5 Way to Incorporate Math into Your Every Day Life

Are you tired of fighting your kids to do their math lessons? A student’s disdain for math seems to be a problem that many homeschool parents deal with daily. Unfortunately, unlike history, reading, and science, all of which can easily be incorporated into daily life in a fun and engaging way, mathematics tends to be a bit more difficult to weave in.

That said, there are ways to make this often-frustrating subject enjoyable even for those who claim to hate the very idea of working with numbers.

Here are a few ways to incorporate mathematics into your everyday life so you can 1) show your kids that math is useful, and 2) feel less guilty on days when you lose the schoolwork battle.

Play Games

There are plenty of amazing board games and card games that can help your student get a better grasp on math without ever feeling bored or overwhelmed. Set, for example, is a fantastic card game that helps with pattern recognition. Ticket to Ride, on the other hand, is great for practicing planning and counting.

Want more math board game ideas? Check out this post on the subject.

Get Groceries

Meal planning around a budget is not only a fantastic life skill, it’s also a perfect way to get in some productive math practice. Have your children take turns meal-planning and staying within the weekly budget. Soon enough, they will be amazing planners and great at applying math both during grocery trips and in the real world.

Ask Real-Life Word Problems

Sometimes kids are more willing to learn something if they understand how it will be applied in real life. Therefore, learning things like long division is often a struggle. However, if you can show your children how their math skills can be applied in day-to-day life by asking them real-life word problems throughout the day, they may be more willing to listen the next time math lesson time rolls around.

Cook Together

Have you ever considered the amount of math you have to do just to cut a recipe in half? This fact makes cooking the ideal math lesson for children who aren’t interested in textbooks on a particular day. Give your child a recipe, then ask him or her to either cut it in half or double it, and then have them make everyone a delicious snack as their reward for doing so.

Practice Music

Music is another awesome way to get kids interested in math. It requires thinking in fractions, recognizing patterns, and more. Therefore, music lessons of any kind and regular practice sessions can both be excellent ways to add some math into your daily routine.

Not sure where to go for music lessons? Check out the wonderful options we have here at The Loop by going to our calendar page.

Improving Problem-Solving Skills in Kids

In this day and age, problem-solving skills are becoming a more and more important skill to have when entering the workforce. Because the job market has become so competitive, the ability to think outside the box can be crucial to a person’s success.

There are a couple of different reasons for this. One of them being the fact that many big companies are looking for those who are able to think creatively in order to solve problems. These individuals are more likely to help the company in times of crisis and are generally more efficient workers.

The second reason good problem-solving skills are helpful when it comes to finding success is because these skills tend to lend themselves well to running a business. Good problem solvers are creative, they have the unique ability to see a common problem and find a way to fix it, and they tend to be more flexible than those who have not developed out-of-the-box thinking.

As a homeschooling parent, you are well on your way to giving your child the problem-solving skills he or she will need to succeed in modern society. Through your decision to homeschool, you are showing your young student(s) that following the crowd is not always the best solution. You are also giving them the opportunity to think for themselves, something that traditional school settings do not always lend themselves well to.

That said, there are always ways to improve upon what you are doing well, and teaching your children this important life skill is no exception to that rule. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out for ways to help your children grow as problem solvers and give them plenty of opportunities to think outside the box and be creative.

Not sure how to go about this? Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

Ask Questions

When your child comes across a conflict, it can be incredibly tempting to offer up a solution. However, this has the potential to create the attitude of a follower in your child. Because you want your student to be a thought leader, it is better to ask questions about the problem and help them find an acceptable solution.

For instance, if your young child is in an argument with a peer over a toy, you might pull your kids aside and ask what the problem is. Help them identify the core issue as well as the barriers that are preventing the problem from being solved. Finally, ask him or her to come up with various solutions to the problem and help them decide which solution would be best for everyone involved.

Encourage Further Exploration

In a similar vein, it is important to avoid offering your child simple answers to every question they ask. This leads to a passive attitude when it comes to finding the information they desire, and does not give the child the information-finding skills they need in order to be a great problem solver.

Therefore, it is ideal that you help your child find the answers to their questions by suggesting they find books or websites on the subject. This doesn’t mean you cannot help the student, but it does mean you should avoid handing them every piece of information they ask for, choosing instead to have them work for it.

Teach Money Management

Think your seven-year-old is too young to understand how money works? Think again! All children should be taught the value of the dollar. Additionally, these kids should be required to cover their own financial wants. Not only does this give the child good financial sense, it also encourages problem-solving skills as they attempt to find new ways to fatten up their piggy bank in order to buy that beloved toy.

