BOOKS ARE TRULY MAGICAL

I just read a post by our homeschool advisor, Andrea. It said if you read a book to your child everyday by the time they are 5 years old, they would have read 1,825 books by the age of 5. I wish I would have kept count! My daughter has a love affair with books. In fact, one of her favorite hiding places is in a hallway linen closet that I have turned into her personal library. LOL. The comforter bags at the bottom have become her couches that she lines up and lays on as she reads, LOL. From a very early age, she has had an infatuation with getting lost in stories. She reads them, then plays them out, as if she is those characters.

Books are truly magical when you help your child find the magic in them. Parents that read have children that read. It’s really that simple. There’s no better way to broaden their vocabulary and tantalize young imaginations. 

My daughter surprised us when she started reading at 2 years old. Now at 5, I still read to her daily and point out the words as I am reading, which helps her read along and sound words out with me. So, every day she’s getting at least 2 books in. 1 book with me and 1 book she reads on her own. 

Books do get expensive, so the library is one of our best friends. I admit we spend hours in Barnes and Noble where we read many books for free and end up buying one we didn’t read while sitting there. Books can take you anywhere you want to be! 

Happy Travels!

LIL CHERIE DRESSES HERSELF NOW HAS A UNIT TO GO WITH THE BOOK!

I wrote Lil Cherie Dresses Herself because I wanted my daughter to be able to see her own likeness in a book. Being a homeschooling momma, of course we don’t just read books, we turn them into adventures and units. With the book being bilingual, it’s full of lessons. So, about a year ago, after my daughter and I played with the book for a while I got the bright idea to develop some worksheets and make a unit around some of the ways I had used the book to teach my own daughter. Only thing is, I am not a certified teacher and wasn’t 100% sure if what I had taught was correct. Also, computers are not my thing, so the project was basically put on the back burner until one day I was having a conversation with a lifelong friend and confidant who just so happens to be a teacher! DUHHHHHH, Cherie! The teacher overseeing my daughter’s homeschool education.

It started with a casual question. “Do you know how to make worksheets?” Cherie asked me, almost hesitantly. I laughed to myself as I answered because as a teacher for over 15 years, I’ve made a lot of worksheets. To make sure we were on the same page, I emailed some old worksheets to Cherie.  Her next question was more specific, “Can you make boxes on worksheets?” she asked. After some sketching of ideas and a chat, we felt we were talking about the same idea and I started on the worksheet that required boxes. I quickly emailed the rough draft to Cherie, who confirmed that those were, indeed, the type of boxes she had been picturing. One idea at a time, one page at a time, with each chat and every ongoing email, we began to create a noticeable pile of worksheets to go with Cherie’s children’s book, Lil Cherie Dresses Herself. Suddenly, we had something to share! 

We have created a homeschool curriculum pack designed to be used with Lil Cherie Dresses Herself, but flexible enough to change up and use in other ways and with others texts. The curriculum is primarily used by students in Pre-K to grade 2 and again it is flexible – we encourage families and educators to make any adjustments necessary for the curriculum to best fit your learners! 

If you want help with Lil Cherie Dresses Herself Curriculum or have other education related questions, please email us at Lilcheriehelps@gmail.com

If you would like to purchase the curriculum, please visit: https://adviceformysistas.com/product/lil-cherie-dresses-herself-educational-learning-unit/

HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE

Approximately 60% of Black girls experience sexual abuse by age 18. Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. 60 percent is huge! So, when they say our community is broken, it is. Broken hearts, broken morals and broken spirits!

If we want to build our community to be stronger as a whole, let’s start with protecting our children.  We live in a broken society that is “okay” with raping children. If it were NOT okay the sexual abuse numbers wouldn’t be so high! This is NOT an opinion, it’s a fact! I’m not saying everyone is okay with it but what I’m saying is a LARGE number of predators are sitting right in your face and many are doing NOTHING about it!

For every African-American woman who reports her rape, at least fifteen African-American women do not report theirs. They go unreported because when women tell, they aren’t believed! Nobody does anything about it! Families stay quiet and want to pray about it! Prayer doesn’t fix the hurt and damage that’s been done, sorry, and neither does NOT dealing with the predator!

