Author Archives: Sallie

Saying No to Church Pressures

Saying “No” to Church Pressures

 

Saying No to Church Pressures

Belonging to the body of Christ can be one of the most wonderful aspects of our lives. And belonging to the body of Christ can truly be one of the most difficult or even worst parts of our experience on earth. In this age of interconnectedness, our belonging to the body of Christ isn’t just limited to our local congregation. We can also be impacted by online relationships with other Christians around the world. So what do we do with pressures that come from being a part of the church? How do we say “no” to church pressures?

You are probably expecting some long explanation of all the things that can go wrong in a church setting and examples of these church pressures. I’m not going to do that. We all have experienced enough of that already and there is no reason to rehash all the negative. (If you truly have no idea what I’m talking about, count yourself extremely blessed.)

When it comes down to it, saying “no” to church pressures means basically one thing: Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.

It means not listening to people who try to steal your freedom in Christ.

It means not listening to those who try to draw you into their rigid rules and legalistic schemes.

It means not listening to anyone who teaches Jesus plus something else no matter how great that something else might seem.

It means, at times, stepping back and separating your relationship with Jesus from the local body or church. Even if this means leaving the church without somewhere else to go. Yes, sometimes it is necessary to leave a church in order to save your relationship with Christ.

While the body of Christ is found in the local church, not every local church or church member is a part of the body of Christ. There are many unregenerate people out there sitting in the pews and even standing in the pulpit who have no idea what it means to truly belong to Christ. There are many people who present a form of godliness, but there is no life and no Jesus in it.

I suspect you can trace almost every church pressure we experience in life back to a lack of focus Jesus and what He accomplished for us on the cross and in his resurrection. It is Jesus plus something else. Or in some cases there’s no Jesus in it at all.

Fellow believers who truly love you and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit will not feel compelled to control you and your spiritual life. Anyone who is trying to control you, manipulate you or shame you into anything church related should be avoided like the plague. In fact, even more than the plague because the plague only destroys the body. Those people will seek to destroy your soul.

This post is part of my 5 Days of Saying “No” series.

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Easy Winter Writing Project Ideas nad Writing Prompts

Easy Winter Writing Project Ideas and Writing Prompts

Easy Winter Writing Project Ideas and Writing Prompts

Winter offers so many great opportunities for creative writing projects! If you are looking for something to add a little variety to your writing time, here are some easy winter writing project ideas and writing prompts to encourage developing writing skills.

Cabin Fever Idea List

Brainstorm fun activities that can be done inside when the weather is too bad to go out. Create a list, type it up and display it somewhere in the home for when you need inspiration!

Winter Sticker Stories

Kids love stickers and they can be a great way to promote writing! Give your child a sheet of winter-themed stickers such as snowmen. As she writes, she can substitute one of the stickers each time she wants to use the word.

Winter Word Search

Brainstorm a list of winter-related words and write them on a piece of paper. Give your child a piece of graph paper and have her make a word search complete with a list of the words used in the word search. Give it to a sibling or parent to complete.

Or if you just want print and go word searches, check out my Winter Days – 10 Themed Word Search Puzzles.

SB-Winter-Days-Word-Search-COVER-010313

Winter Shoebox Diorama

Have your child choose one of the writing prompts below and write a short composition. Then have her create a shoebox diorama that illustrates part of the written piece. Attach the composition to the top of the box and display.

Winter Themed Writing Prompts

Here are some fun writing prompts your child might enjoy.

Winter Writing Prompts

•    When Will It Snow?
•    Too Much Snow!
•    The Case of the Backwards Footprints
•    Feeding the Squirrels When I Meant to Feed the Birds
•    The Toboggan Race
•    The Disappearing Mittens
•    The Day My Snowman Came to Life!

Winter Sports Writing Prompts

•    The Ice Skating Disaster
•    Racing Down Big Thrill Hill
•    The Day I Thought I Could Snowboard
•    Ice Fishing Rescue!
•    Runaway Snowmobile!

Polar Creatures Lapbook

If you have a reluctant writer, he/she might enjoy this Polar Creatures Lapbook! It is designed for minimal writing for children who struggle to write, but it is full of great information!

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Graphic credit

Saying No to Homeschool Pressures

Saying “No” to Homeschool Pressures

Saying No to Homeschool Pressures

If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you know that it comes with its own set of pressures. Choosing a homeschool philosophy, curriculum, how you structure your day, and outside activities can all bring out very strong opinions amongst homeschoolers. Those are the external pressures. There are also internal pressures. Let’s look at some of the external and internal pressures homeschoolers often experience. Then we’ll explore a few ideas for saying “no” to homeschool pressures.

