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6 Common Misconceptions About Being Pregnant

6 Common Misconceptions About Being Pregnant

There is a lot of advice for women about being pregnant, much of it coming from different sources — from family and friends to a longtime hairstylist. It seems like everyone has something to say about the subject, from what to eat to how much exercise you should be doing.

How do you know what to believe and what to take with a grain of salt? Here are 6 common misconceptions about being pregnant that turned out to be just old wives’ tales after all.

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1. You should avoid fish due to high mercury levels

It is often heard that women who are pregnant should avoid fish because of the high levels of mercury that it contains. There are some types of fish, like king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, marlin, and specific types of tuna, that have potent mercury levels, but there are also fish that are in the clear.

Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, pollack, catfish, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel have low levels of mercury and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both state that pregnant women can safely eat 12 ounces (340 grams) of seafood a week.

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2. Drinking coffee will cause a miscarriage or a preterm birth

In the recent past, your gynecologist or obstetrician would have strongly advised against having any coffee due to the belief that it could cause severe birth complications. Now the National Health Service (NHS) states that 200 mg of caffeine (equivalent to two cups of coffee) is fine to have each day — just note that this includes caffeine found in chocolate, tea, and sodas as well.

3. Being pregnant means it is fine to double your calorie intake because you are eating for two

It is true that pregnant women need extra calories to support the new life growing inside of them, but it is important to remember that they are not eating for two adults. A women who is of average weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds when she is pregnant and should take in an extra 300 healthy calories a day. Of course, every woman’s body type differs and it is recommended that underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds and overweight women should gain 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.

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4. It is fine to drink a small amount of alcohol when you are pregnant

Depending on cultural background, some people might say it is fine to drink small amounts of alcohol while pregnant. However, due to the lack of reliable scientific research, it is best not to risk it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol that is consumed by a woman while pregnant passes through her bloodstream and to the baby through the umbilical cord. This can cause a risk of miscarriages and a range of mental and physical disorders called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

5. You should avoid cheese since it has a high risk of carrying food-borne illnesses

Unpasteurized cheese like brie, feta, and goat cheese are definitely on the foods-to-avoid list for pregnant women, but that does not mean pasteurized cheese is a no-no. According to the Mayo Clinic, safe options like swiss and cheddar are perfectly fine for consumption when pregnant. Make sure to check the labels of any cheeses to double-check whether they are pasteurized or not.

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6. Spicy food will definitely induce labor

This is one of the most common old wives’ tales surrounding pregnancy. It is believed that spicy foods can irritate a woman’s intestine and cause contraction in the uterus. However, there is no direct connection with the uterus and the stomach and therefore this belief has not been proven true. Eating a certain type of food will not make a difference regarding when you go into labor.

Featured photo credit: Montse PB via flickr.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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