The Joys of Home Educating

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Key to a Great Parent Teen Relationship

Why Love is Key to a Great Relationship Between Parents and Teens

How often do you go out of the way to develop your relationship with your significant other?

How about your teenager?

All good relationships take a lot of time and energy to build a lasting bond. This can be especially difficult between parents and teens. At times it might feel that your relationship with your adolescent is teetering on a cliff and might collapse at any minute.

A teen is developing their own identity- one that is apart from his family. It is normal for there to be ups and downs, but the key to bonding and strengthening your connection might be the secret power of love.


Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Nature Versus Nurture

There has long been a debate over which influences a child the most: the role of genetics or the environment. 

The role a parent plays when a child is young is vital to their development. They provide more than the basic needs- they mold a child’s brain. Over a decade of research has proven that “neglect is awful for the brain”.  Children need someone to provide a stable source of “attention, affection, and stimulation” for optimal development.

The family unit is often the place where a child receives these needs. Parents understand this concept when children are young. However, we sometimes forget that ALL kids, regardless of age, still need our love and attention.

Importance Of Bonding

Encouraging a positive home life is shown to affect intelligence and overall performance in life. Children learn how to overcome adversity, grow relationships, and interact with their environment from their parents. It’s important to never underestimate the role of parental bonding--even during the teenage years when the brain is undergoing rapid development.

A lot of researchers cite the studies of children who were adopted from Romanian orphanages in 1980’s and 1990’s. Many of these children were “neglected” emotionally and exhibited odd behaviors. They displayed delayed language and other symptoms that suggested inadequate brain development. Through brain studies, it was proven that the children had smaller brains.

The surprising deprivation that caused this lack of brain development didn’t have anything to do with nutrition or early childhood education. It was due to “the lack of a parent or someone who acted like a parent” bonding with the child.

How To Encourage A Loving Relationship

The extreme example of children raised in orphanages is not commonplace. However, emotions and hormones can make it difficult to cultivate a loving relationship between teens and their parents. Slamming doors and stomping feet can easily curb the best of intentions. 

Here are some tried and true ways to strengthen a parent and teen relationship:

Be involved. You don’t have to be a helicopter parent, but taking the time to show up for class events, games, and parent teacher conferences sends the message that you care. Extend this to his social life to know who his friends are and what he is interested in. Be a “visible part” of his life.

Choose your battles. This is hard- especially when your child insists on getting their ear pierced or dyeing his hair neon pink. However, it is important to let your child learn some lessons on his own. Reserve the times when you say “no” for important decisions that go against your family’s morals or is a safety issue.

Schedule time to bond. High School is stressful and almost every minute of a teen’s day is scheduled with practices, meetings, classes, and events. Remember to pencil in times to reconnect. Simply eat dinner together or set aside a day just to have fun.

Support their accomplishments, successes, and even failures. Acknowledging your teen will let him know you notice his actions. Noticing that he didn’t procrastinate on his homework or he nailed his band solo sends the message you still care.

Listen first; then ask questions. Pay attention, but avoid putting him or his ideas down. Be interested about things important to him- friends, music, movies, school, and work.

Remember, they are still children. Your son might act and talk like adult, but his brain won’t be fully developed until the age of 25. Hormones and emotions fuel this process which can create poor judgment and fluctuating moods. Take a deep breathe and remember that it is normal for people to make mistakes as they learn.

A Little Love Goes A Long Way In Life

Recognizing that your teenager still benefits from intentional and loving relationships is the first step in strengthening your bond. Accepting your teen without belittling him, will help you become his emotion role model and coach. Love is actually a powerful tool when raising well adjusted adults.


Take these precious years as an opportunity- not a burden and enjoy the journey.





Amy Williams is a journalist based in Southern California. As a mother of two, she has learned a lot of things the hard way, and hopes to use her experience as a parent to help other parents raise their children to be the best that they can be. You can follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Year of the Goat - Chinese New Year Party and a discount


Hi everyone. 

