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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sponsor: Tea Collection Labor Day Sale!

This week's sponsor is one of my favorite children's clothing companies, Tea Collection.  Check out my review of their clothing here and visit their site to stock up on their Labor Day Sale for all your children clothing needs!

So Long Summer, Hello Fall!

Tea Collection's Labor Day Event—Get 20% off everything* plus totally free shipping! 
To bid adieu to summer and give fall a warm welcome, Tea Collection is hosting a Labor Day sale! You will be able to enjoy 20% off site-wide (excluding shoes) at starting Thursday, September 3rd through September 7th. You can also get totally free shipping during this exciting Labor Day event!

From dresses and baby rompers to graphic tees and cargo pants, you will be able to get it all for 20% off! Stock up on Argentina and Bolivia and have a last chance to shop Tea's sale selection before it's too late! Take advantage of Tea's Labor Day Sale because, like summer, it'll be over before we know it!

#sponsored, #nextgenerationsahm, #nextgenerationsahmreviews, #teacollection, #tea, #childrensclothing, #labordaysale

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Home School Preschool 101 the Basics

Home School Preschool 101 the Basics
Written By Renee Arbia

Yesterday, I wrote about Why We Chose to Home School Preschool our son, Xavier. Today, I am explaining what we are doing in a little more detail, in hopes to help other moms who may want to try the same thing or need ideas to do their own type of thing.
Every child is different. They learn things at different paces, each are motivated by different things and each has different learning styles and interests.

We tailored our schedule and even the curriculum to serve our needs. Even the times of things were worked around my husband and my schedule since we work at home. We actually found it helpful to us to know the exact amount of time that one will be Xavier,  the other person then gets time to themselves to work or do what they want to do. We also chose different subjects that we knew would hold Xavier’s interest as well as teach him not only what he needs to know, but what he is interested in. The schedule format helps to regulate him to understand what it would be like in a school environment so that when he goes to school he has an idea, but we do not expect to be just sitting doing work books, we plan to spend a lot of time exploring, learning and playing.

Xavier's schedules are on the lower part so he can read them!
 We are holding our Home School Preschool three days a week. There are some subjects he has all three days for consistency and a few he has once a week for extra fun and I strategically put them later in the day so that if we want to run over on time we can. Also, keeping into account that he is three and does not have a big attention span I allowed most subjects an hour or half hour because it will include set up and take down of any materials needed for the subject we are doing that day.

Everyday subjects we decided were the main ones we believed he needed to know the best for mainstream school. So we put them on the schedule for all three days.
Everyday Subjects
Shapes, Numbers & Math – numbers, counting, adding, subtracting, identifying shapes, drawing shapes, counting angles
Computer Time – At three years old I do think it is important our children learn how to work a computer. It is inevitably going to be a part of their future I figure the earlier they learn about it the more experience they will have with computers. In order to do this I found the best website to be we enrolled in that and have been doing it since he was one year old. He loves it and a typical lesson with moving the computer to the kitchen and back to my desk being around thirty minutes. They even have their own preschool curriculum that we follow.
Our World/Practical Skills- This is basic information about our son that he needs to know and remember such as writing his name, learning days of the week, months, seasons and years, learning his address, learning to dial 911, learning about strangers, learning to tie shoes, learning about where you live, family structures. This area would also be any mixture of social studies, science or anthropology that we would like to teach.
Lunch Time- For this we teach how to make our lunch and properly set the table, sit and each lunch with our proper manners, and do proper clean up.
Quiet Time- For quiet time, we lie in our beds, lights out and close our eyes; you must be quiet and meditate or nap
Reading & Writing- learn the alphabet (writing it, phonetic sounds), early reading books, learn to write name, numbers and in general. We are starting with printing.

We next decided to add in once a week bonus classes for him that would be fun. They are all things he is interested in and we thought we could help further his interest by teaching him at least what we know in the subjects. They also teach him about what we do for a living and let him see what he may like to do or develop as an interest.

