Why Should You Consider Homeschooling as an Option in 2016?

Homeschooling is a choice that some parents prefer, which totally worked out for me and my two children. If you are open to homeschooling your children, here are a few books that will prepare you on what to expect. It isn’t exactly the easiest task in the world, but your children will become life-long learners and pursue their interests, which is what this world really needs.

Homeschooling for Success: How Parents Can Create a Superior Education for Their Child

Written by: Elizabeth Kanna, Rebecca Kochenderfer, Robert T. Kiyosaki (Foreword)

This book stresses on how parents can play an important role in their child’s education. We all know it is not easy especially at a time like this when the cost of education is rising and student loans are difficult to manage. As we branch out into education, we learn that our children have different kinds of learning styles and they must adapt to several homeschooling styles that will benefit them the most. Parents can turn to the option of homeschooling.

http://www.amazon.com/Homeschooling-Success-Parents-Superior-Education/dp/0446678856

The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12

Written by: Linda Dobson

We know that homeschooling deviates from the traditional education that is practiced among schools. With that being said, parents will need to find new and creative ways to tackle concepts or ideas so that their children will be readily able to digest everything. This book is a great resource for projects and activities because it demonstrates tried and tested methods that have been greatly maximized by parents who homeschool their children as well. You won’t be disappointed!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Book-Homeschooling-Ideas/dp/0761563601

So You’re Thinking about Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How you Can Do It

Written by: Lisa Whelchel

By reading actual stories of families that gave homeschooling a try, you can be inspired to do the same. At one point or the other, you might even find yourself in the same shoes as them because of their diverse backgrounds. These helpful insights give you a peek into the world of homeschooling and its benefits. As a parent, you need to know what you will expect since homeschooling requires a tremendous amount of discipline. You can gather useful tips on what to do and not to do when teaching topics to your children.

http://www.amazon.com/So-Youre-Thinking-About-Homeschooling/dp/1590525116

Motherhood!

This is a time of enjoyment and discovery.

Motherhood!

While a little daunting, especially for new moms, you will soon realize that you are part of a group of women who have gone through a life-changing episode.

While motherhood is as common as the stars in the sky or the grass that grows outside your door, your experience will be unique.

No two women can claim to have the exact same experience from time of conception to the day that they die.  And yes, you are a mother always, no matter how old your kids are.  No matter if you outlive your children, God forbid!

You have entered the realm of a magical journey.

Some of you are scoffing at this, saying that because becoming a mother is so commonplace, like changing your panties, no one is interested in you.

Quite the opposite.  There is one thing that other fellow mothers love to talk about and that is their kids and how they came to be.

You will find many interesting and some eye-opening stories out there that may just make you want to reverse time and reconsider becoming pregnant.

What you have to do is take it all in but use your mental sieve.  Filter out the nonsense from the useful stuff.

To help you along, our friends over at Hello Baby Bump have put together an informative and thought-provoking list of ways to get through this beautiful experience in one piece.

Enjoy every minute!

Becoming a Mother, Not a Monster

Advice For Working Mothers: Don’t Feel So Guilty

Here’s to all the working mothers out there

All of you are doing a fantastic work. No, your kids will not turn into delinquents, they will be just fine.

Visibly you may feel contrary to that, and always feel like you’re not living up to the expectations of your children, or the standards you set for yourself to be a good mom. Not to forget your peers, family and your community. When I was expecting my first child, a lot of people told me about the risks of feeling guilty afterwards, but considering how I grew up with an immense amount of guilt that comes with being a Catholic, I couldn’t get myself to pay a lot of attention to it, and then it happened; I became a mother and during my tenure as a mother, I had to pay more attention to my graduate studies in order to start a new career; that was the time when mother’s guilt eventually started creeping in, it became that friend who constantly reminds of your mistakes. In no time, I started realizing that the sole purpose of having children was to improve my life, not to subjugate my moral sense.

I realized that it is time to take back my basic right to enjoy a life with children, in order to so. I had to find out the force that was driving the mother’s guilt. You can find the 5 ways to accept your shortcomings as a mother and focus your energy on what really matters: telling your kids how they matter, paying attention to them and making sure nothing is troubling them. The 5 ways can be found below.

