Month

May 2017

The First Time I Fell In Love- Day 10 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

 

Love

Had someone asked me 20 years ago when the first time I fell in love was, my answer would have been on multiple occasions.  At 33, I am wise enough to know that the answer is most certainly only once.

My very first boyfriend was in high school, and I thought that I was in love and headed towards marriage!  I thought that everything in our relationship was great, and was preparing to finish high school as he went off to college.  All of a sudden, he stops by my house with a letter breaking up with me.  I was devastated!  Worst yet, the problems that he mentioned were ones that I had never heard about before!

I remember crying to my Dad because I was so heartbroken!  We got back together the next day, only to have him break up with me again about a week later!  By that time, I was done!

When he called me before leaving for college to go out on a date, I had a plan!  When he came to pick me up for this “date”, he was surprised to see my sister/BFF with me.  We had him take us to the movies and out to eat, and also pay for it all.  We completely ignored him and focused on each other the entire time.  By the time he dropped us off, I think he had figured out not to bother calling again.

At that time, I considered myself in love.  As you can see by how quickly I was over him, it was not love at all!

The Real Thing

When I met my husband, things were immediately different.  We talked about everything, good and bad.  We always knew where we stood with one another, so there were no uncommunicated problems.  I may have thought that I was in love before, but my husband is the first man to ever hold my heart!

The difference between these two experiences are the communication and commitment.  With my husband, we communicate about our problems.  We also forgive each other and stick together.  So many people feel like love is something that is always smooth when it is not.  It is actually one of the roughest roads you will ever travel, but the right partner could make it the most satisfying, too!

5 Things I Want To Experience In The Future- Day 9 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)!

Day 9 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge has me sharing the 5 things that I would love to do in the future!

We all know that I am difficult, so there are categories within the things that I would like to do in the future!  Here is my list, broken down by the categories!

Marriage

  • Renew our vows on our 15th year anniversary.  We never did have a wedding, so this would serve as our ceremony.
  • Go on an actual honeymoon with my husband!  We were married at the courthouse, and we both had to work the next day!  I would like for us to do a week-long (or more) honeymoon next time!

Money

  • Pay off our car loans!  This will not make us debt free, but it will take away our biggest monthly headaches!  Once these are out of the way, we will really be able to focus on student loans and our mortgage!
  • Make this blog UBER profitable!  Right now, I am really focused on getting this blog up and running.  Once I streamline that, I will focus energy into really monetizing it!

Family

  • Build traditions within my family.  Right now, I come home late from work, the kids sort of freestyle during the week, and my husband works 3rd shift.  I want to spend the next few years building those traditions with my family, such as eating dinner at the table together.

I could go on forever with this post, but Katy limited me to 5 things.  That is all for today!

How I Make an Extra $400 Per Month on Ebay!

I want to clue you in on a little secret- ANYBODY CAN MAKE MONEY ON EBAY– including you and I!  And I don’t mean drop shipping!

How I Started on Ebay

If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I ran into some serious financial trouble a few years ago.  You may also know that I am not the type of person to roll over and take a beating.  When financial troubles hit me, I went searching for ways to hit back!

Enter my beautiful big sister!  My sister has been selling on EBay for years, but I had never even considered doing this myself.  I went to visit her one holiday (she lives about 8 hours away), and she told me that I could start selling on Ebay for extra money.  She taught me so many tips, from where to find inventory, to how to get buyers to look at your products.  I went on to make about $1200 within about 3 months!

*Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post, however, all opinions are truly my own.

How To Get Started

First of all, you need a good camera, a computer, and a postal scale.  I already had a computer, and my sister gifted me a camera to use for the pictures.  Once you have that, you need to secure some inventory.

Once you have these necessities, sign up for an EBay sellers account.  I opened up an EBay store because my goal is to eventually make about $1000 per month.

My sister also advised me to set up a United States Postal Service account.  You are able to print shipping labels through EBay, but USPS will deliver free shipping boxes to your home for use with your business.