Once a Week Class
Music-Music is easy and a must have on Xavier’s list. I would have put it every day, but honestly if he likes it he should play/practice every day and he usually does, so I only schedule the lesson for once a week. He is learning the piano and guitar. We also have fun with drums, rhythm, singing and learning the names of different instruments and different genres of music.
Arts & Crafts- Painting, playing with Play-Doh, gluing collages, coloring, crafts for holidays, and birthdays. I actually got a lesson plan book with a lot of fun crafts to go along with what you are teaching that day which is good. They are always fun to do!
Exercise-There is a variety of things we would love to teach our son and he usually does all of them, but we thought by having this class, it would help find out what he is interested in and what he likes. We also thought this would force us as parents to think outside the box and come up with new things to do for exercise. So far we have planned hiking, an organized sport game with friends, yoga, ballet, zumba, dancing, bike riding, tumbling and tap.
Gardening- Not only did I find a love for gardening this year, but so did my husband and son. They both are really excited to do more gardening. So we are starting an organic vegetable garden that will grow all season crops and will involve a lot of care. We are also learning to compost and about the science of plants and the earth.
Faith- Our family is a Pagan family, our faith is very important to us. We learn faith from each other. At only three, like most faiths it is hard to explain very much. What I find we can talk about is the universe. The universe is a big part of our faith so it is easy to teach. We learn about the planets, moon phases, seasons, our celebrations. We also are teaching basic prayer and meditation.
Drama, Photography & Film- Xavier has learned that his photos and videos are taken and put on the computer and quite likes it, and also likes to take some of his own. So we are incorporating a class into his Home School Preschool that will involve learning about shows and theater. We also thought it would be fun to do different types of theater, like puppets as well as other things. The photography and film speak for themselves. It is something both my husband and I do a lot of for work so Xavier sees us doing a lot of photography and filming and wants learn more about the process. We decided we would add this subject to his curriculum in order to see if it really becomes a big interest of his.

This is just the first semester ideas. I am aware we will probably make a million different changes by next semester, but for now we are really happy and Xavier is really happy “to have school”.
Our children always force us to push ourselves to be the best everyday. It is much easier to not do anything with our son and just let him have his free play all day and just play with him and do what he wants. However, this Home School Preschool curriculum we decided to do because it makes him happier. Plus, it is extremely healthy for him and will enrich his life so much more.

Three is a very demanding age. It is easy to forget that we are a child’s whole world. They do not really have a lot of friends outside of parents. Not like we do in the adult sense of friends. They do not know how to depend on anyone else. At the end of the day the one our child wants to spend the most time with is mommy and daddy.

#nextgenerationsahm, #nextgenerationsahmlifestyle, #nextgenerationsahmhomeschoolpreschool, #homeschoolpreschool, #homeschool, #preschool

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why We Chose to Home School Preschool

Why We Chose to Home School Preschool
Written By Renee Arbia

Arts and Crafts
Apparently it is the normal thing to be asked as a parent when your child is three if and where they go to school. I was under the impression that my child did not have to attend school until they are five or whatever the current age for Kindergarten is where you live.

It is now very popular to start your child at the age of three going to preschool. You child attends preschool, and it is like a miniature kindergarten and gets them ready so they know their ABC’s and 123’s to help them get into kindergarten. You start at age three in preschool, then age four in Pre-Kindergarten, and then at five in Kindergarten. (At least that is how it works where we live). After discussing with several friends, our pediatrician and doing some research, we have chosen to not send our child to preschool and not only keep him home, but to Home School Preschool him.

I got him an old notebook, just like my grandmother's!
So now at the age of three and a half we had a few options with our son, Xavier. Our first option was to leave him home with us and just keep doing what we are doing (which so far seems to be going exceptionally well), we could send him to preschool either full time or part time, or we could Home School Preschool him.

Around the age of three Xavier’s mental capacity changed drastically. He not only talks, but has full conversations with you. He wants to know and learn about everything. He has so much enthusiasm and energy everyday. I am afraid with us both working at home and even giving him a lot of our attention, just playing with him, did not seem to be enough stimulus for him. It is almost as if he thirsts for more things to do and learn about. We involve him in chores; we take on extra projects (See Garden Project 2015) and even take special excursions just for him. However, he seemed to need more than we were offering.

At his three year check up I asked our pediatrician (who I love), what his opinion on preschool is for our son. He did not see a reason for us switching as everything was going so well with us at home, but agreed that Xavier has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. After talking to some friends, doing my own research and talking to some preschool teachers. We decided to Home School Preschool Xavier until Kindergarten.

We decided to Home School Preschool Xavier for many reasons. First of all I think was the main cost. I did not see the point of paying someone to watch our child when we purposely have flexible jobs to be able to be with him. He is only three and call me crazy, but I think it’s a little young to send him unnecessarily out into the crazy hamster wheel of life. However, I did agree that like many children that are three, Xavier needed more things to entertain him, more things to learn, he is a little sponge and he wants to learn about anything and everything.

I was able to get some curriculum ideas from friends and my sister in law who has been a preschool teacher for a very long time and is very well known as being a great preschool teacher. (We do not live near her, or we may have considered him in her class). We decided to Home School Preschool Xavier three days a week from 10-5pm with an hour for lunch and an hour of quiet time. Most classes are the same with a couple different each day. I am solely working on the curriculum and teaching. However, my husband helped a lot with choosing, classes and activities and is going to be doing activities and teaching Xavier as well.

