HOMESCHOOL BLESSING

Andrea, our homeschool advisor, just reminded me that if my daughter’s education was like everyone else’s, she would just be starting Kindergarten this month. With the Covid pandemic, I have been reassured and have confirmation I made the right choice for my child!

I know I wouldn’t be comfortable with her starting school and expected to be able to obey social distancing rules! Social distancing isn’t natural for adults, much less a room full of 5 to 6 year old children. It’s an unrealistic expectation. Also is a slight punishment. While I understand all parents cannot afford to homeschool, I am thankful I have been blessed enough to make a way.

Not only would she had been bored in Kindergarten but homeschool children now have the most consistent education out of regular school children. Bravo homeschool parents for choosing the path least taken and going against the grain. Living outside the box really feels good right now. I thank God I didn’t listen to the masses who questioned my choice. My daughter started her schooling at 3 years old when she requested and persisted that she was ready for Kindergarten. The fact that she knew all the states in the USA and was speaking, counting and knew her ABC’s in English and Spanish made the choice easy. Her whole education has been self-led.

Some friends and family voiced their opinions on how I was not making the right choice for my child and had conversations behind my back. I laugh at them now that my child is 5 years old and skating into 4th grade like a boss. Still self-driven, still on her own schedule.

She has been a pure joy and we have had no meltdowns through Covid about her being bored or lonely. She actually thinks Covid has been fun. She says she enjoys Taekwondo online and likes not having to go to the Dojang 4 days a week. She was little bummed out about soccer being cancelled but she shortly got over it, knowing it was okay for her to FaceTime her teammates.

She is fully aware of what’s going on and is okay with not risking her health for fun. FaceTime playdates have become a thing and she has adjusted with ease.

We are looking forward to starting 4th grade and incorporating a few new curriculums this school year. Enjoy and good luck, may all of our kiddos be safe and have a successful school year!

A CHILD WHO LOVES TO READ CAN TRAVEL ANYWHERE ANYTIME

I walked in the room and noticed my child sitting on the couch reading. She never looked up or noticed me taking pictures of her. Her Titi Jacelyn bought her a set of Children’s Encyclopedia Britannica books with a Quiz it Pen. She absolutely loves them. She loves to travel (Mixture of her Mom and Dad there). But she’s not letting Covid slow her down. Physically she can’t get on that plane but mentally she’s been to every continent. 

Little one reading

I am blessed to have introduced my child to the love of story very early! I started reading to her when she was still in the womb. Research shows reading to our children and talking to them about what we are reading increases a child’s IQ. 

I know for a lot of parents it’s frustrating when your child stops you while you are reading to them to discuss what’s happening on that page. Actually, stopping and letting them get their thoughts out and talking it through with them will help their reading comprehension later. It also helps develop a deep love for reading later. 

Take the time to cuddle up and enjoy your little one. It’s a great way to treasure those little precious moments of time we will never get back. Reading time has become a special part of our days. Even though she can read to herself now doesn’t mean I’ve stopped reading to her. Read alouds are a part of our school routine as well as Big Baby and Momma time. I’m getting every cuddle I can in while she still enjoys it! 

Keep in mind please while they are young you have the chance to shape their whole life. Children with better reading skills achieve higher test scores in every school subject and have a greater knowledge than those who don’t.

LET’S PAINT SEASHELLS


Well this time of the year we would usually be on a beach somewhere spending time together as a family. This year we are taking some extra precautions but that doesn’t mean we have to give up all the fun! 


Arts and Crafts is always a fun time in my house. Through arts and crafts, children get to exercise their fine motor skills, stretch their little imaginations, be creative and work independently. 

Art is great for self-esteem, as it gives children a great sense of achievement when they have completed their task. It’s a great and safe way to make mistakes and learn sometimes your mistakes can lead you to a whole new idea! It gives them a opportunity to work on their communication skills as they explain their creations to others! 


Arts and crafts is a weekly staple in my home that brings so much joy to all whom visit. 

Seashell Kit


The seashell kit was a Christmas purchase from Five Below last year! 

KNOWLEDGE OF SELF AS A TEENAGER

Knowing your own character, values, abilities and emotions at an early age is almost unheard of. Knowledge of self is really the answer to success at living a peaceful life. It’s the key to being emotionally intelligent and keeping yourself mentally healthy. 

