How to continue your child’s education throughout the summer

Summer break doesn’t mean a break from learning. Now is the PERFECT opportunity to teach your kids an incredible variety of subjects, hobbies, and skills that are better received OUTSIDE of a classroom setting. Here are some ideas and ways to take advantage of this time to invest in your child’s education.

Dive into the history of your city or a city nearby.

Every city has a history. Google your city’s history together or ask your child to do their own research and give a presentation to the family! Then you can spend a weekend visiting various historical sites in your city, such as the oldest building, city hall, historic downtown, oldest restaurant, and important sites. If your city’s history doesn’t seem to be very exciting you could take a drive to a place with a richer history such as St. Augustine! Take a day trip visiting the fort, riding the bus tour, enjoying the museum and asking your child questions about what they think of past events, and how it could be applied to present day. This is a simple but incredible way to help your child apply the knowledge from gathered local historical events. Make sure you stop in for brunch at the Blue Hen Cafe! Their biscuits alone are worth the drive!

Explore Nature Trails.

Living in Florida we’re blessed to have so many nature trails all around us! Use this AMAZING site to find new trails. All you need to do is type the city that you’re interested taking a walk in, and an entire list will pop up! Our favorite trail is the Seminole Cross trail that runs between Oviedo and Winter Springs. Plenty of shade and perfect for dogs on short leashes, strollers and bicyclists! You can park at the Townhouse parking lot early and take a long walk before the sun gets too hot. Then when you’re done, stop by Walls of Books and grab something to read while enjoying a delicious breakfast at the Townhouse, and maybe some of Kelly’s homemade ice-cream for dessert after! (119 N Central Ave, Oviedo)

Music Lessons

Music is not only a wonderful hobby, but also the only task that strengthens both sides of the brain simultaneously, an emotional outlet, and great skill to have for personal growth. Taylor Academy of Music located in Winter Springs is one example of in home private lessons available for summer classes! Find our more here: Taylor Academy of Music

Summer Work books.

I remember my parents doing this with me in elementary school. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, however I noticed an improvement in my spelling, reading and mathematics. You can always find them in book stores, but often brand new at thrift stores for $1!

Play Games Together.

Bring back Family Game Night! People of all ages learn by having fun. Games are a fantastic way to learn about taking turns, counting, numbers, animals, following instructions, negotiating, managing finances, strategy, winning, losing, and playing fair. By playing games with your children you will receive more insight into their maturity and temperament. What do they enjoy about the game? What do they struggle with? What frustrates them or gets them excited? Are they a good sport? Gullible? Strategic? Do they cheat? Do they care about winning? Are they a quick learner? A risk taker? Games are a fantastic way to build relationship and finding more intimate details about who your child is as an individual. Make sure to let them play as themselves! As long as they’re playing by the agreed upon rules, let them make their own mistakes and victories. It’s not about teaching them to win, it’s about getting to know them.

Science Experiments.

Mad Science located in the Oviedo Mall has several camp options for kids to explore the wonderful world of science! Find out more here: Mad Science Or, if you’d rather conduct these experiments in your own home and don’t mind the mess, check out this blog filled with science experiments for kids! Kids Activities Blog

Gihonn Online Tutoring.

Gihonn is a new online tutoring company helps kids 7yrs-22yrs specifically in the areas of math & coding! For math, they go over the future class syllabus to ensure all lessons help the student get ahead in class. In a world continually advancing in new technology and computers it’s an invaluable skill to have. Click here for a free consultation: Gihonn Free Consultation

Summer Reading.

Encourage your kids to spend less time on electronics and more time with their nose in a book. A few ways to encourage your children to read is by creating a summer reading list of books you find appropriate for their age level. When they complete the entire list they get a prize! (Classic childhood dream prize for me was a pizza party with my friends!) Or a small prize per every book they finish. In elementary school my parents used to give me $0.50 cents for every book I read (I was going through the Romana Quimby series). I don’t think most kids would get out of bed for $0.50 cents anymore lol- but you get the idea! Another idea is to join a summer reading camp. There is one I highly recommend organized by the Literacy Equestrian Center that takes place as the Cheyne Ranch in the company of adorable farm animals! Some fresh air and reading is exactly what kids need more of. Click this link for more details: Literacy Equestrian Center Cheyne Ranch

School House Rock Songs.