Where To Find Inventory

Ebay inventory can be found anywhere.  Honestly, you will be surprised at what people will buy!  I recall my sister saying to me “people will buy broken shit, but you have to let them know that the shit is broken!”  She was right!  Here are a few places that inventory can be found:

  • Around your house.  Look at old clothes, textbooks, children toys, and electronics.  Some of the items that I have made the most money from included textbooks, broken toys, and coffee mugs.  When my son was younger, he collected Ben 10 toys.  I was able to sell some of these toys for $20 each!
  • Thrift Stores.  I thrift on a regular basis, but do not always find items that are usable.  I like thrifting because I can conspicuously check what items are selling for on EBay before deciding to purchase.
  • Yard Sales.  Yard sales are a major goldmine for me!  I once purchased a bag full of broken Monster High dolls for about $5.00, and made over $100 from them!  The key is to buy low.

Listing your First Item(s)!

As a beginner on EBay, you will receive a pretty low selling rate (maybe 10 items per month).  I knew that I wanted to sell more than this right away, so I called EBay and asked them to raise my limit (and they did!).

To list your first item, look up the item that you are trying to sell.  For example, if it is a Getty Vase, I would type that in.  Sometimes, you do have to Google information about your item if you are not familiar with it.  Once you see a product similar to yours, click on it and then select the “Have one to sell- sell now” button.

Before listing, make sure that you have cleaned the item up well, and also taken nice pictures.  I like to crop my photos and add a filter before using them.

Upload your pictures to your listing, and make sure that all information has been filled in.  Be sure that you fully disclose all information about the product!  Remember from before, people will still buy it if they know about the problems beforehand!  Pay close attention to these parts of your listing:

  • Title. I try to include all words that a person may search for.  If it is a coffee cup, I put the word cup and mug in the title.
  • Condition.  If it is used, be sure to list that.  A box will pop up if you select used.  Put in as much detail as possible here, and make sure that you disclose everything about the product.
  • Item description.   Repeat what was listed in the conditions box.  Also include information that may help the buyer make their final decision.
  • Format. I normally list items as auction style for 7 days, and if they do not sell within that time frame, I relist them as a fixed listing with a best offer option.
  • Return Options. I give buyers the option for returns on everything except books.  As long as it is returned within 14 days, I will accept it.
  • Shipping.  Be sure to list a decent shipping price.  When I first started out, I was putting the shipping for my coffee mugs at $3.99.  Way too low!  I ended up losing money there!

Now list your items and start making some cash!  Items that I have sold in the past include:

  • Pandora boxes
  • Popular children toys (Ben 10, Monster High, Barbie, Super Heroes, Build-A-Bears)
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Card Decks
  • Games (Board and Video Games)
  • Kitchenware
  • Electronics (I recently sold an 8 year old Fitbit!)
  • Miniature Doll house items
  • Clothes
  • Textbooks

These are just a few ideas, but you should really sell whatever you are interested in and knowledgeable about.  I do not have a niche, but I sell whatever catches my eye.

Leave me a comment, or feel free to email me if you are interested in really getting started on EBay!  Happy selling!

 

One Experience That Left Me Feeling Totally Satisfied!- Day 8 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Today marks the beginning of the last week of school- Hooray! It also marks day 8 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge, which requires me to share a time that left me feeling totally satisfied.

May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 marks a time when I completed something that I never imagined I could.  It is the day of my college graduation (undergraduate).  I was 27 (almost 28) years old, and had spent the last 5 years working on this degree.  In addition to working on this degree, I had a husband, 2 children, and a full-time job!  I was only the 3rd person in my family to graduate college!

I say all of this so that you will understand what this day meant to me.  I graduated high school with a low GPA, and even dropped out of community college.  After dropping out of community college, I began working at a production plant.  Where I live at, many people work at plants, and stay there until retirement.  I went into the plant believing that I could retire from there…

That production plant was some of the hardest work that I had ever done in my life!  It was a fiberglass plant, so I worked with spools of fiberglass.  There was a production quota that had to be met, so you were not able to take breaks when you felt like it.  It was a swing shift, so you worked a week on 1st shift, a week on 2nd shift, and a week on 3rd shift.  You then had 5 days off!  This may seem like a lot, but after working 3rd shift, you only want to sleep during that time!  Not to mention that fiberglass gets into your clothes and itches!!!

Needless to say, after working at this plant for about a year, I decided that college was a necessity!  I enrolled in an adult program, found a better job (in an insurance office), and got serious about it!  I wanted to give up so many times- it felt like time was standing still and the date would never come!  However I kept going and ended up finishing!

