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Hello Busy Friend,
I’m sure you are busy, busy, busy….
School starting is just around the corner for most of us, and some have already begun! (Cheers to you!)
In my Sunday Snippets this summer, I have been sharing productivity and organization links with you to help you make this your best school year ever! (My best years were always my most organized years!)
But someone commented that they wished they were all in one place and in order so they would know which things to focus on first, etc.
So…..that is what this Tuesday Tips is going to do!
I’m going to put the videos and articles that I think will help you the most to have an organized, productive year in order, so you can have your own little “mini conference”! And you can do it at your own pace as you implement each step.
I’m passionate about productivity and organization because I know they made all the difference for me in my 32 years of homeschooling–and they continue to serve me every single day in all of my entrepreneur journey!
Blessings to you for an amazing, organized, productive school year….I want so much wonderfulness for you!
Love and hope,
Step 1: Create Your Daily Lists and Do Nothing But These!
I created a video about my experience in creating dailies–and how I had to give up the grandiose in order to do the dailies…and how those dailies made me a successful homeschooler and confident parent! Watch this first! 🙂
Step 2: Learn to Delight in the Dailies
Dailies can be a drag. There’s nothing grandiose. Nothing exciting. Nothing remarkable happening right away as a result of them. So it can be hard to delight in them. I wrote two articles about this (part I and part II) that will help anyone who gets bored with the dailies. (Please believe me when I say the dailies are everything at first!)
Step 3: Follow Through on the Dailies
It’s one thing to create a dailies list. It’s another thing to follow through on them. Since I know how hard it is to follow through on them, I created a video about that!
Step 4: Systematize Everything
After you get the dailies down pat (or during possibly), you will be amazed at your productivity when you systematize everything you can! This is so important in homeschooling. You want some things in your day to just run “like a well-oiled machine”! Systematizing will help you!
Step 5: Use 1 to 2% of Your Day to Make the Other 98% Run Smoothly
Each day has its own happenings. Some times we have enough time for the Dailies only. Other times we can do some weeklies. Some times we can even do “extras.” Use my 14 Minute Productivity Hack to look at the day and see what all you can put in it. This realistic look at your day will leave you way less frustrated!
Step 6: Each Day Plan Your First Five and Fast Five
During my 14 Minute Productivity Hack, if I look at my calendar and I have time to do more than the Dailies, I put in my First Five tasks (the first five things I will do after my Dailies) and my Fast Five (five quick tasks I can do while coffee is brewing or toddler is not pottying but is sitting on the potty! lol). On extra busy days, I don’t get to the First Five or Fast Five…but I always know what they are each day.
There are other habits and productivity considerations when creating your ideal day….so I am putting these here.
We talk all the time about how to help our kids become more diligent. But I found out long ago that I have to do everything myself before I can teach things to my kids. Wowsie…was that ever hard. So I taught myself to be diligent first…then teaching them was much easier! This video details how I evaluated my diligence and improved it.
So how do you know what you should do after your Dailies? How can you determine which things are the most important things to focus on? I have some thoughts about prioritizing on this video!
c. Taming the To-Do List
It’s one thing to create a to do list; it’s another thing to have systems in place to do the tasks on the to-do list. This video helps with the taming of that all-elusive to-do list!
Procrastination is a real issue for any of us who are our own bosses—homeschoolers, entrepreneurs, parents of littles, small business owners, etc. I love giving tips—and I have several in this video to beat procrastination!
My daughter who has a two year old and three month old asked me the other day what the tips were that I gave her to teach Sophi (her two year old) to play happily when she was six to eight months old, and I told her a few things I remembered, but I thought more about it and remembered the rest–so I decided to make a video of these tips!
I have a detailed outline (of course!). It has links in it to other videos, podcasts, and articles that I have done on related topics that I think mamas of toddlers will find helpful.
If you have many kiddos and are trying to get some concentrated teaching time, I think this video will help! These tips really helped me.