Here are some great tips parenting tips by www.aap.org

Tips that can minimize your child’s risk of molestation:

  • In early childhood, parents can teach their children the name of the genitals, just as they teach their child names of other body parts. This teaches that the genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them.
  • Parents can teach young children about the privacy of body parts, and that no one has the right to touch their bodies if they don’t want that to happen. Children should also learn to respect the right to privacy of other people.
  • Teach children early and often that there are no secrets between children and their parents, and that they should feel comfortable talking with their parent about anything — good or bad, fun or sad, easy or difficult.
  • Be aware of adults who offer children special gifts or toys, or adults who want to take your child on a “special outing” or to special events.
  • Enroll your child in daycare and other programs that have a parent “open door” policy.  Monitor and participate in activities whenever possible.
  • As children age, create an environment at home in which sexual topics can be discussed comfortably. Use news items and publicized reports of child sexual abuse to start discussions of safety, and reiterate that children should always tell a parent about anyone who is taking advantage of them sexually.
  • If your child discloses any history of sexual abuse, listen carefully, and take his or her disclosure seriously. Too often, children are not believed, particularly if they implicate a family member as the perpetrator. Contact your pediatrician, the local child protection service agency, or the police. If you don’t intervene, the abuse might continue, and the child may come to believe that home is not safe and that you are not available to help.
  • Support your child and let him or her know that he or she is not responsible for the abuse.
  • Bring your child to a physician for a medical examination, to ensure that the child’s physical health has not been affected by the abuse.
  • Most children and their families will also need professional counseling to help them through this ordeal, and your pediatrician can refer you to community resources for psychological help.
  • If you have concerns that your child may be a victim of sexual abuse, you should talk with your pediatrician. Your physician can discuss your concerns, examine your child, and make necessary referrals and reports.

PARENTS, WE ALL HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB AT KEEPING OUR KIDS SAFE!

GUEST BLOG: AN AUTISM JOURNEY – WHY I CHOSE TO HOMESCHOOL

My 13-year-old son, Johnny, was diagnosed with autism when he was 4-years -old. Johnny started Pre-K and attended the brick and mortar school until the second grade. By the second grade, I was done with both schools! They were doing the most {messed} up in school! My son was secluded from the kids in his classroom and wasn’t allowed to sit at his desk. His teacher was allowed to decide if she wanted him as a student in her classroom after he was already assigned to her class. He also wasn’t allowed to play at recess with his peers. He was placed in a storm shelter that the school used as a classroom for him along with his special education teacher. I sat inside the Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting fighting for my son to be able to be in a classroom with his classmates and I was told, “No!” I refused to sign an IEP! Parents, please be aware that it is your legal right to refuse to sign an IEP! Do not allow the school to bully you into signing something you don’t agree with. They will be upset but who cares?! Their reasons for being upset are because most of the time they don’t like doing the work that is required in the IEP because it is too much like asking them to do their ACTUAL job! I thought that my IEP team would be more supportive and knowledgeable about what we needed to better serve my son. The lack of support from both schools proved that I was the only advocate for my son. Dealing with the school system was extremely overwhelming. I even found us as an autism advocate, who like myself, the school hated to see coming. She would attend all of my son’s IEP meetings with me and would speak on my behalf we would have a list of things that we thought would be beneficial to Johnny’s education. The way that she fought for my son’s rights was admirable and I will never forget her. She was my inspiration to become an autism advocate!
The school called the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on me and opened a false case against me stating that I was “neglecting” my son because I decided to take him off of his Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD) medicine (the meds were causing him to grow female breast and it started to become difficult for his teacher to wake him up from his naps). They also stated that Johnny was seen walking on our main highway at 3:00 am. SMH! The lies that were said about me were outrageous and for months I was investigated DCF would do random pop-ups at my home. She took us to the autism center where he had to be retested for autism for her records. She also took us to the JD McCarthy treatment facility for children with autism to see if he could be accepted for a 30-day “monitoring” I had already decided against that as I wasn’t leaving my son in a facility. I cooperated with the caseworker. I had nothing to hide nor had I committed any crime. I was doing what I thought was best for my son. My caseworker was extremely resourceful and begin to point me in the direction to link me to services that were beneficial to us. I was investigated by DCF for months before the case was closed due to a lack of evidence that supported their claims of child neglect or abuse.
I took back the reigns of control and unenrolled my son out of school in October of 2014 – he had just started the second grade. The principal bought the forms to our home, I signed them and that was it! Johnny currently homeschools with me and he attends Epic Charter School an online academy that we love! He meets with his teacher once a week here at our local library and is getting ready to go into the 7th grade! He receives occupational therapy once a week and speech therapy twice a week through teletherapy which is convenient because it’s done through the Zoom video chat app, it also saves us a drive every week to Oklahoma City. His teacher is amazing! And so is our IEP team. This is the first time where I have felt like our team cares and we finally fit in somewhere. Homeschooling and autism are challenging because of the way that Johnny learns I have to always come up with ways to fit his specific learning style whether that is cutting his school day from two hours a day back to thirty minutes a day or using counters to help him learn addition and subtraction. But it is not the end of the world or punishment to any parents because I have spoken with parents who blame themselves for their child’s autism. Keep fighting the good fight for your children as you’re their biggest advocate!
                                                                                                                       Lashanda Wallace, Inc.
                                                                                                                             Autism Advocate

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN FOR HOMESCHOOL PARENTS!