If you look in the lower right corner, you will see that small Magna Cum Laude sticker!  I managed to graduate with honors after all of this!

Pure Satisfaction

The day that I walked across that stage and accepted that degree can only be described as pure satisfaction!  All of my family was able to be there!  It was a perfect day!

The picture above is of my husband, children, in-laws, and myself.  This is not even half of the family that came to support me!  We actually had to sneak people into the graduation!

Although my Bachelor’s degree did not lead to a job, it did open up so many doors for me!  By this time, I had made the decision to become a teacher.  I graduated on May 7th, 2011, and was able to start my Master of Arts in Teaching program on May 11th.  By December of 2012, I was graduating that program as well, and I had my first teaching job by January 2013.

I have graduated 2 other times since that date, but the first graduation still feels like the turning point for me.  That graduation was the barrier that I could not cross.  The key to unlock all of the other doors of opportunities.  I often tell my students that they will either work hard or work smart.  Working smart is so much easier, but you have to have an education for that!

My Zodiac Sign (Scorpio)- Day 7 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Where my Scorpio’s at?!?!

Day 7 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge- what is your zodiac sign and does it fit you?  My zodiac sign is Scorpio, and here are the traits of Scorpios according to compatible-astrology.com:

Best Traits
Worst Traits
Sexy, Intense, Sensible, Serious, Practical, Realistic, Nurturing, Caring, Compassionate, Very loyal and protective of loved ones, Romantic, Spiritual, Feelings run deep, Sympathetic, Intuitive, Observant (don’t miss any details!), Excellent memory (don’t forget any details!), Determined, Deep thinking, Persistent, Willful, Independent, Uninhibited, Sensitive Obsessive, Suspicious, Unforgiving, Can be self destructive, Can be self pitying, Unpredictable, Introverted, Emotional, Oversensitive, Stubborn, Opinionated, Inflexible, Pessimistic (tend to dwell on the past)

So Katy wants to know if this sign fits me, and I would have to say that it mostly does.

Best Traits

I am a very nurturing, caring,  and compassionate person, and also a hopeless romantic.  When it comes to things that I want, I am determined and persistent.  Throughout my life, if there was something that I wanted, I went for it and made sure it happened.  I believe that everyone has the power to do this, as referenced by my career choices.  I became a teacher because I wanted to help young people awaken these traits within themselves.  I started blogging to help everyone awaken these traits.

So, 18 out of 25 were correct- 72 percent.

Worst Traits

I am definitely suspicious, unforgiving, and introverted (although I don’t feel that introverted is a negative trait).  Stubborn and inflexible are pretty apparent in my character, too.  On the other hand, I am not self destructive, emotional, or pessimistic.

Unforgiving is one of my most serious flaws.  I have very few friends because once someone hurts me, I am completely done with that relationship.  I do not dwell on the relationship, I simply move on and forgive from a distance.  I never understood why people allow people to do the same things to them repeatedly!  Love that person from a distance and keep it moving!

On the worst traits, 9 out of 13 were correct- 69%.  That brings my total to 27 out of 38, or 71% accurate.  That is passing on the new 10 point scale:)

Compatible-astrology.com also lists dishonest and superficial (fake) people as major dislikes of Scorpios.  Once again, this is a winner!  Two of my major peeves is people who lie/steal/cheat, and people who are extremely materialistic!  There are so many important pieces to life, and none of them include your car or your shoes!

So, in the end, I really am a SCORPIO- at least 71% of me is!

 

 

10 Interesting Facts About me- Day 6 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

It is day 6 of Katy Widrick’s 30 Day blogging challenge, and the topic is “10 interesting facts people don’t know about me.”

I am a very private person, so most of the things about me will fall under this category.  I live in a small town, so typically everyone knows everything about everyone else.  This always bothered me- especially when people use that knowledge to judge you.  Which is why I am such a private person today.  Without further ado, here is my list!

I am a little OCD-ish

My husband and children see this side of me often!  I am very particular about things, and would rather do it myself than have someone else do it wrong.  This ranges from cooking to cleaning to grading papers for school.  My husband loves to cook for me and make my coffee for me.  But it does not taste right when someone else does it for me!  Over the years, he has perfected cooking for me- everything except my eggs and coffee.

I am LAZY

I often have days where I do not even want to leave my house.  And I could easily waste a day in my bed reading a good book.  I do what needs to be done, but I love my lazy days!

