Hand2Mind Moving Creations

Looking to fill your “shelter in place” days with a little more then TV? If you are like me, you are worried about all the school your little one is missing. We are really looking at learning toys and hands on learning, experiments, and anything that lets them learn by doing while they are home with us.

One toy that we have recently tried was the Hand2Mind Moving Creations with K’nex. My youngest son (and husband) love K’nex, and we were excited to try this kit out.

Your kids can learn to apply STEM principles just like an engineer. “Moving Creations from hand2mind, a leading developer of classroom learning tools for over 50 years, is created in partnership with K’NEX®. The step-by-step illustrated guide contains 9 different builds, educational science content, 18 STEM experiments and “Think Bigger” challenges to practice the scientific method. Includes a 98 pg. book with storage box attached.”
(according to Hands2Mind website)

PRODUCT PERKS

STEM building activities teach engineering through play
Walks junior engineers through 9 builds and 18 STEM experiments
Explores the fascinating science of pneumatics (air) & hydraulics (water)
Includes “Think Bigger” challenges to deepen understanding of the scientific method

INCLUDES

  • 98-Page build and experiment guidebook
  • 73 Standard K’NEX pieces
  • 3 Custom pumps with k’nex connectors
  • 3 Tubes
  • 4 Pumps
  • 1 Rocket


PROS

  • Learn STEM just like an engineer

  • Step-by-step illustrated guide contains 9 different builds, educational science content, 18 STEM experiments and “Think Bigger” challenges

  • Explores fascinating science of pneumatics (air) and hydraulics (water)

  • Grades: 2-8

MSRP: $39.99 | Buy It Here

America’s Knowledge Crisis: A Survey on Civic Literacy

Washington, DC — A national survey commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) draws new attention to a crisis in civic understanding and the urgent need for renewed focus on civics education at the postsecondary level.

Some of the alarming results include:

  • 26% of respondents believe Brett Kavanaugh is the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and 14% of respondents selected Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.
    • 15% of the college graduates surveyed selected Brett Kavanaugh.
    • Fewer than half correctly identified John Roberts.
  • 18% of respondents identified Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a freshman member of the current Congress, as the author of the New Deal, a suite of public programs enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.
    •  12% of the college graduates surveyed selected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • 63% did not know the term lengths of U.S. Senators and Representatives.
    • Fewer than half of the college graduates surveyed knew the correct answer.
  • 12% of respondents understand the relationship between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, and correctly answered that the 13thAmendment freed all the slaves in the United States.
    • 19% of the college graduates surveyed selected the correct answer.

ACTA’s What Will They Learn? report, an assessment of 1,123 general education programs scheduled for release tomorrow, helps to explain America’s civic illiteracy. Our analysis of 2019–2020 course catalogs revealed that only 18% of U.S. colleges and universities require students to take a course in American history or government.

”Colleges have the responsibility to prepare students for a lifetime of informed citizenship. Our annual What Will They Learn? report illustrates the steady deterioration of the core curriculum. When American history and government courses are removed, you begin to see disheartening survey responses like these, and America’s experiment in self-government begins to slip from our grasp,” said Michael Poliakoff, president of ACTA.

The survey was conducted in August by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and consisted of 15 questions designed to assess respondents’ knowledge of foundational events in U.S. history and key political principles. The respondents make up a nationally representative sample of 1,002 U.S. adults. To view the full survey results, click here >>

Avoid The Summer Slide- Fun Ways to Stimulate Your Brain

Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy time together with friends and family, but you don’t want to let your mind turn to mush during that time. According to the Northwest Evaluation Association’s research,  “summer learning loss was observed in math and reading across third to eighth grade, with students losing a greater proportion of their school year gains each year as they grow older – anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.” How do you keep your child from losing their learning or falling behind? Keep their minds active, keep them reading, and keep brains stimulated. No, Fortnight totally doesn’t count, sorry!