We are about to say, “Hello” to 3rd Grade! I went nuts researching what curriculum would be right for our daughter. One of my biggest things was she must see her own likeness in her books. If there were no black children present, we weren’t doing it PERIOD! Also, I live in a state where the laws are very flexible for parents to teach and pick whatever curriculum we want. Every district has FRAMEWORKS that they follow. (You can google frameworks in your county and see everything they are teaching.) I choose to follow Massachusetts frameworks because they seem to be the best in the country at this time.

I started off wanting to do a video school but was like why should I pay $1,500.00 for kindergarten and first grade. Now at second grade, I see it doesn’t have to be that expensive. I don’t think I have spent more than $300 a year including field trips, and the great thing is when homeschooling you don’t have to purchase all at once. My biggest fear when I started was am I sure we are doing enough? Was she getting as much as children in school? What I found is she is getting WAY MORE!! We only do school for an hour and a half a day! She gets a snack and recess in-between and the rest of the day is hers to do as she pleases. These are some of the resources we use in our homeschool!

Masterbooks – We use their Math and Social Studies Only.

My referral code

https://www.masterbooks.com/r/V3bEoJlk/

History comes from Urban Intellectuals. They have flash cards which are small and so cute for little hands. The facts aren’t overwhelming but sure opened my eyes about American History. Black History at this point is it! My little one is so young that black history is all I teach. I figure she has time for the Gold Rush and things for when she’s older. Right now, Ima work on her pride and self-esteem as the white curriculum does for white children.

https://store.urbanintellectuals.com/aff/CherieJ75/

I also use another resource that comes from Blessed Heritage. It’s written more like a teacher’s guide than a text or work book but pointed me towards some great literature to back up things like Christopher Columbus got lost and never stepped foot on US soil that’s was written in a way my daughter fully could understand. http://www.blessedheritage.com/primary-vol-1.html

Health comes from ABEKA (I found ours on eBay for like $6 in perfect condition)  https://www.abeka.com/abekaonline/bookdescription.aspx?sbn=197564&gclid=Cj0KCQjwpavpBRDQARIsAPfTwiwCSIQ4PK9WIIdac3foUypVUm6fJuELyQ0xUoB7sm7R4BZZFVing8MaAhjIEALw_wcB

So as far as language arts, when she was younger we did kindergarten using a lot of worksheets from The Big Book of Kindergarten & 1st Grade https://www.amazon.com/School-Zone-Kindergarten-Workbook-Matching/dp/0887431461/ref=asc_df_0887431461/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198066994475&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8751043359419606877&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9028267&hvtargid=pla-404115530087&psc=1

Spectrum workbooks https://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Grade-1/dp/1483816257/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=spectrum+1st+grade+workbooks&qid=1563113938&s=books&sr=1-3 and a workbook called Head of the class. The workbooks helped to guide me to make sure I was teaching what kids learned at the grade level and also to have hard copies of what I was teaching. Here is where I feel ABCMOUSE.com prepared her by the time she got to the worksheets, she already understood what to do. I make sure I read with her a lot and we pick out things she learns in the workbooks in her literature as well.

Core Knowledge has also been a great FREE resource for language arts. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews with people complaining it’s not the vintage literature we grew up with, but my daughter enjoys it and the characters and subjects are diverse unlike the stories we grew up with! Native Americans, Immigrants and Job Hunting are just a few of the amazing topics they cover! Real world things in text that’s age appropriate.

https://www.coreknowledge.org/curriculum/

For Writing, the Dollar store!!! They have those workbooks with the ABC’s in them. I buy like 5 for every grade and she does 2 pages a day. This year she will be doing cursive!

Science, she has a spectrum book we will pull from as well as a book she was gifted by her tutor, which is full of experiments! She has a science lab her Aunt Vickie, Uncle Mark and Cousin Vivie sent her. (Yes, a whole little LAB) that came with a box of experiments and a microscope so please pray she doesn’t blow up the house! Science is her favorite subject!

I also teach Spanish. Amazon and YouTube have great kid resources. We purchased a workbook from Amazon that was under $10.

