Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Posts 2013 from Afterschool for Smarty Pants

Why Do I Blog?

My blog is going to celebrate its fifth anniversary pretty soon, and I am still sticking with it. Sometimes I ask myself, Why do I dedicate so much time and energy to it? I am not making money on my blog, nor I am interested in making my blog a real business. I am not a crafter who whips up amazing crafts. I am not a teacher, so I cannot claim authority over educational subjects. But I am a Mom. I am an expert in my unique child. When I come online to do research, I am very interested in input from “regular people” like me – parents and caregivers of gifted students who want to enrich their children’s education with activities that stretch their abilities and engage their minds and bodies. This is why I am here, and this is why I enjoy talking to other kid bloggers online and this is why I am interested in sharing what works for us.

A Blog Year in Review

This year was divided into two parts for me. In the first half I was too busy with work to blog consistently. I was also unsure where I wanted to take my blog, what I wanted to write about, and even whether I wanted to continue with it.
In the second half, I had some changes at work that gave me more time to spend on my blogging hobby. I joined Kid Blogger Network and learned a lot about how to be a better blogger. Part of a joy of blogging is in making new friends and engaging readers, and I am glad to see my readership grow and hoping that people find some of the resources I share useful in their homes and afterschool programs. I am looking forward to the next year and to sharing more ideas about raising gifted learners with all of you.

1. Reading

My daughter’s passion is books. Over years I tried to keep track of what she is reading in What My Child Is Reading series. Now I am still keeping track in my Week In Review series and participate in a monthly Poppins Book Nook book club with other kid bloggers. My favorite post of the year was Book Recommendations for Advanced Readers, because it really reflects who we are and what we value as a reading family.
Recommendations for Advanced Readers in Elementary Grades

2. Writing

My daughter was always a reluctant writer, but she is doing much better this year. We try to incorporate writing in our daily life and in the games we play. Many readers are looking for ideas to encourage writing, and my most popular post of the year was the post I wrote just a couple of weeks ago when I partnered with 9 other fantastic hosts of After School Link Up to bring you Top Writing Activities for After School.
Top Writing Activities for After School

3. Math

We are very passionate about math in the house and have a difficult time at the moment as the math curriculum of second grade leaves our daughter bored and seems to be turning off her interest in math. We are considering various ways to challenge her more at home in fun ways, such as Math Squares. At some point, however, I wrote a post about what we did when Smarty was in preschool. Teach Your Preschooler About Money is relatively new, but I think overtime it might become one of my most popular posts.
Teach Your Preschooler About Money

4. Science

Oh, science, how I wish we had more time for you! More science happens during holiday and vacation times. I put some of our favorite science experiments and science books into a round up which resulted in the most pinned post of the year – Science Experiments and Science Books for K-3.
Books with Science Experiments for Elementary School

5. Social Studies

We incorporate both geography and history through reading and discussions at home, but in summer we had time for a more in-depth unit study on China and even made our one and only lapbook for this year. I had a series of posts on that unit study, and want to share the post that could use more loveChina Lapbook: Second Grade.
China Lapbook for Second Grade

6. Play

Life would be unbearable with no time for play. We love playing board games as a family, and I shared our favorite games twice this year. My holiday gift guide of Board Games for Brainy Kids is both popular and loved by me!
Board Games For Brainy Kids

7. Cooking With Kids

I love that my 7 year old becomes a real helper in the kitchen and want to make it a priority to make a meal or bake together every weekend. I love participating in Around the World in 12 Dishes project with other bloggers – it expands our recipe collection and gives us a chance to learn a thing or two about other countries. My favorite cooking post from this year is Cooking With Kids: Jamaican Fried Fish.
Cooking with Kids: Jamaican Fried Fish

8. Screen Time

I think there is not a single child out there who has no screen time these days. We radically limit screen time at home, but daughter loves spending her 30 minutes a day playing on the computer. I shared our favorite sites in another post that got, unfortunately, little traction so far: A Digital Trap or a Digital Gift?
Favorite Learning Sites from Afterschool for Smarty Pants

9. Raising Multi-Cultural Children

It’s extremely important for me to raise a child who is a citizen of the world, not just an American citizen. Both my husband and I came to America as adults, and we would like our daughter to appreciate her heritage and be respectful of other traditions as well. One of my favorite post this year is Christmas in Russia written for Multicultural Kid Bloggers series Christmas in Different Lands. It also features a great homemade gift we did as a family for my parents.
Christmas in Russia

10. Creative Challenges

Well, it’s post #10, and we still didn’t make it to an obligatory “arts and crafts” section. That’s because we don’t do a lot of crafts at home. Our free time is spent on playing games, being outside, and reading. But as our daughter grows older and becomes more competent, I am looking forward to giving her more creative challenges like this Build a Boat.
Build a Boat Engineering Challenge for Kids

More Resources

Best Kids Activities for KBN
I am very excited to share The Very Best Kids Activities of 2013 by the Kid Blogger Network blog hop that is going live on January 2. Kid bloggers, big and small, will share their ONE best post from 2013. I can’t wait to check out their entries for more entertaining ideas.

Below you'll find over 50 Kid Blogger Network members coming together for The KBN Best Of 2013 Blog Hop. We know you'll find tons of wonderful ideas to browse, pin and share. We'd love for you to join the blog hop and share your favorite activity of 2013 too, and make sure you're following the Kid Blogger Network on Pinterest


Ticia said...

I loved how you shared your top/favorite posts based on different categories. I didn't feel like doing that this year, but now I'm kind of regretting it. Oh well.

Erica MomandKiddo said...

It's been a pleasure reading your blog again this year and getting to "know" you and your daughter better!

Dayna Abraham said...

I love how everything is in subjects! What a great roundup of your best from this year. I look forward to following more in 2014!

Dayna @ Lemon Lime Adventures

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

What a great list of posts - I enjoyed all of these, and am so glad that you decided to continue blogging!

Joyful Learner said...

I see that you are now comfortable using the G-word. :) I reread your posts marked gifted and it looks like you've come a long way since then.

I am always amazed how much you do with Anna. I don't think we do half as much as you do and we home school! LOL

Anonymous said...

I like this layout too - I think next year I will do a mini round up too! Some lovely activities as well.

Emmysmummy said...

Thank you for sharing.
I need to come back to check out the board games as I'm just beginning to introduce them to my almost 4 year old.