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Category Archives: Take Action

Internet Safety Issues

I bet all of my readers have some sort of virus software installed to help keep your computer safe, but how many of you have solid plans for keeping your child safe while using the Internet? Internet Safety should be included in your homeschooling curriculum at some point. It is relevant for all age groups, even adults. My daughter, a teenager, and I have had discussions about ways she is to protect herself when accessing the Internet. We also explored why it’s important.

Have you heard about Cyber bullying? It is very real in today’s social media circles. So many older kids today use Facebook, My Space, chat sites, surf randomly, visit You Tube, blogs, and who knows what else. Many times, kids have no idea whether their movements are being tracked, who is reading what they post, who they are truly chatting with, who hacked their account, and so forth. Most kids do not purposefully go to “bad” sites, but bad sites ARE seeking them, tricking them, luring them in…

Do your kids know what information NOT to give at registration sites, in chat rooms, in post comments??? Do your kids know not to ever mention their school by name? Mentioning the name of a school or places near your home helps pinpoint the location of your child. Pedophiles have sneaky ways of finding that type of information. If your child posts pictures on the Internet, things in the background of the picture such as buildings or parks, specific clothes (such a school uniform, cheerleading outfit, team mascot or logo on clothes…) give away your general area. Even if your child doesn’t mention these type of things, chances are his friends might comment about them.

Take time to share safe surfing tips with your teen. Teach them to guard their information. The FBI offers a free report, Parent Guide to Internet Safety , that is a very good starting point for parents wanting to learn ways to spot online sexual predators.

Arm yourself and your child today, don’t wait!

 

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From the Heart

Christmas! It is a wonderful time of year, but it can be hard on the pocketbook if you are not careful. Maybe it’s time to reflect on the season and gift giving with our children.

Gift giving is a wonderful thing and I am not suggesting we should abandon it, rather, just change our way of thinking and doing a bit. After all, what are we teaching our children? Most likely we are teaching them to shop, and to value material goods over anything else. My husband just calls it “crass consumerism”. The result is a society that is deeply in debt and piled high with needless stuff. Have you ever looked at how many yard sales there are each week?

What if you try creating new traditions with your sweet family — go Christmas caroling as a family or with friends, bake Christmas cookies, visit shut-in at the nursing home, wash someone’s car, string popcorn for your tree, offer to babysit for friends or family, shovel snow off the neighbor’s sidewalk, bake yummy pies to give as gifts, play football outside, send a Christmas note to a person in the military, volunteer at the food bank, create Christmas scrapbooks… All of these are either free or fairly inexpensive, but most of all they build strong family ties.

Look for ways to celebrate this year without having to buy so much. Personal gifts from the heart are usually most appreciated anyway.  Try giving a handmade coupon book to Grandma. I am sure she would love redeeming a coupon from her grandchild that was good for having a story read to her by her precious grandchild, or redeeming a coupon good for having them rake the leaves from her yard. Coupon books are excellent ideas to give to any family member.  Mom, help the kids make one for Dad.

I remember making my grandmother a very simple gift when I was very young. I took a little bottle and filled it with water and added food coloring. She kept the bottle until the day she died. I made my other grandmother a pet rock and she kept it until she passed away, too! As an adult, I was overwhelmed with memories and love when I found my simplistic gifts in their belongs as we cleared out their houses.

Focus on the true meaning of CHRISTmas this year. Build new traditions as you strengthen your family bond.

I wish you and yours a very merry of Christmas and a blessed New Year full of joy, good health, and prosperity-both financial and spiritual.

 

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Honoring The Military

How many homeschool lapbooking writers read this blog? Lap books are a fun way to showcase a study about the military. It is also neat to add lap books to your child’s portfolio.

When the Iran war was going on, I wrote a letter that was delivered to a service man. I did not pick anyone in particular. I let the organization I used decide who would get it. The service man who received my letter wrote back. We continued to correspond until he went home. He told me how much it meant to get the letters. It made me smile.

