May 2017

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6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Feeding Your Kids “Kid Food”

“Most food is kid-friendly. Kids just need to learn how to eat it,” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “Kids who are taught healthy eating habits, which include eating a variety of healthy foods, will be far better off now and in the long run. They will be learning healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

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Ten Rules for Homeschool Convention Etiquette

I believe every situation calls for some etiquette, and homeschool conventions are no exception. Often, vendors represent small, family-run businesses, and sales at conventions provide their largest source of revenue. When customers follow these ten simple rules, everyone benefits.

Ten Rules for Homeschool Convention Etiquette

The next time you enjoy a homeschool convention, I encourage you to practice these ten demonstrations of courtesy. As you do so, you can be sure that you will bless and encourage the vendors and your fellow attendees.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #1

Make sure checks or credit cards are good, or pay in cash. Most vendors are able to authorize credit cards at their booths. However, if your credit card does not go through, valuable time will be lost in rectifying the situation, so make sure your accounts are in good shape before you go to a convention. If a check bounces, fees are charged and both the vendor and the customer have to deal with the account balance problems. Many vendors prefer cash, which sometimes helps vendors pay for immediate needs associated with convention expenses, such as such as food, gas, hotel expenses, etc.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #2

Handle all products carefully and respectfully. The vendor’s inventory is expensive and should be handled gently. If items are damaged, vendors may not be able to sell them. One way to appropriately inspect books would be to open them up gently, not spreading them completely open, thereby keeping their spines intact and preserving the “new” feel of the book. Of course, it is always best to peruse sample copies when they are available.

After reviewing a product, put it back in the same location where you found it. If you don’t know where it goes, hand it back to the vendor, or ask where to put it back in its proper place.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #3

Don’t shop before the vendor hall officially opens. Many vendors are scrambling to “set up shop” right up until the moment the convention sales officially begin. Honor the starting and ending times posted for sales, and don’t rush the vendors. They are eager to serve you, but they need to get organized first.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #4

Diligently supervise your children at all times. Take advantage of the wonderful children’s programs that convention coordinators have provided for your children. The convention sponsors may also offer babysitting services, or the hotel may provide those services. You can also share “babysitting duty” with another mom: one of you watches all the children while the other mom shops; then you trade off. If you prefer to keep your children with you, be sure to keep them within reach—literally—at all times, for their protection and for the protection of the vendors’ products as well.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #5

Shop, don’t study. Vendors understand that you would like to browse through a book before buying it, but to stand in front of the booth and read through the entire book is rude. Not only will the booth be less accessible to other potential customers while you are there reading, but it’s likely that the book will look “used” after you have read it from cover to cover, and no one else will want to purchase it. If you are thoroughly “sold” on a product, buy it and use it at home.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #6

Keep the traffic moving, as much as it is in your power to do so. Don’t congregate with friends (new or old) directly in front of a booth, especially with your shopping carts or strollers in tow. Vendors are dependent on person-to-person sales, so be polite and congregate elsewhere; avoid creating traffic jams that can rob vendors of business.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #7

Remember that the vendor needs to talk to as many potential customers as possible. Vendors love to talk with you, especially when homeschooling is the topic, but remember that the time they have available to interact—hopefully with everyone at the convention—is limited. Be friendly, ask your questions, and step aside so that the next guy can ask his questions.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #8

Expect to pay for good customer service. Vendors who don’t deal with high-volume inventories are often more willing to discuss their products and personally answer your questions. If a vendor “sells” you on his product, buy it from him—not from the high-volume-sales vendor on the next row, who was too busy to answer your questions. Pay for what you get, and don’t take unfair advantage of helpful people—instead, support their businesses with your purchases.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #9

Support the speakers. Most speakers at homeschool conventions receive no compensation for their contributions to the event. In fact, many speakers are required to pay a fee in order to conduct a workshop, demonstration, or class at a convention. Take advantage of the information and encouragement the speakers can offer, and if you like what you hear and see, seek out their booths and consider trying the products that impress you the most.

Homeschool Convention Etiquette Rule #10

Please honor the established closing time at the convention sales. When the vendor hall is closing, make your purchases and leave on time, like the way you “kindly make your way to the circulation desk” (sound familiar?) when the public library announces it “will close in fifteen minutes.” You can be sure that most vendors are very tired after a long day’s work and are eager to get off their feet too. Make your final purchases . . . and come back tomorrow, bright and early.

Most convention vendors love what they do or they wouldn’t be there. Many regard the hours they spend interacting with, and explaining their products/services to, potential customers as ministry. I encourage you to practice these ten rules of etiquette to enhance not only your shopping experience but the vendors’ experiences too!

See you at the conventions!

 

Linda Brodsky and her husband Mark have owned Brodsky Ministries for more than ten years. They sell curricula, T-shirts, U.S.-made toys, natural health products, and more. Their children can be found at homeschool conventions painting faces and making balloon sculptures. They have five children on earth, three in heaven, and are praying for more. Visit their website at www.brodskyministries.com.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free TOS apps to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.

