How We After School: Why Do After School?




This post may contain affiliate links at no cost to you.  Should you purchase from links provided THIS LITTLE FAMILY WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT!  My aspiration is to school my son at home with an income from this site.


Thank you for stopping by here for the second day of my “How We After School” posts!

If you missed the First Post click the link and it will take you there.

Before I go any further, I wanted to talk about how long I’ve been teaching my son at home.  Though not exclusively at home it’s been 4 years now.  But he is only 7 and a half you say?  

Early Childhood Development

PJ was enrolled in a daycare by the age of 2 followed by sometime without daycare.  I was already noticing some things that just weren’t right in his early development.  Shortly after the age of three he received a diagnosis of Autism.  

A Mother Is A Childs First Teacher

Being an early childhood and title 1 educator both in daycare and public school I knew I had to help him as fast as possible.  There is a learning slide after the age of 5.  We didn’t have much time till his brain slowed in development.

That was the beginning of my wanting to connect with my son and still manage to help him learn.  He was a nonverbal severely delayed toddler.  Now PJ is a very inquisitive boy in a regular public school classroom.  

Passion For Learning

PJ now likes to learn.  At home he is confident and undistracted.  He loves books. He loves science, building things, and taking them apart…he loves all living things.  For the past 4 years his life has been about learning.  He now has a passion for learning even though he may struggle a little.

PJ routinely asks to be homeschooled but its not possible  yet being a single mom with fixed income.  Im planning on it by growing this site-for starters. Until then, we afterschool to help him catchup and keep his passion for learning. 

This post tells more about Our After School and PJ. 

You Don’t Have To So Why DO After School With Your Child?

  1. After School at home is a wonderful way to connect.  Build great memories, pass down traditions, and learn all the while the family has fun.
  2. It allows you to keep up do date with your child’s academic progress or regression….but let’s hope not on the last one.  Each time you work one to one with him in Afterschool, you are giving him an assessment.  You will know what he is able to accomplish without asking a teacher.
  3. Parents who are very involved in their child’s education are generally well thought of by teachers.  
  4. Communication between, you, your child, and your child’s teacher tends to be more open.
  5. You can teach your child a love of learning.
  6. You can help your child fill in learning gaps by focusing on weak areas of school tests- AT HOME.
  7. Your child will gain confidence, build knowledge, and have fun with you because you know them better than anyone. 
  8. After schooling on holidays and summer break helps prevent regression or learning slides.
  9. It can help a gifted student follow their interests or become self motivated.
  10. Can become an income if you open an After School- work with your child, build social/academic skills, and make a living at the same time.  It can become a way of living.


How We After School Series

How We Plan : Implementing By Skill And Subject  

Why DO After School ?   -You are here

Related Posts

Arbor Day And Over Coming Autism 

And now here’s the daily example of how we implement After School.

How We After School :Typical Tuesday

Tuesdays are typically a more productive day than Monday.  I introduced the major vocabulary of the topics we would be covering Sunday.  He comprehends better if he isn’t trying to process saying words in his head then trying to say the words out loud.  Vocabulary words were parts of the plant and what plants need: air, water/rain, soil/dirt, and sunlight.  We practiced those words several times Sunday. It sounded something like short articulation exercises.  I find this pre-step really helps his focus while we are learning about new topics.

On Monday, we went through the skills check list and used the resources he chose with me.  Today we used the same check list that we used from my post about Monday Implementing by Skill and Subject.

As promised I’ll take you through the new activities for Tuesday using the same check list.  This time we added the fun awesome science and spring learning!

Reading/Writing/Sentence Practice/some Speech

We first headed out to the library to find and read Gail Gibbons “From Seed to Plant.”  We also did his reading homework: 2 books for his reading log at school.  

While at the library I printed off a few copies of first grade comprehension passages for the next days reading-Wednesday and Thursday.  We also completed another writing worksheet from a great mommy website that I subscribe to.  This is where PJ put his knowledge about What Plants Need down in writing. He remembered all 4 needs. Happy Dance!

Life Cycle of A Plant Pack –  3 Dinosaurs

He took a short brain break while I searched for more resources and talked with Lisa my favorite librarian.

After about an hour and a half of reading writing and building robots we headed home for dinner.  My goto to fast at home dinner is some kind of salad creation which he devoured.  He also had corned beef and cabbage leftovers:)

Science/Math/more Writing

By this time it was cloudy outside.  PJ was dying to finally do the clock experiment. We used Kitchen Science by 4M that I gifted him for Christmas.  

