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5 Baby Shower Ideas For First Time Mothers

5 Baby Shower Ideas For First Time Mothers

Baby showers are a fun time for celebrating the new life joining your family. New mothers have a lot to look forward to the first time they get to experience a shower thrown in their honor. Baby showers today frequently include a decoration theme, creative baby-related games, mom-friendly foods and of course showering the mother with gifts.

Whether you’re throwing yourself a baby shower or your friends, family or co-workers are throwing one for you, this day is going to be about you, which means you should enjoy it to the fullest. Here are five ideas for fun ways to spice up your baby shower.

1. Gender reveal event

Although some mothers prefer to know their baby’s gender ahead of their baby shower and receive gifts based on that knowledge, others may prefer to keep the surprise until the baby shower and keep guests guessing.

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A fun way to celebrate your new child and reveal the gender at your baby shower can be in the form of a gender revealing event. Someone, ideally other than the parents, learns the gender of the baby and prepares some sort of decoration to open. Popular forms include a cake with pink or blue coloring that is revealed when cut into, or a box filled with color-coded balloons that fly out when you open it.

2. Diaper raffle

No matter what gender your baby is, you will go through a mountain of diapers. One excellent tip to stock up is to set up a diaper raffle as part of the baby shower.

Guests are promised one spectacular prize—see if someone is willing to donate the cost of an iPod, a 3DS, a Polaroid camera or another fun electronic—as a raffle prize, and every bag of diapers earns each guest a raffle ticket. Friends and family will be eager to help you prepare for the baby and potentially earn a fun new gadget at the same time.

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This game works best if you let guests know ahead of time, such as on the invitation, about the raffle and the prize.

3. Baby Bingo

Another fun game that can motivate your guests to bring you helpful gifts and have a good time is Baby Bingo. This game involves drafting up suggestions for gift ideas based on future baby needs. Good ideas to include on the card are baby bottles, diapers, formula, a baby towel, a rattle, washcloths, or baby clothes.

Give each guest a unique bingo card and 10 to 15 Hershey’s Kisses before gift opening time. As the mom opens gifts, each guest can put a Kiss on the appropriate tile, and the winner can get a fun prize or gift card.

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4. Baby food game

Another fun game for the baby shower involves tasting various baby foods and acquainting yourself with what your future child will be eating. The baby food game is a taste-testing challenge

To play this game, you should set up a variety of flavored baby foods without the labels visible (cover them with tape, peel them off or draw over them, but make sure to remember which is which). Line the bottles up on a table and give each guest one Popsicle stick per flavor.

Let them taste each bottle and write down what they think the flavor is. At the end of the game, reveal one by one the real flavors of your baby foods; whoever guesses the most correctly wins a prize. This game is more challenging than it appears, as baby food flavors come in inventive and varied flavors nowadays. Get creative with your options.

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5. Onesie decoration station

This baby shower idea gives new moms a chance to let loved ones create something personal for the newest member of the family.

Purchase plain white onesies in varying sizes; many online places allow you to order in bulk to save on cost. At the shower, set up non-toxic fabric markers and paints for guests to use, and give everyone a onesie of their own to decorate. Your guests will love the chance to personalize something your child will wear, and you’ll have something to keep as a reminder while your baby grows.

Baby showers are an excellent time for friends and family to help a new mom get all the things needed to prepare for a newborn and celebrate a new life. Make the most of yours with these fun ideas to personalize and celebrate your event.

Featured photo credit: Family O’Abe via flic.kr

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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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