Accept Compromises

Once you start combining your role as a mother and your career together, there will always be compromises to make. As a mother, and a grown, sensible adult, it is your duty to accept compromises without letting them bother you.

You Don’t Have to Be the Greatest Mother

Mothers are often found racing to be the greatest; well, it’s time you should stop. Being the greatest mother isn’t something you will be rewarded for. Chances are your children will still love you as much as they already do even if you end up becoming the president.

Don’t Let Anyone Guilt-Trip You

Being a working mother has its own perks, with these perks, there will be people who are ready to guilt-trip you, they’ll say all sorts of stuff to lower your spirits. It is a really good advice to not let anyone do that to you.

Be Fully Present for Your Kids

Being a working mother means you can’t be around your kids 24/7, however, that doesn’t mean you won’t be around them at all. Once you’re spending time with your kids, make sure you don’t let any work related obstacle distract you from spending quality time with your kids.

What’s your passion? Find a niche for your blog that matters

What drives you? What inspires you to write? What makes you want to start a blog, and keep at it when the chores pile up and sunny days beckon you outdoors?

Whatever that passion is, that’s where you will find your niche.

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced a writing path discussion series on The SITs Girls forum for bloggers who have mastered blogging basics and who are ready to take their blogs to the next level.

Find a niche for your blog

So far, we introduced the writing path by looking at how some bloggers have leveraged a blog into book deals and freelance writing assignments. And then, to get you started on the path to fame and glory, I listed online classes and conferences where you can learn the skills you need while networking with your tribe – the support network of folks who are committed to your success.

Next, we’ll discuss the interests that might drive your blog, but first, I think we need to tackle one important question.

What’s a niche?

The term “niche” is commonly used by marketers to refer to segments of the internet centered around a product. So, for example, the fashion niche might include the online presence of designers, manufacturers, and the online media devoted to following, discussing, and promoting everything and anything to do with fashion.

But I’m more interested in the way writers use the term; Christina Katz defines a niche as a topic that suits your talents and personality.

What’s your niche?

Even knowing this, it’s not easy to pick the right niche – the one that’s right for you right now. Join me on The SITs Girls Discussion Forums as we tackle finding a niche.

A writing path of 10,000 hours begins with the first step

blogger-writerMy writing path began with the first word that I jotted down in a shiny new Five Year Diary, the treasured Christmas present of a young girl learning English. And like the journey of a thousand miles described by Lao-tzu, this expedition begins again, and again, with each new step.

In 2008, I resolved to write, but it wasn’t until two years later that I took the first concrete step to do something with my writing besides filling journals. As 2010 rolled around, I resolved to get published and signed up for Christina Katz’ Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff class.

Malcolm Gladwell tells us that we must put in 10,000 hours to master any endeavor, but as much as you may improve as a writer through sheer perseverance, at some point focus is necessary to achieve results.

It wasn’t until I worked through Christina Katz’ Discover Your Specialty & Launch Your Platform, that I learned how to focus my creative energies into one niche – my writer’s platform. In doing so, I discovered that by concentrating on one specialty, I could achieve a level of mastery that would be recognized and rewarded.

Today, I’m thrilled to be the founding editor of a top-ranked family travel blog, a travel writer at Being Latino Online Magazine, and a published freelance journalist.

For me, it was the combination of online education and real world networking that resulted in my first taste of publishing success. Here are the online writing classes and real world conferences that have helped me get to the next step.

Online Writing Classes

Conferences and Workshops

  • Bloggy Boot CampBlogging and Social Media Conferences for Women
  • Type A ParentOnline hub for digital moms and dads.
  • BlogHerThousands of women from around the world come to discuss, inspire and connect with each other.
  • TBEXTravel Blog Exchange.
  • BlogWorld – Industry wide conference, trade show, and media event for all new media.
  • Social Media One Night StandAn Advanced Workshop for Journalists, Bloggers & Media Professionals at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Upcoming New Conferences

  • ASJA – American Society of Journalists and Authors, the professional association of independent nonfiction writers.
  • SATW Editor’s Council – Society of American Travel Writers.

Questions? I’m leading a discussion on how to find a niche in The SITS Girls Discussion Forum. We’ll take it step by step, as I show you how to leverage a niche platform into a freelance writing career. Join us!

