Daily Homeschool Schedule

10 Ways to Add More Fun to Your Daily Homeschool Schedule [Infographic]

Daily Homeschool Schedule

From getting to spend more time with the kids, to hitting the snooze button as the school bus rolls by, the joys of homeschooling are many. But aside from all the perks of homeschooling your children, stay-at-home parents know it’s not always rainbows and butterflies!

There are quite a few challenges that come along with homeschooling. Parents have many different roles aside from just teaching, and one of those tasks is administration. It takes a lot of organization and creativity to plan an effective and engaging curriculum for your student(s).

This school year, try adding a few new activities into your week to make learning more fun and interactive. Incorporating any of these 10 ideas into your daily homeschool schedule will not only add variety to your routine, but many of them will also give you a much-needed break!

Daily Homeschool Schedule

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10 Ways to Add More Fun to Your Daily Homeschool Schedule

1. Invite a Music Teacher Over

Once or twice a week, schedule music lessons in your home so your child can pick up a new, beneficial skill. Music lessons can range from 30-60 minutes and many local teachers have their own studio, if you’d prefer to take a trip outside the house.

Learning an instrument isn’t all fun and games. The right instructor will teach your child discipline and perseverance. There are also numerous physical and mental benefits of learning an instrument, such as improved math and reading skills!

2. Have a Pre-Lunchtime Cooking Class

Home economics, or household management, is an often overlooked but necessary subject for any growing child. And what better place to teach valuable culinary skills than in the safety of your own home?

Take the 30-minute time block before lunchtime and use it to teach your child basic cooking techniques. Depending on your student’s age, you can show him or her how to properly peel vegetables, slice different kinds of fruit, read a recipe, or measure out ingredients. Who knows – maybe your child will become the next family chef!

3. Learn About Art at a Kids Museum

Add a museum visit to your daily homeschool schedule

If your child is a visual learner, this fun activity will be the highlight of their week! Get your student’s creative juices flowing by taking him or her to a kids museum. Most children’s museums offer free or discounted admission on certain days of the week.

Museums present the perfect opportunity for a hands-on art lesson. Make sure to browse the museum’s website ahead of time and discuss the exhibits with your child. After the trip, help your student recreate one of their favorite works of art!

4. Picnic at the Park

It can be easy to stay indoors all day when you homeschool, but never neglect the importance of getting some fresh air every now and then! Break up the day and take a trip to the park for lunch. Let the kids roam or play on the playground for a little while. They’ll get some PE time in, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed.

SEE ALSO: 14 Hilarious Signs Your Family is Ready to Go Back to School

5. Read at a Local Library

There’s something about visiting a library that makes reading more exciting as a kid. Take your child to the local library and let him or her choose from a seemingly limitless number of books in a variety of different genres and themes – it’s language arts paradise!

Having a library card is also an excellent way for your child to learn about being responsible and considerate to others. Pro tip: most libraries offer weekly storytelling programs or puppet shows where the pages really come to life!

6. Mix up your Math Media


Math can be a challenging subject for many children, but here’s an effective solution: try using a variety of media to boost your child’s progress while making learning fun at the same time. Use math games, YouTube videos, and catchy songs as teaching tools. You’ll be surprised how much mixing up your media can help your child more easily master tricky math concepts.

7. Take a Field Trip to the Zoo

Trips to the zoo are a blast for children of any age (parents included)! There are many learning opportunities at the zoo as well. Your child will have the opportunity to explore different habitats, learn about the environment, and pick up some new vocabulary. Many zoos also offer educational programs and discounts for kids.

SEE ALSO: 5 Must-Have Back to School Apps

8. Sign up for Online Language Classes

There are countless benefits of learning another language for young minds. Aside from learning to respect and appreciate other cultures, studying a foreign language has been found to increase attention spans, improve the memory, and boost problem-solving skills.

Other research shows that bilingual students score higher on standardized tests in the areas of reading, social studies, and math. Try the online language classes at TakeLessons Live. They’re free for your first month, and you get to choose from a variety of experienced instructors. It’s easy to find a class at any time of the day that works best for your child!

9. Do a Nature Walk in the Great OutdoorsAdd a nature walk to your daily homeschool schedule

Looking for a new science activity to engage the senses? Try doing a nature walk with your child in your community. Prepare a scavenger hunt, go bird watching, or see how many different types of plants your child can spot. For a list of great places to take a nature walk near you, check out TrailLink or NatureFind. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

10. Check out Indoor PE Videos

“PE videos” might sound a little contradictory, but in cold and rainy seasons, YouTube can be your new best friend! There are dozens of kid-friendly YouTube channels designed with the sole purpose of facilitating indoor PE sessions.