I refuse to take the arts out of her schooling just because most schools have done away with them! It’s a fundamental part of children’s minds and let’s face it for many of us, it was the most fun we had all day! All work and no play is never the way to go in my book!

art

She takes art classes for $3 a session at Michael’s! If you have an Amazon Firestick there is an art class on there that has taught her how to draw animals. The Dollar stores and 5 and Below have become fun places to buy art materials and projects. I’ve found ways to tie in unit studies with her art as well and that’s fun!

art project

My daughter was gifted a Ukulele from her Uncle Mark, Aunt Vickie and Cousin Vivie, so she takes music lessons at the Guitar Center.

I am blessed to be surrounded by educators. I work along with a few great teachers if you ever want to speak to them as well for guidance. Reach out to me and I will connect you, because all kids are different!

Tae Kwon Do & swimming and soccer are my daughter’s P.E. Don’t forget to get them out and moving.

I keep records and I keep EVERYTHING! Some states, you just need a portfolio of your children’s work for the year. Just in case someone gets bored and wants to question what we have covered, I’m ready for Back to school night. They will get EVERYTHING!

I hope this helps and takes away any second guessing yourself that you have. All children are different and there are so many homeschooling options! Education isn’t cookie cutter…listen to your child’s needs. Children will express their interest to you. When my daughter started talking about hot lava, I knew it was time for a volcano unit which I goggled and Homeschool pop on YouTube was fun. When she was talking about butterflies, we did a butterfly unit. I found a butterfly farm (who knew they had those). Kids will lead their own education and it’s the perfect way to keep it fun and free as long as we can.

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Good Luck and I am always here.

IT’S 4 A.M. AND I’M AWAKE CUTTING UP FLASHCARDS!

It’s 4 a.m. and I’m awake cutting up flashcards! Preparing for 3rd grade, homeschool is about to take on a whole new form and I am ready for it. This year will be more fun, I’m convincing myself. This year I will be a better teacher, now that I got the hang of it. This year I am going to prepare and get all of the paperwork done earlier. I will lay a foundation that will not be broken because NOW I know exactly what needs to be done. Hahaahahah

Truth is my daughter will come in, take the reins and guide her own education and let me know everything she needs. While prep is good, I have also learned to be flexible. Just because Tuesday went exactly as I planned, Wednesday was totally off course but on that beautiful Wednesday, we had fun and we both learned a lot!

Children are resilient and flourish in their own environment! With their own tribe, on their own time. Life is a lot different for them when they can receive a hug after a ruff assignment. They also can feel when those around them lead with love! So, as you’re planning your homeschool year, remember to schedule in the love!

Good luck, parents. It’s a dirty job but we are the best ones to do it!

ADVICE FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG ATHLETES

UPDATE: 7/29/2019, 11:11 PM EST – To contact B2G Sports, reach out via Instagram: @official_b2gsports

I was sitting down talking to one of my lifelong friends, Ron Allen who trains student athletes and I thought about you, my readers and how a lot of you are raising young athletes yourself. Below are a few tips he shared with me.

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  1. Go to every game if you can, even if their team sucks.
  2. Stay relentlessly positive with your child when it comes to their sport and teach them to do the same.
  3. Let the coach do their job. They have to worry about every player on the team.
  4. Encourage your child to compete with themselves so they can be the best version of who they are.
  5. Allow your child to choose the sport he/she loves but encourage them to try multiple sports.
  6. To be a winner, athletes have to want it more than who’s coaching them and who’s raising them. Keep them in successful environments and surrounded by peers who are driven and pray it rubs off.
  7. Exercise patience and focus on the long game with your child when it comes to their development.
  8. Unless they ask you, wait a day or two before you tell your child what they did wrong after a loss or a bad game. Their emotions are already fragile enough.
  9. Most kids don’t have the drive their parents expect of them. Be ok with that if yours doesn’t. There are so many other areas where we as parents pressure are kids to be better. Let them have sports on their own speed.
  10. As soon as possible, seek out professional trainers or camps to work with your child instead of yourself. This will allow you to maintain a healthy parent / kid relationship.

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HOW TO CO-PARENT

So many emotions are stirred up when someone decides to leave a relationship. The hardest thing for some of us to do is to accept the fact that things will never be what they once were, but while the universe has changed your focus can’t. Once we become parents our life is no longer fully ours. It’s about creating a healthy environment for our children to flourish.

The most important thing you can do is to set a business-like tone. Remove emotions and replace it with what’s rational. Collectively, the first conversation you need to have should be about the intention to have a compassionate and supportive co-parenting relationship. Believe it or not, the person that was once your “everything” does not have to suddenly become the enemy. Remember the big picture and that’s your child’s mental health. If you can’t be great together as a unit, then you’re going to commit to be the best co-parents you can be.

