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3 Gadgets to Get You Through the Cold and Flu Season

3 Gadgets to Get You Through the Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season can be tough, especially if you have kids. Tissues and runny noses everywhere, sick days home from school and work – it’s a time of year that’s not only inconvenient, but also downright miserable for the people involved. Here are three gadgets to help you get the whole family through the cold and flu season with minimal discomfort.

Digital Thermometer

When you have a sick child, a digital thermometer is a cold and flu season essential. Because high fevers can be dangerous for young children, you want to make sure to invest in a reliable thermometer, and know how to use it properly.

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There are many styles of digital thermometers on the market. Some even connect to apps to make it easy to keep track of temperature history. New temple and forehead thermometers are popular, easy to use on squirmy kids, and surprisingly accurate. Ear thermometers are also a great option. But, there is nothing wrong with using a traditional digital thermometer. When using a thermometer, make sure you know the age guidelines for taking a temperature and how to do it correctly.[1]

Humidifier

Keeping a humidifier running while your household suffers from the winter plague can help ease everyone’s symptoms. Cold and flu season occurs in the winter, when we usually have our heat turned up, and home heating can be very drying. When your nasal passages get too dry, the tiny hairs that protect them (cilia) aren’t able to effectively do their job. Adding moisture to the air can cut down on the likelihood of crusty nostrils and swollen sinuses, allowing cilia to do what they do best. Moisture from humidifiers can also ease cracked lips from excessive mouth-breathing, sore throats, and help with a dry, hacking cough.

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When looking for a humidifier, you have to consider your options, the first of which is, warm mist or cool mist? Cool mist humidifiers are recommended for use with children because warm mist humidifiers heat water to a boil and come with risk of burns. There are a number of different styles to suit your needs and taste, whether you want a chic humidifier for the living room, or a fun, hippo-shaped humidifier for the kids’ room.

Touchless Soap Dispenser

Hand washing is more necessary than ever during cold and flu season. While a hands-free soap dispenser can seem frivolous, it’s perfect for the winter months. Microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses, thrive in bathroom environments and automatic soap dispensers help to reduce the spread of germs from hands swiped across drippy noses to the soap pump. Using touchless soap dispensers may help other family members avoid those germs. They also control the amount of soap being dispensed, reducing soap wastage – although your kids may find the sensor too much of a novelty to resist at first.

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There are many models of hands-free soap dispensers available in different styles, including upright and wall-mount. Many of them are suitable for use with various types of liquid soap, so you’re not locked into a certain brand of soap. This is particularly handy during cold and flu season, because you may want to invest in a moisturizing soap, since everyone will be frequently washing their hands.

BONUS: Keep Your Electronics Germ-Free

Chances are your little sickies won’t feel like doing much besides laying on the couch, but if they are using the iPad or computer while they are sick, you are going to want to sanitize them. The same thing goes for your phone, because how often do you deep clean your phone?

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When it comes to cleaning a tablet or a phone, first turn the device off. Antibacterial wipes can be very abrasive and damaging to the surface of your phone, so you’ll want to use isopropyl alcohol diluted with water, half and half. Don’t spray it directly onto your phone, but instead onto a microfiber cloth, and then wipe down your device. Be sure not to overdo it with the disinfectant. Once a week should be fine.

When it comes to cleaning your keyboard and mouse, you can use the same technique (especially for a trackpad/touchpad on a laptop), or you can use an antibacterial wipe. Make sure the wipe you are using isn’t too saturated because you don’t want to get any moisture between the keys. While you’re at it, you might as well blow some compressed air in there and get all of the crumbs, etc. from between the keys.

I hope you manage to avoid the brunt of the cold and flu season, but, let’s face it, that can be hard to do with kids. Having a digital thermometer on hand, using a humidifier, and a hands-free soap dispenser can help you feel more in control of the situation.

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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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