OLD SCHOOL, I know- but I learned a lot from those tapes. Music is an incredibly underrated weapon for learning. How many songs do you know by heart? Imagine if the lyrics helped you ace tests and get summer jobs! Plus you can find them all on Amazon Prime for free about grammar, history, science, and more!

Teach them about Finances & Budgeting

Depending on their age, give them the task to pretend budget for. Perhaps they are responsible for “paying” for the family going out to dinner and have to make sure they have enough money for what everyone orders & including 20% tip! Or maybe they need to budget for an entire month’s necessities. Hand them a fake paycheck of what they might earn for their first job or what you earn and give them a list of monthly bills of the house, car, phone, subscriptions- etc. They also need to budget & buy the groceries, and any other errands for the home & family. This could be just a day project or an on going more realistic project throughout the month. Managing finances is one of the many skills I hear adults say they wish they’d known more about before leaving the nest.

Cooking & Baking together.

The “Freshmen 15” is pretty well known most likely because so many teens go off to college and then realize they don’t have any idea how to cook for themselves. So they end up eating microwavable filth or ordering off the dollar menu. Do your child a kindness and spend time together in the kitchen. It’s a great way to pass on family recipes and cultural heritage. If you’re not the greatest cook yourself and feel unqualified to pass on any kitchen expertise, don’t let that stop you! Youtube and Instagram are filled with cooking channels! My favorite YouTube chef is Laura Vitale. Here’s a link to a pretty simple dinner win: Laura Vitale Fettuccine Alfredo. Incredibly easy to follow and 100% success rate following her recipes. If you prefer cook books, follow local business mama, Christine Pittman, on Instagram @cookthestory and check out their chicken cook book available at the My Oviedo Store! With the price of beef these days, I know I’ll be eating a lot of chicken- so I’m very thankful for a book like this to help mix it up!

Visit Museums!

Theme Parks and Playgrounds are wonderful areas of learning, exploring, and getting energy out- but don’t forget about these equally entertaining and more intellectual alternatives such as the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Science Center, Winter Park History Museum, Art & History Museums of Maitland, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, Sanford Museum- so on and so forth. There are so many museums in the Orlando area that you could visit one every other week for the whole summer! Plus, they’ve got AC!

Lastly, just ask your child to pick one thing they’re interested in, and learn about that one thing all summer together.

It can be anything! Baseball, Make up tutorials, Bowling, Animals, Speaking French, Anime, Cooking, a specific Country, their favorite band, local restaurants, hiking trails, kayaking, learning hip hop, working out- whatever it is, become “experts” together and make an effort to bond over it. Either asking every night at dinner “What did you learn today about ____” or every Saturday morning either researching or performing the activity together. Make it consistent throughout the summer and then plan a “finale” before school starts. If bowling is the hobby, plan a bowling party. If makeup is the activity, invite a bunch of friends to do all their makeup, have a photo shoot afterwards & go out to dinner. If it’s learning about another country or language, go to a restaurant or cook a meal traditionally served in that culture. If there is a finale, your child is much more likely to continue to explore and learn throughout the summer because there is a goal to look forward to and accountability especially if their friends are involved.

I hope this list gives you some ideas on getting involved with your child’s development and learning together. We only have 18 summers with our kids before they graduate. What were the things you wish you knew more about before you graduated high school? How can you share those lessons with your kids now? Knowledge is a gift, so make it Christmas in July and give it all away. There is no better time to invest in your child’s future than in the present.

What will you be teaching your kids this summer?

