s educational experience when they homeschool. However, when it comes to cybersecurity threats and computer viruses, homeschoolers are often more vulnerable and at risk than their public school peers.

 

The majority of school computer labs have some form of cybersecurity software that protects students identities, keeps them off harmful websites, and protects against malware infection. With so much homeschooling curriculum being based on the web, internet safety and privacy protection is a topic that every homeschooling parent needs to address.

 

But awareness of this growing issue is just the first step. Communication is the next one. A recent survey shows 33% of parents who named “cyberbullying” as their biggest fear have never talked to their kids about the topic. Navigating the dangers of the internet means being honest with your kids about what’s at stake. Identities can be stolen, data can be destroyed, and cyberbullies can do serious psychological harm.

 

Educating your kids and engaging in an ongoing dialogue about cybersecurity is one of the most effective things you can do to keep them safe while they learn online.

 

Be honest

Cybersecurity is serious business. Don’t avoid issues because they’re uncomfortable or complicated to explain. Instead, be honest. Tell your children some online activities are safer than others, and set ground rules for what is and what is not appropriate behavior.

 

The online world is just like the real world. Not talking to strangers at the park is just as important as not talking to strangers in chat rooms. Leaving your toys out for thieves to steal is just like telling someone too much information online. Avoid dividing the real world from the online one. Instead, bring them together by making these types of connections. Children need consistency, and keeping the rules consistent for on and offline activities will help them understand the dangers of both.

 

Being honest about cybersecurity also means pointing out the good things about online activities. Keep a balanced outlook. Emphasize they need to be cautious but enjoy the internet. It contains wonderful things to help them grow, socialize, and learn. As they learn better online habits, they will feel safer, confident, and in control. Honesty is always the best policy!

Use your creativity

Cybersecurity concepts like online identities and malware can be abstract concepts, especially for younger children. Use examples and analogies that children can relate to easily. For example, use the analogy that computer viruses work like biological viruses. Explain how one “sick” computer infects another. Personal identities are unique like our fingerprints. Stealing someone’s identity is like dressing up as that person for Halloween so you can steal all of their candy. Find creative ways to relate cybersecurity concepts to their everyday lives.

Build trust

Your child (especially as a teenager!) may assume your concerns are more about spying on their online activities rather than looking out for them. Reassure them you won’t get upset if they accidentally click on something they shouldn’t or if their device gets a virus. Overreacting will likely cause resentment, anxiety, and rebellion. These are all counterproductive to building good habits and trust.

 

For teenagers, be consistent about your concerns. Make it just as much about protecting devices and information as it is about who they’re talking to online. For small children, reinforce the notion that cyberthieves are tricky, but you can beat them by following the rules.

Go online together

The best way to teach a child something is to show them firsthand. Go online and search for a term that interests them. Then explore the results looking for good and bad websites. Take a tour of the browser’s interface. Point out the address bar, bookmarks, extensions, and the search results. Show them how to close an internet pop-up ad and what to do when they can’t find a close button.

 

Websites come in different flavors when it comes to data safety. Some talk with your browser using encryption and some don’t. Encryption keeps your data safe. Encrypted sites begin their URLs with “https”. Unencrypted ones have “http”. Browser extensions like HTTPS Everywhere identify unsecure websites from secure ones automatically.

Sit down with them and open their favorite app. Explore its social and/or messaging features. Explain what to do if they receive a message. Show them how to respond to in-app purchase and pop-up ads. If you feel your child isn’t mature enough for messaging, check to see if the app allows disabling this feature.

Use online resources

Another effective way to teach children about online safety is using online resources. Internet safety websites like the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuardOnline has security tips, games, and other online learning resources for parents and guardians. Other sites use videos, quizzes, and other activities to teach cyber security basics to children in a fun and interactive online environment.

 

You can learn more about online threats and even download a conversation checklist to start a dialogue with your children using the Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Cybersecurity. Downloading free antivirus software will also keep them safe as they practice smart online habits.

