Saturday, January 25, 2014


One of the areas that we used to struggle with in our home was writing. My kids resisted it. My instant response was to implement writing activities on a fairly regular basis. For the younger one: practice writing letters, words, spelling and journal writing. For the older one: book reports, research reports, short stories. I can tell you this did NOT go over well. It was like pulling teeth! We had complaints and tears each time we tried.

So I was talking to a fellow homeschool friend and she asked me a simple question "WHY do you want them to write?" It was like a lightbulb going off! Clearly they NEED to be able to write, to be able to express themselves through writing, etc. But I want them to ENJOY writing. I clearly love to write and I want to instill that same love in them. So what's the fastest way to kill the love of something? FORCE IT! So I stopped. And I let it go for a few months.

Guess What? They didn't stop writing, they just stopped doing writing assignments. So I started paying attention to when and what they wrote. I was amazed at how much writing they do on a daily basis. They are constantly making signs and cards and drawings with words. They love to pen pal with friends and family. We started journals last year. They journal spontaneously ALL THE TIME. Especially after we go somewhere or learn something new. They once read a book that was written and published by third graders. WELL that spawned 3 weeks of writing activities! We have homemade books all over the place!

Sure I try to guide them in that direction on occasion. My oldest just finished reading a series and was sad there were no more books left to read. I suggested she write another book in the series. AND SHE DID! My younger child loves to cook and bake with me. I suggested she come up with some recipes she would like to try. So she looked up recipes and wrote them down.

I think it's VERY easy to get wrapped up in 'traditional, school-style' learning and to think it's the only way to do things. But we all LEFT the traditional school for a reason right? Sometimes it doesn't take racking your brain to come up with creative activities. Sometimes it just takes letting kids be kids.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Blahs

So after the holiday season is over, I always get a case of the winter blahs. There are months of cold and yucky weather ahead, a lot of indoor time (which I hate), and I'm usually itching to go on a trip and am broke! So since I cannot afford to jump on a plane to Bermuda, or hop on a cruise ship to the Caribbean, I am going to list a bunch of local Hudson valley winter activities. Hopefully this will help both you and me beat the winter blahs!

Ice Skating at McCann Ice Arena. In the Mid Hudson Civic Center in the city of Poughkeepsie. They offer ice skating lessons for all levels and have open skate times. Check them out!

Mid Hudson Children's Museum. Located near the river and the train station in Poughkeepsie. They have a ton of hands on exhibits and activities. They offer playgroupas for children 5 and under, camps and so much more!;jsessionid=6BFA4176EABF92A297A5CF19C37DFA3B

Not too far away is the Albany Children's Museum of Science and Technology. About an hour drive from the Hudson Valley. They offer more hands on exhibits and activities. And they have a planetarium!!!! If you buy an Explorer Membership at the Children's Museum - you can go to BOTH under this ONE membership!

Rollerskating at Hyde Park Rollermagic. Located on Route 9 in Hyde Park, NY. They offer open skate times, host birthday parties and are the home ofthe Horrors Roller Derby Team!

The kids are antsy and need to move? Check out Jumpin Jakes. With locations in both Poughkeepsie and Fishkill, there is plenty to do!

Can't get down to the Bronx anytime soon? Well then check out the Trevor Zoo! Located at the Millbrook School in Millbrook, it is open everyday and has great animals to observe all year long! Have a group? They offer group tours as well!

Into museums? There are a TON in our area! Too many to list here, but check out Dutchess County Tourism's page for more info!!

Is Bowling your thing? Well there are several options in the Hudson Valley. We personally like Holiday Bowl In Wappingers Falls.

Closer to the Kingston area? Check out Wood N Wheel Family Fun Center! They've got skating, arcade, laser tag, a rock wall and more!

Into sports? Check out The Field! They offer clinics, birthday parties, and lots of other indoor sports activities!

Check out our state parks. There is a ton to do all over the Hudson Valley area: ice skating, snow shoeing, cross country skiing...the list goes on & on!

There are always movies, the library has great programs, and Poughkeepsie Barnes & Noble has a free, drop in story time on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am. Bowdoin Park just announced they are allowing sledding and are building an outdoor ice skating rink for FREE USE!!!!

So if you are feeling BLAH, head out to one of these many activities and chase your blues away. I'm going to try one right now!!