The Hardest Part About Parenting Surprised Me

I was the youngest in my family and did not grow up around any younger family members. I WAS THE BABY. And I liked it. Well, most of the time.

My husband and I were expecting our first baby right before I turned 27yrs old. Although in my late 20’s, according to my family, I was still the baby. I didn’t know anything about newborns, other than the fact that they made me uncomfortable. Although I always wanted to be a parent, but I didn’t know the first thing about parenthood. It seemed like most parents were fine and that this was just the natural way of life. I knew it would be hard, but how hard could it really be?

Turns out, it’s pretty hard. It looks different for every family, but it’s clear that every single parent faces challenges regardless of how they may appear.

In the first months of postpartum I didn’t hide the struggle, because living transparently and leaning in on community is how I operate. I find when you let down your walls and expose your raw desire for help, healing often follows as others begin to share how they went through the same hardships. I’m writing this post because it needs to be talked about. I know those walls are still up for many of you, and you need to know, you are not alone.

Parenting is indeed hard, but to my surprise, that hardest part about parenting was not labor which was what I thought it would be.

It was not the round the clock nursing every 2-3hrs day & night for 3 months. Although that was exhausting.

It was not learning about all the milestones & pediatrician visits to make sure the baby was developing on track. Although that was stressful.

It was not about sifting through the millions of parenting methods on birthing, sleep training, baby lead weaning, nursing, pumping, baby wearing, pacifier giving– and so on, each claiming to be the only correct way to have a healthy happy baby. Although that was draining.

The hardest part about parenthood is facing your flaws and insecurities as a parent.

Feeling unqualified because you cannot live up to the idea of the perfect parent you wanted to be. Failing over and over again chasing a mirage, then realizing, it was never real. Facing the reality of your limitations and not pushing yourself too hard because you’ve been comparing yourself to others- many of which you’ve only seen pictures of.

It’s fighting to stay present and “enjoy every moment” with your baby rather than dragging yourself down with anxious loathing thoughts. It is humbling yourself to the conclusion that it is not about your beautiful flawless journey being the perfect parent and having the perfect child. It is the unique and messy adventure of continually learning and growing with your beautifully flawed little one.

It’s looking at your failures and choosing to rise above them by making practical changes in your day to day behavior; such as the way you talk to your spouse, your attitude about the day, and not giving in to laziness at every chance.

The hardest part about parenthood, is growing up and taking on the responsibility. Your kids don’t need perfect models as parents to look good and seem fine, they need role models to look up to, especially when life is hard. Do you model the attitude, work ethic, faith, and relationships that you’d want your kid to have?

Choosing to be an example amidst your flaws so that they can grow up to be the best version of themselves amidst their flaws too.

And every day that you fail, not making excuses, hiding, or breaking down- but instead staying, apologizing and adjusting so it becomes less and less a part of your family’s baggage. Your child needs to see the way you model handling failures too.

The hardest part of parenthood, is facing your flaws and still being confident that YOU ARE THE BEST for them. How do I know? Because more than anyone else in the world, YOU WANT to be the best for THEM.

As parents we ALL have our failures & doubts if we’re “good parents” because we all have hard days. We also live in a world that makes money off that feeling that we are never enough.

What you need to know is that a bad parent wouldn’t have those doubts. They wouldn’t be worried or concerned. The reasons you worry is because you CARE. You cannot be the best parent in the world, but you can be the best parent for your child. If you love them, protect them, guide them, and honor them, and do your best, you ARE a good parent.

Here are 10 TIPS to continue to grow yourself and your character as a parent.

  1. If you need counseling or therapy, go for it. Your mental health is not an expense, it is an investment into you and your family’s future.
  2. Eat healthier- If you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap.
  3. Exercise 3 times a week (even for just 20min). You don’t need a gym or any equipment. Just go for a walk, have a dance party, do some jumping jacks. It does make a huge difference chemically.
  4. Prioritize your sleep over your shows.
  5. Be mindful of how you talk to your child & spouse
  6. Ask your spouse what is 1 thing that you could work on
  7. Journal, paint, shoot hoops- do what you need to creatively process.
  8. Call one of your parents or another role model to talk about it.
  9. Invest in an old or new hobby that is not baby related.
  10. Hold and hug your child and tell them how much you love them every morning and every night no matter WHAT. Do it as often as you can- but prioritize at least starting and ending the day with them knowing how much you love them.