I am against violence

Of course wars are necessary, but fighting and other displays of violence are pointless to me!  I grew up in rougher neighborhoods, but I never understood why people always want to resort to fighting to settle their differences.  Why not talk it out, or agree to disagree?

I am very selfish

I am a creature of comfort, and I put my comfort above most things.  My family comes first, but many times if I have to choose between making someone else happy and making myself happy, I will choose me!  It makes me sound like an asshole, but I am being honest here!

I am a nature lover

When we purchased our home, some of my requirements were a screened porch and a nice view.  Ever since I was a child, I could spend hours observing nature.  Just to be clear, though, I like it from a distance!  Bugs and other creatures freak me out up close!  Last year, we had a bit of a lizard problem on the screened porch that caused me to stop using it for awhile!

I am socially awkward

I have problems with people…they make me uncomfortable.  Being a teacher is different, I can be myself with my students.  It is adults that make me uncomfortable.  I always feel as if they are sizing me up, or judging me.  I am what I am- take it or leave it!

I suffered from speech problems throughout most of my childhood.

That is right, I was considered a special education student because I had to see a speech therapist through most of my elementary career.  In my mind, I felt like I was pronouncing things correctly.  Only my dad could understand me, though.  It is funny now, because all of my children have had speech problems and my dad has to sometimes translate for us!

I was pregnant in high school

Yes, me.  I was pregnant my senior year of high school.  This is a huge secret that not many people know.  I ended up having a miscarriage early in the pregnancy.  I was so embarrassed at the time that I did not share it with anyone, but a few people who know me well figured it out.  I will never forget the mother of a close friend of mine pulling me to the side to ask me about it.  I was so embarrassed that I lied to her about it.  She told me then, “If you are, it does not make you a bad person.  You are not the first this has happened to, and you won’t be the last.”  I never did come clean to her about it, but her support touches me even today.

I have had 2 miscarriages in my life

Pregnancy hit me one of two ways- extremely difficult or extremely easy.  As you read above, my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage.  My second pregnancy was so easy that I almost thought I had imagined the struggles of the first one.  My third pregnancy was a miscarriage- at around 6 months of pregnancy.  My last two pregnancies were both successful, but different.  With my daughter, I ended up being placed on bed rest and having to have a cerclage (where your cervix is sewn together to prevent early labor).  After all of this, my last pregnancy was again a breeze!

I was in the Navy for a short time

This is a big one- one that I have been extremely embarrassed of!  After high school, I went into the Navy for about 6 months.  Boot camp was really rough for me, though.  I had some problems with an officer sexually harassing me, and also problems with the loss of my commanding officers.  In the end, I decided that it was not right for me and was discharged.  I do not fail at much in my life, so this has haunted me for years because I do feel that I failed at it.  This is something that no one outside of my family (and now all of you) know.  I am still trying to overcome the sense of failure from this.

There we have it.  The 10 things that very few people know about me.  Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts!

A Time When I Felt Defeated- Day 5 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Day 5 of Katy Widrick’s blogging challenge is “share a time when you felt defeated, and what happened next”.  This is an easy post, because it falls in line with one of my themes: financial distress.  Particularly, the time that I filed for bankruptcy!

The Beginning

I had always had a serious problem with money- as in I spent too much of it!  Growing up, my family was pretty poor and did not have money for frivolousness.  I could not wait to secure a real job!  I was 15 (almost 16) when I was hired at McDonald’s.  I was not able to work until I turned 16, but I was so excited!  As soon as I began working, I also began spending.

This habit continued into my adult life.  I would make money, and immediately spend it.  The process of buying the things that I wanted fascinated me!  By the time I turned 18, I got my first credit card!  I really went crazy then!  And I kept going crazy until I had my first child and no longer worked.  Those credit card bills ended up going to collections accounts.

A Whole ‘Nother Level

While I had gotten myself into small trouble with money when I was younger, nothing could prepare me for the future.  My husband and I had been married for about 7 years when things really started picking up for us.  He had a pretty good job.  I began teaching, and making more money.  We purchased new vehicles, and ended up with 3 car payments.  This is on top of some of the finance company bills that we had.  But we were making around $80,000 per year- we could handle it!