External Homeschool Pressures

We’ve all experienced the external homeschool pressures. Which ones below apply to you?

Family and Friends

These can fall either way. They can be the people who secretly want you to fail because they think homeschooling is the most ridiculous idea ever and you are going to ruin your child. Or they can be the people who put pressure on you to be absolutely perfect and, in turn, try to put pressure on your children to perform whenever you are around them.

Competitive and Helicopter Homeschool Moms

Think competitive and helicopter moms only exist in the public and private schools? Think again. Competitive moms and helicopter moms exist in the homeschool world. They seem to especially like to hang out in online forums, Facebook pages and co-ops where they make sure everyone knows their child is the most awesome child ever and they are the best homeschool mom to ever walk the face of the earth.

Homeschool Know-it-alls

These could be bloggers, people in your church, people in your co-op or anyone else who has determined exactly what is and is not acceptable for all homeschoolers. They will tell you the only acceptable way to homeschool (Charlotte Mason, Classical, unschool, etc.). They will make clear the only way to schedule your day. They will set up detailed plans of how you should run your home and homeschool because they have it all figured out. Woe be unto any newbie homeschooler who dares question what they say.

Homeschool Theological Know-it-alls

These folks take the know-it-all to the next level because they not only tell you how you should homeschool, but they present what they believe are air-tight cases from the Bible that prove their every point. They are especially adept at talking but not listening.

Large Family Advocates

For some reason, there is a vocal group of homeschoolers who think that Christian = large families. If you are a Christian and not homeschooling a large family you have totally missed the boat. They can be quite aggressive.

Adoption Advocates

Although I think this has lessened in the past year or two, there has been a very vocal group of homeschoolers pushing for adoption, especially overseas adoption. And not just pushing. But basically saying if you don’t adopt an overseas child in need you must not love Jesus and you certainly aren’t following the directions from the Bible about caring for orphans.  In this case, it is Christian = multiple overseas adoptions.

So we ultimately end up with Christian = homeschool a large family with multiple overseas adoptions.

When you are a Christian homeschooler with a large family that includes multiple overseas adoptions, you have pretty much reached the pinnacle of Christian homeschooling perfection.

(In which case I am a miserable failure with my home-grown only child.)

Internal Homeschool Pressures

The pressures aren’t limited to the external. Let’s face it. We put plenty of pressure on ourselves. What kinds?

Perfectionism and Procrastination

Many people who struggle with perfectionism are well aware of that trait in themselves. But did you know procrastination is a symptom of perfectionism for some people? Whichever end of the perfectionism spectrum you fall, perfectionism can be a huge internal pressure for homeschoolers.

Have you purchased the perfect curriculum? Maybe not? Better get a different one. Have you signed your kids up for the right number of activities? Should they do more? Less? Different ones? The list is endless of things homeschool parents can obsess over in their desire to give their children the best. homeschool. experience. EVER.

Fear

There isn’t a conscientious homeschooler alive who hasn’t been gripped by an overwhelming sense of fear at least one time.

Fear that we’re ruining our kids.

Fear that our kids won’t get what they need academically.

Fear we’re doing it all wrong.

Fear that people will find out your kids actually like learning with textbooks.

There’s a lot of things that could cause us to fear.

I’m personally convinced that being gripped by momentary fear at least once in a while is an indicator you are probably doing a good job. It means you sincerely care about your child’s education and that’s a good thing. But we should never live in fear.

Saying “No” to Homeschool Pressures

So how do we say no to these pressures? We do it by regularly reminding ourselves of these important truths.

Every Child is Different

This is the bottom line. Every single child is different. There is no one way to homeschool effectively. Period. Tell yourself that every day if you have to. The more we focus on the idea that every child is different and every homeschool experience should look different, the sooner the homeschool pressures will dissipate. Some children learn differently. Some children are right-brained. Every child has unique needs, including yours.

Every Family is Different

The only correct way to homeschool your family is the way that means your children learn and you have healthy relationships in your home. How you get that done is up to you. For us it has meant adjusting expectations even to the point of homeschooling in the afternoon instead of the morning.

