Just Add Coffee- The Homeschool Coupon Mom is hosting a giveaway of either Nellie Nova book on her blog! Check it out and you might win your own copy of Nellie Nova! While you’re at it, check out the site! It’s fun and informative! There’s also a review of both Nellie Nova books, so you can learn more about the series and just how much kids love Nellie!Read More
The New Year is a great time to look at what we’re doing as parents, teachers, or homeschoolers. I am all about goal setting in my homeschool. One of my main areas of focus in 2018 is writing.
I frequently hear from parents who have a hard time getting their kids to write. Actually, if I am being honest, I have one child who I have to beg to write. Even though he loves books and has a mother who is an author, he still isn’t a huge fan of writing. A lot of this stems from motor skills delays. I will get into that later in the article, but motor skills delays cause frustration when writing for a lot of kids.
Parents worry so much about writing, but there are so many ways to encourage your kids to write. Here’s a few that I hope help you!
- Use Writing Prompts. I’ve linked to some that I created on this site, but you can find more all over the web. Sometimes, the hardest part about writing is just getting started.
- Use voice typing software. Google Docs has free, built-in voice typing software as long as you use it with Chrome. All three of my kids enjoy writing this way. Their vocabularies are bigger when speaking than when writing and their hands don’t tire when voice typing. This is especially true for my eldest, who has a variety of motor skills delays. His brain and his hands don’t work on the same level. If he’s asked to hand write something, it’s like pulling teeth to get a few sentences out of him. With voice typing, he can write a five paragraph essay.
- Expose them to lots of great books. Good readers make good writers!
- Buy them cute notebooks and fun pencils or pens. For some kids, a unicorn notebook or a rocket pencil can make all the difference.
- Cut pictures out of magazines and ask your kids to create a story about the picture. It would be easy to fill a notebook with several pages like this to make this an easy to repeat activity. I did this activity with my Creative Writing students at co-op and they loved it. Just make sure to choose pictures that lead to story telling. A head shot of a man in a business suit is harder to tell a story about than a photo of a dog wearing a tutu.
- Play storytelling games like Story Cubes or Create a Story. Telling stories aloud gets kids in the right mindset to write.
- Allow them to write about their interests. If you have a child who is obsessed with dinosaurs or ballet, it’s okay if a lot of their writing includes this interest. It might be boring for you to read 23 dinosaur stories in week, but a lot of authors have made careers out of such things.
How do you encourage your kids or students to write? Let me know in the comments!Read More
If you’re like me, you have great intentions when it comes to the holidays. You want a Pinterest-Perfect winter wonderland, but what you end up with is…less than perfect. I want to make the holidays magical for my kids- without making myself insane. So often, when I am looking at blogs for advent activities, I find lists of activities that are just not realistic for my family. I put together this list of super easy advent activities to keep myself sane. Hopefully some of you will enjoy them too!
- Christmas Coloring Pages from Crayola – It doesn’t get much easier than this! Just hit print! Great for a day when you don’t have time to prepare anything.
- Christmas Music Dance Party – Check out this Youtube playlist or use your own favorites.
- Write letters to Santa.
- Draw a gingerbread house with Art for Kids Hub– these fun, short videos are easy to follow and kids have a blast.
- Get/ put up your Christmas tree. You’re going to do it anyway, it may as well count as an activity.
- Christmas movie night. Netflix has a ton of family holiday movies.
- Make cocoa. Quick, easy, and the kids will be happy.
- Go look at Christmas lights. Good for when you forgot to do something all day and suddenly, it’s almost bedtime. Put jammies on and go drive around looking at lights. Easy peasy.
- Go shopping for those less fortunate. Grab one of the tags hanging on an angel tree near you and take the kids shopping to help make the holidays brighter for kids in need.
- Bake cookies. Use the pre-made cookie dough if you need to.
- String popcorn.
- Play Holiday Charades
- Read your favorite Christmas storybook.
- Go to a local holiday parade/tree lighting/ town festival.