We thought we were on top of the world- until all of a sudden we were not!  One day, my husband came home from work and said “I think my company is in trouble.”  By the end of that week, he had been laid off and his company was shut down.  I don’t think I mentioned that I was pregnant with our 3rd child at this time, and had not been at my job long enough for maternity leave.

We had done some planning to sustain us while I was out of work with the baby, but we were completely unprepared for the loss of an income!  My husband received unemployment payments, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to our expenses.

So what did we do?  What any other money fools would have done- we went into more debt!  Whenever we were short for cash (which was all of the time), we borrowed more money!  We were so far in debt, that banks (and any other smart financial institution) would not lend us money.  We made yet another foolish choice- payday loans and title loans.

This may have been one of the worst decisions yet!  We ended up borrowing money from places like Plain Green and Great Plains Loans.  These institutions are payday loans, and they deduct money from your account every payday.  They also have an interest rate of about 100%!  These places and title loans were what finally put us out of our misery.

Bankruptcy

By put us out of our misery, I mean completely broke us down!  We got to a place where we were not even able to pay our rent!  Our bank account was so far in the negative that we really felt like we could never climb out from under it.  That is when we made the decision to file for bankruptcy.

Now, we were not cured from being financial fools overnight, so even our bankruptcy was flawed.  Our lawyer advised us multiple times to get rid of one of our cars and file chapter 7 (where most of your unsecured debt is wiped out).  We were so attached to that 3rd car, that we kept it and  filed chapter 13 (which requires you pay back each month for a specified time).  Our payment for the bankruptcy was $1450 each month, and this was before rent and utilities were considered.

We thought that we could handle the payment because my husband was working again.  We had a plan.  But it quickly became evident that our plan would not work.  We had to move out of our home, and back in with parents.  This gave us some breathing room with the payment, but it still was not easy.

What Happened Next?

I would love to say that we lived happily ever after, but that is not true.  My husband and I were uncomfortable living with each others parents, so I lived with my Dad and he lived with his parents.  My children stayed with me, but constantly begged to stay with my In-Laws.  This ended up being a very rocky patch in our family life- it almost tore my family apart.  By this time, I was feeling completely defeated.

Once we had our financial bearings back, we were able to move back into a place of our own.  We also decided to default the bankruptcy status, and take on our debtors ourselves.  While we are still working on them, we are definitely further ahead than we once were.

I greatly regret how stupid we were with our money and have made it my goal to never be that way again by committing to becoming debt free.  I also plan to have a spot on this blog that helps people avoid these major financial pits that I once walked into.

My Religious Views- Day 4 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Hello, it’s me again (in my Adele voice).  I am on Day 4 of Katy Widrick’s 3o Day Blogging Challenge and today is all about my religious views.

Religion is something fluid, which means it must be analyzed in parts.  For me, my religious views have shifted so much, that I simply consider myself a Christian now.

As A Child

Growing up, my maternal grandfather was a Baptist reverend.  This meant that we attended his church religiously, and we identified as Baptist.  The Baptist religion largely believes in baptism of members, and baptism represents being submerged under water.  My grandfather baptized us in a lake.  Baptist practices differ from church to church, but baptism is one belief held by them all.

Teenager

As a young adult, I went to church with one of my sisters.  This was my first time attending a Christian church- not a Baptist church.  I had been attending church, but did not know anything about religion!  When the pastor began speaking about Christianity, I whispered to my sister “but I am Baptist”.  She laughed at me and told me they were sort of the same thing.  At the time, I was really that clueless!

Young Adult

As a young adult, I attended a Christian college- Southern Wesleyan University.  I had always believed in God, but did not have any understanding of my religious views.  I considered myself a Christian, but did not identify with any of the strands (Baptist, Protestant, Methodist, etc.).  Attending this college required me to actually study my Bible, and take religious courses.  It was here that I began to create my own religious views.  In the end, I believe that there are two types of people- the ones who believe in God, and the ones who do not.  The details of religion do not necessarily matter to me.

Adult

When looking for a church, I began to attend a non-denominational church.  Non-denominational churches do not identify with any religions, instead accepting all religions.  I attended this church for about a month before realizing that it was not for me.  During service, people were falling out from “catching the Holy Spirit” and talking in tongues.  The pastor would continue preaching during all of this activity, while the church ushers would cover them up with blankets and leave them there!  I am not judging here, but it all seemed rehearsed to me.