I hope this message was both challenging and encouraging to you as a parent. It’s a fine balance continually growing our weaknesses and operating confidently in our strengths. The best way to show your child not to give up on themselves, is by not giving up on yourself.

Send this to a mom or dad that needs to hear this. Maybe it’s your spouse? Maybe it’s your own parent. Maybe it’s for that mama who was like me, struggling with a newborn and feeling unqualified. Share it freely, because we could all use the reminder every now and again.

The New Online Tutoring Program Young Adults Need Now

School is on break, but your child’s education does not have to be. Just in time, the new online tutoring program is here for mathematics and IT coding and completely set up around your child’s current or future class curriculum. Introducing Gihonn Online Tutoring.

Tutoring sessions are done one on one and open to students 7-22yrs old of all skill levels from elementary to college level. Because lessons go over your child’s own class curriculum or syllabus, students will be assured to thoroughly understand the material in class and excel.

The individual attention given by your tutor will help build the confidence to meet your child’s specific needs and go over exactly what they will be tested on in school. Math can only broaden the possibilities of what your child pursues as a career, and strengthens the life skill of managing bills, budgets and finances. If you can make sense of numbers, you can make sense of the modern world.

Students being tutored in coding will have the opportunity to build and program their own games, which allows creativity, confidence and invaluable skills for numerous jobs. The IT world is growing daily and so are the opportunities for young adults with the knowledge to program and code. A few hours a week learning to code is an investment towards a secure future with a stable job and income for your child.

There are weekly and biweekly tutoring options which can be discussed during your free consultation, set up with a tutor to ensure the learning environment is a perfect match. Knowledge is power. As parents, we want to empower and prepare our kids for the future as much as possible. Gihonn Tutoring will help pave the way to a bright and stabilized future.

Use this link to set up a Free Consultation and to find out more details on various learning options catered to your child: Ghinonn Tutoring

15 Splash Pads in Central Florida to visit this Summer

It’s Summertime in the Sunshine State, and it is hot hot hot! Splash pads are a great way to keep kids cool this summer, and thankfully there are a lot of options!

Here is a list of 15 parks, playgrounds and areas that have awesome splash pads.