- Have another movie night. The kids won’t be sad if you have them watch Rudolf twice.
- Print out this Christmas word scramble.
- Write your own Christmas stories. If your kids are too young to write, have them tell you a story. You can write it down for them and they can illustrate it.
- Go to a holiday party. You are probably doing this anyway.
- Take the kids Christmas shopping. I like to set mine loose in a thrift shop or dollar store with $5 and see what they find.
- Make lunchtime more fun with this printable holiday place-mat from Three Little Monkeys.
- Make family game night festive by playing Christmas music and eating candy canes.
- Get some wrapping done while your kids enjoy holiday games online.
- Make peppermint bark. It’s super easy. Really. You basically just melt chocolate chips and sprinkle it with crushed candy canes.
- Open one present Christmas Eve. Pajamas are a great choice so the kiddos can put them on and look cute in the 200 photos you’ll take Christmas morning.
If you are interested in using the Nellie Nova series in your classroom, homeschool group, or book club, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to provide a discount for orders of 20 or more books. I also can provide a special educator’s guide to accompany Nellie Nova Takes Flight free of charge with a bulk order. The guide contains more information about the science and history concepts in the book as well as art, science, writing, and history activities for kids.
I love visiting schools and homeschool groups. If your school or group is within two hours of Raleigh, North Carolina, I would love to come do a reading for your students. I can also do Skype presentations for those outside of my driving range.
I love hearing from educators. I’d love to hear more about how your schools or groups are using Nellie Nova.
Get your kids writing this Thanksgiving with these writing prompts!
- On Thanksgiving morning, you wake up and find that you are not in your bed. You are in a pen, on a farm, and you have a lot of feathers. You’re a turkey and the farmer is hungry! What do you do?
- Your mom tells you that all pies have been banned by the government this Thanksgiving. What do you do?
- You hate turkey. You hate pie. Most of all, you hate cranberries. How do you convince your parents to make something else for Thanksgiving dinner?
- What are you thankful for this year that you either did not have or did not appreciate last year?
- It’s Thanksgiving Day. Your parents decided to order a delivered meal this year. The doorbell rings. You open it and find three dozen live turkeys waiting for you. What happens next?
- Your crazy Uncle Bob shows up at Thanksgiving with a time machine. He sends you back to the first Thanksgiving. What do you see?
- Your Grandma serves a Thanksgiving dinner of cereal, dog treats, and candy canes. What do you do?
- A strange guest shows up at your Thanksgiving dinner. Who is it and how does your family react?
I have spent the past year and a half working hard to get this project finished. It’s been so fun writing my newest book. I recently had a release party here in Raleigh and it was a blast! Snacks, crafts, and a reading made for a really fun day. I hope all of Nellie’s fan’s check out book number two!
Nellie Nova’s Summer on the Run is a great read for kids in 3rd-6th grades!
About the book:
A year has passed since Nellie Nova built her time machine, the Purple Flyer. She and her brother, Niles, have been busy traveling throughout history to meet amazing women. Everyone in the Nova family, including their “Auntie” Amelia Earhart is very happy that the pesky government agents who tried to steal their time machine last year have finally backed off. One day, after traveling in time to meet the Native American trail guide Sacagawea, Nellie and Niles return home to find out that Agent Riley and his team of operatives are back in town and they’ve come for the Novas! Ruthless as ever, the agents chase Nellie and Niles through town, park their car in front of the Novas’ home, and even show up to Nellie’s dance recital. The Novas have had enough, so they pack their bags and head to Washington state to hide out in the mountains for the summer.
Worst of all, Nellie’s parents forbid her and Niles from using their time machine until things settle down.
Will they ever get away from the agents? And will Nellie ever be able to use her time machine to meet her newest heroine and namesake, reporter Nellie Bly?
If you’ve been itching to buy the second installment of Nellie’s story, check it out on Amazon today! The Nellie Nova series is a great way to gently encourage a love of science and history in young kids.