I realize that one of the huge advantages of Home Schooling is how flexible you can be with your children. However, my son is not very flexible. My husband and I are very unscheduled people and like to fly by the seat of our pants. Our son does not seem to like our theory on life. He prefers we stick to a schedule and know what we are doing every minute of everyday. In order for him to love going to Home School Preschool and to be sure to differentiate it from our everyday home I decided to make a schedule of his Home School Preschool. He is learning about days of the week right now, so I figured it was the perfect time to start teaching him about a calendar. So today Xavier received his first calendar on our Organization Center. I also outlined his days for him by time when he goes to school so he can see what subject comes at what time. He loves to tell time (he can only do digital, but we are working on clock).

He is really excited and happy to start school. We informed him that his school for now is at home and when he is older he will go off to school. The decision to Home School Preschool was actually pretty easy for us to make. We simply decided what would be best for our child and decided to do it. We found out he seemed to be best in the Home School Preschool environment, so I am making arrangements to do it. For now we are doing it until Kindergarten and we plan on him attending Kindergarten. Part of the structure is very close to what a typical Kindergarten day would entail, but for younger children. That way when he is ready to go to school he will already have an idea of what to expect. Xavier likes to know what to expect, and likes to ease into things. However, his thirst for knowledge never eases, but plunges into everything all the time. Letting him just play at home all day every day did not seem to make him happy. Adding some structure into his life is something he is excited about, I am happy that we are able to interpret his needs and are able to accommodate them to help him be able to adjust to the big wide world at his pace.

We all need to be able to choose the option that is best for our children. I am very fortunate that ours worked out that we were able to give our son the option that best fits his needs and will help him grow. Like every parent we only want what is best for our son and we are happy to try to help him succeed at everything he does so that one day he will be able to soar.   

#nextgenerationsahm, #nextgenerationsahmlifestyle, #nextgenerationsahmhomeschoolpreschool, #homeschoolpreschool, #homeschool, #preschool, #preschoolers, #backtoschool

Friday, August 28, 2015

Vacation Friday Faves

If you have started school or have not and just need some last minute vacation tips or tricks or even just inspiration for your next vacation. Check out some of our

A great way to slip in a vacation is to have some Mini Vacation Time.

Do you have an anniversary coming up? See our Anniversary Trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.

Don't forget to plan your next vacation to The Coolest Small Town.

If you want complete romance and vintage charm check out The Inn At Cuckholds Lighthouse

While traveling on the road be sure you are up to date on car seat standards and have a great car seat such as the Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat.

If you are on your way to the theme park above all others get your Disney Side Home Celebration going. 

Keep your electronics dry from issues while packing or on vacation with Subtech Sports Dryskin.

Pack a delicious meal to travel with such as Banana Oatmeal Muffins and Roasted Chicken Salad.

If you are unable to get a vacation and desperately need one, try Rejuvenating the Soul sometimes that is all you need to feel better. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend filled with fun, laughter and love!

#nextgenerationsahm, #nextgenerationsahmfridayfaves, #familyvacation, #vacationfridayfaves, #vacationideas

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum

Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum
Written By Renee Arbia

 I have lived in places that really took soaring to the heights. Right now I live in the state of North Carolina where the Wright Brothers were “First in Flight”. Unfortunately, the Wright Brothers were very elusive with the media, and their flight did not get as much attention as it may have deserved.

The second place I grew up in a small town called Hammondsport off of Keuka Lake in New York. Here is where a man named Glenn Hammond Curtiss lived and made many important discoveries that so many people outside of this small town have never even heard about. 

Curtiss was an American aviation pioneer and a founder of the US Aircraft industry. He is known as the “Father of Aviation”. Curtiss started as a bicycle racer and builder which quickly led to him working on building motorcycles. In 1902 he built a motorcycle with a V8 powered engine and clocked at 136.3 mph. From that moment on Curtiss was known as the “Fastest Man on Earth”. After motorcycles Curtiss was offered a job to manufacture engines for airships. Curtiss was part of the Aerial Experiment Association that was founded by Alexander Graham Bell. Glenn H. Curtiss is credited with the first officially witnessed flight in North America; won a race at the world’s first international air meet in France and made the first long-distance flight in the United States. He later formed the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, now part of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. His company built aircraft (mainly seaplanes) for the US Army and Navy during the years of World War II. 