Got a little one? Start young and keep them active. There are some amazing books out there, and of course your local library will likely have summer reading programs you can do with your child no matter what age. There are also puzzles and educational games you can play with your child on technology and “real life” touchable options- we recommend a bit of both.

kids apps

We recently tried out these fun and “edu-taining” science based apps aimed at preschoolers, and found them both adorable and fun. My child didn’t even realize they were learning, they honestly enjoyed them. Even my 12 year old liked them- except the dress up app, but that’s pretty good for an age range in my opinion.

I’m a teacher by trade, and I love that there are these apps that let kids have fun while learning.  Since science is an area that is under-taught in many schools, the more ways a child can be exposed to it, the better.  Cosmic Cubs (www.cosmiccubs.com) help kids pre-k and up learn about ecology, the solar system, and just for fun, a space dress up game as well. These three apps are available for Android and IOS platforms, via the App store or Google Play.  The space cubs also teach kids about the importance of being environmentally responsible- reduce, reuse, and recycle – in their Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzle App.

The website has lots of coloring pages you can download as well as information sheets in addition to the apps. The apps are technically free but cost $1.99 for full access. Kids will have access to puzzles, games, learning about the planets, asteroids, meteors, comets, problem solving, and more. They also teach new vocabulary words. Even the dress up game helps with dexterity and hand/eye coordination, as well as learning about colors and more. Not to mention, spark an interest in space.  The three apps available are the Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzler, the Cosmic Cubs Dress Up, and Cosmic Cubs Space Puzzles. $1.99 for full access.

kids apps

Learning a language is great for any age, and Rosetta Stone has options for any age learner at any level of knowledge. There are so many benefits that come from knowing a second language, and the younger you start, the better off you are. There is no time like the present, so no matter your age, you aren’t getting any younger- now is the best time. The benefits are really endless, from being able to get better job opportunities, to making better connections in the community and beyond, improving your memory, enhancing your ability to multi- task and decision making skills, improving your first language, and more.  It also keeps the brain active and challenged, which is necessary and helps with overall learning and brain health. So why not?

For kids, there is Rosetta Stone Homeschool. There used to be some pretty cool award winning apps for kids, but from what I can see (and from multiple calls to customer service to inquire) they seem to be discontinued. Rosetta Stone Homeschool uses pioneering technology “which promotes long-term retention and correct pronunciation—without memorization or drills” (as per the company).
Using an immersion method, language is taught the way you would naturally learn, with no translation required. With patented speech-recognition technology, TruAccent®, your child’s speech is analyzed and corrected to get the best accent possible. There are reports and progress data so you can see how your child is progressing, and your child can learn from a computer, phone, tablet, or whatever is convenient, on or offline.

Not just for kids, Rosetta Stone’s pioneering speech recognition technology helps kids or adults learn the language of their choice. With more than 30 options to choose from (including endangered languages), choosing the language you will learn might be the hardest part. You learn the way children naturally learn their first language, with image recognition, pronunciation assistance, and repetition. Tutoring is also available.

It starts with a core lesson that introduces you into a bunch of new words. The core lesson takes about 30 minutes. This is followed up by several smaller lessons that focus on different aspects that you learned in the core lesson. These range from about five to ten minutes each.

We have started learning a new language here -and I will update you in 6 months and let you know how it’s going.

3 Reasons to Get Your Kids Interested in History

History is one of those subjects in school that some of us loved, and that others just couldn’t help sleeping through.

Whether or not history seems exciting and interesting to a child will be affected by their temperament and innate interests, but also by the way in which the subject is taught. Endless lists of dates to memorise is unlikely to as fascinating as visiting a reenactment site or hearing an adventurous tale set in the past.

 

While kids generally enjoy fantasy games such as https://finalfantasyxvapp.com/#home, history can be no less exciting and engaging, not to mention educational and informative.

 

Here are some reasons why you should get your kids interested in history if possible, and nurture that interest when it arises.