15 Ways That Pinterest Is For Bloggers

pinterest-is-for-bloggers_thumb1Pinterest is the cool new social network. Although it’s been around for several months, suddenly bloggers can’t get enough. Pin addicts are everywhere, and I’m expecting Pinners Anonymous to spring up any moment now.

As Pinterest is still in the Beta stage – admission is by invitation only – there are a number of kinks to be worked out, and bloggers have a ways to go to figure out how to use the medium to their advantage. Luckily, there are a number of blog experts willing to help you learn how to own Pinterest.

But first, a Pinterest Tip

Before I turn to the pros, I have one tip that I want to share. The beauty of Pinterest is that you can create a visual board. So, for example, to keep track of all the blog conferences, I pin an image from the conference website onto my Blog Conferences board. So easy.
Pin-Albany-Kid-Family-Trave_thumb1Or, it would be so easy if bloggers took the time to put an image on their site that is pinnable. You see, it turns out that many sites put their logo – or blog conference information, for example – on the header. And, in many cases, the header is not pinnable.

That’s why I created a pinnable logo – my business card, if you will – on www.AlbanyKid.com. It sits on my sidebar so that anyone who wants to remember what my blog is about, can see do so at a glance.

Albany-Kid-Family-Travel-sc

Why You Should Be In Pinterest

  1. Pinterest Drives More Traffic Than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined [STUDY] – Traffic stats prove that Pinterest is now the social media darling of “brides-to-be, fashionistas budding bakers” and retailers.
  2. Why Pinterest is 2012′s hottest website – If Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, says Pinterest is hot, then it must be so. Find out why.
  3. 35 Brilliant Bloggers Talk about Pinterest – All the cool kids are doing it. HUGE roundup of smart tips for using Pinterest in a gadzillion niches.
  4. Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips – Mashable shows how brands are using Pinterest to promote a lifestyle, crowdsource, run contests or a focus group, and inspire a team.
  5. What is Pinterest & Why You Should Optimize For It – Kristi Hines (Kikolani) explains the value of Pinterest for marketers on SEOGadget, but all bloggers will appreciate the visual illustrations.

pinterest-is-for-bloggers1

Pinterest Social Media Lessons

  1. Beginner’s Guide to Pinterest Basics – A good place to start, Allison on BlogWorld, shares tips on how to drive traffic for newbies (and pros too) and she follows it up with 7 Cool Ways to Use Pinterest.
  2. Pinterest and Blogging: The Good, The Bad and The Huh? – The Nester tells us that Pinterest is now a top referrer to her home style blog. She gives the stats, best tips, and pitfalls.
  3. Get the Most Out of Pinterest – Don’t miss these tips from Colleen on www.mommiedaze.com, she makes sense of pins and permalinks and steers you clear of pin errors.
  4. Add Pinterest Pin It Button to Every Post & to GetSocial – The title says it all. This short tutorial from Brittany on www.mommywords.com will help you get your blog posts pinned. End of story.  (Another option is to install the Social Discussions plugin, as seen on www.AlbanyKid.com and explained on 6 Ways To Add Pinterest to WordPress.)
  5. Pinterest How-to: How to See If Your Content is Pinned on Pinterest – A super simple tip to see who has pinned your website content on Pinterest from Momcomm.
  6. Pinterest with Friends: How To Contribute & Curate Boards Together! – Get by with a little help from your friends, oh Amanda shows you how.
  7. Pin It Friday – Link Up Your Favorite Pins – Susan at www.5minutesformom.com hosts a linky every Friday where you can share your favorite pin of the week.

Sandra-Foyt-on-Pinterest

Pinterest Boards to Follow

  1. 21 Must-Follow Pinterest Users – Mashable offers a lovely of  list who to follow, but I think that who you follow on Pinterest is going to depend on your interests. I started out by following too many people when what I should have done is to be selective about which boards to follow. Otherwise, my incoming stream ends up being full of pins that don’t interest me at all.
  2. Pinterest Top Five Most Repinned Items – The coolest of the coolest, 52,925 repins and counting.
  3. Sandra Foyt on Pinterest – Follow all of me, or some of my boards: Social Media Lessons, Road Trips, Family Travel, Storybook Travel, In the Garden, Photography Lessons, It’s Funny, and many more – including collaborative boards like: Family Travel Inspiration and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  4. Kelby Carr on Pinterest – Kelby, founder of Type A Parent and author of the upcoming “Pinterest for Dummies” book which will be published by Wiley late 2012, plays show and tell with her boards.