For many, it takes them until they are in their 40s to finally get it. The journey being the teacher of wisdom.

I don’t think there is a parent alive who wants to watch their kid fail as they grow up and learn their worth. 

What if I told you this 52-page Affirmation book with attached journal pages was a great start for your teenager? Would u check it out? I can tell you it’s already in my daughter’s library just waiting for her to grow up a little and get a head start on learning just what she was put on this earth to accomplish! It’s really worth checking out!

Available now on amazon! 

FIRST IT WAS TOYS R US, NOW CHUCK E. CHEESE IS CLOSING!

Everyone loves to share nostalgia with their children, things that brought them happiness when they were growing up. It’s amazing how almost every 70s baby’s childhood is being wiped away one by one. Wow, we might all be a little dramatic when it comes to things that we love going away…like when I heard about them taking away the Twinkie. Twinkies are back! But I got anxiety about Twinkies for no reason.

Then, it was the closure of Toys R Us!  It was the first place I took my daughter to pick out her own toys. Yes, we still have Target & Walmart but it’s just not the same as rewarding a child and taking them to the toy store. Buying toys online is not the same as a child walking down the aisle of a toy store and being drawn to a certain item by that exciting magic.

Oh Chuck E. Cheese, I will miss the smell, the sounds of laughter, the salad bar, the look on my daughter’s face when you came from out the back in your costume and the birthday parties with the singing puppets! The skee-ball machine and all the tickets. Oh, those tickets brought more smiles than candy! Getting to pick a toy to take home was everything. I still have our play cards and coins. I promised my baby we would use them when social distancing was over… I don’t have the heart to tell her yet! Ima just let this one play out and not make a big deal about it. The exciting thing is there will be something new. Hopefully, they won’t serve beer!  

Bye bye, Chuck E Cheese…

KIDS FEEL STRESS TOO!

My daughter said to me today, “I wish KIAN was open, Mommy.” 

“Why baby, you want me to go to work?” I asked her.

“I need a spa day, Mommy!” she said to me.

I giggled, what in the world does a 5-year-old know about a spa day?! Well plenty… her Auntie and Mommy are the owners of one. She has become accustomed to walking into a swanky spa in Bel Harbor off Collins Avenue, and receiving a massage and facial while we are trying to work and keep her busy. I understand quarantine has come with some challenges and change to her schedule but most of all, it has changed the fact she isn’t able to spend time with many she cares about. 

Even though Taekwondo is online, she can’t hug her teachers, see her friends, her Aunties, Uncles or the KIAN Staff. She misses them all so much. For a young child, missing people they love is hard.

Self-care makes everyone feel better, and it’s not just for adults, children appreciate it too. It was time for me to become her personal nail technician and massage therapist. First, I made her a bubble bath. When she got out, after I assisted her drying off, I laid her down and gave her a full body rub down. We finished the afternoon off with a pedicure, finger sandwiches and tea. LOL 

Spa Day

One of her Christmas presents was an Orbeez foot spa I found at 5 And Below and her Taekwondo Master bought her a set of polishes and charms. No better time to pull them out and ask her, “What color do you want your nails?”

Spa Day

She loved it! After her treatments her attitude changed, and she enjoyed walking around the rest of her day with her unicorn robe on. Everyone deserves an off day, even children!

LEGOS ARE SO UNDERRATED FOR GIRLS!

During Christmas, I was browsing the toy aisle for different things to buy my daughter. I wanted some things that would help her fine motor skills and also could be used for engineering. For some reason when people think of girls, they leave out science, engineering and math.

Lego Friends

Growing up, I don’t ever remember playing with Legos. My daughter is only five, but she put the set together by herself. I assisted a few times, pushing things down a little harder, but she was able to follow directions by herself and figure it all out.

I’m sold and a total Lego fan! She sat down and was persistent for an hour. I watched her self-esteem boost. It also gave her a chance to explore her creative side and work on her fine motor skills. She also got to use her planning skills, which most toys don’t allow her to do. I mean she had blocks and big Legos when she was smaller, but these are definitely amazing, and I will be buying her a few more sets. It kept her quiet for an hour and left no mess to clean up. No need to say anymore.