He did a great job of connecting the pieces: a lemon(s), 2 conductor rods, 2 forks, and the digital clock provided in the kit.













He used just one fork, lemon, and conductor rod the first test. The clock flashed on and off as he squeezed it but wouldn’t stay on.  












I encouraged him to use a second lemon to add more charge-charging, this he understood well.  I helped him add the extra lemon, fork, and connecting wire. 

Eureka! The clock was powered long enough for us to set it.  He journaled about the lemon powered clock and drew pictures by looking at the pictures I took of him performing the experiment.  And the clock stayed powered the whole time he worked.  It was sundown and too dark for pics of the journal.  












Math was super fun thanks to the lemon clock – and a little sticky 🙂 We skipped a few pages to match analog to digital by the hour in his clock workbook from Monday. 














I was able to search some arts and crafts earlier. We didn’t have the time to do anything PJ picked out but that’s up first chance we get.


PJ picked out a great spelling activity.  We did have time (and tons of fun) to do the giant keyboard activity however the pics were too dark again. We may try it again this week and I’ll have pics then. I’ve included the link below.

Sight Words 3 Fun Activities for Kids– Lessons Learnt Journal

That’s a wrap for Tuesday.  I hope you will come back to see the awesome free weekly plan we’ve done in Afterschool for Thursday.  I’ll be talking about inexpensive resources, weekend planning, and Afterschool for mommy bloggers in the series too. Don’t miss it.


Thank you for reading

Crystal 🙂

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Family Friday Link-Up Party



Dollar Store Valentines Day Slime






Valentines Day slime made from dollar store ingredients!

I don’t like the feel of slime and neither did my son!

For some reason he repeatedly asked me to make snow slime.  

My only guess is that he liked making things and mixing concoctions.  I knew if we made slime he wouldn’t want to play with it so I put the activity off, enticing him with other fun things to do.  Still, he asked to make the slime every week.

Pretty soon we started searching Valentines activities to do together.  We look for eye catching pictures of super fun activities from our favorite blogger mommas and their children. 

This time he spotted Valentines Day Slime from Little Bins For Little Hands .  

The pictures of the slime were AWESOME!  The mommy of Little Bins for Little Hands posted pictures of different colors!  She had the amazing idea of adding fun objects to add texture to the    stuff!!  AND there were pictures of kids just like my son PLAYING happily with it!  Oh, he was determined to make Valentines Day Slime now….even though he didn’t want to touch it.  OR did he?


I credit and thank Little Bins for the AMAZING visuals that gave PJ a boost in courage he needed to actually play with the slime.  

I used her formula for the slime as a starting point but used a different brand of glue.  The dollar store version is much thinner than Elmer’s glue.  Here is a link  to her    slime recipe if you are using Elmer’s glue.   Sorry I’m having trouble with links again but I will fix it soon!

Our Slime required …

  • 2 Bottles of Imagine dollar store brand glue
  • 1/4 c. of water
  • 1/2 c. of liquid starch

Other optional dollar store ingredients

  • Foam Valentine counters
  • Glitter
  • Food coloring


 I let PJ help make the slime just like he had seen from one of his favorite sites.  Glue then water and stir-stir-stir.  
















He added red food coloring. The swirls of red against the white glue were mesmerizing!!  (We really need to do a milk color mixing experiment of some kind soon.)

image image















I let him add all the glitter of his choice and he stirred again.  The color was beautiful!  PJ kept poking his finger in it half wondering if it was slimy yet and half  captivated by the shimmery glitter.


















I poured the water glue froth mixture into a larger container then we added the liquid starch.  This time PJ poked it with a spoon.

image image

 Then he stirred the blob of starch around a bit and left the heavy mixing to me.  Yukkk-o!  No wonder he didn’t want to mix it by hand.  It’s very stringy and sticky in the mixing stage.  After you let it sit a bit the mix becomes a whole blob of slime.

And sit it did.

The slime formed air pockets that rose to the surface.  This intrigued PJ so that he tried to pop the bubbles by throwing the foam valentine counters in the bowl.  He still didn’t want to touch the slime.










I encouraged him, “Try popping it with your finger.” But slime bubbles are tougher than say soap bubbles.  He tried once then again and that was enough ‘grossness’ for him.  So I sat the bowl of slime on the kitchen table and started in making brownies.  PJ headed for his LEGOs and started building.  Oh well, we had fun making it I thought.