My son loves planes, trains and automobiles, as most three year olds do. My dad had the day off, and my thirteen year old nephew was visiting, so I decided to take the boys to the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. Growing up in Hammondsport I knew a lot about Curtiss, but there is always so much more to know. I was fascinated by all that he accomplished in his short life. The museum was a big hit for everyone. First of all I liked that the prices were very reasonable. There were also a lot of different types of exhibits, there were 1920s exhibits, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, cameras, the first RV, boats and seaplanes. Some are restored and some are vintage replicas. There is a plethora of exhibits and information to learn about; they even had a vintage doll house exhibit I had fun in. The boys really liked the restoration building where they salvage old planes that have crashed and try to restore them back together. What is a great thing about this museum is that there were a lot of hands on activities that the children could take part in and learn about, they have an area for very young children, as well as planes you can touch and move, and even simulators you could try to fly.

If you are looking for a fun, factual and inexpensive trip, make sure you visit the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. There is something for everyone to be amazed at being able to experience the miracle of speed and flight.

Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
8419 State Route 54
Hammondsport, NY 14840

#nextgenerationsahm, #nextgenerationsahmlifestyle, #familyvacation, #familyfriendlymuseums, #glennhcurtissmuseum

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fun Family Vacation

The view from the front yard of my mom and dad's house. 

If you noticed things were quiet on the blog last week it was because we decided to take the last bits of summer and have a fun visit to grandma and papa’s house. Grandma and Papa live in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, in one of America’s Coolest Small Towns. We spent a week at their house, along with my thirteen year old nephew who was there for the summer. We all had a lot of fun baking bread with Grandma, visiting Papa at work at the winery, seeing old friends, hiking the ravine and of course swimming and playing in Keuka Lake.

Before we started off on our twelve hour drive with a three year old and a big black lab, my husband and I decided to have a couple days of "staycation". We went to the beach where we live all day and had a really fun time. Some people make sandcastles, others make sea turtles and crabs. 

We then piled into the car and hit the road to drive twelve hours over bridges and mountains up to the Finger Lakes to visit Grandma and Papa. 

Beautiful Pennsylvania sunset.

Xavier was really good the whole way up!

We survived the long car ride.

The best guys ever!

Xavier playing with Little People Mainstreet that was mine when I was little.
Xavier and grandma had a lot of fun baking bread in the bread machine. Pretty much every time you would sink your teeth into a piece of delicious bread Xavier would say "I made that!". By the last time he was showing grandma where to find the oil. He certainly loves helping cook and bake in the kitchen and he definitely had a lot of fun baking with grandma!

Grandma and Xavier baking bread.

Look what grandma and I made!

My dad works at Glenora Wine Cellars. The Finger Lakes is known for it's many different wineries and wine varieties. Taking your kids to wineries can be tricky as some wineries are not as family friendly as others. We loved visiting Glenora Wine Cellars. They were a lot of fun for the whole family! Xavier tested out the yellow taxi cab named for one of their wines. We saw beautiful views of Seneca Lake and their restaurant and hotel. They also had a jazz festival going on the lawn outside of the winery. I was impressed how kid friendly Glenora Wine Cellars are, they allow adults to enjoy themselves, yet it is a very relaxed and definitely fun atmosphere. If you ever visit be sure to get a tasting from Papa Joe! 

The view from Glenora Wine Celllars tasting room, this is their restaurant, hotel and Seneca Lake.

Bridget, Grandma and Xavier

Having fun checking out this cab mom!

One of the great things of growing up in the country is exploring it. Although Xavier is still a little too small for some of our adventuresome hikes, I was able to take my thirteen year old nephew on a hike in the large ravine that is next to our house. We had a lot of fun seeing the beauty of nature even through some of the trees that were knocked down from a storm earlier in the week. Sometimes the best thing to do is just get out and enjoy nature. 

I was able to visit my friend of over sixteen years and meet their new son who was only a few months old. It is so wonderful to be able to pick up with great friends like you have never left. We can already tell the next generation of friends are easy at becoming fast friends like their moms. 

One of the main things to do in the summer where my parents live is swim in the lake. We made sure we visited the beach which was even better than I remembered. Now you can rent jetskis, paddle boards and kayaks. We had fun watching everyone rent them while we were swimming. 

If you are starting school this week and things seem hectic remember all the fun summer memories you made, to help you get through the first tough week. I’m glad we took a fun vacation to visit my family. We had a lot of fun, and it is a great way to start the fall season off, ready to roll!

#nextgenerationsahm, #nextgenerationsahmlifestyle, #familyvacation, #fingerlakesny, #hammondsportny, #glenorawinecellars
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