Just because you can’t leave the home doesn’t mean your child can’t get some much-needed exercise in. For starters, check out the GoNoodle channel to get your child dancing, stretching, and jumping.

Add any of these activities into your daily homeschool schedule and you’ll set your student up for a successful and fun school year! Looking for a way to organize all the details of your routine in one convenient place? Check out The Frugal Homeschooling Mom for free resources like customizable spreadsheets that will keep everyone on track!

Do you have any other ideas about how to add variety to a daily or weekly homeschool schedule? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below!

 

The 8 Best Language Learning Apps To Boost Your Progress

Best Language Learning Apps

Whether you’re an intermediate to advanced student, or are just beginning the journey to fluency in a foreign language, congratulations! Picking up a new language is great for your career and mental health. It’s also a fun way to make new friends.

With advancements in modern technology, it’s never been easier to speed up the language acquisition process. Here are some of the best language learning apps available for download today. To set yourself up for success, try combining any of these apps along with private tutoring sessions for a fun and effective way to get fluent faster!

The 8 Best Language Learning Apps

1. TakeLessons 

Best Language Learning Apps - TakeLessons

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play

With the TakeLessons language learning app, you can access private, one-on-one lessons with an experienced language tutor, or online group classes to work on your conversation skills with other students at your level. The app not only helps you find a language tutor or class, but it allows you to connect through a virtual classroom – so you can learn anywhere, any time. 

2. Memrise

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: Best for beginners
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play

The Memrise app boasts accessibility to over 200 languages. It combines audio, visual, and chat features to help students memorize vocabulary faster and tackle grammar more efficiently. It can also be used offline, which makes it an excellent way to keep your language skills sharp while you’re off the grid – perfect to use when traveling!

3. Busuu

Best Language Learning Apps - Busuu

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play

Busuu calls itself a social network for language learners, and that is its biggest draw. It offers 12 languages including Russian, Chinese, and Arabic. You can use this helpful app to connect with a native speaker for a quick chat and put your speaking skills to good use. You can also ask questions and get feedback on your accent and pronunciation! All skills levels can benefit from this hands-on practice.

4. MindSnacks

  • Supported Devices: iPhone
  • Cost: $4.99 – $19.99
  • Levels: Beginning to intermediate
  • Available At: Apple App Store

If you love to play games on your iPhone, MindSnacks may be the perfect app for you! (An Android version of the app is reportedly in the works). With its bright colors and cartoon characters, the MindSnacks app makes language basics like grammar and vocabulary fun and easy. Replace Candy Crush with MindSnacks and impress your friends with all you’ve learned!

SEE ALSO: 9 Great Places to Practice a Language with Real People

5. FluentU

Best Language Learning Apps - FluentU

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free version available
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: fluentu.com, Google Play, Apple App Store

Are you a visual learner? FluentU sends you to entertaining YouTube videos in the language you’re trying to learn, complete with subtitles and translations. Language immersion is key to advancing to fluency faster! If questions come up as you’re watching videos, write them down and ask your TakeLessons language tutor about them in your next lesson.

6. Anki

  • Supported Devices: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free for computers and Androids; $25 for iPhone
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: apps.ankiweb.net, Apple App Store, Google Play

To learn a language, your memorization skills need to be sharp. Anki is an excellent tool for learning anything that requires memorization. It allows you to make over 100,000 flashcards using audio, video, and images, so no matter your learning style you’re set up for success! Flashcards synchronize across devices, so you can access or edit your decks using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

7. Tandem

Best Language Learning Apps - Tandem

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: $19.95
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store

Like Busuu, Tandem puts you in touch with an international community of people who are willing to chat with you in whatever language you’re trying to learn. While anyone can benefit from this, it’s especially valuable for intermediate to advanced students who need to practice speaking in real time. This is a great way to become more confident and comfortable in your conversational skills.

8. Babbel

  • Supported Devices: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
  • Cost: $6.95-$12.95 per month
  • Levels: Beginning to intermediate
  • Available At: babbel.com, Apple App Store, Google Play

This app is designed to focus on useful phrases and vocabulary that you would use in everyday conversations, such as at a restaurant or social event. If you’re planning to take a trip where your target language is spoken, use Babbel to practice forming some common sentences and phrases. Babbel is an effective tool to supplement private tutoring sessions and can help you practice in between lessons.

Bonus: Mondly

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android, Desktop
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Available at: Apple App Store, Google Play, Oculus Store

Mondly is one of the most innovative language apps in the world, being the first to launch a language Chatbot. It offers 33 languages to learn from the most common (English, German, or Spanish) to the most exotic (Afrikaans, Japanese, or Thai). Its bite-sized lessons and gamified approach makes learning easy while preparing you for real life conversations.

