Learning Styles Work at Nap Time too!

Sometimes I believe the Sunday afternoon nap was invented by a Mimi. While most adults love to take Sunday afternoon as a rest time, Mimi can use the time as a bonding time. We know the grandkids are going home that night so letting the Sunday lunch dishes wait until Monday morning while we rest with the kids is not a difficult decision

Recently, my grandson asked if I would nap with he and his sister on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Of course! After getting the nap routine underway, I realized that without planning it, every one’s learning style had been accommodated

My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter lay and talked to me and her brother while my 4 1/2 year old grandson was telling me about his morning at church while turning in circles much like a puppy trying to find a comfortable spot. My auditory granddaughter went to sleep quickly while still talking. My kinesthetic grandson wiggled and wiggled while talking then after about 15 minutes fell asleep in mid-wiggle. I am very visual and after they went to sleep, lay a few minutes reading until I too drifted to sleep.

If you have trouble getting your children to sleep, remember that just like adults, sleep doesn’t happen automatically. Utilize their learning style to help them transition from busy and awake to sleep. For the auditory child after a short time of talking, maybe a little calm music will give them a chance to relax. For the Kinesthetic child, give them a stuffed animal to cuddle while reminding them that their heads need to stay on the pillow and their feet need to be still. For the visual child, let them have a bedside lamp and 1 or 2 books to look at before turning off the light.

Also remember that children go at a very fast pace and a set bedtime ritual will help slow their minds and bodies so they can relax before it is actually time for bed.

Life is short – handle with care

Ok so when I was young (like 50 or so) I envisioned sitting in the rocker next to my friend and talking about our grandkids. Maybe because we home schooled our kids, we assumed that when we graduated our kids, we were finished. Not so. Life is hectic at times so choose your priorities well.

Today was another day of random busyness. I started my morning by being at the office by 7:30 (that’s am folks) to insure that everything was ready for tomorrow. Then I drove to Fort Smith to visit my almost 87 year old mother. Do not feel sorry for her – she owns her own business and goes to work every day. We had a great time visiting. Although she is in great health, I know that I won’t have her around forever. After being there for 3 hours, I drove back to Northwest Arkansas where after going to the post office and the bank, I went home to receive the grandkids from my daughter and give them naps. Started supper and got everything ready so supper was easy when t he kids got up. After supper, we all took the kids swimming and then I helped their mother get them ready for bed. Maybe I should just go to work tomorrow so I can rest.


How to Make Biscuits

Southern Biscuits Supreme
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
When making biscuits remember not to over stir after adding the liquid.
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 450º
  2. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients. Using a fork cut in the butter (as if you are mashing the butter into the dry ingredients.)
  3. Add the buttermilk and stir lightly just until the ingredients form a soft ball.
  4. Place flour on the counter.
  5. Put the biscuit mixture on the flour and using your hands gently push the dough around and knead it for about 2 minutes, adding just enough flour to keep from sticking to your hands.
  6. Pat the dough until about ½ inch thick and cut with a 1½ inch cookie cutter.
  7. Place on cookie sheet and bake.

One of my favorite foods is biscuits. Now don’t get me wrong, I like any type of bread but I would make homemade biscuits every day if my diet would allow it. Even though you have to heat the oven for this, a light fluffy Southern Style biscuit is good at any meal but especially at supper. A biscuit is a great side dish to any summer food and quick and easy  when we have only a small amount of time we want to spend indoors.

Learning Styles & Summer Fun

Just because it is summer don’t forget to pay attention to your child’s learning style. As you try to find creative ideas for your child’s schedule, remember that your choices need to be built around how they learn. For example, last week while keeping my grandkids I made sure we had some very active time in the mornings for my kinesthetic 4 year old while at the same time mixed in some kind of storytelling or music for my auditory granddaughter. The “kids” were having fun while I made sure they were not just looking for something to do which usually results in one or both getting hurt. One morning after making a Banner we went and bought $2 golf clubs and they played “golf” ‘with their aunt while I made lunch. Another morning after our quiet craft time ( this is when I checked my email etc.) we had singing and marching. By mixing their activities to match the different learning styles, they didn’t realize that their time was being managed.The kids also learned to help last week. The 4 year old learned to fold washrags in half (good enough for me) and dishtowels into fourths and put them away. At the end of the week he started learning to fold swim towels. Since he is the very active kinesthetic he is doing something while feeling good about helping. The 2 year old learned how to put clothes into and out of the dryer but she of course spent the whole time telling me what she was doing and the next 15 minutes telling me what she did and how she did it. For her it was being able to communicate about her life. As an auditory child, she wants to be able to talk about her day and wants you to talk about her day too. I on the other hand am a very visual Mimi and would someday enjoy a very visual grandchild. In between all the activities for everybody else, we will sit and read or watch the clouds go by.

