Lani on Life

Check on your friends with blended families

Since everything appears to be in retrograde (and I have no actual clue what that means), I’m finding my blended family as a serious source of stress these days. Being in a blended family brings about a set of challenges no one can prepare you for. As women, we always want to hold down the fort, not complain, and work through our issues in our own heads. It’s not the best solution, but it’s one we hold hands with time and time again. Just like all the internet meme’s are suggesting, “Check on your friends who______”. Check on your friends with blended families, they are not okay!

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If you’re thinking, “well you chose that life”, STOP! STOP! That is not how you check on your friends and support them. That is the complete opposite. We blended mama’s need support from our tribe to help press on towards great things for ourselves and our family. Here are some ways you can check on your friends (especially your blended family friends):

Be a supportive shoulder

Stepmoms are especially in need of a supportive shoulder to lean on. Not only are some of us biological moms, but we are also bonus moms that get to deal with bio and bonus issues. We don’t need the “girl that could never be me” friends rather the “I understand, you can do this” friends. The key is to be a positive support system when we don’t feel so positive. We genuinely love our girlfriends that are down to ride but in this case, we need you to talk us off the ledge, not stand on the ledge with us. So in other words, check on your friend by letting her vent, cry, scream and then give her some sound advice.

Encourage a positive outlet

Check on your friend by encouraging her to find a positive outlet. Many times when we get in a funk, we like to indulge in things that aren’t so positive (cue all the college stereotypes you can think of). But some of those activities give us the opportunity to revel in the funk rather than rid ourselves of it. Since we are someone’s mama, we need positive ways to blow off steam. Whatever you and your girlfriend are into, do that. I personally enjoy anything that involves water or logic puzzles. So some of these beautiful Florida beaches or any escape room in town would do it for me. In these stressful instances, it is OKAY not to hype your friend up.

So this year, keep your blended family friends uplifted in love, support, and encouragement. It only takes a moment to send a text message or call to check on your friends!

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

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How I’m Raising Confident Kids

In today’s world raising confident kids is difficult. Everywhere they look, there is something or someone telling them they are less than. Now, there are a lot of great people and places that are helping to build our children up, but we all know the negative takes hold much quicker than the positive. As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure we are those people. The people raising confident kids.

Lately, in our household, our kids have been adopting a defeatist attitude. As they are getting older, things are getting more difficult. Tasks that were once easy now need extra work to accomplish. My husband and I have noted that their frustration level and willingness to call it quits has increased. As two hardworking, go-getters, we decided that this attitude is not going to work in our household. So we sat down and talked about what we wanted to do to help our kids become more confident in themselves, and increase their perseverance.

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Positive Mantras and Affirmations

Speaking positivity over your life does wonders for us as adults to help change our circumstances. The same translates over to the littlest versions of ourselves. Saying these words aloud moves positivity to your brain, and then your heart. Although we believe in our children’s abilities, we cannot believe for them. They must believe for themselves even when no one else does in order to be successful in life. We have implemented written affirmations in our homeschool morning binder and this awesome youtube video for daily affirmations. If you are just starting this practice, it will be odd for your children but after a few days, they will be reminding you that they didn’t complete their positive mantras. This is a quick and easy way to ensure you are raising confident kids.

Family Crest and Creed

Another method we are using to raise confident kids is to create a family crest and creed. After attending a marriage conference at our church, this idea stuck with us, after being mentioned by one of the speakers. We are still in the infancy of this idea, but it will look something like this… as a family unit, we will create a crest and write our own creed. We will encourage each child to add an item to the crest that represents who they are. We’ll allow them to brainstorm the colors and overall design as a team. Then we will get the crest created and the creed printed to hang in the house. Our vision is to put this in a visible area, recite it as a family as often as possible, and redirect our kids to it when their attitudes don’t align to our expectations.

Compliments = Confident Kids

As parents, we often focus on the corrections our children need to make, or showing them the proper way to do things (myself included). So, making a conscious effort to compliment your child on something they do well can go a long way. It does not have to be a large task or accomplishment, but take notice and make it known. Think of yourself at work, when your boss notices that you have done something (no matter how small), it makes you feel confident in yourself and more likely to complete other goals. Compliments work the same for kids. The give them a moment to proud of themselves and encourages them to behave in ways that will warrant more compliments. Compliments create confident kids.

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What are you doing to help create confident kids in your household?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Summer Planning: School’s Out for Summer

It’s time for summer planning. The count down is on and school will be out for summer. If you are like me you are thankful to spend more time with your kids but you are also tired at the thought already.