And that’s what Pinterest is all about, after all. Show and Tell. Who do you recommend following on Pinterest? Or which boards?

Psst! Need an invite? Tweet me at @sandrafoyt, and I’ll hook you up.

Power Networking Across Social Platforms–Type-A Conference Liveblogging

typea_thumbI’m in Asheville, NC for Type-A Parent Conference. It’s a three-day affair that promises to enable and empower bloggers to take their sites to the next level. And it delivers!

This being my second TypeA, I’ve come prepared to maximize the gain by sharing coverage of the workshops with friends. Now, I’m not the Liveblogging Queen – that’s Christina at www.CutestKidEver.com, but I’m giving it a shot.

How many of us struggle with juggling Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and way too many other Social Media platforms?

Debba Haupert, of Girlfriendology, shared tips for staying sane and benefiting from these mediums in Power Networking Across Social Platforms:

1. Pick an objective – It’s essential to know what you’re trying to get out from social engagement.

2. Build a list – Know your community so that you tailor the frequency and content of your updates; don’t make it daily if that’s too much. Your list is valuable, one estimate puts it at $80/per person. Make sure that the email subscription opt-in is in a prominent place.

3. Survey your Community – You might think they’re just like you, but often they are not. Ask your community how and where they engage online, ex. might be on Facebook, not Twitter. Don’t be afraid to do ask, you can use SurveyMonkey.com.

4. Plan your updates to fit your community’s schedule & likes. For example, if your audience checks Facebook during lunch, you might want to plan updates to amuse the lunch crowd.  Keep in mind that 47% of population is on East Coast time. Debba’s workflow has Facebook and LinkedIn updates going to Twitter, but not visa versa. Be consistent so audience knows what to expect.

5. Schedule your updates. (Hootsuite, Tweedeck, Social Oomph) Since Debba has a backlog of evergreen blog posts, she pulls those out as “Classic, Favorites, MVP, etc.” and puts them out on Facebook. Her other Facebook updates includes videos and quotes.

6. Make it easy to share content. Add Facebook LIKE buttons and other sharing buttons. Debba recommends the “Suggest This” WordPress Plugin.

7. Engage your community. Ask your community to share the content. Once a week, Debba asks her community to share her blog with others.

8.Share! Share every blog post, guest blog, etc. Make sure to remember to include a link back to your site.

9. Create a conversation. Don’t hog the conversation, listen.

Heart Stopping Independence

Waving goodbye to my daughter at John F. Kennedy Airport was one of the more gut-wrenching experiences of my life. Not just any airport, I was dropping her off at one of the most-traveled intersections on the world.

If I could have stayed to see her off, to be certain that she made it on the flight, I would have. But, as luck would have it, my own flight was to take off from LaGuardia Airport a scant hour after hers. All I could do was to watch her check her bags curbside, give her one last precious hug, and watch her walk away through the glass doors.

There was little concrete reason to worry, but it was the idle, nameless fears that had my stomach in knots.

Would she make it on the flight? Would her flight make it to her destination? Would her grandmother meet her flight? And what will happen in a month on an island full of sun-kissed teenage boys?

And then there is the fear that I hesitate to name: would this experience signal a new independence, a severing of the apron strings?

It is inevitable, I know. With each necessary step toward independence, my daughter takes a step away from me and toward the wide-open vista of adulthood.

I would not halt this progress; instead choosing to encourage her toward becoming the fierce woman that she is meant to be.

No, I would not hold her back, but I will take a moment to acknowledge that I miss the closeness that we once shared when every waking moment, and many nights as well, my daughter was a fixture on my hip or breast.

That was a long time ago, practically another lifetime ago.

Today, I’m in transit, headed to a conference of my peers, taking a step toward my own independence, because, you know, there is no expiration date on becoming the woman that I was meant to be.