Lego Friends Set

LIL CHERIE IS HERE TO HELP YOU HOMESCHOOL YOUR KIDS

I see a lot of parents on social media worried about what they are going to do with their children now that school is out. Lil Cherie is here to help. As parents are becoming educators, if your goal is to help your child stay ahead of the curve, improve their reading comprehension and become bilingual in the process…You don’t want to miss this sale.

Bundle and save with this perfect companion to the Lil Cherie Dresses Herself book, this learning unit was developed by the Lil Cherie Educational Team to help children to recognize sight words as they cultivate a love for learning and reading. 

This is the perfect unit for children up to second grade. https://adviceformysistas.com/product/lil-cherie-dresses-herself-book-curriculum-bundle/

If you need advice on homeschooling, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help! LilCheriehelps@gmail.com

GUEST POST: HOW TO PAY FOR AN HBCU EDUCATION FROM A MOM WHO’S DOING IT

By Tauleece Thomas, Esq.

Financing a college education is often one of the most daunting tasks that parents face on their parenting journey. There are so many questions to ask and answer as our children approach that ultimate decision of where they will matriculate after high school: Do we take out loans? Do we do the community college route? How can we find enough scholarship money to meet the need? Along with these very real questions of finance, many parents are also struggling with questions about which type of university will best suit their children. Should they send them to a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) or an HBCU (Historically Black College or University)? In our community, the love for HBCUs is sometimes jaded by the belief that HBCUs are “too expensive”. This misguided premise truly amazes me because HBCUs were founded to provide educational opportunities to those with the most limited resources. Have costs increased over the years? Absolutely! But so have the offerings and opportunities that HBCUs make available to our community. So, let’s explore some options, ideas and avenues for removing the “too expensive” moniker from any conversation about our beloved HBCUs.

You might be wondering, “Who the heck is this chick?” Well, I am a proud HBCU graduate (Howard University Class of 1992). I am the wife of a proud HBCU master’s program graduate (Prairie View A&M University Class of 2013). I am the mother of a proud HBCU graduate (Prairie View A&M University Class of 2016). And I am the mother of two proud, current, HBCU students (Prairie View A&M University Classes of 2018 and 2020). Yes, I am ALL ABOUT the HBCU journey! I value it! I love it! I live it!

Even before we became parents, my husband and I made TWO decisions:

        1 – Our children would attend HBCUs for their undergraduate education.

        2 – Our children would NOT take out loans for their undergraduate education.                                                    

To make these decisions feasible and attainable, we decided to adopt several mantras…philosophies…or family premises:

A’s = MONEY                 You can pay for school with your MIND              You can GET PAID to go to school

Our family hashtag: #wedontpayfordegreesaroundhere

Our family hashtag is one that we take VERY seriously. Being able to “pay for school with your mind” is a very real and attainable goal. It does take a bit more of a concerted effort on the part of parents and students, but it is completely feasible to not pay one red cent for your child to attend some of the best institutions of higher learning that this country has to offer. Excuse my colloquialism for a moment, but “ain’t NO education like an HBCU education”!

By now, you’re thinking, “Ok, sista…I’m with you on this. But, HOW do I do it?” I’m glad you asked that question…. here we go:

THE INTERNET IS YOUR BEST FRIEND

There is this WONDERFUL thing called the internet….and with a search of the right terms, parents and students will find a whole world of obscure and unknown scholarships that are out there and available. Since we homeschool, we simply turned “Scholarship Search” into a required course in the 11th and 12th grade year for our students. The vast array of scholarship search websites that are available is astounding. And while much of the information will likely be duplicative from one site to the next, there is always the possibility of finding hidden gems on one site that aren’t available on all sites. Make your internet search relevant to the schools and areas of study that your student is interested in pursuing. Also, access experienced counseling for scholarship search assistance. If your student is in public or private school, consider requiring him/her to establish a regular meeting time with the school guidance counselor as a way of staying informed and aware of scholarship opportunities and deadlines. This should be done at the beginning of the high school career, NOT in the last year.