 

History contains timeless lessons for the present and the future

 

History isn’t just a record of stuff that happened in the past, it is, to a large degree, also a record of the causes and effects of different events, as well as a series of lessons about the ways in which life can unfold and how to live it meaningfully and productively.

 

The events in history may have occurred a long time ago, society may have changed in various ways, and technology may have advanced more than anyone could ever have imagined, but people are fundamentally not very different, and the lessons which applied to the people of yesteryear will likely still apply to people living today.

 

What philosophies did Ancient Greeks and Romans develop to help them face the world courageously? Which ideological viewpoints caused civilisations to fall rather than rise?

 

History is rich with applicable lessons for the present day.

 

History can offer great fuel for the imagination

 

It’s no surprise that the authors of so many great works of fiction (and for that matter, great TV shows) have been ardent fans and students of history. History is, by its very nature, full of incredible sources of inspiration for the imagination to latch onto.

 

When looking back at history, you can see events so strange and wondrous that they’re almost impossible to comprehend. You can hear tales of people living lives uncannily similar to our own, but with the social fabric altered in essential ways.

 

You can read myths and legends of strange creatures that still find their way into popular entertainment today.

 

For any child with an active imagination, studying history can be a great thing.

 

History can help people to appreciate and respect their roots

 

As modern people, often living in relatively peaceful and stable societies, it can be very easy for us to take things for granted, to feel that the blessings we enjoy just fell out of the sky, and to become apathetic about the world, and careless about our responsibilities to our societies.

 

Studying history, however, can teach people to respect their roots and honour the incredible labours and sacrifices of their ancestors — imperfect as they may have been — to create those things that we enjoy today.

 

Not only can this reflection on history help to boost self-esteem, but it can also help to deepen a sense of social responsibility, and the understanding that society can only be maintained through careful effort.

John Glenn Astronomy Park to share hero’s legacy with next generation

Forty miles southeast of Columbus in the secluded and tranquil woods of the Hocking Hills State Park, community members are setting their sights on the sky. Ohio’s Hocking Hills, known for its lack of light pollution and resulting clear night sky views, has always been a mecca for astronomy fanatics. Thus, members of the Friends of Hocking Hills State Park (FHHSP) has broken ground on for John Glenn Astronomy Park, which opens in early 2018. Named for one of America’s greatest heroes and an Ohio native, the park is made possible through generous donations and pledges from community members.

John Glenn Astronomy Park will not only allow visitors to explore the night sky, but will also offer daytime study, welcoming visitors to its Solar Plaza to study the Sun, Earth and the North Celestial Pole, among other celestial features. It is ideal for research, star parties, special events and general daily visitation. Designed by Ohio-based M&A Architects, the Astronomy Park includes:

  • An ideal elevation of 1,000 feet
  • An 80-foot in diameter Solar Plaza, which highlights the Sun’s orientation to the Earth as it changes throughout the year and is encircled by a low wall with notches that offer framed views of the Sun on key days
  • An enclosed 540-square-foot observatory featuring a retractable roof to permit night sky viewing
  • Gathering areas
  • Open green space
  • Plenty of free parking

Perhaps the most famous Ohioan with an eye on the cosmos, John Glenn, agreed to lend his name to the park, giving it his blessing shortly before passing away on Dec. 8, 2016.

“The Friends of Hocking Hills State Park organization is honored to move forward with a project that will bear Glenn’s name and legacy for years to come, with a focus on educating and engaging visitors,” said Julieann Burroughs, president of the FHHSP Board of Directors. “The park will spark an interest in science, exploration and astronomy among guests of all ages and is expected to become a meaningful scientific research facility.”

Preliminary design for John Glenn Astronomy Park is complete and construction of the park, which is located next to Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park is well underway. Land for the astronomy park will be leased to the Friends organization by ODNR for $1. As observatories statewide find their views obscured by increasing light pollution, the facility will solidify Hocking Hills’ reputation as one of the country’s last great pollution-free spots for stargazing. The region draws more than 3 million visitors annually from around the globe, with most coming to experience its unspoiled natural environment.