After this, my family and I began attending a Church of Christ.  The Church of Christ is very similar to the Baptist church, but with a few extra details.  The Church of Christ does not believe that women should participate in church service (only behind the scenes).  They do not believe in musical instruments during church service.  They also believe that anyone who does not follow these rules will go to Hell.

I attended this church for about 2 years before cutting ties.  I never shared their beliefs, but I wanted to a part of a church family.  As I mentioned before, people either believe or they do not to me.  The rest does not matter.

My Beliefs Now

I definitely still believe in God.  I look at the world around me and know with certainty that God designed it.  I look at the blessings that have been bestowed upon my family and I, and I know that he is control.

I no longer believe in the church, though.  To me, churches are filled with hierarchical politicians who try to bend the word to fit their will.  The pastor may have the best intentions, but there are always issues with the members.  These members are judgmental towards people, and can be extremely unpleasant.  Because of this, I have no desire to attend a church at this time in my life.

Lastly, I used to feel baffled when I met atheist/agnostic people.  I did not understand how someone could not know that God exists.  As a middle school teacher, I have met more teenagers that do not believe in God than I ever thought possible!  Interacting with these students have taught me not to judge others based on their beliefs.  As long as they have a set of morals, their religious views do not matter.  Of course, I will still hold onto my beliefs and share them, but I can agree to disagree and not judge them, and I hope that they will do the same for me.

 

Your Experience With Addiction- Day 3 (30 Days of Blogging)

Here I am at Day 3 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge, and I find myself facing a difficult topic of discussion.  Let me be clear, Katy’s topic was your experience with drugs and alcohol.  I changed this topic to experiences with addiction.

My Parents

In my past, I have been affected by addiction of all types.  Growing up, my father was a high-functioning alcoholic.  I consider my Dad the best father ever, but there are some things that I would rather forget about.  I remember the smell of alcohol that never seemed to go away.  As well as having him be so inebriated that we had to get him out of the bathroom and to bed.  And having him embarrass my sister at her college banquet with a drunken outburst.  Imagine walking onstage to accept your award at a formal banquet and having your father yell out, “Go Nene- it ain’t your birthday, it’s your Da-day!”

While my Dad made some poor choices regarding alcohol, he still managed to put his children first.  He did not EVER call off of work, or drink on the job.  He was never mean or inattentive.  My mother was a different story, though.

My mother was addicted to gambling.  Now you understand why I changed the topic to addiction instead of drugs and alcohol.    To be specific, she was addicted to poker machines.  If you are my age, you remember the days when every gas station had a section for poker machines.  People would take their paychecks and spend dollar after dollar in those machines.  Including my mother.  There were times when we were left inside of the car waiting for her for hours as she spent her money.  And times when she would come home from gambling and be too tired to make it from the car to the house.  Or coming home to a lot of your valuables having been pawned for gambling money.  Yeah, not a great way to end a day.

So as you see, addiction played a huge part in my life growing up.  While my Dad was able to control his addiction and care for his children, my mother was the opposite.  Update on them both, Dad quit drinking about 10 years ago, and Mom was able to get her addiction under control with help.  Poker machines were also banned from gas stations, which helps a lot.  My sister, however, is not over the banquet fiasco…

My Personal Experience With Addiction

As an adult, I actually do not drink much or do drugs.  I have been drunk a total of 3 times in my life. My drinking usually consists of a glass of wine after work, or a drink at a restaurant.  Drugs are a different story.  I do not do drugs- period.  I grew up in places that allowed me to see the things that drugs can do to a person. That was enough to encourage me to stay away from them.  I also never took to gambling.  I am too stingy with my money…

In closing, addiction is a very tough illness.  People give in to these addictions for different reasons- my dad was impoverished regardless of how hard he worked; my mom was depressed.  Sometimes people are able to get their addiction under control by themselves, sometimes they need help, and sometimes they simply don’t want help.  We have to continue to love and do all that we can for these people, while also being that voice of reason that they need sometimes.

Please leave your comments and let me know what your experience with addiction has been!

This Teacher’s Top Resources To Help Your Child Keep Learning Throughout The Summer!