I am gearing up for a few months of celebrations in our home.  Between some birthdays, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year and St. Patty's day, I am hoping we are not partied out before Easter! (which happens to be early this year and our daughter's birthday!) 

As you might have seen before, we always celebrate Chinese New Year in our homeschool.  I am not sure why we ever started this tradition, but the kids love it and so do I.  This year Chinese New Year is February 19th (a few days after Valentine's Day - so save those red decorations!) and a few days before my birthday!  


Image Source


Isn't that so fun and festive!  I am so using the Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year Printable kit from Birds Party this year!  In the past I have pieced together some printables here and there. This year we are going all out with this great party on a tight budget!

 This printable party kit includes the following templates (with a lot of them being editable):


Image Source



* Fill-in party invites: Can be personalized digitally by you in Adobe Reader Font styles cannot be changed!
* Cupcake toppers
* Patterned scrapbook papers: 4 designs - use to make Chinese lanterns and more!
* Party icons: Chinese dragons, Chinese fans and red Chinese lantern designs
* Buffet cards: Pre-printed with Chinese and English text for “Happy New Year” and traditional Chinese New Year foods
* Blank buffet cards: Can be personalized digitally by you in Adobe Reader - Font styles cannot be changed!
* Party favor tags: In Chinese and English  and read “For You”, “Thank You” and “Happy New Year”
*  1.5 inch Round Party tags - Can be used to decorate red envelopes as seals, as candy jar labels and much more!
* Mini-red envelope template
* Mini-Chinese take-out favor boxes: 2 designs

Great set right!  

Would you believe it's only $ 9.99 for this entire downloadable printable template set! 

To even make it more exciting - The party printables have editable templates like invitations, mini red envelopes, editable buffet cards, printed buffet cards (some in Chinese!), favor tags, round dessert toppers and much more!! *

Even more exciting IF you click on the picture below and use my link (affiliate) you can get 10% off your order of additional supplies    CODE: LETSPARTY

Party Supplies and Printables Shop



This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wrapping it Up - January




Can you even believe that the first month of 2015 is coming to an end?  Does it seem like it was quick or what?  It seems like just last night our family was trying to all stay up to watch the ball come down in Times Square.  

This week has had it's moments.  With school and with life.  




The girls started a month long money unit. We spent the week exploring coins and researching them on line.  I never knew there were so many different penny options. The backs are different on many of them. 

Zachary continues right along with Geometry and our #WhereAreWeWednesday brought us to Virginia.  

If you follow me on Instgram, you probably saw all my prepping for the Blizzard 2015. 


Of course there was the Blizzard of 2015.  For us (an hour North of NYC) we prepped and prepared our home and our minds for 12-24 inches and probable power outage.  Well...the storm went East and we ended up with about 3 inches total between the two days.   BUST for us.. we prayed for all those in Long Island and other areas that were devastated with all the snow and wind. 



On our mission not to spend a penny on "non essential" items for January #NoSpendChallange, I took last weekend and came up with a Laundry/Boiler room makeover. We had paint already from another project.  I used my Silhouette Cameo for a few decor projects and pulled some baskets and other items from other parts of the house.  It came together nicely!  Just in time to put the house on the market in a few short weeks! The cost was ZERO out of pocket. 



What went real well this week....my new outlook on life and myself.   Eating well (1200 calories per day or less), drinking 8-10 cups of water per day and exercising 6 days a week. It has all paid off.  My heart is feeling strong, I have so much energy and I have lost 10 pounds since January 2nd!  My goal is 35 pounds.  Those jeans in that pic above all DONT Fit me!  All a bigger size and all can be pulled off without unbuttoning!  Can I get an AMEN?!  I am left with 4 pair of paints that currently fit.  (besides workout pants).  

What's up for the weekend ahead...

Tomorrow the kids have a b'day party to go to and it's an indoor swimming party!

Sunday - hubby hoping to take the kids all skiing and of course, the Superbowl!  GO SEAHAWKS!


What you might have missed this week on The Joys of Home Educating...





I hope your weekend is filled with fun and laughter! 