Love and hope,
A. Why Does It Matter
1. Contentment is the first character quality that we have the opportunity to build into children’s lives
2. Contentment starts in babyhood/toddlerhood when wants and needs start to diverge http://characterinkblog.com/podcast-faith-character-building-littles/
3. Playing as a baby/toddler is the beginning of life-long learning
4. What you give a baby/toddler a taste for will likely stay with them
5. Play time is developmental time for babies
a. Fine motor skills
b. Large motor skills
c. Cause and effect
d. Problem solving
6. We want to teach kids to be happy in a variety of situations—not just always having attention
7. Crucial for older kids’ relationships with littles
8. Doesn’t detract from your spending time with baby/toddler or lessen your impact—it enhances it as you watch your baby and toddler do things independently and as you start to be able to get things done etc.
B. Tips and Tricks
1. Do all of your responsibilities first—we can’t solve any behavior problems or add new elements to our kids’ lives/days until we have done everything we should do to make them successful—our responsibilities come first
a. Not keeping them up late then being upset that they’re grouchy the next day
b. Not running around when they’re tired and being surprised that they’re not cooperating
2. Mommy time with baby first
3. Toys in basket in corner of bed upon waking
4. Don’t try to teach playtime when baby is tired or hungry or grouchy
5. If needed, start with ten minute intervals and switch positions/alternate time with you; make playtime within view of you and
6. Rotate baskets and tubs of toys only for playtime
7. Schedule playtime, storytime, mommy time, naptime as it emerges and seems to work—toddlers and preschoolers thrive on routine and knowing expectations (work towards this)
8. Schedule electronics
a. Use them as part of your overall parenting strategy, not as a last ditch effort at peace
b. Schedule Bible story in morning before nap and story book character in afternoon/evening during “witching hour,” etc.
9. Use short playpen times as needed
10. Collect amazing toys and various book types (plastic, interactive, soft, felt, cardboard, sounds, etc.) https://characterinkblog.com/day-one-hundred-one-links-and-ideas-for-activities-for-room-time-for-preschoolers/
C. Links and More Info
1. More babies and toddlers
a. What to Do With Wonderful One Year Old Part I: http://characterinkblog.com/wondering-wednesday-q-a-what-to-do-with-a-wonderful-one-year-old/
b. What to Do With Wonderful One Year Old Part II: http://characterinkblog.com/wondering-wednesday-q-a-what-to-do-with-a-wonderful-one-year-old-part-ii/
c. Playtime/room time activities lists: https://characterinkblog.com/day-one-hundred-one-links-and-ideas-for-activities-for-room-time-for-preschoolers/
2. From Toddlers to Preschoolers
a. Room time podcast: https://characterinkblog.com/podcast-rerun-room-time-toddlers-preschoolers/
b. Toddlers and bedtime video: https://characterinkblog.com/video-toddlers-bedtime/
c. Toddler chore poster: https://characterinkblog.com/age-appropriate-chores-for-toddlers/
d. Toddlers’ simple tastes: https://characterinkblog.com/character-training-for-toddlers-and-preschoolers-boundaries-simple-tastes-and-more-partial-reprint/
e. Character training with toddlers: https://characterinkblog.com/character-q-a-how-can-i-start-character-training-with-my-toddler/
f. Kindness in toddlers: https://characterinkblog.com/q-is-for-quit-fighting-setting-toddlers-tastes-for-kindness/
3. Subscribe for family and language arts/writing help at https://characterinkblog.com
“Penny for Your Thoughts”
“What ya thinkin’?”
“Tell me everything…..”
“Talk to me; show me that you care. Talk to me…I’ll listen to the words you say….You know I love you when I talk to you!”
Those were sayings/songs/sentiments I would say to my kids to get them to talk. They were used to me saying them….I had said them forever.
They usually WANTED to talk….
In part because we started when they were very young…
And in part because I was AVAILABLE! Always available….
(No television, computers, internet, smart phones, etc. for twenty-five years gives you a lot more time…oh to go back to “the good old days”!)
I did a Donna Daily video on Mama Monday about talking….
5 Key Times to be exact.
Here’s the video…and, of course, the outline! I’d love to hear your favorite talk times….email me or message me and tell me!
Love and hope,
P.S. Be sure you get my Kids’ Faves freebie to find out your kids’ favorite things!
A. Start Now—Regardless of Where You Are!
1. Don’t think littles are too young
a. If you make talking a normal thing to them, they will always seek you out, always answer your questions, and always want your input.
b. Talk to them now—they’ll talk to you later!