Give Opportunities for Experimentation

Oftentimes, a problem is solved only after a large number of mistakes. Give your kids the opportunity to make those mistakes and solve problems on their own by allowing experimentation whenever theycrave it. You can further support this practice by always having art supplies on hand, offering opportunities for teamwork with peers, and allowing your children the freedom to create and play as they see fit.

Offer Respect

Laughing at your child’s ideas or shutting down their creative play can quickly become discouraging to them. Try to respect your child’s thoughts no matter how silly they may seem, and when their ideas for what to play or do are too outlandish, try asking the child if he or she sees any issues with the plan. Once the child identifies the problems, ask how you can solve those problems and truly listen to what sorts of solutions they come up with. You might be surprised by just how creative your little one can be!

By using these tips you are sure to see a marked improvement in your child’s ability to identify and solve problems.

Want to do even more? You might consider enrolling your student in one of our Pretend Drama, Improv, or Odyssey of the Mind classes here at The Loop. All three of these classes offer incredible problem-solving opportunities in a fun, relaxed environment that you are sure to love.

Summer Fun-Schooling In Oklahoma

Summer is upon us! For many homeschoolers this fact means it’s time for a break from workbooks and required reading. That said, a break from formal schooling doesn’t have to mean a pause in learning. After all, opportunities to learn are all around us; we just have to know where they are in order to take advantage of them.

If you are a homeschooling parent, you may be wondering what kinds of things you can do to ensure your children continue growing and learning throughout the summer months. The truth of the matter is, you don’t really have to do much at all. However, taking an active role in your child’s summertime learning can be great fun for all involved, so we encourage you to do so whenever possible.

Here are a few Oklahoma summer activities that are sure to spark curiosity, creativity, and many educational discussions:

Visit a Museum

From Science Museum Oklahoma in OKC to the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, Oklahoma has a huge assortment of incredible museums to choose from. Pick one to visit and spend some time afterward reading up on the information you find there. This will help further engage your young scholar and is sure to make the experience both more memorable and educational.

Sign Up for the Summer Reading Program

Both the Metropolitan and Pioneer library systems offer fabulous summer reading programs. Sign up for one—or both!—and watch as your young reader dives into some wonderful literature. This will help cultivate a love of reading in your young student while simultaneously adding some fun to those summer days that are simply too hot to be spent outside.

Explore Nature

From the Wichita Mountains and Roman Nose State Park to the more local Martin Nature Center, there is a lot of beautiful nature to explore in Oklahoma. Spend your warm summer mornings exploring these outdoor spaces and cool off in the afternoon in one of our many natural lakes, rivers, or ponds.

Be sure to be observant of the lovely plants and animals you see and find the answers to any questions that may arise once you return home.

Play in the Water

There is nothing quite like splashing around in some nice, cool water on a hot summer day in Oklahoma. Offer your kids some water-based educational activities on those especially warm days and combine fun and learning.

For instance, giving your kids an assortment of supplies to make their own sailboats can be a wonderful science lesson. Additionally, it is an excellent way to encourage your little ones to put their problem-solving skills to use.

Water can also be used to study cause and effect, play measuring games, and practice writing on the sidewalk through the use of water guns or the garden hose.

Summer Classes

Classes taught in the summer are generally offered in shorter sessions than those offered during the school year. Therefore, summer is the ideal time to try out a new activity.

For instance, the group piano classes offered on Fridays during the summer here at The Loop are perfect for anyone who wants to try piano without making a long-term commitment. Similarly, our painting, drama, guitar, drumming, violin, robotics, and improv lessons, workshops, and classes are all offered during the summer months with no long-term commitment requirement.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enhance your summer with a bit of education while still filling it with plenty of fun and games. Give some of these ideas a try and be sure to come back and let us know which ones you enjoy the most!

Using Music to Promote a Love of Mathematics

By now, most everyone knows that a solid music education is a fabulous addition to any curriculum. However, many people fail to realize just how much music can help children learn and grow.

For instance, learning and fully understanding music will, by default, help a student develop a firm grasp on mathematics. Since this is a subject many parents have difficulties teaching, and because many children find the subject less than enjoyable, music can provide a much-needed practical application of math. This application helps students get a better understanding of mathematical concepts and shows them just how these concepts might be used in the real world.

Here are a few of the ways you can incorporate music into your math lessons and vice versa.

Pattern Recognition

Recognizing patterns is one of the very first lessons taught in any math curriculum. Music is absolutely filled with patterns, meaning it can be used to help children hear and see patterns in their everyday lives.