Linking to:

Homegrown Learners - Collage Friday
Weird UnSocialized Homeschoolers - Weekly Wrap Up



This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Creating a Valentine Photo Booth Back Drop for A Buck


Sharing a speedy quick idea with you today for a perfect Valentine Photo Booth Backdrop.   The Dollar Tree, craft stores (use coupons) (and I am sure drug stores and grocery stores) sell packages of 10 or more of these sparkly paper hearts. 

Spend the $ 1, pick an empty wall and have the kids stick them around a small area (I used blue painters tape). Cut up a few mustaches out of construction paper and maybe an empty frame hanging around.  

There you have it!  The kids had a ball posing!

Happy Valentine's Day!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentine's Day - Night In Idea


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YoursandMine #CollectiveBias




Once upon a time..... 

It was Father's Day weekend in the year 2000 and I was in the throes of a nasty divorce. A single mom of a 12 year old son and a career I had to give up in order to get my life back in order.  My sister and her boyfriend were driving hours upstate to visit me and hopefully put some cheer into my weekend.

Insert doorbell ring

I opened the door and my sister was standing there. 

She said, "I come bearing gifts."

I asked, "oh what did you bring me?" (expecting a bottle of wine)

She leaned to the left and motioned behind her.

She said, "him". (it was my now husband)

I was shocked but gladly accepted "my gift" without hesitation. 

Fast forward 3 years later...we were married and over the course of another 11 years have had three beautiful children. 


Celebrating special events has always been a must in our marriage.  With Valentine's Day  just on the horizon, it was time for some planning!

Valentine's Day has usually meant chocolate, jewelry, flowers and dinner out all courtesy of the hubby.  I am usually the creative one scrambling to make up the coupon book for back rubs or a date night, which somehow never seem to get redeemed.  sigh... 

Time to change it all up! My vision for this Valentine's Day is a relaxing night filled with romance and reconnecting. Spicing the love life up doesn't have to be rocket science or break the budget.  With three children at home, we have to watch our dollars and cents.  Being creative on a tight budget is KEY!

I took some time alone to shop for some items that will make the night special. My trip brought me to Walmart for the essentials.  In the cart went a few candles, mini chocolate bars, strawberries and  a  K-Y® DATE NIGHT kit.




Not familiar with it? It is his and hers lubricants that provide a thrilling sensation and excitement during those intimate times. 

How I envision the night going. The children will be miles away at their Grammie's house for a fun overnight. I will do my best to sneak in a hand written love letter and hide it somewhere inconspicuous but where I know he will see it before the evenings activities. This will set the scene for the rest of the night.  Then a romantic candlelight dinner coupled with a chilled bottle of of wine. 

Followed by retiring to the bedroom for a romantic movie and some late night fun. This is where the K-Y® YOURS+MINE and K-Y® DATE NIGHT Kit comes into play.  



You can check out the K-Y® YOURS+MINE and K-Y® DATE NIGHT pack at Walmart.com for discreet purchasing. 

Just like our marriage is fun, so is the marriage of his and hers lubricant.  As the saying goes...it takes two to make a thing go right...



I am already planning the next date night! 

This special limited edition set includes K-Y® YOURS+MINE  Couples Lubricant, a gift card for 1 free meal for two people from PEACHDISH.com (delivered right to your door) and a $ 5 VUDU movie credit for you to stream right at home.  You can find the codes to redeem these on the inside of the pack. 

For more great ways to celebrate romance this Valentine's Day, visit K-Y.com.

This is how we will celebrate a romantic Valentine's Day. 

How will be you be celebrating? 

Pinks N Pigskins - A Girly Football Celebration


Superbowl is almost here!  Although the two teams our family supports (Vikings and the Saints) were nowhere near qualifying - we are still excited to watch it all play out! 

Our two daughers and I are just as excited as my son and husband.  I decided this year to celebrate the day with a Pinks N Pigskins Party!  

Glamming it up!


A teaser of what is in store for the big game....







Can't wait to share the entire celebration with you in early February!

Until next time - Be Blessed and Touchdown!
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