It’s fantastic that some of the best language learning apps aren’t just fun to use, but they can help students expedite their language endeavors as well. In addition to using apps to boost your progress, never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction. Nothing beats practicing your language skills with another person (such as your TakeLessons language teacher) to learn the nuances of a spoken language!

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Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ypsilanti, MI, and is also available for online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

The History of the Ukulele: All Your Questions Answered

 

history of the ukulele

The ukulele is a unique instrument that is loved all over the globe for its simplicity and cheerful sound. However, many people incorrectly assume that the ukulele had its origin in Hawaii.

Although the state plays an important role in the development of the ukulele’s image, the initial version of the ukulele was surprisingly not developed in Hawaii. Keep reading to find out where the ukulele originated, and more interesting facts about its unique history.

The Unique History of the Ukulele

When and Where Did the Ukulele Originate?

The history of the ukulele begins in Madeira, a very small mountainous island in the Atlantic Ocean, located southeast of Portugal. The island began attracting tourists in the early 1800s, and these new visitors enjoyed a wide range of music. They especially enjoyed tunes created by an instrument known as the machête, a smaller version of the guitar.

The machête was the precursor to the modern-day ukulele we know and love today! A Portuguese immigrant named Joao Fernandez brought this guitar-like instrument to Hawaii by  in 1879. The Portuguese referred to the machête as the “braginho,” however, the natives later renamed it to the “ukulele.”

When the Portuguese immigrants arrived in Hawaii and began playing the “braginho” in the streets, the townspeople naturally loved its sound. Its popularity rose quickly on the Hawaiian Islands and soon became Hawaii’s musical image.

Who Created the First Ukulele?

Three woodworkers from Portugal were key in the advancement of the ukulele. These three woodworkers and former cabinet makers – Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias, and Jose do Espirito Santo – found a new way to make money on Oahu as they settled into their homes.

The three craftsmen quickly saw a market in selling guitars, machêtes, and other stringed instruments. One by one, they each opened up their own shop and boasted their ability to make machêtes.

Although the exact moment of the creation of the ukulele is unclear, we know that these three woodworkers had a hand in the production, proliferation, and dispersion of the instrument.

The modern-day ukulele appears to be a combination of the machête and another Portuguese instrument called the rajão. The rajão is a five-stringed instrument, but its top four strings are in the order of the ukulele’s strings: G-C-E-A.

How Did the Ukulele Get so Popular?

Portuguese immigrants, including Joao Fernandez and the three craftsmen, certainly helped fuel the ukulele’s popularity. But the instrument’s expansion was largely due to its promotion by Hawaii’s last king, David Kalakaua who reigned from 1874-1891.

The ukulele often played a major role in royal events. The king also encouraged local people to learn how to play the ukulele, and even decided to learn it himself!

The Ukulele Travels Across the Globe

Jonah Kumalae, a Hawaiian ukulele manufacturer and musician, brought the ukulele to San Francisco in 1915 for the Pan Pacific International Exhibition. The ukulele’s introduction at the exhibition caught the world’s attention, and thus the first “ukulele craze” began.

One of the ukulele’s three original craftsmen, Manuel Nunes, passed on his legacy to his son who started a ukulele factory in Los Angeles, California. Throughout the 1920s the ukulele began to successfully make its way across the globe, from Canada to Japan, thanks to a variety of musicians.

SEE ALSO: 3 Big Benefits of Taking Ukulele Lessons

Which Famous Musicians Play the Ukulele?

Undeniably, one of the most famous ukulele musicians is George Formby from the UK. Formby was a multi-talented actor, singer, musician, and comedian. His most famous song titled “Leaning on a Lamp Post” was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame in 2014.


Jake Shimabukuro, another famous ukulele musician, first held a ukulele in his hands at the age of 4. Jake credits many musicians in Hawaii for influencing his music. He came to fame by accident when someone posted one of his songs on YouTube!

You may also recognize a few of these names: Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, Jack Johnson, Cyndi Lauper, Paul McCartney, and P!nk. These musicians have all incorporated the ukulele into their music.

From its humble origins on a Portuguese island, the ukulele continues to grow in popularity. We hope you enjoyed learning about the diverse history of this unique instrument. If you’re interested in learning how to play, check out the online ukulele classes at TakeLessons Live and find out why so many people love the uke!

Guest post by Colleen Kinsey, Editor in Chief at Coustii. Colleen enjoys teaching ukulele and guitar skills online, and her uke has traveled with her around the world!