  • Torcaso Cove (Our favorite one!)
    • Address: 104 N Moss Rd, Winter Springs, FL 32708
    • Perks: Newly renovated, Gated Splash Pad, Playground, picnic area, HUGE adorable sandbox, walking path around a small lake, grass field, and swings.
    • Cost: Free to Winter Springs residents, $3 for guests.
  • Central Florida Zoo
    • Address: 3755 W Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771
    • Perks: Located inside the Zoo, petting zoo nearby, connected to Mission BBQ & a picnic Area.
    • Cost: Need a Zoo Ticket (Includes zoo, petting zoo & splash pad) $14-$22. 2 & under are free. Online Ticket LINK:
  • Capeheart Park Orlando
    • Address: 715 Capehart Dr, Orlando, FL 32822
    • Perks: Playground, Large Shaded area, gated splash pad, large walking path, swings, basketball courts & shaded picnic area.
    • Cost: Free public park.
  • Trotwood Park
    • Address: 701 Northern Way, Winter Springs, FL 32708
    • Perks: Lots of shade, Playground, swings, several picnic pavilions, Gated Splash Pad, Walking path, Tennis Courts, Basketball court, Stationary Workout Equipment, Lake, Water Fountains, & Little Library.
    • Cost: Free to Winter Springs residents, $3 for guests.
  • Downey Park
    • Address: 10107 Flowers Ave, Orlando, FL 32825
    • Perks: LARGE splash area, wheel chair accessible playground, swings, picnic area, shade, baseball field, water fountain (for dogs also), lake, and walking path.
    • Cost: Free public park.
  • Barnett Park
    • Address: 4801 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32808
    • Perks: Gated Splash Pad, playground, walking path, large picnic area with several tables under a large pavilion.
    • Cost: Free public Park.
  • Dr. Phillips Park
    • Address: 7943 Fenton St, Orlando, FL 32836
    • Perks: Gated splash pad, Large shaded Splash pad, large grass area.
    • Cost: Free Public Park
  • Oviedo Aquatic Center
    • Address: 148 Oviedo Blvd, Oviedo, FL 32765
    • Perks: Large pool for lap swimming and playground/splash pad kids area in shallow water.
    • Cost: $5 for Oviedo residents & $7 for guests. Pass & other payment options available here: Aquatic Center Fees & Membership
  • Winter Garden Interactive Fountains
    • Address: 119 S Lakeview Ave, Winter Garden, FL 34787
    • Perks: Large concrete area, located in a park with several walking paths.
    • Cost: Free.
  • Trailblazer Park in Lake Mary
    • Address: 550 Rantoul Ln, Lake Mary, FL 32746
    • Perks: Gated splash pad, large shaded playground with rope structures to climb, swings, walking paths, picnic area and pavilions.
    • Cost: Free Public Park.
  • Aquatica (Seaworld’s Water Park)
    • Address: 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, FL 32821
    • Perks: Large water slides, Lazy river, wave pool, big kids play zone in shallow water, toddler play zone in shallow water, eating areas and small aquariums.
    • Cost: With the current Memorial Day 50% off sale tickets are $46. LINK: Aquatica Tickets
  • Oviedo on the Park
    • Address: 299 Center Lake Ln, Oviedo, FL 32765
    • Perks: Small Splash pad, next to playground, water fountains, nearby dog park, picnic area, amphitheater, Food truck event the last Thursday of every month, and several free community events hosted. Also a variety of restaurant within walking distance.
    • Cost: Free Public Park
  • Reiter Park
    • Address: Reiter Park, 311 W Warren Ave, Longwood, FL 32750
    • Perks: Gated Splash Pad, Small playground, grass area, walking path, pavillion and nearby lake.
    • Cost: Free Public Park
  • Fort Melon Park
    • Address: 600 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771
    • Perks: Gated splash pad, playground, large grass area, and walking paths.
    • Cost: $2-$3 & FREE on the first Friday of Every Month!
  • Wes Crile Park
    • Address: 1537 Norbert Terrace, Deltona, FL 32738
    • Perks: Large gated splash pad only open for the summer. Playground & basketball courts. Closed Mondays for maintenance.
    • Cost: Free Public Park.

Here’s My Checklist for Going to the Splash Pad (Keep in mind I’m packing for a baby & toddler 😂)

  • Sunscreen
  • Change of Clothes to play in because you know they’ll want to go on the playground too! (Loose Fitting)
  • Swim Diaper (if needed)
  • 2 Towels (large & small)
  • Diaper Changing items: wipes, diaper, changing pad (if needed)
  • Plastic bag (for wet clothes)
  • Swim Floaty (if needed)
  • A bucket (to collect & pour water)
  • Hat with chin strap (so they can’t pull it off)
  • Sunglasses
  • Crocs shoes (waterproof & easy to slip on & off)
  • Snacks & Picnic Lunch (Basically a PB&J and pouch for toddler & a protein shake/ smoothie for me because kids aren’t the only ones that get hangry)
  • Water bottle (for you too!)
  • Portable stroller fan
  • Charged Phone
  • Stroller
  • And of course, a friend because playdates are needed for your little to develop social skills AND for mama- because having friends is not something you grow out of.

I hope you find this list useful to help cool your kiddos down while enjoying some good summer fun. Tag a friend & where you want to go below! Don’t forget to share & subscribe.