If I had to describe my life as succinctly as possible, “lucky” would pretty much cover it. I’m not talking about the once-in-a-lifetime “I survived a plane crash” kind of luck. I’m also not referring to the general “I’m so lucky to have food, shelter, and basic human rights.” (Though I am grateful for those things.) Also, I’d be completely useless in Vegas.
What I mean is that all my life I have followed the path of least resistance and everything always works out for me. I have a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctorate degree in engineering from two of the best schools in the U.S. (Caltech and Stanford) and no student loans. I’m married to an amazing, intelligent, funny, caring, interesting man who I’ve had a crush on since middle school. I had an awesome job as a research scientist in a government lab before I voluntarily quit to stay home with my kids that I adore (most of the time ;) – born 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016). I still work part time, mostly from home, for the same laboratory. On top of that, I have a supportive and loving extended family and a great group of friends.
I told you. Lucky. There’s no other way to describe my life. However, if I had to pick a second word, it would be nerdy. I admit it. I am a huge list-making, spreadsheet-loving nerd. I research everything. My goal for this website is to share some of what I learn with others who are less nerdily-inclined.
Do I claim to know all the right answers when it comes to raising kids? Absolutely not. You should have seen the category 5 fit my 4-year-old son threw last week when denied a donut. And how do I get my 2-year-old daughter to stop screaming “NEVER!” at her big brother when he asks for something she has? I’ve read enough parenting books that you’d think I’d have this figured out by now. I don’t (and probably never will), so I’ll keep reading, playing, observing, and learning. You are more than welcome to join me on my parenting journey.
About This Site
Learning Activities for Kids
Hi Michelle. I found your resources and am very impressed by the work you do! I am currently starting my own blog journey about things in my life, one of them being homeschooling. I wanted to ask your permission to link your site through mine. My site address is http:/www.tamistangibles.com
Thank You for all of the work you have done and shared!
Of course! Thank you so much, Tami. I really appreciate you sharing my resources. I wish you lots of luck homeschooling your 2 kids and with your blog. You sound like a very dedicated parent. My son loves the Jim Weiss CDs as well. They are so great!
Thank you for making your work available! You obviously spend a lot of time! I have a request. I am working with your Ancient Greece Historical Figure Cards and noticed that the very first word of the description of Homer is misspelled. It is Auther rather than Author. It can not be changed in the pdf. Would you kindly correct it and recreate the pdf?
I think it should be fixed now, Kevin. Thank you SO much for pointing that out! If you notice anything else, please let me know.
You have made some fantastic stuff! And your story is very inspiring! I just went back to work, teaching Kindergarten (going to use your dinosaur cards next month…thank you!) and I’m working on my Master’s Degree. Both my children are in school now, but I stayed home with them when they were little, and it was the most precious, and exhausting time. Ha! But I loved it! I just wanted to thank you for sharing your talents with us all!!!!
You are so welcome! I’m extremely grateful for the time I get to spend with my kids while they’re little. It’s going by too fast! I can’t believe my youngest is almost walking. (But you’re right…parenting is so exhausting sometimes!) Being a kindergarten teacher must be such a wonderful and fulfilling career. Good luck with your Masters degree and thank you so much for taking the time to comment!
You should do youtube I would watch you all day long.
Haha, thanks. Maybe I can put tutorials on YouTube at some point in the future when I don’t have little kids all over the place.
I am so absolutely thrilled to find your timeline and Ancient History cards!!! I set out to find a very particular resource that I had in my head and this is absolutely PERFECT!! Thank you so much for sharing your creation with us! Do you plan on continuing to make sets of history cards as you go? Or is your template available somewhere so that we can make our own matching card sets as we study for things like America’s wars, Presidents, Biblical characters etc? I see no sense in reinventing the wheel if it is available and I just haven’t found it yet. :) Again, thank you so much! You have saved me a ton of time pre-learning and re-learning in preparation to teach what I cared so little about for all those years.
I know how you feel! It’s so much more interesting now that I’m teaching this stuff to my kids. I don’t really have a template I can share, but I do have plans to make cards for everything sooner or later…it’s just a matter of finding the time to do it! If you have certain sets you’d like to see sooner rather than later, let me know and I’ll bump it up on my to do list. :)
So very glad my friend told me about this site! I look forward to utilizing the fun learning tools you have provided and encouraging my own kiddos to be life long enthusiastic learners.
Haha, you’re so funny. Thanks, Erin. :)
My name is Manny Diaz and I am in 10th grade. I found your contact information from the researchparent.com website.
My project topic is I will design a model using engineering tools to teach other kids how to create a own toy.
My creation was going to be the wobble bot you created and I want to see how you went through it.