How will I entertain my kids this summer?

How will I be able to feed my kids this summer without them eating the entire month’s groceries in a few days? Because… “can I have a snack?”

How will I keep my kids occupied this summer while maintaining my sanity?

Honestly, I don’t have all of the answers for you because I’m still attempting to figure out our summer life. This year I am making a conscious effort to focus on summer planning. One major thing I am going to implement this summer is a summer schedule. This will be my first year implementing such structure and I’m hoping it will go well.

As a blended family, schedules and routines can become super complicated super quickly. To help us ease into our summer schedule, we started with a “soft launch” by utilizing a morning “to-do” list. Each child has a list that is specific to them. I used this freebie template from another mom blogger. We’re still working on each kid following their list to fidelity, but it has already changed the game in our household.

Our summer schedule will be based on a “theme” for each day. This will allow both adults and children to know what is coming. These ideas are budget friendly and exactly what my family of 5 (family of 6 in the summer) needs! Some people think that schedules are rigid and set in stone. Our summer schedule is flexible and things will shift as necessary.

For example, our summer schedule may change because the library is hosting an event that we want to attend. But, I know we will visit the library each week to switch out books and to attend a program that my kids will enjoy. So, don’t be afraid to switch up the schedule from week to week or as necessary. Here is a look at one week of our activity schedule for the summer.

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I am excited to see the change planning out our summer has. In the past we have just let summer happen and it has weighed heavily on my sanity. You can download this cute little weekly schedule template (along with some other fruit template) in my TpT store for free to help you get started and stay organized.

Happy Summer planning 🙂

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

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Teaching Online: VIPKID

Teaching online had become a movement, to say the least. VIPKID is one of the major online ESL companies (I’m sure you’ve heard of it), boasting tens of thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students. Classroom teachers are using online teaching to supplement and replace their income. Stay at home parents are teaching online to bring in the extra dough. And professionals in all fields are looking for online teaching to help them in some way or another. If you’re not sure if you have what it takes to teach online, check this out before you proceed.

If you’ve already decided that teaching online is for you, and you want to try VIPKID then you are in the right place. So many people ask me questions about teaching with this company, and now all of your FAQ’s are here in one place.

Teach Online with VIPKID

Things I’ve “heard” about VIPKID

I hear booking are slow with VIPKID…

VIPKID is a great platform to work for. You have the potential to earn lots of money. There are a ton of teachers on the platform (about 60,000), so it may take you some time to see the booking come in (and it may not). Once you pass your interview, the best thing to do is to position yourself to attract parents and students to book classes with you. Having a mentor or coach to help you through the process seems to make all the difference.

Additionally, every company has both peak and off-peak times of the year. You can’t have all things at all times, but if you can build a strong base of regulars you will be less affected by these shifts.

I hear you have to be TESOL certified to teach …

This is true! But, if you do not have a TESOL certificate VIPKID now offers a certification course as a part of the onboarding process. If you wish to play on the online teaching field as an English teacher, you will need a certificate no matter which company you choose to work for. Certificates can be earned online at a reasonable price.

I heard it’s hard to get hired with VIPKID…

As one of the leaders in the online ESL industry, VIPKID does not take its hiring practices lightly. It is very possible to get hired, but you must be prepared and have the willingness to make it through the ever-evolving hiring process.

If you’re convinced that you have what it takes to educate the children of the world, I am here to help you! Fill out your application and send me an e-mail so I can coach you to online teaching success. I look forward to working with you and sharing your stories of success!

Keeping doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

Organizing your home office, if you work from home can be a task. But, if you work from home you also know how important it is to have a dedicated space for your work. If you’ve been following the blog, you know I quit my job a few months ago and went full time making money teaching online. 
Fortunately, my home has a dedicated office so organizing is just a TAD bit easier. But, if yours does not you still need a space that is organized and conducive to a positive work environment. 
Here is a quick peek at how I organize the work area of my home office. 
Quick and easy tips to organize your online classroom. Home office solutions made easy| Lani on Life

Rolling Organizer

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

The first step to organizing your work area is finding a place to hold all (or most) of your things. This is the holy grail of organizers. Every teacher on earth has this and if you don’t…get one! I simply organized it in order from most used to rarely used. My labels are just hand written sentence strips so that I can easily move and reorganize as necessary.

Photo Boxes

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

Inside my rolling organizer, I have photo boxes to store 2-D props. I have lots of flash cards for topics that come up frequently when working with students. Not all of the drawers have these inside, because some items need larger containers. These help my smaller props to stay nice and organized. I leave these containers unlatched so I can quickly get to the items I need and quickly put them back in place.