Meeting Life as it Comes

One of the most fascinating aspects of my life is the variety of roles I play in any one day. Today I started out doing routine grocery shopping – not great fun but necessary and this morning I could take my time. Then at Lunch I became Mimi and made lunch for one of my daughters and my grandchildren. Of course every meal with a 4 year old and a 2 year demands my total attention making sure the sandwich gets eaten before the fruit and the ranch dip is eaten with anything but the fingers. Then I become a learner as my daughter helped me become computer literate. My day is not through so next I become a courier service for my son and then go to pick up my other daughter as she is having her car fixed. When that is done, it is time to head to the house, fold clothes, cook supper which I get to eat with my husband and then get organized for tomorrow.  A typical day  “off” as I didn’t go into the office today.

Identity Crisis – Mom or Mimi

It finally happened – I am officially Mimi! Yesterday for Mother’s Day one of my children gave me 2 cups filled with tootsie rolls and gift cards and the cups were labeled “Mimi”.  Not Mom-but Mimi. At lunch we talked about how my children don’t know what to call me. The dilemma comes about because with 2 grandchildren around everyone is beginning to call me Mimi. My solution—just use Mimi. It encompasses all I am. I am Mom to only part of my family but Mimi to all of them. When the first grandchild was born it was easy to still be Mom. Now that my second grandchild is talking it just makes sense in my head. On my birthday, one of the envelopes was addressed to “Mom/  Mimi (are you having an identity crisis yet?). My answer to that is no because to be a Mimi, I had to be a MOM first.


Learning in the Classroom

Recently, I began helping with a program offered at my church which encourages elementary kids to memorize Bible verses. Their excitement is wonderful to watch and it is also heartbreaking to watch some of them struggling to learn 1 or 2 verses while others are able to memorize several verses each week. The difference is not their intelligence, as all are capable of learning, it is their learning style.

The visual learners sit and read the verses and within a few minutes are able to recite the short verses to an adult or have practiced them at home and come ready to say several verses at a time. Because they learn through what their eyes see, memorization may take work but it is relatively easy.

The auditory learners need to hear the verses they are trying to learn and as teachers we must remember that if the talking we hear in a class room is an auditory child trying to learn then we should let the noise continue. The best way for an auditory child to memorize, is to say the verse out loud or read them to another person. It is very easy for teachers to believe that when a child is talking they are not learning while just the opposite is true. For an child who learns through hearing the quiet of a room can spell failure.

Then we have the kinesthetic learners who at a young age may need to be moving to memorize. Letting them make motions with their hands (in an appropriate way of course) or standing to memorize their verses are ways to involve movement as the kinesthetic learner works to achieve their goal. If we insist on  a child who learns through movement being still and quiet we are limiting the speed of learning for that child.

While it is hard for many teachers to cope with a noisy moving class, if the children are being directed to learn according to their learning styles, in the long run will give the children and ultimately the teacher success in what they want to accomplish.

How to Start Homeschooling & When to Begin

It is January 2012, parents are beginning to anticipate enrolling their children in school for next fall, and I am beginning to receive questions about How to start Homeschooling Next Year. As usual there are the expected questions such as:

  1. Is homeschooling really possible?
  2. How do I socialize my child if I homeschool them?
  3. Where do I start?

Is Homeschooling Possible?

Yes, homeschooling really is possible. I have 3 young adult children who were taught at home and each succeeded in finishing college and one even finished law school.