2. Don’t think it’s too late
a. Might take more time, work, effort, and “detective work”—but still worth it.
b. Take different approaches
B. Five Key Times to Talk
1. Tucking in
a. “Malachi Time”
b. You tuck them in when they’re little; they’ll tuck you in when they’re older
c. Don’t be glad your teen went to their room early!
d. If they know they’ll have this time with you, they will save up things they need to discuss.
2. In the vehicle
a. “Who has their shoes on?”
b. Be careful using drive time for podcasts and phone calls
c. Be careful allowing kids to be on devices during drive time
d. Call it something “Talk and Drive” or “Road Talks” or something that indicates you are available when you’re in the vehicle with them
3. Table Talk
a. Have dinner together “more often than not”
b. Make it a tech free time
c. Have talking prompts
i. Two roses and one thorn
ii. One great and one bad
iii. Good character I saw today
iv. Cards you draw
v. Read a quote or verse and discuss
vi. Question that gets answered by everyone around the table
vii. Use kids’ faves to ask favorites questions
4. “My Day” or “Day Away”
a. Kids remember to this day!
b. Let them choose what to do
c. Let them know you are available
d. Talk, talk, talk! And don’t put down or reprimand
e. One on one with both parents idea/spin off of this: Half birthday celebrations at restaurants with just the three of you
5. Activities Together
a. Art, cooking, exercising
b. Magazine Moments With Mom (MMM) 😊
c. Use little snatches of meal prep, grilling together, biking together, etc.
d. Driver’s training
C. Availability—Your Secret Parenting Weapon!
1. Make yourself available
2. Change your schedule
3. Drop the busy-ness!
4. Implement heart-focused parenting that is needed to raise kids today!
1. Podcast: Ways to Spend More Time With Your Kids http://characterinkblog.com/podcast-ways-to-spend-more-time-with-your-kids/
2. Podcast:Tips for Staying Close to Kids During Intense Training Times: http://characterinkblog.com/podcast-ten-tips-for-staying-close-during-intense-training-times/
3. Article: Four Things Teens and Young Adults Need: https://characterinkblog.com/?s=Four+things+teens+and+young+adults+need
4. Article: Teaching Kids to Ask Questions: https://characterinkblog.com/52-weeks-of-talking-to-our-kids-when-its-time-to-ask-questions/
5. Video: Affirmation Cards: https://characterinkblog.com/52-ways-say-triff-affirmation-cards-families/
6. Keep Kids Close Cards: https://characterinkstore.com/product/keep-close-coupons/
Are you following me (or better yet, being my friend!!!??) on FB to watch my Donna Daily live videos? I hope so as I am having so much fun sharing the many things I love (and mannnny years of experience ha ha!) in these live videos!
So I have put a recent live broadcast at YouTube and here for you to watch with its detailed outline any time. How convenient is that? 🙂
Let me know if you need help or have questions….I’d love to help you out!
A. Natural Tips
1. Master’s work in Reading Specialist/thesis on natural readers—natural readers had many commonalities, including access to print, being read to a lot, letters and rhyming words activities all the time, natural teaching
2. Our protocol: Not teach anything from a workbook that could be taught naturally
a. Letters everywhere!
c. Rhyming words
e. Reading to child helps introduce letters, etc.
3. Alphabet books of all kinds are fine for reviewing and fun, but be sure that instructional materials are more specific (see below)
B. Tips for Choosing Letter Recognition Program
1. Letters should be written with the same font the student writes (ball and stick for a; no straight line for j, etc.)
2. Do upper and lower case letters together at first (separate them later—put both at same time so that they have more chance for success at first). As the student sees these together, the connection will be better between upper and lower for him.
3. Call upper and lower case letters the same thing all the time—capital/big/upper case; little/inferior case…be consistent; use same wording child does.
4. Best of all—primary letters with lines. This will give the student the proper orientation (how far up the little l goes or how far down the little p goes).
5. Using ABC letter cards (Here are mine)
a. Both upper and lower on cards for a while
b. Then matching upper cards and lower cards
c. Play Go Fish or Memory with the upper and lower cards
C. Using ABC Song and Order of Letters for Teaching
1. Use a poster or posterette with the ABC’s lined up exactly as they are sung.
2. Sing it with the student SLOWLY while pointing to the letters. Do not let him run them all together. (I let kiddos do that at the end—after we’ve done them painfully slow with the poster!)
