Benefits of Homeschooling

How Homeschooling Can Benefit You

Believe it or not, 1.5m US kids are homeschooled. This is up from 1999 and again 2007, showing that more parents every year are teaching their kids outside of the traditional school system. With the old stereotypes of homeschooling rife, like kids missing out on social skills or not receiving a well rounded education, you might be wondering why.

In fact, there are benefits to you as a mom, as well as benefits for your kid. With the education and future prospects of your kid in mind, NBC reported that, actually, colleges are snapping up homeschoolers, praising their creativity and innovative thinking. And for you, as a parent, you can keep more cash in your pocket and, importantly, develop a closer bond with your kid; all of which will be explored below.

Your Benefits

For a cash-strapped mom, homeschooling can bring a benefit to your pocket, as you don’t have to deal with the cost of transit, specific equipment demanded by school, textbooks at exuberant prices and school lunches. The National Home Research Institute claim that taxpayers spend $11,732 on average per pupil; homeschoolers only pay $600.

Taking your kid out of the public schooling system gives you control over what you have to spend money on. In terms of your personal relationship, you can build up a better rapport with your kids.

What Your Kids AREN’T Learning At School

You should also consider what the public system is failing to impart on your kids. Depending on the quality and availability of local schools, that could be a lot.

A big factor is parrot learning. Many schools emphasize that kids should learn knowledge and become like encyclopaedias, rather than actually learning how to learn. The benefits of instilling an environment where learning is encouraged for the sake of enrichment, rather than for simply getting through the next exam, can’t be understated.

(Photo credit: Aaron Burden)

Encouraging Creativity

In the same vein of thought on the above point is how holistic learning, focused on encouraged the benefits of developing new skills and learning new ideas, can benefit your children’s creativity. Studies have shown that encouraging kids to think creatively, something which is sometimes discouraged in public schools, can benefit them in the long run in terms of acknowledging their ability and developing it accordingly.

Practicing Skills

A problem with the regimented way that school works, with set periods throughout the day and little flexibility within that, means that your children are often left unable to stick to that age-old, tried and tested system of working; that practice makes perfect. Science has proven this, and an inaccurate but helpful way of looking at any skill, young or old, is that if you spend 10,000 hours on something you’ll be good at it. Consider teaching your kids at home, where you can have total flexibility over your day and tailor the time they spend on each task to ensure they maximise their learning.

Homeschooling can seem a bit leftfield but the statistics have shown that it’s very much a part of the mainstream. If you’ve got the opportunity, consider teaching your kids at home and watch the benefits build up for you and your kid’s future.

 

This post was written by Freelance contributor Sally Perkins

 

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Cooking Showcase: Good Taste Atlanta {FLASH GIVEAWAY}

Looking for a night out?  Do something a little different than your typical dinner and drinks.  Oh… dont get me wrong, food is typically involved in my nights out but why not include it on a different platform,.

Good Taste Atlanta: a Cooking Showcase, at Infinite Energy Forum in Duluth, GA is happening for one night only on October 19, 2017 in the Atlanta area. There will be a great line up of local restaurants who will provide tastings for attendees, there will be live cooking demos from local chefs, drink tastings, local vendors for you to browse/shop, a gift bag for attendees. The icing on the cake is there will be lots of giveaways.

Want to enjoy some delish foods, and learn how to create satisying and flavorful dishes for your friends and family then you’ll want to be here.

Some of the participating restuarants are Graft Restaurant, Luciano’s Risotante Italiano and Ricos World kitchen just to name a few.

General admission ticketrs are $20.00 and include three tasting tickets and a goody bag, or if you wish to indulge a bit more you can purchase additional tasting for just $1 or enjoy VIP style for $55.  Get your tickets here.

See all of the event details at GoodTasteAtlanta.com – also check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

I have a pair of general admission tickets to give away.  Please comment below sharing what your favorite dish is to cook and who you’d bring with you to this event for a chance to win.

Contest runs until Midnight on Saturday October 14, 2017.  Winner will be chosen at random. Please be sure to include your email address as that is how you will be notified that you’ve won and tickets will be mailed.