                

Encourage your child to actively honor the military (excuse the split infinitive). There are several ways to show you care, and they are all educational.

Here are a few examples to get you started.

· Letters-I know I love to get letters in the mail, so I can only imagine how it must feel for a soldier to receive one, especially from someone they don’t know. It shows them they are being thought about. Organizations like Operation Gratitude accept letters that they will include in care packages. If you have a family member, friend, or neighbor in the military, ask for their address and send them a letter. If your child is very young, have them draw pictures. Sometimes the person who receives the letter will write back. It only takes one stamp to mail letters to our military who are overseas. Educational Opportunities: Make sure you use good grammar and punctuation. This is great real life practice on letter writing and addressing envelopes. On a map, pin point where the solider is located once you find out, if you find out. Calculate the distance from your home to their location. Learn about the country the soldier is stationed in.

· Care package-Put together a care package. Include magazines, food that won’t spoil (check to see if there are specific food items that are not accepted. I sent a care package to a service woman stationed in Iraq and p0rk rinds, which were her favorite, were not allowed), socks, boot cleaner, toiletries, cards or games, books… are easy to send and not too expensive. You can get flat rate boxes free at the local post office. Don’t forget to include a letter and maybe a picture. To increase your chances of getting a return letter, include a stamped, self-addressed envelope; a few pieces of paper; a pen; and put them in your package. There is no need for a stamp on the envelope. In your letter to the Soldier, which you also put in the box, ask him/her to drop you a quick note. The organization, Any Soldier, is a good one to use. Educational Opportunities: Research what is and isn’t accepted in care packages, and why (some have to do with culture, religious beliefs, safety, and so on). When your child shop for items to send, have them follow a budget. Give them a calculator and a notebook to keep track of the money.  

· The Families At Home-Write a note to the family members who have a loved one serving in the military. We tend to forget about them. The kids of service men and women miss their parents. Educational Opportunities: Again, writing practice and addressing an envelope is the focus here. Locate the families home on a map. Calculate the distance from your home to their home, and calculate the distance from their home to their where their family member is stationed. Add all the distances up. Draw lines connecting all three locations on a map.

The best thing you can send is your SUPPORT! Tell them you are proud of them. Let them know you care. It only takes a minute, but your simple expression will make a huge impression.

 

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Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? Did you make a list of goals in January for the new year? Have you reached them? Exactly half of the year is now over. List 10 things you want to do before 2012 begins. I would love to read them!

Here are mine (in no particular order).

1. Lose 15 pounds.

2. Organize my new house.

3. Read the latest book I bought.

4. Get up earlier in the a.m. (tend to be a night owl)

5. Make more interesting meals for my family.

6. Go on a vacation.

7. Invest more time with God.

8. Visit with friends more often.

9. Show the geese who’s boss!!

10. Find a hairstyle I like longer than two months.

Go ahead and leave your list for me to read!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Take Action

 

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Blog-At-Your-Own Pace

Below you will find great info about the Blogging 101 course that I have as a give-away. Five lucky readers will be able to win a free 8-week blogging course.  Just leave a comment stating your top three reasons for wanting to take the blog course or wanting to make your blog better… The give-away will end May 15th at mid-night.  For an extra entry,  follow @blogwritingcourse on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you are following.
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Whether you are an absolute newbie blogger, or have had a blog for a while but want to improve it and grow your audience, BlogWritingCourse.com is your source for blogging how-to’s!  Head to BWC.com for TONS of free blogging info, and even a completely free automated Intro to Blogging course.  Then, if you decide blogging is for you, BlogWritingCourse.com offers  Blogging 101 – – an eight-week,  self-propelled, comprehensive course that will guide you through all the basics of creating and establishing your new blog. The units covered in the Blogging 101 curriculum include:

