Holidays

Gifts for Homeschoolers

Gifts for homeschoolers can be a lot of fun to buy.  Typically, homeschoolers travel outside of the mainstream in wants.  Since they are not around a ton of like-aged kids the peer-pressure element tends to lessen.  The desire for name brand clothes and shoes seems to be a bit less (my kids wouldn’t know the difference between generic sports shorts and Under Armor and my pocketbook is happy).  Often they are unaware of the “it” toys.  Homeschoolers tend to be a bit of a different breed when it comes to gifting.

Homeschooling is very tailored to the child(ren) often you are buying things year round.  Often the children have very specific wants that may not be obvious because they may be learning about a certain topic and be all-in.  It is really best to chat with the parents to find out instead of just grabbing the hard-to-get item of the year.  There are really good odds the kiddo has no idea what it is.  So, if you don’t already have a list a mile long of “things to buy” (I have an Amazon list just for homeschool books!) then here are some sure-fire options for the little homeschooler in your life.


Subscriptions

There seems to be a subscription or magazine for everything these days.  Some of the best-reviewed ones are (almost all have a discount code available for the first box, definitely check for current ones before ordering):

1. Amazon STEM Toy Club
($19.99/ month): STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) toys are sent each month, you can choose the age range that would be appropriate and they will handpick STEM toys and send them each month.

2. BitsBox (from $19.95/ month): For ages 6+, teaches kids to code by delivering insanely fun app-building projects in the mail every month. Kids code their projects on the Bitsbox website and their apps work on any device with a web browser.

3. Creation Crate (from $22.49/ month): Teaches you electronics, coding and high-level problem-solving. For ages 12-75. They say, “Once you receive all 12 badges you will have more hands-on programming experience than 99% of current college-level computer science students.”

4. Groovy Lab in a Box (from $24.95/ month): For ages 8+, blends Scientific Inquiry and the Engineering Design Process, which allows children to create ingenious inventions, enhance critical problem-solving skills and have FUN!

5. History Unboxed ($19.99/ month): For ages 5-young adult. You will receive a welcome box including an interactive timeline poster; A welcome letter and coloring sheet; A time capsule kit to create your own historic memento; A worksheet to help students understand how to read a timeline; A Family Tree kit for exploring your student’s personal history.  Subsequently, then each month you will receive a new box exploring a different place in time, according to the era you selected. Each box contains an age-specific coloring sheet; 1-2 (very!) high-quality crafts; A sticker for your timeline; 2-3 items of additional enrichment material.

6. Ivy Kids ($39/ month): For children ages 3-8, the kits are developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. The goal is to provide monthly resources and tools to parents and caregivers looking to have more meaningful learning experiences with their children. Each month you will receive a kit containing more than ten activities based on a classic children’s book.

7. National Geographic Kids Explorers Club by Pley (previously the Junior Explorers Club) (from 17.99/ month): For ages 5-11. Each month your child embarks on a virtual adventure to a different ecosystem to solve a mystery that teaches them about that habitat and the wildlife that lives there.

8. The Magic School Bus Science Club ($19.99/ month): For ages 5-12.  This one is perfect for fans of the show.  Each month children will explore science through exciting and thrilling experiments that will spark an interest and curiosity in science.

9. Kiwi Co. Crates (from $24.90/ month): Kiwi Co. has monthly “crates” curated to specific age groups. Cricket is from 24-36 month (soon to expand to 4 months and up) and is designed for the youngest kids to explore and discover.  Koala is for ages 3-4 with hands-on play and learning. Kiwi combines science and art for ages 5-8 and will include a maker project and more.  For ages 9-16+ there are two options Doodle Crate, which focuses on art & design, or Tinker Crate, which focuses on science and engineering.  The entire line is well reviewed and comprehensive.


Memberships

10. Museums: Nearly every city has a museum for a kid.  Fortunately, here in Houston we have a ton of museums so you can pick and choose to suit your child’s interest.  The more common ones are Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Children’s Museum of Houston. But, we have some great more specific Museums like the Lone Star Flight Museum or Space Center Houston and more. Check out our extensive list of museums for other ideas.

11. Zoos:  Not many kiddos wouldn’t love a zoo membership (and someone to take them!).  This basically sells itself.

12. Sports & Athletics:  Many sports themed businesses offer memberships.  Here in Houston, there are several Rock Climbing Gyms, Ninja Warrior Gyms, Parkour, Crossfit Kids, and more that offer memberships for kids.



Handwork & Modeling

13. Knitting:  Knitting is a great skill for kids to hone their hand-head connection.  There are a lot of kits and books to get you started. And, using something like a loom or a knitting nancy is a great way to ease them in. It is an excellent skill for boys, too! Don’t forget extra yarn!

14. Clay: Again, something kids can work with their hands is a great option. There is always play-doh, but for something more permanent modeling clay is a great next step. You can start with a tub of air dry and some simple tools and move on from there if it is something your child enjoys.



15. Models: The sky is the limit here.  Models, as a hobby, can be as simple as a 3d puzzle to the more complex models like cars, buildings, and recreations.