It doesn’t matter a bit what Superstar Homeschool Mom at co-op is doing with her kids. They don’t live in your home. And God didn’t give your kids to her. He gave them to you.

Praying and Seeking Direction

Homeschooling your children is one of the biggest challenges you will probably undertake in your life. It’s a huge deal. So we should definitely be praying and seeking direction from the Holy Spirit as we plan, teach, and disciple our children. We can scour the internet for information, ask for input in forums, and try to reason it out on our own. But asking the Lord to direct our steps in the midst of it will bring the best results and the most confidence as we move forward.

 

This post is part of my 5 Days of Saying “No” series.

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Saying No Holiday Pin

Saying “No” to Holiday Pressures

Saying No to Holiday Pressures

So how were your holidays? Were they enjoyable? Meaningful? Special?

Or were they (as Peggy called hers in a comment on another post) a “tightly-choreographed death march”?

Did you and your family end up stressed, sick or burned out?

Were you so busy doing the things you felt obligated to do that you didn’t do the things that truly mean the most?

Holidays often take on a life of their own. If there is any time of year that ramps up the obligation train, it is Christmas. But it can also be true of other holidays:

  • Easter
  • Halloween
  • Children’s birthdays
  • Valentine’s Day

(For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on Christmas in this post since it tends to be the most challenging one. But much of what we discuss here will carry over to other holidays.)

Holiday Expectations and Making Changes

The holidays can bring out all kinds of expectations amongst friends, relatives, school, church and other organizations. If you don’t have a firm grip on it, it can quickly spiral out of control.

The good news is it is definitely possible to make changes.

The bad news is your holidays will probably look a lot like your life the other eleven months of the year. If your life is too full and lacks margin, so will your holidays.

The good news is that you have ten months to start implementing changes.

The bad news is if you wait until Christmas approaches in October or November it will be too late. You’ll risk rebellion and meltdowns from people who don’t want to change.

So let’s consider how to go about changing your holidays starting today so you can say “no” to holiday pressures and “yes” to what would truly mean the most. I realize that some of this is going to sound radical, especially if you live the standard American no-margin life the rest of the year, but it really does take some significant choices to go against the strong tide.

Your First Obligation

Your first obligation is to your own family. It isn’t to your child’s school, the extended family you rarely see, or even your church. Your first obligation is to care for the members of your family.

I remember a co-worker telling me years ago that he and his wife decided that little boys needed to be in their own beds on Christmas Eve. That meant he and his wife were at home away from their own families for Christmas Eve and Christmas. They celebrated with the grandparents and others on different days. Might this be a difficult choice to make? Yes. But they did what they felt was best for their own family.

When making decisions about the holidays, think of what your children truly need. Do they need to attend seven Christmas parties in five days? How can you change things to make this a better situation for your entire family?

Stress and Sickness at Christmas

It is the rare family that avoids stress and its twin sister, sickness, during the holidays. But stress and sickness do not have to be a part of holidays.

There are three factors to consider here. One, how much sleep is your family getting? Two, how much sugar and garbage are they eating that is suppressing their immune system? Third, how much time are you spending around large groups of people where germs abound?

While no one can guarantee escaping all sickness during the holidays, you can greatly reduce the chance of it by making sure you are all getting enough sleep, eating as well as possible, and avoiding groups of people unless absolutely necessary.

Decide What Truly Matters

I wrote about 3 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas (Without Driving Yourself Crazy) for Bright Ideas Press in which I described some of the ways we keep our Christmas simple and Christ-centered. Our Christmas is really quiet and simple. It’s an outgrowth of the life we choose to live on a daily basis.

Do I sometimes wish we had more parties to go to, more family to celebrate with and so on? Yes, sometimes. But would I change it? No, I honestly wouldn’t. The things that bring us the most joy during Christmas are the simple, homey activities that cost very little but bring lots of delight. The same things that matter to us every day of the year are the same things that matter at Christmas. Because we’ve spent time making big changes to our lives over the past several years, it is much easier to celebrate a Christmas season that reflects the same values.

Holiday Pressures and Regular Life Pressures

When it comes down to it, holiday pressures are basically regular life pressures dressed up in paper and ribbons. By that I mean that your holidays will reflect the life you choose to live the rest of the year. If you find yourself increasingly unhappy with the holiday pressures you are succumbing to each year, it will probably be helpful to look at your everyday life first. If you can get a handle on the pressures of regular life, handling holiday pressures will be that much easier.