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7 Reasons To Sell Your Car

7 Reasons To Sell Your Car 
** This is a sponsored post **

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It used to be one of those classic markers of adulthood: buying your own car. Finally: Freedom! Independence! Car Payments! Ask any adult and they’ll tell you, with freedom comes responsibilities. Like insurance. And rising gas costs. Then there’s the realization that parking in the city is the stuff that Dante’s Inferno is made of. If you’ve been thinking it’s time to ditch your ride, have a look at these 8 reasons to sell your car. These days, not having a car is the real freedom.

  1. Living In The City – If you don’t hardly use your car because you live in the city, that’s a great reason! You can walk everywhere because you have the convenience to do so! Plus, it saves you a lot of time getting to know where you need to go. No more rushing around trying to find that parking spot or spending more money to park in a parking garage!

  1. More Money- We all want to try and get the most for our used car, Instead of placing a want ad consider bringing your car to Sanford and Son Junk Cars! They pay for cash no matter what the condition of your car! They specialize in buying junk cars and getting you the most cash possible, while providing outstanding customer service. They also understand that a clean title is not always possible. Their representatives are experts at helping you get the title or other documents to sell your vehicle. If getting a title is not possible, they will still come out and pay you cash for your vehicle as soon as possible! Whatever your concern, Sanford and Son is there to help answer all your concerns, questions and needs!

  2. Car Begins To Age- There are many who prefer selling a car once it has run 40,000-45,000 km. If you are a regular car user, it could take you a mere three years to cover that distance. Having run 45,000 km, the car begins to age. At this stage, there may be some mandatory expenses on the car. “You may have to change tyres, battery, the clutch could be worn, the AC gas would need to be refilled and so on. In short, this would mean trouble and expenditure at regular intervals,” says Banwari Lal Sharma. Many are of the view that instead of spending on such things, it may be well worth it to change the car itself.

  1. Rising Income and Higher Usage- A car is an aspiration for some people. It’s a status symbol. As disposable income rise, it is natural to see individuals change cars and opt for a higher version that provide a more comfortable ride. Take for example your first job. You purchase a smaller car but as your income increases, you’re able to afford something better down the road.

  1. Expanding Family- Similar to a better income, if your family is increasing, you’ll want to trade in your small car for a better SUV or a minican to accommodate everyone! Recently my husband and I did this for fuel cost and affordable for our long road trips instead of packing up two cars and driving with our kids.

  1. Damage Car- No one wants to drive an old beat up car with a bad engine or a window broken into! Don’t do it! In the rainy season, if you are stuck in water, chances are your car is flood affected and its engine could be damaged. Many a time critical components, like the engine, may be affected in such cases. While it may be resolved temporarily, chances are the problem may recur again. Getting rid of the car may be your best bet, and will save you the headache and frustration!

  1. Staying Healthy- Sitting behind the wheel can cause all sorts of problems, especially if you have a really long commute. By selling you car, you can actually gather a lot of great exercise by walking to your work, to your home or out to run errands! Not to mention, it will help you meet new people along the way as well as interact with them on your way out the door!

Whatever your reason to sell your car, hopefully it’s for the better future of your life and your family! If you have other ideas on how to sell your car I’d love to hear about them too!

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Tips On What To Do When First Purchasing A Home

*This is a sponsored post*

As you may or may not know I have left the corporate world and I am now the calling all the shots as CEO of my own Real Estate business.  As a Real Estate agent of over 10 years I have worked with many different buyers and sellers.

The home buying process can be a lot to process and is often overwhelming to buyers. At the beginning of every transaction I talk about process and what to expect.   I even type up a list of things and provide pamphlets on what first-time homeowners should know. Here are a few things I remind  my buyers to  do before moving into their new home and what they should do to keep themselves and their family safe!

1. Change the Locks

You really don’t know who else has keys to your home, so change the locks. That ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith — if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20 to $30 per lock for labor.

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Image: Pinterest

2. Check for Plumbing Leaks

Your home inspector should do this for you before closing, but it never hurts to double-check. I didn’t have any plumbing leaks to fix, but when checking my kitchen sink, I did discover the sink sprayer was broken. I replaced it for under $20.

Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater for signs of a leak.  You don’t want to end up with an enormous water bill.

Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.

3. Steam Clean Carpets

Do this before you move your furniture in, and your new home life will be off to a fresh start. You can pay a professional carpet cleaning service — you’ll pay about $50 per room; most services require a minimum of about $100 before they’ll come out — or you can rent a steam cleaner for about $30 per day and do the work yourself. I was able to save some money by borrowing a steam cleaner from a friend.

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Image: Premier Surfaces

4. Wipe Everything Down

Another no-brainer before you move in your dishes and bathroom supplies. Make sure to wipe inside and out, preferably with a non-toxic cleaner, and replace contact paper if necessary.

I basically just clean and wipe down everything, especially my kitchen countertops! When we moved in our last home, we had gorgeous countertops that were marble which made me wonder if they were from Premier Surfaces. They are a local to Atlanta one stop shop for everything you need for your countertop needs! They offer a variety of options to choose from including wood, limestone, granite, eco, tile and more! Their customer service is the top of the line, only gathering the best to help answer all your questions and make the transition from gathering your materials to installing your countertops effectively and seamlessly into your home.

When I cleaned my kitchen cabinets, I found an unpleasant surprise: dead roaches. Which leads me to my next tip …

5. Give Critters the Heave-Ho

That includes mice, rats, bats, termites, roaches, and any other uninvited guests. There are any number of DIY ways to get rid of pests, but if you need to bring out the big guns, an initial visit from a pest removal service will run you $100 to $300, followed by monthly or quarterly visits at about $50 each time.

I believe it can’t hurt to have a pest company come out and treat just for GP and peace of mind.

6. Introduce Yourself to Your Circuit Breaker Box and Main Water Valve

It’s a good idea to figure out which fuses control what parts of your house and label them accordingly. This will take two people: One to stand in the room where the power is supposed to go off, the other to trip the fuses and yell, “Did that work? How about now?

You’ll want to know how to turn off your main water valve if you have a plumbing emergency, if a hurricane or tornado is headed your way, or if you’re going out of town. Just locate the valve — it could be inside or outside your house — and turn the knob until it’s off. Test it by turning on any faucet in the house; no water should come out.  I had to learn the hard way after have such an emergency and having part of my downstairs flood due to not knowing where main valve was.

There are several other things to do before you begin your new life in your new home but I think these are the most basic and ones you should probably jump on right away! Are there any things you’d add to the list yourself?

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“5 Ways to Boost Your Blog Now!”

**This is a sponsored post**

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As bloggers we feel that in order to be successful, we need to have a large following or a lot of pageviews per month. Of course, you don’t need to have a million people all the time, especially when you are just starting out. Over time I was able to actually double my blogs traffic without much effort on my part. But now it’s really time for me to get serious, so hmm what I can I  do this month that could help get me even more results? I’ll be sharing a few tips and tricks that have I have decided to use to help me boost my blog traffic and hopefully, help you and your blog do the same!

  1. Start collaborating. I’ve been all about collaborating lately. Yes, it’s a great way to get publicity for your business and to boost your blog’s traffic, but it’s also the best way to build relationships with others in your niche. There are many ways you can collaborate with someone: write a guest post for another site, have a guest poster on your site, interview an influencer in your niche, host a joint webinar, this list goes on and on. Come up with an idea and reach out to blogger you’d love to work with! Make sure whatever you do that it is mutually beneficial, so you both can benefit from the amazes work you do together.

  2. Post consistently. I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but posting regularly really can give you great results.  This is something I have struggled with from the beginning however vow to do more now. Whenever you publish a new post on your blog, it sends your regular readers rushing over, which will obviously boost your blog’s traffic. You don’t have to post everyday as that isnt always easy and doesn’t work for everyone. Instead, come up with a schedule  like I did, one that works for you, whether it’s five days a week or three days a week. Stick to posting on the same few days each week to create a routine for you and your readers.  This habit will build success.

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  1. Be SEO-friendly. SEO scares many people because they just don’t get it. Shoot I am still trying to understand it.  However, SEO doesn’t have to be hard to master and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Taking the extra step to optimize your posts will help boost your blog’s traffic because you’ll rank higher in search engine results. If you’re on WordPress, use a plugin like Yoast to help you. It’s so easy to use and makes SEO super simple. You should also consider using more long-tail keywords in your posts. Long-tail keywords are search phrases that are composed of three or more keywords. There’s less competition for long-tail keywords, which makes them easier to target. If you’re feeling to discouraged, why not get a little help and  try RankCrew ! The company works hard at creating backlinks, and offers great SEO link building services, helping your blog get one of the top ranking spots on Google. They have a variety of packages for your blog to reach its full potential plus availability 24/7 and over 16+ years experience! All of their work is 100% Google friendly and you’re able to get a detailed report at the end of everything! What better way than to start now to take your blog to the next level!

  2. Know Your Audience-  In order to effectively reach your target market and get the right people to your website, you need to know where your audience is and what their interests are.   You don’t want to write about something yor audience doesn’t care about.  That means you need to be strategic about where you spend your time online. Make an effort to seek out your ideal blog reader. Is she on Twitter, but not on Facebook? Don’t invest your time in Facebook. Figure out which social media platforms she uses, the online groups or forums she’s part of and start spending some time there. Once you find your people and you start connecting with them, it’ll be so easy  to learn what there interest are to boost your blog’s traffic. Engage and spend time getting to know them too to let them know your authentic, real and deserving of their time as well!

  3. Create content upgrades. Everyone loves a freebie, right? But did you ever think of using content upgrades as a way to send more traffic to your site? Think of a blog post you can write and a killer content upgrade that can go along with it. Then, promote your brand new post on social media and let people know there’s a freebie included! This will pique their interest and send them over to your blog to check it out. Also don’t forget to share multiple times and in multiple platforms.

Now that you have some ideas to boost your blog, what will you start with first?

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Give the Gift of Art – Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Returns to Atlanta

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in Atlanta

Courtesy: AAADT Photo by Paul Kolnik

It’s coming down to the wire, you’re tired of braving the malls and traffic, but still need a perfect present for that special someone in your life.

Art is a wonderful gift and the Alvin Ailey Theater is returning to Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater on February 15-19. This is going to be an awesome show for any lover of the performing arts.

The show is called, My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey. It’s based on the children’s book that details Battle’s life.  The storyline revolves around a young boy who has physical challenges and overcomes them to live a life filled with music, church and dance.

Raised in South Florida’s tough Liberty City, Battle overcame a lot to pursue a career in the arts. Watch his story:

This will be an amazing performance for the young and grown alike. The five night engagement includes special programs for Ailey fans, inviting them to experience the magic during Ailey Fan Night at an exclusive price of $25 as well as special ticket prices during the Family Matinee program which includes a post-performance.

And I have a special gift for you! One lucky MushyMamma family will win four tickets to the show!

Ticket giveaway for a family pack of 4 tickets. The family pack will be for the Ailey Fan Night performance on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Date Night at City Winery Atlanta

The Channels at City Winery Atlanta

The Channels at City Winery Atlanta

What woman doesn’t like surprises, and the better question is what woman doesn’t like a surprise date night?

I’ll be the first to tell you that my husband isn’t the best at either, so when he told me to find a babysitter for our son in early November, I didn’t know what to expect.

I can usually figure out what tricks he has up his sleeve, but not on this night. So I met him at a designated location, and that’s when he told me where we were going… City Winery Atlanta.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was at Ponce City Market, and that I was in for a treat.

Fun Times at City Winery Atlanta

In addition to a restaurant, they have a speakeasy and an amazing intimate concert venue downstairs. The concert venue is set up like a large comedy club and there are no bad seats. You can purchase tickets online and select your seat, no seat is more than 45 feet from the stage.

Photo taken by Kimberly Murray www.kimberlymurray.com

Depending on the size of your party you may end up sharing the table with some new friends. Nothing wrong with meeting new people that you know you already have something in common with, since you are there to see the same artist.

When we arrived I found out that GZA (The Genius) from the Wu-Tang Clan was performing Liquid Swords.  We got there a bit early (doors typically open at 6pm and most show times are at 8pm), so as we settled in, I ordered a glass of wine of course, and we both ordered food (if you get there before 7pm you get a 20% discount on your food). Since we arrived about an hour before the show started there were not too many people there.  I didn’t even think the venue was going to fill up, but boy was I wrong.  Before I knew it, practically every seat was filled.

The show started with the interlude to GZA’s solo album Liquid Swords, and for an hour and a half, he rocked the crowd of Wu-Tang fans with hit after hit, song after song.

Though we’re in Atlanta, the chilled out audience knew the words and chanted along. There were some true fans in this audience. Amongst the many songs performed were, ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” Wu-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M, and the title track from Liquid Swords.

Being that I’m a New Yorker (from Long Island), this was a great night to celebrate hip-hop at its best. If you haven’t already I recommend you check out City Winery Atlanta. The service at City Winery was excellent, the food was great, and the show was amazing.

City Winery Atlanta has an eclectic mix of performances and if you keep your eye on the schedule, you’ll find the perfect date night entertainment for you and yours.

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A Halloween on the Darkside – Carving Kylo Ren Pumpkin

img_9410Devin loves this time of year. Most kids do, but when your birthday is right after Halloween, and that is followed up by Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s pretty much a win-win-win-win.

Halloween is upon us, and Devin has taken a trip to the dark side. I’m not really sure how he got seduced to the dark side of the force and this year he decided to be Kylo Ren.

When we got the pumpkin, I already knew what my task would be.

Pumkin carving has become a tradition of sorts for Devin and me. We’ve been doing it since he was a little guy, and he’s always loved the orange gooey stuff.

This year is no different. I think he had the design picked out before we even got the pumpkin. If you’ve ever wondered how to make a cool jack-o-lantern, you just need a design, and a few tools and some patience and precision.

Devin is learning the art of speaking on camera and did an excellent job explaining the process.

It will be another awesome start to the holidays. May the force be with you.

This post was written by Mushy Mamma contributor, and my husband Amani Channel

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1st Instructional Guide On How To Raise Children

I am sure at some point all parents have said to themselves, “I wish they came with instructions.”   I know I have thought it on more than one occasion.  raising children is no joke.

Well guess what… one mother thought the same thing and decided she was going to do something about it. Darlene Brooks, a mother of four and parent coach and mentor, has written a book called, A Mother’s Manual.  This book serves as a straightforward and easy-to- follow guide of 100+ passages for mothers everywhere.

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This comprehensive guide helps point you in the right direction on how to nurture and positively shape your child’s life the best you can.  The books cover is a beautiful display of a mother’s love.  (Check back later this month when I share with you the story behind this artwork and how the author and artist are using it to help other moms.)

Being a good mother and raising a healthy, happy, and productive human being can be an overwhelming, thankless challenge at times.  Positive parenting not only affects your family but it can have a major impact on society as a whole.This book is sure to uplift and encourage moms at any level of parenting as well as serve as a reminder for those who already have the job down pat.

When reading this book, I thought to myself you know… I really need to do better with …

Visit my page again soon  I will share some of the passages that really resonated with me and how I am applying them as a mother.

A Mother’s Manual is currently available on Amazon, every mother should have a copy.

Buy one for yourself but also support another mom and buy them a copy as well.

Spread the word the 1st Instructional Guide On How To Raise Children is now available.

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{Family 4 Pack Giveaway} Cirque du Soleil KURIOS Atlanta

KURIOS

Cirque du Soleil is back in Atlanta with their  newest Big Top show, KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities.  KURIOS™ Cabinet of Curiosities will perform under the iconic blue and yellow big top at Atlantic Station March 3 – May 8.

This year we are in for a special treat for the first time ever Cirque du Soleil presents a welcoming act on top of the big top before the show starts.  When weather permits, 3 artists climb up the big top and greet the guests from above while playing music and acting. Guests get a taste of the KURIOS™ experience as soon as they enter the site.

Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

About the show:

In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes.  In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden, invisible world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams await. A collection of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world.  When the outlandish, benevolent characters turn his world upside down with a touch of poetry and humor in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes.

History:

KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production since 1984. Cabinets of curiosities are the ancestors of museums, also known as cabinet of wonder in the Renaissance Europe. Aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science formed collections of historical relics, works of art or mysterious travel souvenirs or artifacts.

Want a sneak peek of the show check it out below

3 Curious Facts:

-Antanina Satsura, the artist who plays Mini Lili, is 3.2 feet tall and weighs 39 pounds. She is one of the 10th smallest people in the world.

-The mechanical hand weighs 750 pounds and measures 15 feet by 6.8 feet.

-More than a hundred costumes were created to dress the cast of KURIOS.

Get Tickets:

The kids are Kurios too!!  Mom and Dad, step into the curios cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him.  Share the experience today with $25 kids tickets with the purchase of a full price adult ticket.   CLICK HERE and take advantage of this offer now!

**Offer Disclaimers:  Offer valid on select show dates and times while supplies last.  This offer may not be combined with other offers or applied to previously purchased tickets. 

TICKET GIVEAWAY: (tickets are for 8pm show on Thursday April 21, 2016)
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Have you seen Cirque du Soleil before? Ifso which production? What did you enjoy most?  (Comment below and let me know)

 

{Disclosure: I was  provided tickets for review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.}

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