“In addition to miles and miles of trails through dense forests, stunning rock formations and rushing waterfalls, our star-filled skies get high marks from visitors,” said Hocking Hills Tourism Association Executive Director Karen Raymore. “The Tourism Association is thrilled at the opportunity to offer one more reason for travelers to visit the region and a new way for them to experience another natural attraction, which has been here since the dawn of time.”

How To Teach Children Emotional Intelligence

Children are exceptionally bright and often think they know everything by the time they reach ten. In fact by this age they will have developed many of the life skills they need, with a little help from you that means the ability to talk to others, self-confidence and emotional intelligence.

Part of this can involve choosing an early learning center such as the Star Academy Kids which will really believe in your child and help their inquisitive minds engage with the world round them. Choosing the right early learning centre is an important part of boosting their emotional intelligence. Here are some of the other measures you can do to teach emotional intelligence:

Empathy

It is important to understand that there are times when your child simply can’t deal with what has happened. You might feel frustrated by their inability but you need to emphasize with them.

A good example of this is dealing with a child that doesn’t want to do what you’ve told them to. Instead of just telling them that’s the way it is accept that they have an opinion. Let them know that you know and understand their perspective but that they need to do it how you’ve asked.

You will be acknowledging their position which will make them feel good; even if they still have to do it your way.

Emotion

It’s important that your children are allowed to express their emotions. It doesn’t matter of they’re scared or angry or even upset, by allowing them to express themselves you’ll prevent them from repressing emotions throughout their life.

You can build on this by encouraging your child to communicate their feelings, even if you have to wait for them to calm down! You can also use this to bond with them. For example, if they are nervous about speaking in front of their class you can tell them you used to get nervous too and encourage them to talk about their feelings.

Listening

It doesn’t matter if you know your child is wrong. When they are angry let them vent and then acknowledge their feelings. What this will show them is that it’s acceptable and good to vent your emotions but that there is a time and place to do this.

In this process you’ll allow them to reach a calm and cooperative place and use healthy expression, this is good for your body and mental health.

Problem Solving

Everyone reacts strongly to certain issues in life. You can teach your child to handle this response from a young age. Allow them to vent and then talk to them regarding their emotions. You should discuss what they can do to deal with the issue in hand and allow them to take the appropriate action.

You’ll teach them that they need to work through their own emotions before dealing with the issue and finding an appropriate solution.

The idea of using emotion to change your approach is one that everything can apply in life; if your child witnesses you doing it then they will certainly copy!

It’s Never Too Late for a Little Self-Improvement!

When we reach a certain stage in our lives, it can be easy to slip into a routine. We get so used to our jobs, social circles and general lifestyle that we repeat the same things over and over again. Day in and day out. Week by week, month by month, year by year. It’s not surprising that things can quickly get dull. One of the main things that people tend to miss as they age is self-improvement. But it’s never too late to participate in this! Here are a couple of areas to consider that might suit you surprisingly well!

Higher Education

 

Higher education is a venture that people generally associate with individuals aged eighteen to twenty-five. We assume that anyone on a university campus over the age of thirty must be a lecturer, professor, or another member of staff. But you should always bear in mind that higher education is open to anyone. In fact, mature students tend to contribute significantly to the overall student population of any given institution. Now, individuals who are considering pursuing higher education at a later point in their life generally fall into one of two categories. There are those who simply want a qualification to add to their resume, and then there are those who want to continue their studies for the love of the subject. Either way, they are likely to immerse themselves in an experience that significantly expands their knowledge or understanding of their given area of study. So why not join their ranks? Not only will you leave with a certificate, but you will have a vast amount of knowledge that can be put to good use both in your day to day life and your chosen career. If you have concerns about fitting it around your lifestyle, don’t worry. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are plenty of online courses available, such as an online mba in accounting, which allow you to study around your job or other commitments. Alternatively, you could participate in a part-time course. Sure, it will take longer to graduate, but this is a less intense approach that you might like to consider!