3. Hang ABC posters around house
4. ABC order vs more specifically keeping short a, e, I far from each other and b and d not close to each other?
D. Sight Sound ABC Recognition
1. Use fun materials and teach naturally—Walmart starts the same as William does!
2. Be sure clue pictures are the following
a. Easily recognized, preferably nouns (not pointing to a hand where student wonders if it is a finger, wrist, hand, or palm)
b. Be sure the sound is not ambiguous (not orca for o—either short o (otter) or long o (oatmeal). Also do not use blends (star vs sun) or digraphs (chop vs cat)
c. Don’t do short vowel and long vowel (or soft and hard c/g) at the same time—my ABC cards and songs programs both use short vowels first time through then additional cards to do the long vowel beginning sounds
d. Use same clue words over and over again until sight sound mastery is reached. Student should always be able to say A says a as in ax and apple) (See ABC Song Posters)
e. Use clue words that are as short in length as possible (hat not hippopotamus—I use words from Dolch and Fry word lists so that the clue words are also the first words they will have in their readers when they learn to read!
3. Using ABC cards and clue picture cards together
a. Can use upper and lower case letters together if they are still unsure of them separately
b. Can use upper and lower separately if they are mastered
c. Match letters with picture that makes that sound (best if pictures come in two options—with the letters on them or on back and without the letters)
1. ABC products at our store: https://characterinkstore.com/?s=ABC
2. Vocabulary-controlled readers from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+reish+readers&ref=nb_sb_noss
3. Color and read readers for new readers: https://characterinkstore.com/?s=color+and+read+readers
4. Videos and Podcasts about teaching: https://characterinkblog.com/podcasts/
5. Follow or friend me so you don’t miss any Donna Daily teaching videos!
I love teaching! Love seeing a student’s face light up when they “get it”! Love hearing kids excited about their next writing project. Just really love it!
And one thing that makes me love teaching even more is the creativity that we get to use in order to help students “get” a concept.
Enter AIM–Answer It More.
More formally, this is known as parenthetical teaching, but you know my love for all things cute, memorable, and creative.
Plus, why parenthetical? I mean, parentheses are to de-emphasize. Why not dash teaching….dashes are to emphasize.
But I digress….
I recently did a live video training on how to use parenthetical or dash teaching to Answer It More (AIM–after all, that is the AIM of that type of teaching, right?)
So here you go…
If you find yourself barking orders to kids for every move they make—and you’re not really feeling like you are getting to the important stuff—you might be right. I hope this video helps!
Love and hope,
Mama Monday: 10 Second Rule for Food on Ceiling—Majoring on the Majors With Behaviors
So I started a thing last week. I, alliteratively of course, call it “Donna Daily.” But it is a FB video challenge in which I go live every weekday for the month of June to teach about what I know and love or what has made a difference in our family, my life, my health, my relationships, my productivity, and more. (So what I know and love!) It is themed by the day (Mama Monday, Teaching Tuesday, etc.), and I’m pretty excited about it! (Learn more about it here!)
And I will periodically be sharing the videos here at the Character Ink blog, at Write for a Month, and at my lifestyle blog (https://donnareish.com) as the topics are applicable. So this is one of those!
On the first Mama Monday, I shared a favorite parenting tool we used for three decades (and still use with our grandbabies!) called Expectation Explanations. I have the full outline and video below!
Also, if you have heard me teach about something that you would like to hear again or learn more about, shoot me an email or private message, and I’ll work it into the Donna Daily schedule!
Love and hope,
Tips for Using Word Cards in Reading Instruction
1) Don’t use word cards with words the student has never encountered. Word cards are for practicing words used in instruction, not for long lists of words never encountered before.
On the two year anniversary of my dad’s death, I wanted to honor him on FB with pics or memories or kind words……then I saw some old pics of him doing school with my kids and knew how I wanted to share about him.
My dad never graduated from high school. He never had the opportunities for education that we have now.
As we homeschooled our kids, he and my step-mom were so proud of us and our kids. They bragged about how smart the kids were, how obedient and kind they were, and how much they loved to be with them.
When we left the kids with them whenever we went away, Dad took his role as their substitute teacher very seriously.