  1. Introduction to Blogging (all the basics for the beginning blogger)
  2. Laying Your Cards On The Table (blog titles, platforms, and start-up instructions)
  3. It’s All About Me (blogging safety, “About Me” pages, and blog design)
  4. Build That Content and Make It Snazzy (writing quality posts, commenting, and adding media)
  5. It’s The Little Things That Count (sidebars, widgets, categories, and static pages)
  6. Mi Blog es Su Blog – – Building Community (growing a readership, blog promotion, and blogrolls)
  7. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (more blog promotion strategies and making money with your blog)
  8. Looking Back and Looking Forward (tips and strategies for continuing to grow your blog after the course)

When you have completed the Blogging 101 course, you will have not only learned the basics of blogging, but you will have your VERY OWN BLOG, several quality posts, and very possibly a growing following of readers!  Whether you are a mom wanting to chronicle your family’s  exploits, an entrepreneur who wants a place to showcase their new business, a middle or high schooler who is looking for an interactive writing platform, or anyone who simply wants to explore themselves and the world around them more deeply, Blogging 101 is ready to help you accomplish your blogging goals.

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 I am a course alumni and LOVED the course! Leave a comment listing the top 3 reasons you want to take the course. For an extra entry, follow BWC on twitter @blogwritingcourse.




 

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Internet Safety

One of the easiest ways to help kids learn or retain a skill is to have them play a game. It is easy to find lots of online learning games for kids. Just google the term and you will see tons of hits. The not-so-easy part of the equation is to make sure the sites you allow your child to visit are safe. Internet safety is a very real concern for today’s parents. Cyber bullying, chat rooms, pedophiles, companies tracking you as you hop from site to site…there are tons of reasons to monitor Internet usage by kids. It doesn’t matter if your child is young or a teen, Internet safety is of prime importance. If you don’t believe me, read the newspaper, watch television, or google Internet safety. I am sure you will change your mind and quickly!

If you are using the internet today be sure that you are doing everything possible to stop intrusions on your privacy and that you are squelching any Internet safety threats that might pop up. Verify that once a month that all the following are deleted:  cookies, history, temporary internet files, and passwords. Verify that your anti-virus and malware software are current and run a full system scan. If your child has a Facebook account, verify that nothing malicious is posted and no one is harassing them. A review of the pictures on their profile would be appropriate also.

 

Internet Safety Tips for Children

By Jerry Ropelato

Internet safety policies and guidelines can help make the Internet a safer experience for your family members.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Place your computer in an open room with the monitor facing out. This allows you to see and control what is occurring on the Internet.
  • Educate your children about the Internet, both the positives and the potential dangers.
  • Bookmark child-friendly web sites. This allows your children to easily get to safe sites that they have used before.
  • Teach your children that Internet safety means never giving out personal information over the Internet.
  • Share your Internet child safety experiences, both good and bad, with others.
  • Teach your children to refrain from chat rooms.
  • Don’t install Peer-to-peer applications. A high percentage of what occurs with children and peer-to-peer applications is related to either illegal or immoral activities.
  • Teach children to crash and tell. If they encounter a bad experience, they should feel comfortable in immediately turning off the computer and talking with a parent about the experience.
  • Never allow your children to meet with someone from an online session unless the parent approves.
  • Know the parents of your children’s friends.
  • Teach children to never open email from someone they don’t know.
  • Never respond to an unsubscribe on a pornographic email. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the message to your ISP, and ask for assistance.
 
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Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Helpful, Kids, Take Action

 

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Book Giveaway By Marty Layne

Marty Lane is an author, speaker, musician, and artist. She un/homeschooled her four children and wrote the book,Learning At Home: A Mother’s Guide To Homeschooling. Her CD, Brighten The Day, is a collection of children’s songs to celebrate the seasons. Marty makes handmade toys too.

She just published her children’s book, Autumn Stories, about the beautiful autumn days and the coming of winter. You can sign up to win a copy of her new book at the web site below.  Good luck! Let me know if you win.  🙂

http://martylayne.com/Autumn-Stories-give-away.php

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Helpful, Take Action

 

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