Make a game of finding patterns in the sheet music during piano practice, or put on some folk music and ask the child to find patterns in the music. Keep the pattern-search fun and lighthearted in order to keep the child engaged.

By helping your child recognize patterns in the world around them, you are giving them a solid foundation to build their mathematical world on. This is something your young student is sure to appreciate later on in life.

Counting, Addition, and Multiplication

After you have established good pattern recognition, you can expand upon your musical math lessons by throwing in some counting, simple addition, and eventually, some multiplication.

All music is made up of numbers. Help the child see this by asking him or her to count the beats in a song, making sure they know to stay with the song. Once the child understands this concept, make a game of finding how many beats are in a measure and adding or multiplying measures to find how many beats are on a page or in a song.

As your child advances, make the game more difficult by finding pieces with odd time signatures, but be sure to always keep the games fun and avoid lecturing the student.

Understanding Fractions

Music is an excellent way to introduce your little one to the world of fractions. This subject is best brought up after the child is able to consistently count music.

Begin by explaining that in music, four beats is equivalent to one whole. From there you can explain the values of quarter notes and half notes, showing them on a piece of sheet music and written out as fractions. Some students also benefit from seeing the fractions drawn out as a part of a pie. Once the child understands quarters and halves, move on to explain eighth notes and dotted half notes.

As you can see, having a good understanding of the way music works can easily help your child excel in mathematics. By introducing children to the world of music at a young age, you give them the opportunity to grow up in a world filled with numbers and math in their most beautiful and artistic forms. This helps them to develop a positive relationship with numbers that is sure to help them navigate the world of mathematics as they grow older.

If you are ready to

Using Oils to Enhance Your Child’s Schooling

As a homeschool parent, you are likely always on the lookout for ways to make school time easier on yourself as well as the rest of the family. After all, there is absolutely no reason why learning should be a daily challenge—yet all too often, it seems to turn into exactly that.

If this is the case for you, there are a great many things you can do to try to improve upon the mood of your children and yourself during schooling hours. Many parents find that a simple change in schedule or curriculum can work wonders for restless little ones. Others discover that moving schoolwork outside has a dramatic positive effect.

Here at The Loop, we firmly believe in the power of essential oils and highly recommend using them as a way to enhance the mood of your child’s learning space. Whether you are looking to help your young student focus or hoping to help them de-stress before their big test, we are certain there is an oil out there just waiting for you to take advantage of it.

If you are unsure which oils might work best for your family, why not try some of the popular options below? These are all tried-and-true oils that we are certain will help improve your life as a homeschool parent.

Focus

If your student has a hard time focusing during longer study sessions, you may find yourself wondering what on earth you can do to help them pay attention. Fortunately, there are a number of oils that can help solve this very problem.

Next time you sit down to a focus-intensive project or study session, consider diffusing bergamot or cypress. Either of these two oils can provide the brain with the proper stimuli to remain alert and focused throughout the session.

De-Stress

Does your child turn into a ball of stress when they don’t understand a concept? Are tests a trigger for anxiety in your household? If so, you may need to consider using a few drops of lavender essential oil on your child’s feet at night. Pair this with a drop or two of vetiver for astounding results.

Energize

Students who feel drowsy the minute they sit down to work may not be sleeping well at night. Therefore, you may want to set bedtimes a bit earlier or consider sleeping in a bit later in the mornings.

However, if these options don’t seem to be helping, it is very likely your child just needs their senses to be stimulated as they work. There are quite a few oils that can be used in order to keep energy levels high. Some of our favorites include orange, lemon, and peppermint. All of these give a nice energy boost when inhaled, and peppermint even has headache-relieving properties.

That said, it is important to note that peppermint may not be safe for children under the age of three. In the case of younger children, consider using spearmint instead.

Inspire

Of course, nobody can write a good paper or put together an incredible science fair project when they just don’t feel inspired. The energizing oils mentioned above will often provide the inspiration needed for a student who is feeling particularly uncreative. However, when those oils fail, there are an endless number of other options.

Some other favorite oils for this purpose include patchouli and grapefruit. However, different people find that different oils work for getting their creative juices flowing, so follow your child’s lead on this one and find what works for your family.

If you would like to learn more about incorporating essential oils into your family’s life we would love to speak with you. Please feel free to contact Cheryl or attend one of our upcoming essential oils classes listed on our calendar.

STEM in the Spring

It looks like we are in for some beautiful weather this week! Why not take advantage of it and take some of your schooling outside? There are plenty of amazing outdoor activities that can contribute to your child’s education. Try one of these fun STEM activities and watch your little one’s eyes light up with fascination.