After a few minutes he came to the kitchen table and peered into the bowl.  Legos in one hand, he shook the bowl a little and walked away.  

10 or so minutes later he came and shook it again.  

This coming to explore the slime and leaving again went on for over an hour.  

Until finally he reached in and popped that bubble!!!  

He got a bit of slime stuck on his finger.  He rolled it around on his hand, explored the feel of it, and put his whole hand in the slime.  I was excited for him!














PJ enjoyed playing with the foam pieces and pretending that the ladybugs could talk to each other!  He made them fly high in the air and splat back into the slime:)

He even went as far as to tell me to take pictures of the slime.  My future blogger?















































I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our experience making and PLAYING with slime!  Does your child like to play with slime?  Please comment below.  We’d love to read about it!!

Thanks for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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How To Support A Special Needs Family


This past few weeks have been stinky for us.  Some days it seemed like the very people I thought would be understanding of my sons differences- have not.  

Most days like these I just laugh and ignore it.  Yes, i laugh: I refuse to cry.  This is one way to deal with it. Plus, there are so many more important things to concentrate on.  So, many more good things to let fill my head about my beautiful son than the judgement of others.


But the past few weeks have unfolded several comments, looks, incidences all unkind and all concerning our little family.  It was enough to send me on a search to my favorite blogs post about special needs parenting.  

I read other parents points of view about this topic.  It helps me remember I’m not alone.  

As I read I began a list in my head of all the things that Parents of special needs kids wished for from family to strangers for their child.

  • Understanding
  • Patience
  • An extra helping hand
  • An ear to listen 
  • LOVE


All the great posts, letters, and articles I read were basically about specific times a parent felt like their child(ren) were not accepted by another person for the BEAUTIFUL souls they are.


I realize now more than ever I can talk about how the numbers of autism are rising, what the criteria for Sensory Processing Disorder is, how Auditory Processing effects the ability to follow directions,  or explain why PJ has trouble doing x,y,z…. til the cows come home.  Am I rambling??

The sad and maddening truth for me is Awareness is not enough!  My little Buddy needs to be ACCEPTED for the smiling, fun, active, HARD working kid he is. (.)


The majority of the time people do show acceptance towards him and me as his mother.  

But then there are those days like the days of the last few weeks.

We’ve both been met with judgement and ridicule. And I will leave it at that so as not to have to explain my parenting him or my sons difficulties in detail…one more time.

I’m not going to give up on humanity, though.

I’m bent on being proactive for his sake.  

  These last few weeks I had to believe people truly have had good intentions towards us.  And that they are only trying to help. If you are interested in making a difference on a special needs family’s life – I wrote this with my own experiences in mind.



Ways to Show a Special Needs Family ACCEPTANCE

1). Dont assume: There is nothing worse to a special needs parent OR a special needs child than to be expected to act a certain way when it is not possible.  When behavior isn’t possible but is pushed on or expected of the child,  the child can have a traumatic experience.  Sounds simple, right??  I can not tell you how many times others have assumed that since my son can talk and follow directions, that he can process or understand the meaning of any verbal direction. Wrong.  Many children with special needs have trouble processing direction for one reason or another.  It may be a problem with the exact wording of the direction,  the number of syllables in the wording, your tone of voice, over stimulation of their environment, processing time, physical handicap that you cant see, an experience that happened before you gave a direction, ect.  My point is that the possibilities are too numerous for even an “experienced” person to know and so one should NEVER assume.  

2).  Ask Questions:  Lately Ive read that moms would welcome your questions about their child. Asking questions is a the best way to get to know their child.  It shows you are truly interested in understanding.  Besides,  many moms would love the chance to chat.  It’s been hard for me to “stay in the loop” with friends and family.  In the past my loop has mostly consisted of Therapists, doctors, teachers, and support groups for parents just like me.   There was hardly time to talk on the phone with loved ones or go out for coffee with a friend.  Yes, ask questions.

3).  Loose the Judgement:  Again this sounds simple.  If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, right?

I can say that being a special needs parent has its ups and downs just like being a parent of a typical kid.  (I should know, I’m both.)  So before you think to yourself a judgemental thought please remember this:  Our typical… is not your typical….

On a given day I may be proud of my son for sitting on the floor of the store and reading a book.  Books help him regulate (calm down) in a number of situations.  It’s a self regulation skill and I for one am so glad he has learned to do this on his own.  He is not hurting anyone/thing by sitting on the floor and reading something from the store rack.  Still, I notice your judgement of the tall kid plopped on the floor in the store.  He notices ,too.