Starting the Conversation

Now is a great time to start the conversation. Ask your family what they liked about this past Christmas. Ask them what they didn’t enjoy. Ask them what they would change or what they wish would happen. Ask them what they would think if your family decided to (insert some significant change here). You might be surprised by the answers you get.

By starting the conversation now you can draw on the recent events while they are still fairly fresh in everyone’s mind. At the same time, the holidays are just far enough past that the emotional attachment to them isn’t as strong at the moment. Tell your family why you want to talk about these things and what your goals are in making the changes. By starting now, you can bring up the subject every few months and by the summer you can decide as a family what changes you will make. Then you have a few months for everyone to adapt to the idea before the actual holidays arrive.

That also gives you time to break the news to anyone outside your immediate family who is impacted by your decision. This is courteous in that it allows them time to adjust their own expectations and plans for the next holiday season.

The important thing is to start today.

This post is part of my 5 Days of Saying “No” series.

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Saying No Relationships Pin

Saying “No” to Unhealthy Relationships

Saying No Relationships Pin

Unhealthy relationships suck the life out of you.

They steal the joy out of what should be happy events.

They cause dread to rise up in you whenever you think about being around that person.

Unhealthy relationships are destructive, stressful, and need to be ended.

Some of the most difficult decisions David and I have had to make as a couple in our eighteen years together has been breaking off unhealthy relationships. We are both wired to try to live at peace with other people. We strongly dislike conflict. Conflict is like physical poison to me. David and I have probably erred several times on giving people the benefit of the doubt too long. But eventually we got to the point where we realized that the stress created by the unhealthy relationships was not worth whatever positive they might have potentially been providing.

We had to say – enough. And draw the boundaries.

Unhealthy Relationships versus Abusive Relationships

Please note that I am talking about unhealthy relationships, not abusive relationships. Mental, physical and/or spiritual abuse is something completely different and is serious. If you are in an abusive relationship, please get help right now! Please call a local helpline, the police or a woman’s shelter right now. Abuse is never acceptable.

If you are in an abusive church, get out. Don’t go back. And don’t let them manipulate you into staying. Spiritually abusive church leadership is completely and totally contrary to the model given by Jesus when He loved His sheep as a shepherd. Search the internet for information on spiritual abuse and you will be able to find help. Spiritual abuse is never acceptable.

If you are in any kind of abusive relationship, situation, or group, get help immediately! Please!

So what do you do if you have an unhealthy relationship in your life? How do you handle it? Here are five points I would encourage you to consider.

Pray about the Relationship

Pray about it. Pray for healing. Pray for the Lord to intervene. Pray for any indication that you should continue the relationship. If none is clearly given, move forward confidently with distancing yourself. If you put it before the Lord and He does not give you clear direction to stay in the relationship for some reason unknown to you at that moment, then you are free to end it.

Be an Example to Your Children

How you handle the situation will speak volumes to your children. Be an example to your children of how to manage challenging relationships. If they see you allowing an unhealthy relationship to continually impact your life in a negative way, what are you teaching them?

Be Prepared for Backlash and Loss

Some people will resent your decision. They might resent your courage. They might resent being cut off. They might resent how your choice directly or indirectly impacts their life. Be prepared for pushback and backlash. Be firmly convinced in your own mind that it is for the best and then stand your ground.

Be prepared for loss. Making the choice might mean being alone on holidays. It might mean getting dropped from a social circle. Prepare yourself ahead of time for the worst. No one likes to think it will happen, but think through the worst case scenario and be willing to live with it.

Carefully Plan Your Break

This may very well be one of those situations where the less said the better. Some unhealthy relationships can be ended by just fading away. You never really need to say anything. It will die by neglect on your part.

Sometimes you do have to say something to make a break. If a letter is easier for you, it might be best to express your thoughts that way. Perhaps it has to be a face to face situation. If so, meet in a public place and bring a neutral witness for support. The neutral witness who isn’t a part of the negative relationship will be able to act as a buffer and also remind you of what was said if you forget in the overwhelming emotions that might develop.

Be Careful What You Say to Others

Be careful how you explain your decision to others. As best you can, say nothing negative about the other person. Make it clear it was a choice about your well-being or the well-being of your family. It may be very difficult not to speak to others about the issues and problems that led to your decision, especially when asked.  But you really won’t gain anything by speaking negatively about the other person. If your goal was to break off the relationship and you’ve accomplished that then you have done enough.

