Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling: Finding a Homeschool Group

If you're thinking about homeschooling, your first concern is probably how your kid will ever see other kids. It's normal to worry about feeling isolated and not knowing what to do or where to go, but don't. Your kid will be socialized, I promise. I was homeschooled from 5th grade all the way through high school, and I struggle more with maintaining adult relationships now than I ever did with friendships then, and trust me, it has nothing to do with the fact that I was homeschooled. Homeschooling has changed so much in the 10 years since I was homeschooled. While the resources are still a bit lacking, there are definitely more families homeschooling now for more of a variety of reasons. Whatever your reason may be, whether your jumping in for preschool or high school, starting out can be daunting and hard. The first thing you'll want to do is find a good group, which may offer classes, get togethers, and field trips.

Mommy Poppins hopes to become a great resource for homeschool families, so stay tuned for our series of articles on different homeschooling topics.

September GoList: The Best Things to Do With Kids in Westchester

September is here, summer is winding down and a new school year is upon us. Not to worry, the fun doesn't end with the final days of summer. In fact, there are so many fantastic events for families in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, it was hard to narrow down our favorites!

Prolong outdoor time with any of the many festivals, including the Cider & Donut FestivalCORNucopia and the annual Fall Harvest Festival. The diverse cultural offerings this month are numerous, including a family performance of Sesame Street Live Elmo Makes Music. For a sportier special event, catch the prestigious American Gold Cup.

Beyond these, there are many reasons to keep tabs on our Event Calendar this month, where you’ll find activities that celebrate Labor Day, the return to school, Grandparents Day and the start of autumn, among other occasions. Stay in the know with our FREE newsletters and check back frequently for updates.

Grab your calendar, get ready for a great time and read on for our favorite things to do with kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley this month!

Drama Classes for Kids in Fairfield County, CT

Multiple Choice.  Your child: A) confuses all sources of light with limelight, B) is woefully shy, but shocked everyone (not least of all, you) with his breakout performance at last year's Christmas pageant, or C) doesn't enjoy physical/mental activity of the sporting sort.  If you chose A, B or C, drama lessons might be the plot twist your child's after-school routine needs!  Actually, an expert in Parents magazine this month explains any kid can benefit from a little drama, saying "one landmark study found children involved in the arts for nine hours a week are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement."  That's the sort of return on results you want before investing in another extracurricular activity. We've researched the group classes, but many of the studios in Fairfield County also offer private lessons for those super-dedicated to their craft! Check out our Classes and Activities Guide for even more after school fun!

100 Things to Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

We might be biased, but we think New York state has it all for families. From the gorgeous Hamptons beaches to the rugged state forests, serene lakes, and deafening Niagara Falls to the culture and arts found in New York City on up through the river towns and beyond—we feel pretty lucky.

Plus, we’re pretty good at making delicious food items from ramen burgers and bagels to ice cream, and even wine at family-friendly vineyards on Long Island and through the Finger Lakes. There are children’s museums galore. Kids have no shortage of water and theme parks, cool playgrounds, zoos, outdoor art, and nature, of course.

And yet, the thing about childhood is that it’s finite. The kids grow up, maybe move away. Sniff, sniff. We want to soak up every moment. So we put together this list of 100 of our favorite things to do around New York, from upstate and the Adirondacks to Long Island and NYC. We collected suggestions from the many Mommy Poppins contributors, past and former, to fuse it all together just for you (OK, for us, too). Whether you're planning a long-weekend getaway or a family day trip, you're sure to find some ideas here. Enjoy!

September GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

Sure, it may feel like the only place to "Go" this month is school, but there are actually some really fun New Jersey events in September that you might not want to miss. As always, we've chosen our favorites, so shake off the back-to-school blues and dance with Peppa Pig, take selfies with the Merrel Twins, and even swim with some happy (wet) dogs. And for even more September fun, check out our post on September Fairs and Festivals.

Be Cool: Bond with Teens & Tweens at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills

With a tween and a teen in the household, it’s not easy for my family to find activities we can all get excited about. And planning a trip together? Fugghedaboudit. However, we recently discovered the sweet spot where we can adventure together as a family and have plenty of space for relaxing at the end of the day (because, as we’re learning, teens need LOTS of space): Hunter Mountain in New York’s Catskills. With an itinerary of ziplining, hiking, swimming, Skyriding and lounging in our suite, we were all very happy campers. There’s much on Hunter Mountain and in the surrounding area to appeal to both parents and older kids. Here are some highlights, including outdoor adventures, special dining-shopping hybrids and ample opportunities to chill out (or whatever the kids say these days).

5 Educational After School Programs for Philadelphia Kids and Teens

The school year is upon us, which, for some, means normalcy is returning. For those who work late and need to extend school hours, or for kids interested in further pursuing their passion for science or the arts, after school programs are great. These programs are the perfect way to keep kids entertained in those late afternoon hours while continuing to further their education. Keep those brains working a little longer with some of these awesome programs.

Weekday Picks: Pretend City, Hollywood Bowl & New California Incline, Aug 29 - Sept 2

While summer may well be winding down and the kids may well be back in school, there are still outdoorsy things to do—so go do them! The Hollywood Bowl honors 400 years of the Bard with Shakespeare at the Bowl this week; actors from the great playwright’s very own Globe Theatre in London perform scenes accompanied by music inspired by his works, including my personal favorite, Nino Rota’s soundtrack to Romeo and Juliet. In other amphitheaters, this is also the final week of Orange County's summer staple, The Pageant of the Masters.

If the "theatah" feels too high falutin’, break on through to the pop culture side at the Redondo Beach Pier, where Doors tribute band Strange Days can light your fire.

The El Segundo Museum of Art, or ESMoA (not sure how it’s pronounced but it is kind of an arty monniker), hosts Tinkertopia. This drop in design and build evening is free for kids and their adult; and it makes good, artistic use of recycled materials. 

And finally, if you've been feeling the pain of the California Incline closure, the re-opening this week is celebrated with a once-in-a-lifetime pedestrian-only ramp party.

As always, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the Little Red Lighthouse Festival. But there are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a kite festival in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a sweet honey celebration in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro. There's also farm fun and even more kiddie rides.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

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