4).  Be supportive:  There are a number of things you can do for a special needs family but how do you know what to do?  Honestly, every family is unique in what they need.  It may be that one family would love for you to visit with a hot meal and another may shudder at the thought of how their child may handle a visitor.  (I’ve been in both positions here,too.)  In this case you could leave dinner on the steps.  When in question you can always ask how you can help.  

More ways to help a special needs family:

  • Offer to give them a ride to a therapy or doctors appointment.  -I would be so thankful to have company to talk with me about my sons doctors visit or be able to organize my thoughts with less stress before hand.
  • Offer to sit the kiddos. –  It maybe super helpful to a special needs parent to have this time to clean, nap, or prepare for a doctor visit.  It’s an even bigger plus if you can sit in their home so the parent isn’t worried about a their child handling a transition outside the familiar environment of home.
  • Donate used clothing-  now you may think this is great for a needy family but this is AWESOME to a special needs parent who avoids shopping for the kids sake!!

There is so much to be said about ACCEPTANCE.  I for one could write a series on the subject.  For now, I sincerely hope that my words have touch someone’s heart out..Possibly warmed a few.   


Thank you soo much for taking the time to read!

Crystal and PJ 🙂  






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Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Book Craft


Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Book Craft










Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Book Craft for the Monthly Crafting Book Club.

I’m very excited to be a part of this months Crafting Book Clubs book series choice Ladybug Girl! The Ladybug Girl book series is one of PJs favorite set of books that he owns!!

Have you heard of the Ladybug Girl books?

Let me introduce you to our favorites!









Ladybug Girl is an adventurous character who is very active and great at using her imagination!  In this book Bingo, Ladybug Girls dog goes camping with Ladybug Girl and her family.  As she explores their campsite with Bingo, she casts a spell on an old tree wizard, rides a giant turtle rock, and sips tea in a secret garden.  In the mists of their play with mermaids and fairies Ladybug Girl is called into action after Bingo gets lost.  Then, she herself is lost.  How will they find their way out of the enchanted forest?  You will have to read to find out!










Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy by David Soman and Jackie Davis is the book my son relates to best!  It’s a story about a visit to the park where Ladybug Girl meets up with a fellow classmate.  The two friends want to play together but can’t agree upon what to play .  A common super hero interest is discovered when Ladybug girl asks her friend if he wants to play Ladybug Girl.  Soon, the two are rescuing Bingo from a scary monster, stopping a mean robot from crushing the play ground and more! In this adventure there are 4 total super insect heroes each with their own imaginative powers!!


Monthly Crafting Book Craft

Now comes the fun part.  After reading Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy (Alot!),  PJ and I did this fun craft together.  

What you will need

  • Broken crayons (yellows, reds, blacks of sorts)
  • Aluminum foil covered baking sheet
  • Preheated oven set at 200 degrees

Thats all you need!

I wanted to build on one of the themes of the Ladybug Girl books and that is to Make the best of what you have.  I think it is important to lead children by example so we used supplies we already had at the house and a little imagination.  Just like Ladybug Girl!!









We gathered all shades of yellow, black, and red crayons.  It’s ok if they are broken.  









Peel the paper from the crayons.  This is great fine motor practice!









I covered a baking sheet in aluminum foil.







I helped PJ fold the foil into inch wide strips.  He made two of these strips.









We turned the foil strips on their sides and formed a ladybug shape out of one strip.  We made a simple oval for the bumblebee shape.  We trimmed the strips length down a bit, too.








We placed the insect shapes on the foil covered cooking sheet and filled them with shades of red or yellow.









The different shades of each color made the final craft so much more beautiful!!  I placed the cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for just a few minutes to melt the crayons.  


We added gray stripes to the yellow bee and black dots to the ladybug last.  Then returned the crayon bits back to the oven to melt but not too long.  Otherwise the colors will run into to each other and not appear to be dots or stripes at all.









It does not take the NEW crayons long to cool.  PJ wanted to peel the foil off.  His craft insects were warm and brightly colored!










They are appealing to the senses..rough on one side from bubbling heat and smooth on the other.  Best of all they are so beautiful don’t you think!?














I REALLY hope we have inspired you to read a Ladybug Girl book soon!

