School will be back in session soon. If you’re worried that your children won’t be able to keep up with their schoolwork, here are four apps that can help get them into the swing of things.
1. Khan Academy Kids
This app has fun characters and engaging books, videos, and games that teach reading, writing, math, and problem-solving skills.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free.
2. Pili Pop
Your children can have fun learning French or Spanish using this engaging app. Kids will learn their second or third language alongside the Pilis, curious aliens visiting Earth.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free trial.
3. Math Heroes vs. Dragons
Your kids can capture dragons by solving math problems involving addition, multiplication, division, and fractions.
Available for iOS devices. Purchase required.
This flashcard app can help kids study almost any subject. Students can create their own flashcards or use ones generated by others.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free, with in-app purchases.
With these apps, your kids are sure to be ready for the school year ahead.
How to encourage kids to keep learning
It’s normal for children to be a little rusty when they head back to school. If you’d like to help them get ready beforehand, here are some ideas.
• Get them to read. This can include novels, comic books, magazines, and nonfiction books.
• Do math on the fly. Encourage kids to add, subtract, multiply, and solve other equations throughout the day. They can do this while you prepare dinner, go for a walk or wait in line at the grocery store.
• Create a vacation album. Put together a collection of pictures taken during the summer and get your child to write short descriptions under each one.
• Practice another language. Watch movies or television shows in their second language.
There are many ways to encourage children to keep learning, and even a small amount of time engaged in educational activities can motivate them.
Beautify your balcony or deck
If you’d like to give your balcony or deck a makeover, here are some simple upgrades that will spruce up even the smallest of spaces.
Purchase outdoor furniture with clean lines, neutral tones, and natural fabrics. Add visual interest with bright-colored cushions and blankets. If you have space, hanging chairs, hammocks and swings are great options.
If you have space, install shelves to display your choice of outdoor decorations. You can also add a touch of color with an outdoor rug. An umbrella or curtains can be included to provide you with shelter from the sun.
If your balcony/deck has a roof or overhang, use it to display hanging plants. If not, let vines twist around the railings. For a rustic look, consider growing herbs and flowers in wooden crates.
It won’t take much to transform your balcony into an outdoor haven. With a little effort, you can create a beautiful space to enjoy all summer.
What to expect from your child’s kindergarten orientation
The start of kindergarten is a big event in a child’s life. To make the transition easier, many schools organize an orientation or visit the school before the year starts. Here’s what you can expect.
New students typically visit their classrooms and teachers. They’ll get a tour of the school, meet their future classmates, and participate in activities like crafts or storytime. This positive first experience will set them up for success.
• Bus service
• Daycare service
• Supply lists
The kindergarten orientation ensures all students get off to a good start. If you have specific questions or concerns about your child, it’s best to schedule a private meeting. Most schools hold orientation in the spring. You’ll be informed of the date when you register your child.
How to organize a home renovation project
Are you ready to take on a major home renovation but don’t know where to start? Here’s how to organize your tasks and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Make a list
Renovations should be done in a logical order to avoid wasting time and money. For example, you shouldn’t paint the walls before you open them up to install insulation. To ensure you have a clear idea of what’s involved and don’t miss a step, make an extensive list of all the tasks that need to be done.
Establish a schedule
Depending on the scale of your renovation, you can more or less follow these 10 steps:
1. Demolish, starting with the upper floors
2. Make structural repairs
3. Install electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC ducts
4. Clean and upgrade the exterior
5. Add or replace insulation
6. Replace the windows
7. Close up the walls, ceilings, and floors
8. Paint the ceilings and walls
9. Install the flooring
10. Clean up and furnish
If you plan to live in the house while it’s being renovated, remember to update only one bathroom at a time. This way you’ll ensure you always have one that can be used.
If you can’t afford to complete all of your renovations right away, determine the cost of each project, and identify your top priorities. You can either do one room at a time or start with small tasks throughout the house while you save up the money.
Additionally, be sure to schedule your timeline around seasonal weather that could affect your renovation projects. For example, it’s best to avoid upgrading the exterior during winter or painting the interior in the summer.
For optimal results, consider hiring a contractor who can ensure the work gets done to code.
7 signs your home’s insulation needs to be replaced
Insulation is essential for keeping your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry all year long. Here are seven signs it’s time to replace yours.
1. Sounds travel
The insulation in your walls, floors, and ceilings should muffle all but the loudest noises in your home. If you can hear ambient sounds like the clicking of a keyboard or the dripping of a tap from another room, the insulation isn’t doing its job.
2. High energy bills
3. Uneven temperatures
The temperature in your home should be consistent from room to room. If you have areas that are cooler or warmer than others, it’s an indication that there’s a problem with the insulation.
4. Cold surfaces
Walls, floors, and ceilings shouldn’t be cold to the touch. If yours are, it’s a sign that there isn’t enough insulation.
5. Condensation and mold
If you have mold on your ceiling, condensation on your windows, or damp walls and floors, it’s a sign that there’s too much humidity in your home. This may be due to poor insulation.
6. Pest infestations
Animals and insects can get into your home through gaps in your insulation. Additionally, they’re often attracted by mold and damage caused by water infiltration.
7. Freezing and ice
It isn’t normal for pipes to freeze or for icicles to hang from the edge of your roof. Both are signs that your insulation isn’t doing its job.
While it may seem like a big undertaking, replacing your insulation is a surefire way to make your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills.
Is your child ready for kindergarten?
If you’re wondering whether your child is ready for kindergarten, here’s what you should know.
Children should have certain physical, social, and cognitive skills before starting kindergarten. For instance, they should be able to:
• Wait their turn
• Put on and remove their clothes
• Go up and downstairs
• Recognize a few letters from the alphabet
• Follow directions
• Hold a pencil
• Use the washroom
There are many ways you can foster the development of these skills. You can, for example, encourage them to form connections with other children their age, progressively let them get dressed on their own, and encourage them to express their emotions in constructive and non-disruptive ways.
If you feel your child isn’t quite ready when the time comes, ask the school to put you in contact with someone who can help, such as a psychologist or special educator. They’ll be able to provide advice, evaluate your child’s needs, and devise a plan to address concerns.