Solar Oven

This classic science experiment is the perfect outdoor activity. Additionally, it is great for making a tasty treat to end a busy day of learning.

Try using these simple instructions to make your solar oven. When it is finished, make hotdogs, heat up a pizza, or make melty s’mores and discuss how the oven works. Try altering the design in small ways to see if you can make a more efficient model.

Sun Dial

Shadows are a very interesting topic of discussion. Luckily, springtime is here, and it is the perfect time to get outside and take advantage of the beautiful sunlight while having this discussion.

One of the best ways to explore shadows is to create your very own sundial. Follow these instructions for making one and use the time together to discuss why a sundial works and the history of this fascinating instrument.

Sink or Float?

As the weather warms up, outdoor water play should be at the top of your list of things to do. After all, everyone appreciates a cooling run through the sprinkler on an especially hot afternoon.

While you are getting wet, why not use the opportunity to try a fun experiment? For this fun activity you will need a tub or bucket of water and a variety of small objects. Have each child make a hypothesis about whether each object will sink or float and ask them why they believe this to be true. Follow up by placing each item in the water to see whether it will stay afloat or sink to the bottom. Discuss the results of your experiment.

Star Gazing

Warmer evenings offer the ideal opportunity to get in some good star gazing. Grab a book of constellations from the library and see how many you can spot. Be ure to use the quality time to discuss the vast wonders of outer space as well as the history and myths behind constellations.

These are just a few of the amazing learning activities you and your children can take part in this spring!

If you are looking for more ways to expand upon your student’s STEM learning experience, we hope you will consider signing up for the amazing Engineer This! class that is about to begin here at The Loop. See the calendar for complete details and email Cindy at stemtastic@yahoo.com to enroll.

Boosting Your Child’s Creativity

Spring is coming, and that means warm breezes, sweet sunshine, and days of limitless inspiration. After all, what child can resist heading outside to build a fairy house, draw superheroes, or write poetry on a beautiful spring day?

Why not take full advantage of these inspired days? There are many things you can do to encourage your child’s creative streak and boost their imaginative play to a new level. Below we have compiled a list of our favorite creativity-boosting tips.

Head Outside

As mentioned above, beautiful weather can have a profound effect on a person’s creativity levels. Going for a nature walk might provide your child with inspiration they may not have found otherwise. Meanwhile, the child who is sent outside to do their reading might be more able to focus on creating mental images of all those imaginary worlds found in their books.

Create in Groups

While there is definitely something to be said for a child working solo on a project, occasional group work also comes with a whole slew of benefits. For instance, working with others may require to think outside of the ideas they have in mind and expand upon projects in creative ways they may not have considered.

Teamwork stretches the child to become more creative in order to include the ideas of every member in their group. This is an important skill to have and enhances creativity by posing new and interesting challenges for the student to work around/with.

Provide Structure

Free play, along with opportunities for completely unstructured creating, are incredibly important aspects of raising a well-rounded child. That said, structured activities also have their place.

In fact, there are some instances where structured instruction can provide students with the tools they need to become more creative and free-thinking individuals. Music lessons, for instance, give young musicians the foundation they need in order to create masterpieces. Likewise, art, theater, and dance lessons help children learn the ropes in a particular art so they may continue to practice and add their own flair.

Make Tools Available

Offering your child every toy imaginable does not do them any favors. In fact, being surrounded by all the latest fad toys and gadgets will likely discourage the creative play that we all know is so precious.

However, providing your children with certain tools can help them foster their creativity and give them experiences they will never forget. These tools might include art supplies, a set of play clothes that they are welcome to dirty or tear, open-ended toys, and plenty of free time.

Additionally (and surprisingly), tablets and computers may also have a place in this lineup, but might need to be limited as far as content and time spent on “screen time” activities go.

Use the Power of Scent

Smell is a very powerful sense. It is the key to a whole world of memories and emotions. The right scents can evoke feelings of happiness, relaxation, and even inspiration.

Use scents to inspire your household by placing a few drops of certain essential oils in a diffuser. There are a number of oils that can be used for this purpose, and different things work for different people. That said, lemongrass, orange, and rosemary are popular for inspiration. Additionally, the “Inspiration Blend” by Young Living is a good choice.

Here at The Loop, we offer many opportunities for boosting your child’s creativity. From building clubs for free-form group creative work to the more structured classes for music, art, and theater, we truly have something for everyone. Additionally, we offer plenty of options in the way of essential oils education, so you can learn all about using oils to enhance your way of life and encourage the creativity of your children.