 

The investment you put into talking to your kids about cybersecurity will pay off down the road. The digital world is here, and learning to navigate it is the reality of future generations. Your child’s future success will be tied to their online safety. Helping them create smart online habits at an early age will protect them and keep the internet a fun, safe, and educational place for continued learning.

7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas as a Birthday

7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas as a Birthday

by Meredith Curtis

7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas as a Birthday

“Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday, dear Jesus. Happy Birthday to You!” my children sang heartily as I held the pan of cinnamon buns lavished with cream cheese frosting. The candle flickered as their voices rang out. As the song ended, the younger children blew the candles out.

One more Christmas carol and it was time to eat breakfast while we opened presents.

Christmas Day starts with a special devotional. We read Luke 2, the Christmas Story, interspersed with carols. We read and sing and rejoice. It helps us to remember that Christmas is a birthday.

Would you like to celebrate Christmas as a birthday with your children?

Here are 7 ways to celebrate Christmas as a birthday:

Decorate with Balloons and Streamers

We love to decorate with balloons and streamers on birthdays, so we do it at Christmas, too. We use red and green colors to keep the festive atmosphere matching the rest of the Christmas decorations.

Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Morning

Before you open presents, sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. You can use a birthday cake with candles. We put candles in our frosted cinnamon rolls.

Singing a birthday song to Jesus reminds everyone that Christmas is a birthday.

Wrap Presents for Baby Jesus

We like to buy baby boy clothing and supplies for Jesus and wrap them up. We bring them to church where gifts are collected in a large basket and taken to a Crisis Pregnancy Center after the holidays.

Make a Birthday Banner

Using poster board or a roll of paper, make a birthday banner for Jesus and hang it in the family room or kitchen.

Make Birthday Cards for Jesus

If your family gives birthday cards on birthdays, then make birthday cards for Jesus. These are nice to read aloud before family worship. It refreshes our hearts to hear what others have said to Jesus.

Make a Special Birthday Meal

In our house, we each choose our favorite meal to eat on our birthday. Brainstorm as a family to figure out a meal that Jesus may have eaten and enjoyed. Fish from the Sea of Galilee? Bread with Honey? Dates? You might have to do some research for this one!

Play the Encouragement Game

Another things we do to make birthdays special is to play the encouragement game. Everyone in the family tells the birthday person what they appreciate about him or her. Each family member can share what they love about Jesus and then spent time worshipping Him.

May the Lord bless each one of you with the merriest of Christmases.

Warmly,
Meredith Curtis

 

 

Mommy Jammies Night with Karla Archer

Tonight’s topic: Mindfulness and its Connection with Anxiety

(Player at the bottom of the page. )

I believe that learning how to help and support your loved ones who are struggling with anxiety doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

And I believe that anyone can do it, one small step at a time.   Karla Archer | Mommy Jammies Night

 

Connect with Karla here on Facebook: Her Page

Visit her site and get your free journal pages, Living the Life Fantastic

About Karla:

Despite the fact that my husband and I had our own anxieties as children and adults, it was startling for us to realize that we had four bright, gifted children who were struggling to cope with their own as well. Helping our children navigate anxiety and anxious thoughts felt quite different from managing our own.

We were filled with so much confusion, doubt, worry, and a fear that we were failing our kids and letting them free fall. We desperately wanted to be able to help them cope and lead healthy lives but we didn’t know where to start. Traditional parenting books and tips just weren’t helpful. 

Determined to help, we began searching online, reading books on childhood anxieties, seeking professional help, and talking with teachers and other parents. As we dug deeper, we discovered ways to help our children navigate their own path through a variety of situations. We made it through with a sense of strength, perseverance, and confidence. We even started a local support group for other parents in the same situation.

Today, our children are thriving, happy, and learning to face, share, and manage their own anxieties.

I know you want the same things for your children, and I can help you get there.

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