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25 Alternatives to a Traditional Book Report

The words “book report” can elicit groans from students at any age. Writing a summary of a book isn’t necessarily the most effective way to demonstrate learning in the digital age. With summary book websites online, the traditional book report is no longer an enriching task. Here are 25 alternatives to the traditional book report for students to demonstrate their comprehension and deeper understanding of a book.

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Easy Kids Crafts: Sew a Gift Bag

If you are looking for an out of the ordinary way of wrapping your gift this season, then this one is for you! This heart pouch can be used again right after serving its purpose. Sounds economical, right? This can be sewn by non-crafters and you don’t need to be a craft expert to do this. You also have the freedom to personalize this since you are the ones making it compared to the one being sold in the market. So if you are up for an adorable gift for mom, then let us begin sewing this heart pouch now!

Easy Kids Craft: Sew a Gift Bag

Gather all the materials needed:

  • 2 pcs. crafting felt (pink and red)
  • yarn of any color
  • crochet thread
  • a big sewing needle
  • a pair of scissors
  • wooden skewer or any thin stick (optional)

 

 

Instructions

 

 

Step 1: Cut a piece of rectangle from the pink crafting felt. The dimensions should be at least 30-centimeter in length and 10-centimeter in width. The dimensions are flexible since you can cut this based on your needed size. This will be the body of the pouch.

 

 

Step 2: Cut a medium-sized heart from the red crafting felt.

Step 3: Place the heart in the middle part of the pink body. This should be placed on the one-third portion from the top of the body. Sew this heart using a running stitch near the side of it.

Step 4: Fold the top and the bottom ends of the pink body towards the back portion of it. The back portion is the portion where the red heart is not visible. The folds would be at least 1 to 1.5-centimeter in width. Sew this using a running stitch.

Step 5: Fold the pink body into two equal parts and sew the sides of it using running stitch. Leave the topmost part open. Do not stitch the folded parts on top.

Step 6:  Insert the yarn on the pipe opening on the topmost part of the pouch.

Step 8: Cut the end of the yarn once you decided how long you want your yarn is.

 

Step 9: Create a loop at the ends of both yarn on the left and right.

Step 10: You can now place your precious gift to this lovely heart pouch.

 

This adorable heart pouch can be made by simple non-crafters since this only involves the simple running stitch. You can also use this pouch for other purposes, such as watch, bracelet or earrings pouch whenever you travel. Practice your creativity and who knows? Maybe you have the eye and the artistic hand for it! Have fun and spread the love!

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Living Simply Series: Why It’s So Hard to Give Up Our Stuff

This is the 5th installment of our “Living Simply Series.” If you’ve missed out on the other articles, click on the links below to catch up. And, don’t forget to get your FREE living simply bundle at the bottom of this article.

 

 

Why It’s So Hard to Give Up Our Stuff

No one said it would be easy to simplify. Ask anyone who has moved to a more minimalist lifestyle, and they’ll tell you that there can be a lot of resistance come up. But it’s only stuff. Why do we have such a tough time finding a new home (including the trashcan) for items we no longer need or use? It’s all about the emotions surrounding the items that cause us to hold on tightly.

Stuff makes us feel secure—we buy with our emotions, not logic, which means we invest emotionally in our possessions. Having a lot of stuff makes us feel safe and secure. How many things do you keep around “just in case”?  Having a lot of stuff or expensive items gives us status in our society, which also makes us feel important and secure in our place in the world.

We spent our hard-earned cash on it—many people feel wasteful and guilty when they start decluttering their things. They think about how much they senselessly spent on items that are now simply cluttering up their homes, garages, basements, and sometimes even storage space they are paying a monthly fee on.

We know we should use it—guilt also comes in the form of “should’s.” We should use our treadmill. We should wear that expensive suit. A lot of times we buy special or nice things and then only use them for good… which is usually very rare or we forget about them when we are preparing for a special occasion.

It was a gift—even if our least favorite aunt gives us a hideous lamp for the holidays, something we would never put out, we keep it in a closet, basement or storage unit. We feel it’s mean to donate something that someone put thought and money into, even though we hate it. So the guilt keeps us hanging onto it.

It reminds us of better times—we hold onto stuff from our past, most of which has no monetary, but a sentimental value. Keeping a few small items isn’t a big deal, but when we feel we need to keep everything from our carefree college days or all the love letters we’ve ever received, it can take up a lot of space and emotional energy. Being unwilling to part with things that remind us of happier times can be a red flag that we aren’t happy with our current situation.

Everyone feels emotional when going through their stuff to declutter. It’s natural, so when you experience this, don’t beat yourself up. Just be aware that even though they are just things, we are typically connected to them in various ways because of the emotions that we have attached to them.

If you haven’t received it yet, you can get the FREE Simple Living Bundle. This includes a checklist, eBook and a guide with tips to you start living simply in just 15 minutes a day!

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