Thank you for reading,

Crystal 🙂

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Practical Mom


Quick and Easy Math or Literacy with Don’t Break The Ice Game












**This post may contain affiliate links provided for your convenience. Please read my disclosure and privacy page.

One of the best family games at our house growing up was Dont Break The Ice.  I remember getting this game for Christmas one year and playing it with my siblings.  It was sooo much fun to strategically tap out the blocks of ice without letting the red man fall off! We were allowed to get a little more rowdy in the house with this game as there was no real way to play it quietly:) All these reasons make the game perfect for play when the weather didn’t allow us to go outside.

Now a days the game uses a red bear in ice skates to stand on the ice, but it is still fun even at my age! 


I just had to get it for my kids as my mom had gotten her childhood favorites for me.  

It’s a bit noisey granted but when you and the kiddo are stuck indoors it’s a super fun game to pull out!  My son loved the hammering and was able to follow the simple goal of keeping the bear on the ice. There’s only one step- tap out the block of ice of your choice-before the next persons turn.  I’d highly recommend it for teaching children turn taking.


After PJ learned how to take turns I thought it would be fun if he could use the game to practice numbers and the alphabet.

One school holiday in his Kindergarten year I tried adding capital and lower case letters to the Don’t Break The Ice Game using dry erase markers. I tested one block first to see if the dry erase marker would wash off and wallah!  A baby wipe took it right off!

These pictures are a few years old but this is how we “played” by adding letters of the alphabet.

I  wrote about 10 or so upper case letters on ice blocks and the matching lower case letters on the remaining blocks.








We played as you usually would but each player recorded the letter of their knocked down ice block.  For this I drew columns on white paper and added the names of the players at the top.




Whoever can make the most Upper to lowercase matches after 5 games is the ABC Don’t Break The Ice champ!

We practiced Number Identification, too. 

I dotted the each ice block like the side of a die.  PJ practiced writing the numbers 1-6. Below, I’ll let the picture do the talking.

Quick and Easy Math or Literacey with Don't Break The Ice Game










More ways to use Don’t Break the Ice

  • You can have your child practice addition: Each player adds up all the blocks they have.  Whoever has the largest total wins.
  • Practice word families, CVC words, or Nonsense words for letter sounds.
  • Write numbers instead of dots on the blocks and have them match numbers to the corresponding amount of dots.
  • For older children, practice multiplication: Group blocks by the number of dots they have. Three blocks of three dots make 3 x 3 = 9

What other ways can you think of to put a new twist on this old classic??  I would like to read about your learning fun so please comment below!

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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Gratitude Printables :Educents CYBER MONDAY





Educents extended its Black Friday sale!

You can get 15% off SITEWIDE with CODE: GIVEJOY

**This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure page.  If you choose to purchase from these links our little family would be so grateful!

As a part of my 7 Days of Gratitude series, I’d like to share PRINTABLEs from to help teach kids GRATITUDE.  While your visiting this educational site..GRAB some deals!!  They won’t last long!



I Am Thankful gratitude activity kit printable. 



Appreciation Certificate and Thank you Awards 


I Am Most Thankful For Essay Printable


Thanksgiving Thankful Writing Draw-It!

image Give Thanks Math & Language Activities


Thankful Writing Assignments

 Remember to use CODE: GIVEJOY for 15%off site wide.

Happy Shopping!

Crystal 🙂

FLASH SALE Insanely Cool Toys to help with Sensory Processing Disorder!

This sale has almost ended but not before I stumbled on 3 insanely cool toys that would be great for children with Sensory Processing Disorder!

Educents is extending their Black Friday Sale!  

For the next few hours you can get these 3 great toys at 15% Off ! Use CODE: GIVEJOY





Have you heard of the Gogo Roller?  This is would bring  hours of fun!  And with cold weather coming on, you’ll NEED to find a great toy like this to supplement outdoor play.


Sensory boxes are still a favorite in our home.  Your child will be engaged in tactile learning as you go over your Lady Bug Science lesson. Pull the Sensory Box out again and again for memory retention.   Educents has several: Chicken Life Cycle, Lady Bug Life Cycle, and a Farm Sensory Box!

Click this #LINK# for the Lady Bug Sensory Box and don’t forget to use CODE GIVE JOY for 15% off site wide!!

Rememeber Sit n Spin?  This is the modern day version of how kids regulate themselves when they need to move!!  Only the Floor Surferr does so much more than spin!!  It moves forward, backwards, anyway a child wants it to!  Plus, children can work on CORE BODY STRETH, balancing, and coordination!!

Just click the name FLOOR SURFERR to bring you to this awesome sensory toy.  Use CODE GIVEJOY and enjoy 15% off too!



Happy Shopping!!

Crystal 🙂