Building Toys

Some of our favorite building toys are:

16. LegoIf you’re kid is into it they probably already have a very specific list…

17. BlocoHigh density foam and connectors are used to build fun creatures!

18. Trio: Trio blocks are the most fun discontinued toy around.  If you see someone selling these at a yard sale or online pick them up, they are great! They’re similar to mathlink cubes but have the fun spin of lego with branding and connectors, wheels, etc.

19. Straw and Connectors:  The Children’s Musuem of Houston has a table full of these downstairs, they’re great!

20. Rockets: I’m not sure if this is a model or a build, but either way shooting things into the sky is always a popular past time!



21. Books

So many books so little time! Here are some favorites:

Toddler: Board books by Byron Barton.  Personal faves are Planes, Trucks, Trains, and Boats.

Pre-K & Kindergarten: Here are 493 Options!  But, if you don’t want the whole list Strega Nona by Tonie dePaola is great.  As is, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, and The Story of Ferdinand by Munroe Leaf.

Elementary:  Little House on the Prairie Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie, The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit.
    

 

Pre-Teens: By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman, Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

 

Teens: Beauty by Robin McKinley, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, Men of Iron by Howard Pyle, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Just David by Eleanor H. Porter, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

For the Teacher

22. Laser Printer – If she doesn’t lust for a laser printer is she really a homeschooler? Seriously, the amount of printing and ink consumed in this chosen endeavour is astronomical.  With the cost of ink, I sometimes think it would just be cheaper to buy a new printer everytime I run out of ink!  I do like having the scan and copy function too so let’s swing for fences and go all in on this.  If I were buying for myself I would choose the Canon.

23. Laminator – Another gadget I love is my laminator.  Particularly if you are teaching your way through multiple children and you want to be able to reuse things – laminating is the way to go.  I don’t think they make the one I personally have but this 3-in-1 by Blusmart has awesome reviews and actually includes the two add-ons I would have suggested – a paper trimmer and corner rounding punch.  Mind. Blown.  It also seems compatible with the Scotch laminating pouches that are sold everywhere.

24. Something not “School Related”

As homeschoolers, it is sometimes hard not to find the opportunity to learn in everything we do.  Sometimes the kiddos just want some dinky hard plastic migraine-inducing noisy toy.  Get it for them.  Just one.

25. Stocking Stuffers

Stockings are a prime place to load up on pencils, pens, Crayons, colored pencils, dry erase markers, markers, glue, Play-Doh, and for more ideas check out our suggestions for the Best Stocking Suffers!

 

Did your favorites make our list?  Do you have other ideas? Share below and Happy Holidays!




Sometimes it’s Nice to Peruse a Curated List – Oprah is Here to Help and we’ve Picked our Top Ten

Does it make us seasoned to say, “I remember watching Oprah’s Favorite Things on TV?”  Maybe, but no matter how big or small the items are Oprah’s list has become a holiday staple.  This year she has chosen 102 gifts. I’m pretty impressed. I can usually only come up with my kids when people ask what my favorite things are.

She, of course, includes a book,  she wrote, and her podcast (Free).  There are a lot of things on this list that you might want to buy for Margaret, from HR, whose name you got for Secret Santa.  The problem with a lot of the bath salts, lotions, and candles and that sort is that they’re all $50ish.  Unless you are up on your luxury candles brands when people purchase less common brands that people are less familiar with then you may as well have just picked up a fancy candle for $4.99 from Home Goods.

Oprah’s Favorite Things list also includes a fair amount of food by mail.  There are cookies and pies, even turkeys and a 5lb. box of blueberries (that’s a lot of superfood), but I propose that if you are going to buy such things to try to support a local small business. This is their bread and butter and, at the prices Oprah’s vendors are charging, you won’t be saving any money.

Amidst all the fluff there are some really nice ideas. I can appreciate a list that includes no less than three different types of stretchy, comfy pants and several PJ options.  We’ve scoured the list and weeded out the best options from Oprah’s Favorite Things List. If your interested in the full list in order from least to most expensive continue down below the slider.  Otherwise, let’s go shopping!

GHM’s Top 16 Picks of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2017 List






The Complete 2017 List from $-$$$

Interested in what else is on Oprah’s Favorite Things List for 2017?  There are no less than 102 options and here they are from least to most expensive.  Many of these can be used in conjunction with the promo code OPRAH. Happy gift giving!

FreeSuperSoul Conversations Podcast 

$10-40 – Buffalo Plaid Holiday Family Jammies 

$13 – The Greatest Showman

$13-25 – Pudus Classics Red Plaid Lumberjack Slipper Socks

$15 – Letters to Me, When I Grow Up 

$15 – Eccolo A Great Thought a Day Notepads

$16 – Charger and Earbud Cases  

$18-25 – Madd Capp Puzzles I AM Animals Puzzles 

$20 – “Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations” by Oprah Winfrey

$20 – Honey Can Do Herb Preserver

$20 – Crema da Mano Luxe 

$22 – Center Stage Reading Sunglasses 

$23-25 – Corkcicle Stemless

$25 – Pint-Sized Cuties Baby Bodysuits 

$29.50 – Gallery Ruffle and Lurex Stripe Gloves 

$30  – My Audio Pet Mini Bluetooth Animal Wireless Speaker with True Wireless Stereo Technology 