Yay- we have made it to summer vacation!!!  As a teacher, I know that the first thing in order is to rest for at least a week!  After that, it is definitely time to establish a routine to keep those students learning through the summer!  Summer learning loss is a serious thing, especially for low income families.  The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) states that these students are losing between 2 and 3 months of math and  reading learning  each summer!  This regression is keeping the achievement gap wide open!  Even if your family is not considered low income, summer learning loss is still cause for alarm.  To help with this, I am sharing the methods that I use with my children to keep them learning throughout the summer.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.*

1. Find an online summer program for your child to enroll in.

My county has a free program available online for students, but parents must register their children by a certain date.  Check with your school district to find out if they offer any summer programs for free.  If this is not an option, check the below sites:

  • Scholastic Study Jams.  This site is one that I personally use, and is available for math or science.  You choose the topic that you want your child to practice, they watch a video, and then take a quiz.  This site is free, and, if you have your child study one math and one science topic per day, very helpful.
  • PBS.  PBS has an education tab, and includes topics ranging from math to music.  I favor this site because it also includes hands on activities that you can do with your child to supplement the learning.  This is another free site, so definitely worth checking out!
  • Moby Max  is available for grades 3-8.  If your child’s teacher has assigned them an account, you can continue using it for most of the summer.  If not, you may be able to register for a homeschool account to use.  I like Moby Max because it diagnoses children based on a pre-test, and assigns work based on that.  Students are able to work on math, reading, social studies, or science with Moby Max.  There is a free version, but some features are limited on it.
  • Time 4 Learning.  Time 4 Learning is a paid site available for K-12th grade.  They offer a summer program that can be tailored to fit your child, and a 14 day money back guarantee.  K-8th grade starts at $19.95 per month, and 9th-12th grade is $30 per month.  I have not used this site before, but it is one being offered by my district.  Math, reading, science, and social studies are available subjects.
  • IXL.  IXL is well known in the teaching community, and many of us use their free services.  You are able to practice a topic for about 5 minutes per day on their site for free.  They also offer a paid membership for parents for $9.95 per month.  What I do not like about their paid membership is that they charge per subject.  That means if you want your child to study math and reading through them, you would pay $9.95 per subject…
  • Prodigy.  Prodigy focuses on math, but is another popular site amongst teachers.  I have never used Prodigy, but have heard about it from other teachers.  A free version is offered, and also a paid version for $8.95 per month.
  • There are numerous printed resources that provide a guided curriculum for your child.  One of my favorites is Summer Bridge Activities, because it is available for most grade levels.  They also provide answer keys for your to check your child’s work.  The prices for these range from about $8-$10.

Only one program is necessary for you to join, and it should target the subject(s) that your child struggles with the most.  I require my children to work on the program for about 30 minutes per day, Monday-Friday.  Of course, you could make your own schedule for your child.

2. Make Reading A Priority

Have your child read for at least 20 minutes per day!  Also, hold them accountable for this reading.  Laura Candler has a wonderful reading log that can be used, or you could simply have your child track their reading on a sheet of notebook paper.  This Reading Mama has a reading log for the younger students- one that they can color.  I also assign my children book reports for after they have completed a book.  This helps with their writing/summarizing skills, and handwriting/typing skills.

Find new resources for reading, too.  I do not buy many books during the summer, because my daughter would have me broke!  Instead, we take trips to the library twice per week.  We also frequent thrift stores and yard sales, which usually have AMAZING book prices!

3. Make Learning Hands On

 

STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) are major themes in education, and in job markets right now!  Help your child develop the mindset necessary to succeed in this type of environment.  STEM/STEAM activities are super easy to implement!  Most of them use everyday items (paper towel rolls, tape, cardboard, etc.).  Some of my favorites are:

  • Egg drop (design and build a container that will house an egg and prevent it from breaking when dropped from a certain height).

  • Catapult (design a catapult that will launch a ping pong ball through a hula hoop from a distance).

  • Bottle Rocket (Use a 2-liter soda bottle to build a rocket that will actually launch).

The possibilities are endless with STEM/STEAM.  Search the topic on Pinterest for more ideas!

4. Start Coding

Computer coding is another of those topics that are recurring in education and the workplace.  Help your child become interested in this high-demand field.  Code.org allows students to practice coding, and progress as they learn.

Hopefully these ideas got you jumpstarted with summer education.  Even if your child is an all A student, summer learning is beneficial to them.