KNOW THE TYPE OF SCHOLARSHIP THAT YOUR STUDENT IS MOST LIKELY TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE

Understand the difference between merit-based scholarships, which are based on academic performance, and need based scholarships, which are based on financial need. For example, because of our family’s income level, my children have never qualified for many need-based scholarships. The couple of times that they did, it was because we had multiple students enrolled in college at one time, so our need was seen as greater for that reason. There are also scholarships that are specifically for students who plan to attend HBCUs. They are available via local alumni chapters, corporate alumni chapters and endowments set up by alumni that are administered by the university. Broaden your mind and thoughts about where scholarship money may be available and then tap those sources. Apply, apply, apply, apply, apply and apply some more! Consider creating a spreadsheet list with the scholarship name, application deadline, award amount, reference requirements, and notification date as a way of charting and tracking scholarship applications. Most applications are online now, but having this document is a great way to keep a personal eye on how your efforts are progressing.                        

NO SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL

A full ride academic scholarship does not always have to come from one funding source. If a student is able to aggregate scholarship awards and cover the entire cost of his or her education, then THAT is also considered being on full academic scholarship. Don’t shun those $250, $500 or $750 scholarships…they really do add up! The smaller dollar scholarships are sometimes the easiest to apply for and receive. A short essay, often no more than 500 words, is usually a standard requirement. So, if your student shuns writing, start working on improving his/her outlook on the power and purpose of being a good writer.

GET INVOLVED IN PRIVATE ACTIVITIES/GROUPS THAT OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS TO MEMBERS

Organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, Jack & Jill, Rotary Clubs, Masonic Lodges and other private membership entities regularly offer scholarships for students attending college who have participated in their organizations. These scholarships are often overlooked and go unclaimed as students don’t see the long-term value in joining and participating in these organizations. However, participation in these organizations often add value to a student’s resume, impart lifelong skills and create highly beneficial networking relationships that all can, and often do, lead to more scholarship opportunities. [Editor’s note: also consider athletic organizations and remember to apply for scholarships offered by local Black Greek-letter organizations (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, etc.)]                         

ATTEND PRE-COLLEGE SUMMER PROGRAMS AT HBCUs

Most HBCUs have wonderful summer programs for students desiring to gain access and exposure to what that university has to offer. These summer opportunities often provide “insider information” about scholarships that students can apply for, when applications will be available and valuable mentoring experience with university students and staff. When a student attends and performs well in a summer program at an HBCU, he/she is seen as a valued future student for that institution. Some summer programs are free, and some have a cost. But no matter the cost, the value is in the fact that the student and his/her family have made a deliberate and substantial connection with that particular HBCU.                              

And finally… THE MOST IMPORTANT tip for funding an HBCU education is to change your mindset and improve your expectations! If you believe and expect to be able to afford an HBCU education for your student, you will make it happen!

My husband and I are now on our third student attending an HBCU, and we have yet to pay one penny for tuition, books, room and board or fees of any kind. Our oldest graduated in 2016….completely debt free. Our two current students have excess scholarship money EVERY semester such that they never have to ask us for money for anything. Heck, sometimes, I want to ask THEM to break me off a little piece of change! Our youngest two students are already primed and ready to find their niche and pay for school with their minds as well. 

WHAT WOULD KIDS BE DOING IF VIDEO GAMES WEREN’T EVER INVENTED?

I just saw a post on Facebook that said, “What would kids be doing if video games weren’t ever invented?”  I couldn’t help but laugh and then comment.

My Facebook comment…

“Actually, my kid just read a book on the history of Video Games and there was a Quiz

at the end. I made her do an oral book report. Not only did she ace the test (reading comprehension) but she read words way beyond what should be her reading level at 5 years old. She thinks Adventure Academy is a video game she’s now moved on from her old game ABCmouse.com. I call this parenting and Homeschool in 1! 

Regardless of their peers, kids live with us and we are the biggest influences in their lives. If you get outside, they will too.

As parents we still can control what our kids do. There’s a swing set outside, so we can go out there and play. I also connect her punching bag to it from time to time. I bought her a pogo stick. She can’t pogo stick inside.   She likes to go with me on my morning walk, but she wants to ride her scooter or her bike. She is also playing soccer and swims in the pool all summer. As a parent, I’ve made it my responsibility to make sure that she goes outside and get the proper exercise that kids should get. I don’t sit around and blame video games and TV. 

Go to the park

Take them on a walk

Go swimming 

Wash the car together

Trim bushes 

Play soccer with them

Play basketball 

Play catch and talk

Play frisbee

Fly a kite

If you stop making excuses, you being involved will get them away from the TV up and out. I’m just saying, can’t blame the video games you paid for!

www.TeamCherieJ.com