Life is Too Short

Life is too short to spend it in unhealthy relationships that add stress to your life. Make the most of your time by investing it in people who love you, understand you, and build you up. While it might be a difficult decision, it is a decision worth making.

This post is part of my 5 Days of Saying “No” series.

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This is part of the iHN 5 Day Hopscotch

hopscotch-jan-20151

Saying No Burnout Pin

Saying “No” to Burnout

Saying No Burnout Pin

Have you ever felt completely burned out? I have and I’m sure you have too. Maybe you are struggling with burnout at this moment. Many of us carry huge loads today. Most of us live with some combination of the following:

  • Working outside the home
  • Working from home
  • Homeschooling
  • Children with learning needs
  • Children with health needs
  • Children with dietary needs
  • Our own health issues
  • Debt or excessive bills
  • Church issues
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Lack of friendship or support systems

Any combination of these is going to be a drain on even the strongest person. Sustained struggles in multiple areas over time is going to lead to burnout.

One of the greatest mistakes we make is failing to acknowledge our limits. We all have limits and the more we try to ignore them, the worse it will get. We were designed with limits physically and emotionally. Any time we try to push past them for extended periods of time, we are going to end up in trouble.

What kind of trouble?

  • Physical illness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Fatigue
  • Anger
  • Helplessness

We don’t have to live life burned out all the time.

I do believe there are a few actions we can take right now that will almost immediately lower our risk for burnout. Let’s start with these three today and the rest of this week we’ll look in more detail at other areas of our lives where we can say “no” and live healthier lives.

Make Sleep a Priority and Get Enough Sleep

Sufficient sleep is not optional. You need to make sleep a priority. (Obviously those with babies are in a tough phase of life and I totally get that. It was the sleep deprivation with an infant that completely changed my views of the necessity of sleep.) The internet is full of articles about the short-term and long-term health risks associated with insufficient sleep. The difference between trying to get by on five or six hours of sleep versus getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night is HUGE. If you aren’t getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, you need to make some immediate changes because you are sleep-deprived. Turn off the TV, get off social media, and go to bed.

Everything in life is worse when you are chronically sleep-deprived.

Lack of sleep leaves you more susceptible to illness and depression. If you are in debt, you can’t afford to be sick. If you have children, you definitely don’t want to be sick. If you work, you don’t have time to get sick.

Lack of sleep means you have less patience. If you homeschool or have a child with extra needs, you need all the patience you can muster. Get your sleep.

Any health issue you have is going to be made worse by being sleep deprived. Go to bed and take care of your own health so you can take care of the people in your life.

Let It Go

Figure out one thing you need to let go right now. Pick one thing that hangs over you and you know you need to get rid of.

It might be a weekly meeting. It might be a time-consuming group. It might be an expectation of yourself that isn’t reasonable at this stage in your life. It might be a bad relationship or friendship. It might be drama on Facebook or other social media.

Find one thing that sucks your energy and get rid of it right now.

Make the phone call. Delete the account. Unfriend the drama queen. Whatever it is, do it right now.

Create Some Margin in Your Life

When people struggle financially, the first rule of thumb is to create an emergency fund. This financial cushion keeps you from being in chronic state of financial stress.

The same principle holds true for our emotional and physical needs. If we aren’t allowing for margin in our lives, we are going to be under chronic stress. And chronic stress leads to burnout.

I confess this is one area I struggled with for some time. I was fine keeping on top of everything as long as nothing unexpected happened. But sickness or some other unexpected complication would completely erase whatever tiny margin I might have had.

Now that I’m also dealing with chronic illness, I am ruthless about keeping margin in my life. I cannot afford physically or emotionally to overwhelm myself. Stress is a horrific trigger of my illness and nothing ups my stress levels like a lack of margin.

How does a lack of margin impact your life?

If every minute or even hour of your day is scheduled or spoken for, you don’t have margin.

If every evening of your life is filled with obligations, you don’t have margin.

Take time to determine how you can add some margin to your life. Where can you let some commitments or expectations go so you will have the necessary margin in your life to avoid burnout?

Burnout is Not Inevitable

Burnout doesn’t have to be inevitable. While we may never escape it forever this side of heaven, we can drastically reduce its occurrence and intensity in our lives by making some simple changes to our lives.

This post is part of my 5 Days of Saying “No” series.

