Back to School Parenting Tips

Back to school: easing kids into a new school year

Like most parents in the Northern Hemisphere, easing my kids into a new school year has been on my mind lately. Starting the school year off right can go a long ways towards having happy kids who get more out of school! Today I am sharing some back to school parenting tips that apply whether you send your child to public school, private school, a cooperative school, or homeschool!

Parenting Tips for Back to School

Get Organized

My three school-age kids take lunch to school every day, and bring home papers every week. Add in homework, doctor’s appointments, and extracurricular activities and it is easy to feel overwhelmed! Do as much organization as possible before the school year starts, and reassess throughout the year to see if there are things you can streamline or that need reorganizing. If life feels too overwhelming, see if there are commitments you can remove from your life.

Set Expectations

Starting a new school year is much less stressful if kids know what to expect! Help them be prepared by setting expectations before the school year starts. What will their day look like? What can they learn about their teacher? Will any friends be in their class? Where are the bathrooms, and what are the rules about going to the bathroom?

Provide Down Time

A new school year means a lot of new experiences. Expectations change as children move into new grade levels, and it can be a lot to process. Making sure your child has some down time every day can reduce stress levels and helping them to adjust quickly to any changes.

Make Room for Fun

It can be hard to adjust from a fun, laid-back summer into school! Make sure that you still have time for fun as the school year starts! Little details help keep things light, from fun after school snacks to lunch box notes to family game nights and telling jokes around the dinner table.


School often makes life busier for the entire family, and that can mean fewer opportunities for communication. One easy way to maintain communication is by setting aside time each day – maybe at dinner or bedtime – to talk about what each family member liked about the day, and what they would change if they had a do-over.

What are your top tips for easing kids back into a new school year?

maryanne at mama smiles

MaryAnne was raised in the United States, Guatemala, France, Bolivia, and Austria. Her first daughter was born in Scotland, and she now lives with her husband and their four children in Silicon Valley, California. You can find MaryAnne writing about creativity, learning, and play at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.

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Call for Bloggers: PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group

Are you passionate about education?  Are your readers looking for a playful approach to homeschooling their preschoolers?

As part of our new Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services, we are excited to announce a unique opportunity to review a virtual homeschool group designed specifically to support the preschool years.

PLAYful PreschoolHow to Participate

  1. Fill out the form below to register
  2. Write a post reviewing the PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group
  3. Tweet and share via Facebook

That’s it!  In exchange, you will receive a FREE subscription to the PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group for the 2014-2015 school year (September to May) for yourself or a friend once your promotion is complete.

DEADLINE to complete your promotion: September 26, 2014


About PLAYful Preschool Virtual Homeschool Group

This online group provides support for parents / teachers of children between the ages of 3 and 5.  Sometimes it is nice to have a group to bounce ideas off of.  To help motivate you to be your best.  It’s nice to hear what other parents are doing and what has (or hasn’t) worked for them.  If you are looking for a preschool support group – this is it!

This year, Amanda of The Educators’ Spin On It will be offering a support group to other like-minded parents who are also planning to homeschool their preschoolers.  Amanda offers the unique perspective of both an educator and a homeschooling parent.

Her teaching background may help you navigate academic and content area questions.  She has a Master in Reading Education K-12, B.A. in Elementary Education, National Board Certification, ESOL Endorsement, and classroom teaching experience.

Her parenting background will help show you what homeschooling is really like (behind the scene pictures that you won’t see on blogs). Best of all, other parents and teachers in the group will share their own wonderful ideas and support each other in their quest to provide a great playful education for their preschoolers.

Sign up using the form above to help promote this wonderful service!

If you do not have a blog to review, but would like to join in, membership is $29.95 for the entire school year (September to May) and can be purchased here.

Don’t miss our Hello, Bali World Book Tour, now through September 12!

If you are an author or company with a multicultural children’s product

Our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services offer you the opportunity to put your book or product in front of a like-minded audience – all over the world! The bloggers in our network are located on every continent and all focus on raising young world citizens. Our combined audience can be your audience. For more details, see our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services page.


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Global Education Begins at Home: 5 Tips to Raise World Citizens

Global Education Begins at Home: 5 Tips to Raise World Citizens | Multicultural Kid Blogs

The world today is beset by far-reaching and pressing issues of war, ethnic conflict, social inequality, and environmental destruction. Our children cannot grow up in a bubble; therefore, they must be given the tools necessary to not only cope with these worldwide problems, but to contribute in some way to the solutions.  As parents, we have a collective responsibility to raise good global citizens who can help lift the world out of the darkness of terror, poverty, intolerance, and pollution.

An introduction to the values of fairness, equity, empathy, conservation and peace can and should start early. Elementary schools generally do not engage students in any continuous or meaningful forms of global education curriculum. At most, teachers may dabble in global education by presenting a lesson focused on the comparison between cultural and religious traditions during the holidays.

Even if primary schools were more successful in the implementation of global education programs, it would not be enough. Exposure to the concept of global connectedness must begin at home and before kids enter kindergarten.  This will help provide young children with the ability to develop an appreciation of other cultures, a respect for diversity, a strong sense of compassion and an understanding of the importance of sustainable living.

There are many ways to begin (and to enrich) global education efforts at home. Here are some of my favorites:

Plant Maps and Globes All Over the House

My boys have had a world atlas map perched upon the wall over their beds since they were babies. It serves as a great reference tool to pinpoint locations mentioned in books and stories.  It also comes in handy when we are discussing everything from world cultures and global events, to ecosystems and wildlife.

We have a few globes and countless kids’ atlas books and guides lying around the house. National Geographic has a great selection of map books and atlases at every education level. They are filled with loads of fascinating information about places all around the world.  As children mature and become ready to delve into discussions about global issues, a good foundation in world geography will help them link important geographical sites with significant current and historical events.

Seek Out Opportunities to Enthusiastically Explore Other Cultures

I threw in the adverb “enthusiastically” here because I have found that ever since my kids were little, they would mirror my mood and energy level when I would speak to them about any topic. For example, if I casually, and without zeal, mention to my kids that we are going to a local culture festival, then they really don’t show much interest. On the other hand, if look them in the eyes and I explain to them in a spirited and passionate manner why a trip to this culture festival will be an awesome experience, then their interest is piqued.  If I go on excitedly about how we will be able to view unique crafts and artwork, hear vibrant music and taste some exotic foods, then they are psyched and can’t wait to get there! Setting a good example by sincerely appreciating and valuing other cultures makes a positive and long-lasting impact.

Empower Kids with Environmental Expertise

Now more than ever people have to learn the basics of sustainable living. Parents must do their part by teaching kids about how to be good stewards of the Earth.  A great way to start is by educating them about limited natural resources, and about how recycling and composting help to ensure our planet’s sustainability. Green living is another opportunity for parents to set a good example by leading the way. Teach children how to recycle and compost properly so that they can use those skills throughout their lives.

Joining a community garden provides children with excellent global learning opportunities.  Community gardening is one of those things that seems to bring out the best in people.  Kids will witness complete strangers from different backgrounds working together for a common purpose. Participants peacefully work together to make the most productive, healthy and sustainable use of a plot of land. My children enjoy getting their hands dirty and performing the duties necessary to maintain their garden plots – pulling weeds, shoveling composted soil into wooden plot frames, planting and harvesting.

Volunteer in the Local and Global Community

Let your kids see you show a genuine interest in helping others in need. There are many opportunities on both local and global levels. One way is to reach out to your local homeless services organization and learn about ways to volunteer or donate. As a fun family project we recently put together care kits (containing personal hygiene items, healthy snacks and uplifting notes), and distributed them to homeless individuals around our city.

On the global front, we have connected with a primary school in India which serves underprivileged children.  Through monthly Skype calls, my boys speak with the students and share stories and information about their culture and daily lives. We’ve exchanged culture boxes with them, as well. The students and my children truly enjoy making this global connection. They are thrilled to learn about their cultural differences, as well as discovering the ways in which they are similar.

Reaching out to other communities around the world promotes multicultural awareness. It also provides an easy way to connect children to others in the global community, and to help them see beyond their everyday life. This prepares kids to engage in, and to become productive members of an interconnected world with greater ease.

Teach Kids Empathy and Compassion

In a post about the importance of teaching young children about empathy and compassion, I listed the following five ways parents can cultivate these virtues:

  1. Show unconditional love to your children, so that they are immersed in empathy and compassion, and so that they know that you love them and accept them for who they are as unique individuals.
  2. Be a role model and show compassion and empathy towards others so that your kids can see it in action. A parent might say, “Your brother seems upset. Let’s ask him what we can do to help him.” Or “Dad hurt his back. Let’s ask him if we can get him an ice pack to make him feel better.”
  3. Reduce exposure to violent film, television programs and video games, and discuss why violence and bullying is wrong.
  4. Teach your kids how to be peacemakers by encouraging others in conflict to listen to each other in mutually respectful and productive ways.
  5. Give kids opportunities to practice compassion and empathy.

Once children begin to develop their senses of empathy and compassion, they are better able to understand that, although people may have differences of opinion, they also have common emotions, needs and wants. This is one of the best ways to help a child to become a good global citizen as it will prepare them to serve in a leadership role assisting others to work together to solve global problems and bring about meaningful change for a better future.

Please share the ways in which you incorporate global education into your children’s lives.


Jill is the founder of, a website dedicated to helping parents and educators foster global awareness within children so that they may grow up with a meaningful understanding and appreciation of diversity and become good global citizens.

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Art Around The World Series: Top 5 Reasons Why We Teach Art at Home

Ever since moving to the Netherlands I got interested in art. Who wouldn’t be when surrounded with so much beauty and wonderful art works and I am not only referring to paintings in museums. I see art daily, from the way the houses are built, the statues found on the streets, the paintings hung on waiting rooms and offices. Not to mention the graffiti on the walls or the posters that can be found on each bus stop and almost every corner.

Being in the Netherlands afforded me the chance to see art in a different perspective. Back in the Philippines there is just too many hustle and bustle in the daily grind that I didn’t get the chance to stop and pause on what is going on around me. Being a stay-home mom with two small children, art became one of our family’s go-to activities.

Here are Top 5 reasons why we teach our kids art at home:
1) We get to introduce the seasons in a different perspective. Artists have one thing in common – their art is largely influenced by the world around them. The changing of the seasons are painted so majestically by a lot of famous artists. The works of Claude Monet and the haystack paintings attest to that. Looking at these artworks help them appreciate and notice details. It also helps children understand that there is a season for everything – birth, growth, blossoming and yes even death.

art around the world katie


2) We get to introduce cultural differences. How did people dress during those times? How did people live? Why did Picasso have his “Blue period”? Why are the paintings so dark? Why are the paintings about angels? Why did they paint mostly portraits? Why mostly scenery? Why paint a can of mushroom soup? There’s quite a lot of learning involved when you show paintings from different eras. The comparison between the time before and the time now is an important lesson for young children. It showed them to look at what people valued and are experiencing at that time. This appreciation with “what was” has also given them a point of reference in valuing what they have now.


3) We teach Art because it’s a good way to teach math. Do you see the patterns? Do you see the lines? Do you see the shapes? Have you looked at Mondrian’s art? Or Escher? The contrast between the two is fascinating but both of them explored shapes and lines and the balance of both. It also teaches symmetry like the Notan designs of the Japanese. Both balance and symmetry are elusive concepts, even as adults we are trying to understand them. At least they are off to an early start in finding out what balance an symmetry entails.

tinker workshop notan design

4) We teach art to show them different techniques in making and producing art. Pointilissm technique as seen from the works of Seurat became a big topic with our kids. His most famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte” is a 200 cm in height and 600 cms in width painting made up of colourful tiny dots. How can you do a painting so big with just using the tips? Must have taken a lot of patience they said. Actually doing it on their own gave them a sense of that patience. Now they learned the value of hard work in creating something.


5) We teach art because it teaches children perspective. Perspective taking is one of the essential life skills that children need to learn. Art teaches them to look at things deeper, sometimes deeper than what is visibly seen by the eye. When we talked about Romero Britto’s artwork, I used the thinking routine “Step inside: Perceived, Cared about, Know about” in looking at his artwork “The New Day”. I asked them what do they think Romero thought of when he painted it, what was he passionate about? What did he like doing the most? What else did they know about Romero Britto (and our children’s books about famous artists came in handy with topics such as this). It was interesting to hear about the children’s replies and how they were able to point out it was about “sunshine”. Looking at art gives children the power to look at things from a different perspective. It makes them look at the person who made the work and it also makes them look at how they feel towards specific artworks. It also makes them understand that what they see can be different from somebody else and that is totally ok. One can look at the same thing but see things differently from the angle that you are looking at it, or see it based from one’s own experiences. Either way, it’s understanding that we can share differences in perspective and respect each other that is the most important.

romero britto

These are just a few of what children learn when exploring art and why it is important for families to get involved in teaching it. Watch out more for posts on the different art around the world and what children are exploring, learning and understanding through it.

Lana Jelenjev is a freelance educational consultant who recently got diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37. She blogs about her activities with her children at Smart Tinker and just recently started writing about her musings on parenting as she navigates through a new territory of hospital visits, a whirlwind of feelings and in finding compassion as she battles cancer, a disease that her mom succumbed to at age 49. She advocates for the importance of early detection and encourages women to take part in her Breast Check Challenge.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy For Children

Science Fiction and Fantasy for Children: Why they are great books for kids and perfect for raising world citizens!I must admit I am a little bit of a geek. But as Wil Wheaton has put it, “being a geek is about what you love”, and I second his definition wholeheartedly. The thing I love most is books. Books in all shapes, sizes, written in all kinds of styles. I love them all and hardly have I ever quit on a book. And fantasy and science fiction are among my very favourite genres.

Surprised? I know that they’re often not considered “real” literature. Especially fantasy is often laughed at for talking about fairies and wizards and dragons, while sci-fi has at least the word “science” in it which generally makes it the more approved genre.

I however really think that all children – and our little global citizens specifically – should read these books. Why? Here are at least some reasons. I am sure there are more.

1)      Interest in other cultures

The cool thing about fantasy and science fiction is that they tell stories about worlds that don’t exist. It takes some imagination to write about something that isn’t reality. Many characters in the books are not human. I guess after you’ve talked to someone from another planet, meeting someone from another culture isn’t so scary. Additionally, a lot of fantasy is about Otherness. Sometimes, it’s scary, like the Others in George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire. Sometimes it gives you additional powers, like the Others in Sergey Lukyanenko “Night Watch” series. But look closely and you will see the “other” motive more clearly.

2)      Interest in other languages

The writers who write sci-fi and fantasy not only have to invent a whole new world with consistent and reasonable rules, they also have to think of a language- and sometimes even multiple languages to go with the world. Tolkien himself was interested in languages and considered them a foundation of his work. The whole “Lord of the Rings” trilogy features at least 3 of them. The “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series, better known as “A Game Of Thrones”, features at least 5. There is an interesting point about making the TV series because the author hasn’t considered how Dothraki would actually sound, and they made a whole new language just for the series! It’s not the first time a new language was invented when a film was made out of a sci-fi or fantasy film. But it can also foster interest in existing languages: I personally know at least one person who learned Finnish because it’s the closest language to Elfish! Also, if your native tongue isn’t English, you soon will find yourself get bored with waiting for the books to get translated and will read the original- that’s how my brother read the Harry Potter books. And did you know that the town of Sto Lat in Terry Pratchett’s novels was named after a Polish birthday song- Sto Lat means, “Hundred Years”!

3)      Learning about the world

Many fantasy books are based on real historical events, countries and persons. For example, the Wall in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song Of Ice Fire” reminds me of the Great Wall of China, GRRM himself said that “ASOIAF” was based on the War of the Roses in Medieval England. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series is seemingly a book about wizards, witches and dwarves, but in fact each instalment to the series tells a different story based on real events. One for example is about feminism (“Equal Rites”), another is about the history of Rock Music (“Soul Music”), or even about the history of the cinema (“Moving Pictures”)!

4)      Reading books from other cultures

Both fantasy and Science fiction are actually quite diverse. For example, if you watched the movie, “Solaris” you may not have known that the book the film was based on was written by Polish writer Stanisław Lem (the “ł” is pronounced like “w” in “window”). Additionally, fantasy or sci-fi in one culture is not the same in another. For example, Polish anti-hero Jakub Wędrowycz is an exorcist, he drinks spirit that he brews himself and he is a character you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. And the “Night Watch” series by Sergiey Lukyanenko will give you a totally different idea about what Twilight is- in the books, it’s a different level of reality that only Others can access.

5)      Gateway to other literature

I know that sci-fi or fantasy is not exactly considered “great” literature. But it could get your child started on reading. And besides, some of the sci-fi and fantasy authors are very fine writers! The cool thing about this genre is that it can get you started in many directions: from history books, through great literature (consider, for example, the Arthurian tales) and other books!

6)      Forming a sense of belonging

Sci-fi and fantasy have a strong loyal community worldwide. Global Citizens and TCK’s often feel out of place, but maybe their interest in this genre can give them a sense of belonging. I think it’s amazing that a common interest brings together people from different countries who don’t necessarily speak each other’s languages. In fact, sci-fi and fantasy are often read by people who feel they don’t belong anywhere but find support and friends through their hobby. These books often turn into something more: an opportunity to get together, play games, talk about common interests and have fun.

7)      Books for all kinds of readers

Not only readers of various languages will appreciate these great books. Readers of all ages will too. While many sci-fi or fantasy books are written with an older audience in mind (young adults to adults), children can enjoy them too- I think they’re so much better than the traditional fairy tales! A great example is Neil Gaiman’s “Fortunately, The Milk” (the photo above shows it in Polish), that can be read to children as young as 5 or 6. The Harry Potter series is meant for slightly older children (except maybe for the later books that are scarier).

There is more to sci-fi and fantasy than aliens, wizards and magic. It’s actually a great literary genre and I believe everybody will benefit from reading them, especially children. I can’t wait to introduce my own kids to all these magical worlds!

The European MamaOlga Mecking is a translator, blogger, writer and trainer in intercultural communication. She blogs at The European Mama and writes about her expat life, raising multilingual children, life in Europe, and general parenting topics. Olga also enjoys cooking, baking and reading books. You can find Olga on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Back To School: Where’s My School Uniform?

The summer holiday is once more nearly over and in a matter of weeks a new school year begins here in the Netherlands. It’s the time of year when I am starkly reminded that I am a British expat and my school days are very different to those of my three sons.

At this point in my summer holiday my mum, brother and I would be heading to the local shop that stocked our school uniforms, somewhere like the department store Clements on Watford High Street, or British Home Stores. We’d be combing the store armed with a list supplied by school, all the items we were required to wear over the course of our school year: white blouses or shirts, short sleeved for summer and long sleeved for winter; a grey skirt or trousers and grey shorts for summer or a yellow and white checked summer dress for the girls; a grey cardigan or jumper; and the piece de resistance our yellow, almost gold coloured tie. And then of course there were our gym outfits to buy too. When we moved to secondary school our uniform changed colour to maroon but the end of the summer holiday ritual remained the same.

School uniform: a British thing for sure

School uniforms: a British thing for sure!

However, it is not a ritual I need to go through with my own children. Dutch school children do not wear school uniforms. They wear whatever they like. There is no scurrying around the shops during school holidays to get the necessary supply of school clothes for the year. It is simply a case of making sure my eldest has sports clothes without holes for his gym classes.

Every September my Facebook timeline spills over with pictures posted by my British friends of their children wearing their school uniforms for the very first time. It’s a photo I don’t have. I don’t have those ‘first day of school’ photos of my two eldest sons in their crisp, stiff school uniforms. We have no first day of school photos with an uncomfortable smile because of a collar and a tie that feels peculiar to a child who has yet to turn five.

School uniforms are just not commonplace in the Netherlands. The only place I have seen them worn is the British School in the Netherlands, highlighting just how much wearing a school uniform really is traditional British. An OFT report cites that 79% of junior schools in Britain has a compulsory school uniform, when you get to secondary school this rises to 98%. In short, if you go to school in Britain there is a good chance you’ll be wearing a school uniform.

School uniforms in Britain form the basis of a hotly contested political debate. Michael Gove, the former Education secretary, believed that uniforms in schools are beneficial and that the wearing of blazers and ties contribute to school success. He stated that schools with uniforms have better results.

School uniform supporters say that a uniform helps pupils identify with their school and feel part of a school community; a uniform evokes pride in pupils and encourages discipline; it dissolves social equalities (because clothes are the same regardless of background) and therefore reduces the chances of bullying.

Those against the idea of school uniforms say they are a means of exerting power and control over kids. One reason cited to abolish school uniforms is to allow teachers to spend their time teaching rather than ensuring that children adhere to school uniform rules.

American academic (school uniforms are gaining popularity in the US), David Brunsma, concluded after eight years of research that school uniforms make no difference whatsoever to the standard of schools or their results.

So, love them or loath them, whether they have a positive effect or not, school uniforms are a British thing many other countries across the globe have seen no reason to adopt. And that includes the country I now call home, the one I am raising my three Dutch boys in.

I grew up wearing a school uniform and somewhere in my parent’s photo archives there is a picture of me on my first day of school, proudly parading my brand new uniform. I will have no such photo in my photo archive – but I hope one day my sons will see that photo and learn something about my British school days.

These little changes, these breaks with my own cultural traditions, are part and parcel of expat life. It’s a small sacrifice to make to raise little multicultural people.

What school traditions, or customs have you broken with because of raising children in a different culture or country than the one you went to school in?  Do your children wear school uniforms?


About the Author:

Amanda from Expat with a Double BuggyAmanda van Mulligen is a freelance writer. British born, she was whisked off to the Netherlands on a promise of a windmill wedding and now raises three sons with her Dutch husband. She writes about expat life, about living life in a second language and an alien culture, about all things parenting and on the topic of highly sensitive children over on her blog Expat Life with a Double Buggy.

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5 Homeschool Tools for Exploring World Cultures

5 Tools for World Culture Exploration

Before we begin school, I spend a considerable amount of time researching and putting together our curricula for the year. I teach one child who is starting 3rd grade and another entering 5th. Their math and reading lessons are taught separately, but I teach all of their other subjects together.

One of the best parts of homeschooling is that we can branch out beyond the traditional subjects taught in a traditional school and learn about topics that intrigue my children, or that I want them to understand. So as a result, one of our favorite subjects is World Cultures. We enjoy exploring the communities and traditions of countries around the world. I choose to teach it because it helps my children to develop a sense of global citizenship and it breaks down ignorance and (hopefully) stereotypes.

So I wanted to share with you five of my favorite tools for teaching world culture to my children. Which ones would you add?

1. National Geographic Kids
This website is a treasure trove for young explorers. You can travel the earth in 30 minutes a day/week depending on how much time you want to allot this subject. The site is vibrant and colorful, engaging for children. My favorite part is the different opportunities for kids. They can participate in the International Photography Contest for Kids, join the Ice Cream Expedition, and watch a video on oceanographer Sylvia Earle. They can explore the ocean depths during Shark Week or scale Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.

2. The Great Global Puzzle Challenge with Google Earth
An amazing travel adventure, this book was created to explore places across the globe using Google Earth. From New York to Tokyo to the Himalayas, you can zoom in and discover famous landmarks. You can even travel back in time! Along the way, you’ll search for flags and collect souvenirs. Google Earth takes the experience to the next level.

3. Kids Discover
I love this fantastic magazine that explores so many different topics in depth. They even have special issues devoted to culture. They are filled with beautiful photographs and engaging text on places like the Caribbean, the Amazon, and ancient kingdoms of Africa, Greece, Rome, and many others. You can download educational printables directly from the website and the digital magazines can be purchased for your tablet.

4. The Usborne Book of Peoples of the World: Internet Linked by Gillian Doherty

This fabulous little book introduces children to groups of people all over the world. Organized on a continent-by-continent basis, it describes the different ways of life, cultures, cuisines and faiths of the six billion people who inhabit our planet. The amazing photographs complement the informative text, fostering in children a greater understanding of the people who live in the world around them. This book comes with fully-updated internet links to extend the learning possibilities.

5. Passport to Culture® Game
I love this game that circles the globe testing (and teaching!) your knowledge of cultures. You’ll learn about people, places, food and drink, gestures, customs and traditions. It comes with 740 questions covering 60 cultural scenarios. Best suited for children 10 and older.

About the Author:

Monica_Olivera roundedMonica Olivera is a homeschooling mom and freelance education writer. Her website, is for Latino homeschoolers and parents who want to get more involved in their children’s education. She is also the co-founder of Latinas for Latino Lit and one of the creators of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. You can find Monica on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Global Education Google Plus Hangout

Global Education Google + Hangout | Multicultural Kid BlogsWhat is global education, and why is it important for YOUR child’s education?  How can you turn your classroom into a global classroom?  (And why should you?)

All these questions and more will be discussed at our Global Education Google + Hangout, coming up on Friday, August 22, at 12 pm ET:

Click here to visit the direct link for the hangout.

Homa Sabet Tavangar and Becky Morales, authors of the acclaimed Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners, will discuss global education and its importance for parents and educators with education advocate and former teacher Kim Vij of The Educators’ Spin On It.

What’s more, they will answer your questions!  Simply go to our Facebook page to tell us what you want to know.  One entry will be randomly chosen to win an electronic copy of Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners by Homa Sabet Tavangar and Becky Morales!

What: Global Education Google + Hangout

Who: Homa Sabet Tavangar of Growing Up Global, Becky Morales of Kid World Citizen, and Kim Vij of The Educators’ Spin On It

When: Friday, August 22, 12 pm ET (available afterwards to watch online)

What to do NOW: Go to our Facebook page to submit your questions about global education for Homa and Becky.  You could win an electronic copy of Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners!

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Call for Bloggers: Hello, Bali World Book Tour

Hello, Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book by Giselle Shardlow of Kids Yoga StoriesWe are so proud to announce the beginning of our new Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services!  We’re kicking off with a world book tour of Hello, Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book from Kids Yoga Stories.

How a World Book Tour Works

If you are an author or company with a multicultural children’s product

Our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services offer you the opportunity to put your book or product in front of a like-minded audience – all over the world!  The bloggers in our network are located on every continent and all focus on raising young world citizens.  Our combined audience can be your audience.  For more details, see our Multicultural Kids Product Promotion Services page.

If you are a blogger interested in promoting great multicultural children’s products

Help get the word out about great multicultural children’s products, plus each time you take part in a promotion, you will be entered to win a gift card, as a thank you!

This month we are promoting the book Hello Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book by Giselle ShardlowSign up below to participate.  Once you receive your electronic copy of the book, you can review it on your blog, write a review on Amazon, and/or promote through social media.  Bonus entries in our giveaway for doing all three!

Information about this Hello, Bali yoga book

Book description:
Energize your body and mind with this yoga island adventure book. Say good day to the magical island of Bali through these energizing yoga poses for kids. Join one of the Yoga Kids, Anamika, as you surf like a surfer, dance like a Balinese dancer, and sit like a monkey. Included is a list of Kids Yoga Poses, Map of Bali, Basic Indonesian phrases, and a Parent-Teacher Guide with tips on creating a successful yoga experience.

Age group:
Toddlers, preschoolers ages two to five.

English or Spanish

What people are saying:
“I think the Hello, Bali book is a delightful way to connect geography, movement, and positive parent interactions. My daughter instantly began doing the poses as we read the book for the first time together and asked to find Bali on her globe. Then she sat with her little brother and worked on teaching him Indonesian. It is definitely our favorite Kids Yoga Stories book yet!
Amanda, The Educators’ Spin On It

“This is one of the most delightful books I have come across – Emily Gedzyk has done a wonderful job with the illustrations, which are colourful and appealing to children. As an EAL teacher I was thrilled by the fact that the book embraces multi-cultural issues. At the outset I wasn’t convinced about the yoga element, but as we read the book the value of this became apparent. With clear illustrations and instructions, the yoga poses are introduced through a delightful story – reading and exercise all in one! The repetition is great for young readers and those new to English. I particularly liked the bi-lingual greetings at the end of the book. I will definitely be using this in the classroom.”
Susanne P.