Picking Up a Second Language

 

English is such a widely spoken language that many of us will think that there’s little use in picking up any other language. But there are so many benefits that come hand in hand with speaking languages besides your mother tongue. If you have an affinity with another culture or take trips to another non-English speaking country regularly, you really could immerse yourself in the experience by being able to communicate with others in their native language. There are plenty of options out there that can help you to achieve this. While face-to-face lessons may be the most effective, not all of us have the time to participate in them. Why not consider language learning apps and programmes such as Duolingo or Rosetta Stone?

These are just two areas of self-improvement that you could consider. The options available to you out there are limitless! So find something that you’re interested in and dive in head first!

Tips for Making Music Part of Everyday Life

Making Music a Part of Daily Life

I grew up surrounded by music – between my time learning to play the piano, my developing love of singing, and the music my tone-deaf-but-enthusiastic mother played around the house, my life was built as much note by note, as it was day by day. You may have heard that involving a child in music on a regular basis helps a child improve their mental abilities, and those musical habits can reach far beyond just a weekly lesson. Here are some ideas for using the bonus listening tracks provided by Hoffman Academy for making music a part of your daily life.

Waking Up with Upbeat and Uptempo Selections

Use an upbeat, cheerful, or rhythmic selection to help your child gear up for facing the day. Spinning Song, Yankee Doodle, and When the Saints Go Marching In are great options from the Listening Tracks. You can also find selections on YouTube or Spotify-type apps such as Sousa marches, Wagner Ride of the Valkyries, or Mars from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. These songs will get you moving, up and at ‘em, and out the door with a hopeful attitude.

Build Music Skills AND Togetherness With Sing-Alongs

Singing is one of the best ways for children to begin to train their ears and develop musical skills that will carry them through the challenges of learning an instrument. And singing TOGETHER can build some fun feelings – especially when doing other chores or household tasks. Grinding Corn, Love Somebody, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Row Row Row Your Boat are some favorites with all ages!

Focused Homework or Concentration Time

Many parents are learning that music studies impact the brain in positive ways. But additional studies show that even listening to instrumental music during homework and studying time can help improve test scores and retention. One helpful way to create a musical day for your child can be to add music in the background during study times. Avoid jarring, dissonant, or vocal songs in favor of instrumental music that will do well as background music.

Start with something that will relax and calm such as Debussy Claire de Lune, Saint-Saen’s Carnival of the Animals ‘The Swan’, or a Mozart string quartet such as String Quartet No. 17. Once you and your child are feeling less anxious, some songs that will encourage learning and retention will be appreciated. Consider slightly bolder (but still not jarring) songs like Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 1, Beethoven Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, and Vivaldi Five Concertos for Flute and Chamber Orchestra.

Music for Nighttime Routine and Sleep Assistance

A fun way to begin a bedtime routine is with a sing-along song from the listening tracks, Are You Sleeping Brother John. Tracks such as this can be a great addition to a bedtime routine as a child changes into pajamas and prepares for bed. Once your child is in bed, studies show that classical music with slower tempos can help a child fall asleep, and stay asleep compared to those without music. Try songs that have a regular tempo and dynamic throughout such as Enya’s Watermark, Mozart’s Canzonetta Sull’aria, and Bach: Goldberg Variations.

Making Music a Part of Daily Life

As you experiment and begin to add music to your life on a regular basis, you’ll develop a list of your favorites beyond the recommendation here. This is a great sign that your child’s musical skills and ear are beginning to grow. As their musical skills develop through their lessons, it’s only natural that music will become a larger part of their life as well. Learn more about the other resources available at Hoffman Academy and enjoy a musically rich life.

 

**Disclosure** This post is not sponsored. All text, thoughts, and opinions are always my own.