How To Socialize & Homeschool

Socialization is a theory developed in psychology which assumes that only other children are effective in training children in how to get along. If you will spend some time watching children play, you will soon discover that what most children learn from other children is bad habits and survival of the strongest. True socialization comes from the input of adults in teaching children how to solve problems without fighting and how to control their impulses and wait for their turn. If an adult is not present when there are problems among young children the children usually learn that the biggest bully is the one who gets his/her way. It is only the involvement of an adult in a group of children that will teach civil behavior and socialization. This can be achieved with just adults or within a family setting and then any outside groups your family may feel necessary can be monitored to keep from undoing any training which has taken place at home.

How to Start Homeschooling

Starting homeschooling begins with the decision to homeschool and understanding the benefits of teaching your children at home. Also included, is the understanding of the downsides of homeschooling. The next step is to look at the learning styles of each of your children before choosing a curriculum.

If you’re looking for additional resources make sure you check out “The First Year of Homeschooling” by Linda Dobson

Pantry Ideas

After you have a plan for storing water, the next item on the list is milk. Milk can be stored in many forms and in many ways for many reasons.

  • First  if you find a bargain on fresh milk, don’t be afraid to buy several gallons. Before the ‘use by’ date separate the milk into smaller containers and freeze. It is possible to freeze a gallon of milk but very difficult to thaw it. Use small plastic storage containers, or Food Saver vacuum bags being careful not to let the milk be drawn into the vacuum sealer. I try to freeze in containers which are a quart in size or smaller. Another great storage product is canning jars. Canning jars come in several sizes, but the pint or quart wide mouth jars are excellent for freezing. (Just remember to leave a 1/2 inch of room at the top for the liquid to expand as it freezes.)
  • When thinking about storing milk, don’t forget about powdered milk. Once in a while you can find a coupon for powdered milk which makes this an excellent way to stock up on powdered milk. While many find the taste of reconstituted powdered milk to be watery, usually if you make the milk the night before and serve with cereal or oatmeal most of your family will eat it. Powdered milk is great for having in the pantry because it keeps well without refrigeration and can be used for baking in an emergency or  just to save the fresh milk you have on hand for drinking. Be sure to keep track of the ‘use by’ date on the package as milk is one of the products which can become rancid even when dried. If you buy a large box of powdered milk, simply divide it into smaller containers and freeze them until you need the powdered milk. I routinely keep my powdered milk in the freezer so I don’t have to worry about it spoiling. Since I use the powdered milk in baking  I can use a small box fairly quickly but like to know that it is fresh.
  • One of the newer ways to store milk is in the small individual aseptic boxes (think small apple juice boxes). While this is one of the most expensive ways to buy milk if you are going on a trip with children this solves the problem of how to carry milk without refrigeration and without having to buy the small bottles at the fast food restaurants. Just place them in a refrigerator or in an ice chest as you need them. These have been used in other countries for several years and when cold I am unable to taste much difference from fresh milk. The boxes do have expiration dates so please buy them in small quantities. The boxes can be frozen but you must remember to thaw them as you need them.
  • Remember that using milk in several forms will help your budget while making sure you always have milk on hand for drinking and cooking.

What’s in your Pantry?

Food Storage is becoming a very popular topic. Between several natural disasters which have shown the necessity of being able to take care of yourself for a few days while electricity and transportation are being restored after a tornado or snowstorm to the economy showing us that we need to have a stocked pantry allowing us some time to regroup after a job loss, many people are beginning to see the wisdom of having food available without going to the store every day after work.

Along with this comes a need to know how to store the food we buy and how to cook from the food we have stored. I am going to start with the basics of what to store and several ways to store the foods which make up the well stocked pantry and some recipes using the foods which have been stored.

The first item we need to store is water. While not necessarily a food, our water supply can be contaminated or cut off when a tornado hits or when an ice storm devastates an area. As far as I have been able to determine, there is not a good way for long term storage of water so we must be more diligent about either having a plan for rotating your water supply or cleaning the water you have available. Since I buy bottled water as a convenience to encourage my active family to take water with them and drink as much as they can, I keep several cases of water in the garage and use the first in first out method of storage, always making sure that the earliest case I bought is the case of water that goes in the refrigerator. As a backup-plan I have purchased a Berkefeld Water Purfier to use to decontaminate whatever water is available whether from a broken water main or the snow on the ground.