Sample pages:Sample pages from Hello, Bali yoga book by Kids Yoga Stories for our book tour

DEADLINE to complete your promotion: September 12, 2014Blog reviews can be from the past six months, but Amazon reviews and social media promotion should be from on or after August 12, 2014.

After you have completed your book tour promotion, come back here to enter our giveaway by entering the Rafflecopter below.  You could win one of five $10 gift cards!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Renee of Mother Daughter Book Reviews for her support and inspiration!

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Back to School in 5 Easy Steps

Back to SchoolIn just a few days, many children will go back to school (many may have already started) and it is normal for both parents and children to feel anxious about the new academic year. As a teacher, I would like parents to know that we (teachers) are as or more anxious/nervous as they are. It does not matter if we are in our first or tenth year of teaching…it does not get any easier, we just get a bit better at it.

Back to School in Five Easy Steps

Below I am sharing 5 simple things parents/guardians can do to help children feel more at ease and therefore make the new school year feel great from the very beginning:

1. Try to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher: Every year, I have the opportunity to meet 2-3 students before the school year begins. Giving children the opportunity to meet his/her teacher can ease anxiety. Here students can ask questions, take a peek at the new classroom, and just relieve the many pressures he/she may feel. Of course, this may not apply to everyone, but as a parent you should feel comfortable about asking for a meeting and making the transition a bit less stressful.

2. Do not stress about the supply list: Some schools are allowed to request materials/school supplies. If this applies to you – please do not stress about it. Your child will NOT use a pack of erasers or 10 pencils on the first day. However, shopping during the back-to-school sale is a smart move. One important thing to keep in mind: if you are not in the position or unable to purchase the items let us know – we will figure something out. It is NOT a big deal.

3. Talk to your child about meals at school: Whether you pack a nutritious lunch or plan to have him/her eat at the school cafeteria – talk to your child and have an honest discussion about what he/she eats. As a teacher, it makes me really sad to see food thrown away because it is not consumed (perfectly made sandwiches, delicious salads or carrot sticks). Or children who ‘say’ they eat at school, but hardly eat what they are served. Try packing a healthy snack in addition to lunch. Children could always eat an apple or granola bar towards the end of the day.

4. Have your child log in the necessary hours of sleep: According to their age, children require more/less sleep hours, yet parents would be surprised how many students come to school really tired because they went to bed really late. Establishing a routine is crucial – children thrive when there is a predictable set of activities (of course…things can get hectic at times!) and do better when they know what comes next. Going to bed early allows your child to recover, rest and wake up prepared for the day.

5. Help your child set goals for the new school year: Discuss with your child 2-3 goals he/she may have for the new school year. The goals do not have to be academic, but a good balance is great. A reading goal; for example, may be to make sure he/she reads before going to bed every night, or get homework done as soon as he/she gets home from school (instead of waiting for the very last minute at night). One important thing to keep in mind is that you are helping your child channel his thoughts/ideas – they are NOT your goals. Take the time to write the goal, post it in a visible place and revisit it as often as needed. It is not about perfection, but trying to be better each day.

Back to schoolI could go on and on about back to school suggestions, but I am trying to make it simple. Make sure you take the time to enjoy the experience and savor each day because the truth is…children grow up too fast.



Images thanks to The United States Department of Education


About the Author

Kelly Serrano_BiopicBorn and raised in Ecuador, South America, Kelly moved to the United States when she was eighteen. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and later worked in the private sector for a few years. She returned to school and obtained her teaching credentials and Master Degree in Education. Kelly’s teaching journey has taken her many places, and last year she moved to a dual-language school, which is the main reason she decided to start her own blog (Learning in Two Languages) and create her own bilingual teaching resources.

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