Would you be willing to serve as an expert that will answer questions and offer advice for my final project? Thank you so much for considering being my expert.
Sure, Manny. You can find detailed instructions here, but if you run into any trouble, I would be happy to try to help.
1. What inspired you to create such a great product?
2. What kind of people did you believe would find an interest in your product and will have an impact on it?
3. How long did it take you to brainstorm ideas and create this product?
4. My hope for the future is to become a mechanical engineer, and I was wondering if you could give me advice into getting started in the field?
Thank you hope for a response.
From Manny Diaz
Hi Manny! Mainly I’m inspired by other people’s ideas. I like reading books about activities for kids or looking at other people’s blogs. Most of my projects are inspired at least in part by what I’ve seen other people do, but I always try to improve what’s already been done or add my own unique spin. I’m hoping other parents or people educating kids will find my projects useful. I am always brainstorming, but finding time to implement my ideas takes a little longer. If you would like to become a mechanical engineer, my advice is to work hard in math and science (especially physics) and don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you are trying out new things. Good luck!
I had written to you a few years ago as a grandmother that is teaching grandchildren. This summer I have the privilege of teaching science–STEAM courses at camp. I’m learning engineering and technology right now so I can effectively teach it to 5-15 years old. I have taught environmental sciece, physics, geology and a few other sciences homeschooled, but this is a newer field for me. Do you have any suggestions as to what is the most important concepts to teach for each group? Thank you for your help. Have an awesome day.
Hi Linda! That is a very wide age range! I hope you are not teaching them all at the same time. I think the most important engineering skills you can teach kids of any age are to solve problems by thinking creatively and to be willing to risk failure in attempting a variety of solutions. I can’t think of any specific concepts that are critical to teach, but you might want to provide a general overview of things like Newton’s Laws of Motion or Kirchhoff’s circuit laws. Good luck!
I stumbled upon your website today while researching Montessori resources for my two children aged 4 and 6 who attend a Montessori primary and elementary programs.I plan on homeschooling next year. I am so glad to see the free printables you have. You made the life of a working mom who is struggling to keep up with assigned school work so much easier that too at no charge. I cannot believe my luck. It was so good to read your story. You are awesome to be sharing your painstaking work with everyone! Thank you! Stay blessed!
I am so glad you are able to use my resources, Nysa! Thank you for your kind words. You’ve made my day! :)
Hi, Do you have 5th -7th grade math curriculum available too?
Hi, Talia! I have created 5th and 6th grade curricula for my own kids, but I haven’t had time to create answer keys, so it will be awhile before I post them on my blog. Hopefully by next summer. However, if you would like the worksheets themselves without answer keys, send me an email at email@example.com and I will send them to you!
Thank you so much and I adore you for all the work and the resources you have made available for all of us. Even I feel lucky today to get to know that ur website exists. I have a 4.5 year old daughter and I am homeschooling her. I am an aspiring Montessorian myself. Mostly I prepare all the materials at home. Ur free printables and suggestions on preparing the material at home are really helpful. Especially I loved the world map instructions and how you made it available for people like us. After searching a number of websites, only site I found with free printables and love for the work, ofcourse a selfless service to others. Hope I become like you one day helping others through my work.
Awww, thank you, Vishnu. You have made my day. I am so glad that you find my resources helpful. :)
Would you object if we use your free materials for a virtual library program? We are posting videos to our library Facebook page and our YouTube channel, and this is a wonderful starting point to teach coding offline.
You are welcome to link to the posts that have my free files. Just please don’t host them somewhere else or distribute them digitally. Thank you!
I stumbled upon your site while looking for a first grade math curriculum. Thank you so much for creating a simple and free resource. Reading your stances on your approach to the topic made me feel a lot better about keeping things low key. I do not want my kids to suffer from math anxiety or feeling stupid when it comes to math, like I did growing up. I’m looking forward to delving into the rest of your posts!
Hi Kaira! My oldest is in 6th grade now and is doing a real online curriculum this year for the first time. He is doing great with it, which makes me feel even more comfortable about my low-key curriculum for the younger years. My three younger kids are still using the curriculum I created for them and they are all doing really well. They are a little slow with math facts, but they don’t have any math anxiety and they seem to understand overall concepts well. I hope you and your kiddo find the curriculum helpful!
very informative blogs! i thank you for sharing these to us since it will be helpful how my children be raised in a good way.
I am so glad you are able to use some of my ideas!
I think there’s an error in Grade 4, Week 5 answer sheet – how many centimeters is 7 m 512 cm. If there are 100 cm in each meter, wouldn’t the answer be 700 + 512, or 1,212 cm?
You are absolutely right, Rachel! Thank you for catching that and please let me know if you find any other mistakes! I will correct it in the next hour or so. :)