$32-78 – O! Wow and O! Brushes

$33 – Stephanie Johnson Havana Folding Mirrors

$35 – Harry Barker Sweet Check Gift Set

$35 – Model Bakery English Muffin Set

$35 – W&P Design Cheese Knife 

$35 – The Good Hurt Fuego: A Hot Sauce Lover’s Gift Set

$35 – Corroon Sungkay Puffy Kits

$33.50-80 – Greenberg Smoked Turkey 

$36 – Organic Pure Vermont Maple Syrup in Swing-Top Bottle with Wooden Gift Box

$36 – Clif Family Preserves 

$39-42 – Kerber’s Farm Pies (KerbersFarm.com)

$40 – Dahlia Shower Caps

$40 – Orbit Card  (findorbit.com)

$45Gratitude Glass Jar

$45 – Maman Holiday Trio 12-Cookie Gift Box 

$48 – Grace Earring Post Quint 

$48 – Tinware Mugs 

$49 – Scented Candles by Joya 


$50 – Asobu Insulated Portable Brewer

$50 – Taylor 11-Pound Weighing Bowl and Scale

$50-60 – Caroline’s Cakes 

$50 – K+M Extravirgin Chocolate Four-Pack Gift Box

$50 – Rare Hawaiian Honey Maui Gift Box (RareHawaiianHoney.com)

$50 – Ichendorf Tonda and Rings Cruet Set

$50Footnanny Home Fresh Linen Gift Set 

$50 – Josh Pond Farm Organic Blueberries 

$50 – Lollia by Margot Elena Dream Bubble Bath

$50 – Gourmia GSI180 Automatic Healthy Frozen Dessert Maker

$50-60 – Women’s Flannel Shirts 

$52 – Alegria Rectangular Trays with Handles 

$55 – Truffle Seasoning Collection 

$60 – Mayberry Sheepskin Slides 

$60-100 – Harbour Trading Co. Sea-to-Table Meal Kits 

$60 – Cacao Cuvee Six-Piece Galapagos Holiday Gift Box

$60 – 150 – L’OBJET Bath Salts 

$66 – The Magnolia Company Medium-Size Southern Magnolia and Olive Trees

$69 – Prepd Pack Lunchbox

$69 – Centerville Pies Signature Chicken Pie 

$75-285 – Tequila Blanco and Joven 

$78-128 – Iconic and Mallory RFID All-in-One Cross-Bodies 

$79 – Bellocq Chai Gift Set: Canyon Chai and Hindu Holiday

$80 – Stackable Lacquer Jewelry Boxes and Trays 

$85 – Puffy Coatology Scarves 

$87.50-110.50 – Montes Doggett Small and Large Server Trays 

$89 – Double Pear Drop Earrings 

$91-201Novelty Cottage, Dutch Colonial, and Clubhouse Birdhouses

$94 – Stretch Snuggle Loungers 

$98-102 – Active Compression Full-Length Leggings, Spanx

$99 – DNA Test-Ancestry Personal Genetic Service 

$99 – Janis Savitt Double Cobra Bracelets




$100 The Perfect Press 

$105 – Long Sleeved V-neck T-shirts 

$119 Snurk Twin-Size Duvet Sets 

$120 – Beehive Fatwood Crock and Bag 

$120 – Patchwork Memory Bear 

$124 – NYDJ Gift of Fit

$125 – Explorer Hat 

$125 – Katz’s Deli Complete Three-Course Dinner for Four 

$128 – Buffalo Check and Sydney Herringbone Stripe Throw

$128 – Lark & Ro Cashmere Off-The-Shoulder Sweaters

$130 – Midi Perf Slip-On Sneakers

$130-135Luxe Milk Jersey Piped Pajama Sets 

$132-136  – Smooshshirts and Smooshpants 

$135Sorel Slimpack 1964 Boots

$150BeatsX Earphones

$150 – BakerStone Original Pizza Oven Box Kit 

$150 – Butter London All the Jewels 

$178 – Banner Tear-Away Track Pants 

$185 – LSA International Paddle Collection Vodka Serving Set

$199GoBone 

$199 – Yellow Leaf Signature Classic Double Hammocks 

$199 – Air-Fryer Toaster Oven 

$229Echo Show

$230 – N1 Series Six-Piece Knife and Acacia Block Set

230 – 300 The Sleep Shirt Blue Oxford Stripe Sleep Shirts

$240+ – Hum by Verizon

$245 – Classic Long Vests 

$249Julep Beauty It’s Whipped Limited Edition Lip Vault

$270 – Ninja Intelli-Sense System with Auto Spiralizer

$270 –Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9500 Series

$298 – Neely & Chloe Market Totes

$299Contact-Free Snoring Solution 

$400 – Seville Tri-Ply Ten-Piece Cookware Set 

$475-495 – Hunter Women’s Original Fitted Down Coats

$599 – Creatista Plus Nespresso 

$1200 – Real, Gramercy, and Studio City Commuter Step-Through Bicycles

$2200+ – The Frame 55-Inch TV and Bezel Frame