One of the biggest issues is people fail to create an extended family plan. It’s bound to happen that someone will start dating again maybe even marry. Often, it happens too soon for one of the parties involved. Energy transfers… this is where checking emotions is important because children shouldn’t have to carry either parents’ feelings or burden. They have enough going on within themselves when their parents break up. It’s important to agree on the roles extended family members will play and the access they’ll be granted while your child is in each other’s charge.

Keep the lines of communication open. Never use your kid as a messenger. It is not their responsibility to become the go between both parents. This makes a child feel stuck in the middle. I guarantee you not only will they drop the ball at times and completely forget information they were supposed to share but things will get lost in translation.

Communication about co-parenting is extremely vital for your child’s healthy development. You don’t have to remain quiet if something about your ex’s co-parenting is troubling you. Just remember to approach everything with love and respect. Watch your tone and your approach. No finger pointing or “you-keep-doing-this kind” of talk. The best approach when communicating is to make your child the focal point: “I see the kids doing this-and-that after they return home from their visit. Any ideas of what we can do?” Notice there’s not one “you” word in there. No accusatory tone or finger-pointing either.

Don’t hear but listen…listen to understand, not to respond. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for that moment. Leave your own feelings and emotions out of what they are trying to communicate to you. I know it’s hard but it is beneficial to all parties involved.

Showing restraint is vital. Train yourself not to overreact to your ex. This is especially important in front of your children. Realize that communicating with one another is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s entire childhood, if not longer. Teach yourself to be numb to those buttons he or she is trying to push, and over time your ex will be forced to communicate in a more effective manner.

Last but not least, always be considerate. Share those milestones with the other parent, let them know about school events, big projects and accomplishments. It’s not about whether they are there daily or not, it’s about celebrating and encouraging your child.

The picture in an artist mind is not often what’s translated on canvas, but it doesn’t make it less beautiful. Happy co-parenting!

DID YOU KNOW 70% OF ALL CEOs WERE INVOLVED IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AS A YOUTH?

When I was pregnant, I read that children involved in extracurricular activities are more likely to go to college. Right then I knew I would encourage my daughter to find something that held her attention and she loved doing! She takes swimming lessons and Tae Kwon Do. Swimming was not her choice but it’s an essential life skill I feel strongly about her learning. Taw Kwon Do was all her choice. It was important to me that she picked her own path not lived in the shadow of her parents. We are thrilled she has picked Tae Kwon Do!

Benefits of Taekwondo

  • Ability to defend yourself
  • It’s a social activity
  • Goal setting & discipline
  • Increasing your self-esteem
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Bettering your focus
  • Increase your flexibly
  • Making you happier and a better person
  • Strengthening your muscles
  • Relieving stress
  • Learn respect for authority and life
  • It’s good for your brain. New research has found that practicing martial arts is good for your brain. The benefits are not just physical, but mental also.
  • Learning the ability to fail – Part of the instant gratification problem is that it has created a generation that is afraid to fail.  Students in Taekwondo will fail at some time.  They may get kicked in the head gear by a sparring partner, drop a weapon, lose at a tournament, or not pass a belt testing.  Allowing children to fail in a safe environment lets them see that failure is not an end, but the beginning of a great story. My daughter knows that “No” isn’t definite. Often it means not right now!

Martial Arts teach students to set “SMART” goals.

    • Specific – set an exact goal
    • Motivating – set a goal that motivates you
    • Achievable – set a goal that you can accomplish
    • Relative – set a goal that means something to you
    • Trackable – have a timetable and ability to judge success.

I understand extracurricular activities can be expensive and a lot of people live on a budget but if you check places like your local YMCA, they often have programs that will assist with funding.

FOCUS ON THE CHILDREN

June is graduation month and while we should focus our attention on the accomplishments of those that worked hard to achieve their goals, I am sad to hear some of the stories from blended families.

I had conversations with different friends. In one situation, the birth mother was pissed that the stepmother told the parent, “We are here celebrating our son.” (She’s been in the boy’s life for 10 years.) A stepfather was pissed that the absent sperm donor was invited to graduation because he had never been there before.

Note to parents, it’s not your day period. You’re there to celebrate the accomplishments of your child! The mental health and happiness of your child is more important than adult feelings. Celebrate this new chapter for your baby and put those adult feelings aside. You made a choice to join this blended family. The children are stuck in the middle. Raising mentally healthy young people is what it is all about. I wish more parents knew how to at least pretend to be mature for the greater good of their children.

(Some of y’all need family therapy NO SHADE.)

Bravo to the parents who have figured it out! Once you become parents, life is about them.