Oil Drip Pan

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

This is one of the best things in my classroom that allows me to stay organized. It is an oil drip pan (yes the kind used to change car oil). It allows me to store magnetic items like magnetic letters and numbers. Students don’t see this and I can easily reach over and grab a letter or the photo of my family without much effort. My teaching backdrop is also an oil drip pan (see the pic below) so I can stick up tons of props and rewards that my students can see throughout the class.

Alpha Chart

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office

Target dollar spot helps me to spend all of my money and keep my online classroom in my home office organized. This alphabet chart has a prop for every letter of the alphabet and is a nice way to organize it all. The bottom has two pockets. I keep alphabet flashcards there, but of course, you can keep whatever you need in there.

So there you have it, these are some of the simple ways I keep my online classroom and home office organized. My final tip for organizing your home office is to make sure you are not keeping things for the sake of keeping them. Clean out your space every couple of months to ensure you have a nice and productive working environment. If you are going to work from home you may as well make it space you love to be in.

Teaching Online: Organizing Your Home Office
Oil pan (covered with wrapping paper).

If you are thinking about teaching online with VIPKID or QKIDS and need help or advice getting through the process feel free to email me or reach out via social media.

Until next time, Happy organizing!

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Quick and easy tips to organize your online classroom. Home office solutions made easy| Lani on Life

Teaching Online: Make Money at Home

For the last year and a half, I have been teaching online to make money at home. This is the thing that allowed me to quit my job two months ago. Teaching online has provided me with freedom like no other. Not only do I get to still do what I love (teach), but I also get to be there for my family, and pursue other ventures as well. The online education industry is large, and so many people across the globe make money teaching online.

Want to try teaching online? Online teaching allowed me to quit my "day job". Get an overview of what it takes to be an online teacher part or full time.

At this point, most people have heard about the huge companies that employ hundreds of thousands of people and, I work for some of them. Yes, I said some (you can’t put all your eggs in one basket)! Two of my favorites are VIPKID and QKIDS. I’m not here to tell you to quit your job and become an online educator, I’m just here to share how I make money teaching online.

Be[come] A Morning Person

The first thing I had to work on as a teacher was becoming a “morning person”. Now let’s be clear, I am not the happiest woman in the morning but my eyes are open and I can function. Your version of a “morning person” may be different. Either way, you have to be able to get yourself up and moving early in the morning if you want to make money teaching online. Many of my clients are in a different time zone, therefore I must get up early to accommodate them. Now, if you absolutely cannot do it, there is still money to be made during “normal hours”, but just know it may not happen as quickly for you.

Schedule Accordingly

Want to try teaching online? Online teaching allowed me to quit my "day job". Get an overview of what it takes to be an online teacher part or full time.

Another thing that helped me transition to being an online educator and make money teaching on line was to schedule my life accordingly. You have to get really good at scheduling and balancing multiple schedules. As I shared earlier, I work for a few different companies, have private tutoring students, and have a family. So, I have to be pretty adept at ensuring all my schedules mesh well together. If you are working for a company that has great bookings in the early mornings, go for it. But, don’t forget to take that half hour off to take the kids to school (or whatever else you need to do). It’s very easy to get carried away and want to teach all the classes all the time, don’t do it! You will get burned out, be extremely tired, and unable to enjoy the important things in your life. It’s cool to set your own schedule but don’t get carried away.

Be A Bomb Teacher

Once you get hired as an independent contractor, now is your time to shine! From that point forth it is up to you to perfect your craft and become a bomb teacher. Both companies I mentioned above provide training and guidance to help you hone your teaching skills. If you are coming from the traditional classroom you will have a slight advantage, but online teaching is a different beast. One easy way to be a great teacher is to get yourself organized and ready before bookings start coming in. Students come in our traditional classroom without any effort on our parts. In the online world, you are selling your personality and your expertise, so be the best you can be.

Get Paid for Teaching Online

This is everyone’s favorite part of online teaching. But remember, you have to have your house in order before you reach this point. Most online ESL companies pay out once a month (some do have other options). Each company has its own payment system and pay varies based on several factors, including your education and teaching experience. Some people make a few hundred, while others make a few thousand. Just like any other business, you have the opportunity to earn more if you can give more time to your craft.

If you are thinking about teaching online with VIPKID or QKIDS and need help or advice getting through the process feel free to email me or reach out via social media.

Good luck on your teaching journey!

Want to try teaching online? Online teaching allowed me to quit my "day job". Get an overview of what it takes to be an online teacher part or full time.

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani