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Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

It is extremely important for mothers to eat healthy and safely throughout the duration of their pregnancy to help ensure that mommy and baby turn out alright. Make sure to always consult with your physician for a detailed meal plan. Also, get professional advice on what you should not consume.

Here are some common foods to avoid while pregnant.

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Lunch meats and unpasteurized dairy items are foods to avoid while pregnant

Hot dogs, deli meats, or unpasteurized milk all are prone to be a breeding ground for the bacteria listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis. Miscarriages, stillbirths, and other serious problems that can be the result of listeriosis. The risk of this bacteria has been the topic of debate. A big question is if this bacteria is high enough to really be a concern, or is it better to be on the safe side and substitute a non-meat alternative from your local grocery store’s health food section when a craving hits. It is also important to stay away from smoked seafood (like lox) and cheeses that contain unpasteurized milk, like brie, feta, and Camembert.

Raw or under-cooked food

Sashimi (raw fish), raw oysters, and homemade eggnog all fall under the list of foods that can harbor serious bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Therefore these foods should be avoided. To make sure your food is cooked thoroughly test meat with a food thermometer and cook eggs until the yolk is hard. When baking, remember not to eat the cookie dough with raw egg in it, as tempting as it may be.

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Certain fish

Specifically, fish is one of the foods to avoid while pregnant, since they contain high levels of mercury that can damage your child’s growing brain and nervous system. Larger fish like sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel tend to have higher levels of mercury and should be avoided. Not all types of fish need to be avoided though, since the FDA says it is safe for pregnant and nursing women to eat up to 12 ounces of seafood that has low levels of mercury. This list includes salmon (farmed and wild), shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock, sardines, tilapia, and catfish. Since albacore (white) tuna has higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna, it is recommended only to eat 6 ounces of this fish (included in the 12 weekly ounces). It is also important to be vigilant of where the fish was caught; since rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams tend to have higher levels of pollutants than oceans or bays.

Too much chocolate

This is a difficult selection on the foods to avoid while pregnant list: chocolate! For those mothers-to-be who have a giant sweet tooth, chocolate is not off the list, but it should be consumed in moderation due to its caffeine content. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine can put you and your baby at risk for birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, and various other reproductive problems. It is recommended that 200 mg of caffeine maximum should be consumed daily, so just make sure not to overdue it.

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Too many extra calories

It may be tempting to give in to those pregnancy cravings and eat your weight in junk food, but it is important to do so only in moderation. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy puts your own health at risk for illnesses like high blood pressure, which can lead to gestational diabetes, overdue (delayed) pregnancy, labor issues, risk of miscarriage, various infections, preeclampsia, and also higher risk of emergency c-section. Your baby can be at risk for being born overweight (with a higher chance of having childhood obesity), as well as chronic conditions such as heart disease later in life, and being born with birth defects. Each women’s pregnancy weight requirements are different, so make sure to check with your primary doctor to see what is a healthy calorie intake for your specific situation.

Featured photo credit: Flickr 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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