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This is part of the iHN 5 Day Hopscotch

hopscotch-jan-20151

Homeschool Room Changed Up 1

Our Homeschool Learning Room Changed Up

Homeschool Room Changed Up 1

I love the house we live in, but if there is one thing that I find challenging it is the fact that I am limited how much I can move the furniture around. I really like to change things around on a regular basis and in our former home we had larger rooms that made this a bit more possible. We LOVE all the windows and natural light here, but it also limits what we can do in terms of room arrangement.

You can see what the homeschool learning room looked like this fall when we started. It was feeling way too cluttered and crowded, especially after we added a computer desk in November! We bought the inexpensive computer desk ($50 on clearance at Meijer!) so David could bring down his computer and work at times while Caroline is doing things in the learning room. It keeps him involved with her homeschooling and it also frees me up to go upstairs to our home office and work.

I also wanted a place to hang up our Mystery of History timeline. It is large and there was no wall space for it so each time we used it we had to fold it up and put it away. It defeats the purpose of making a large visual learning aid if you don’t keep it out.

I also realized that 95% of what was in the large bookcase was never touched and I was basically using it for storage. There was no reason it couldn’t all go to the basement.

So earlier this week we made some small changes, but what a huge difference it makes! It feels so much more open and usable.

Here is what it looks like now.

We moved the dry erase board up and put the small bookcase with games and puzzles underneath it. We moved the arts and crafts supply cabinet to the left and my guitar and Caroline’s guitar are in the space to its right.

Homeschool Room Changed Up 2

We moved my desk between the windows after we moved the bookcase out of that spot.

Homeschool Room Changed Up 3

This is the corner that was changed the most. We put the tall bookcase in the basement which opened up the room a great deal. It also gave us a space for our Mystery of History timeline which we nailed to the wall. I moved the notebooking drawers over there as well.

Homeschool Room Changed Up 4

Caroline keeps her notebooks on the shelf (general, GrapeVine Studies, and Mystery of History) and behind the little door are our binoculars, bird book and weather book.

Homeschool Room Changed Up 5

It might be hard to fully appreciate the difference from the photos, but it’s just huge for us. I’m finding that I’m simplifying our homeschooling more and more. I want less and less stuff around. I also think it’s best for helping us concentrate since Caroline is easily distracted by possibilities around her and I’m distracted by messes.

So that’s a bit about our learning room at the mid-point of the year. Next up? A review of where we are in our curriculum plans for this year. Everyone has grand ideas at the beginning of the year and is eager to share all they have planned. I’m going to be honest about where we are and what we’ve accomplished. LOL!

Sallie's Stack Pin

Sallie’s Stack – 1.7.15

Sallie's Stack Pin

Homeschool Philosophy, Free Range Learning, and Raising Gifted Children

Homeschool Philosophy (I love the observation from her homeopath and Heather’s in response!)

Free Range Chickens & Free Range Learning

How Does An Island Feel? Raising Gifted Children In A World That Turns Its Back

Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids

I purchased this joke book for Caroline when it was an Amazon deal the day after Thanksgiving. It was a simple stocking stuffer, but she has pronounced it one of her favorite Christmas presents.

Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids

Seeing Beyond the Human Eye | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Nature Made, Charmin, General Mills, Pampers and PULL-UPS Coupons

$2.00 OFF on any Two (2) Nature Made® Products
$1.00 OFF ONE Charmin® Ultra Soft or Strong 12ct or larger (excludes trial/travel size)
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SAVE $3.50 on any TWO (2) packages of PULL-UPS® Training Pants (Jumbo Pack or larger)
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Polar Creatures Lapbook, Interactive Notebook

If you have a child who struggles with writing, this is the perfect lapbook! Minimal writing, but lots of interesting content. A fair amount of cutting and gluing so great fine motor practice.

Polar Creatures Lapbook, Interactive Notebook

Polar-Creatures-Lapbook-121314

The Most Popular Posts of 2014

The Most Popular Posts of 2014

The Most Popular Posts of 2014

Just over a year ago I packed away my other very long-time blog (2005) and completely changed the format of this one. It was definitely an interesting year and I hope you enjoy seeing some of the highlights below in this lists of my most popular posts of 2014!

10. This is a post I’ve published, removed, added back in, removed and finally left up. There’s a very good discussion in the comments as well.

Highly-sensitive children, shy children, spanking and Voddie Bauchum

Highly Sensitive Children Shy Children and Spanking

9. This is actually a page rather than a post, but very popular.

Only Children

Living and Learning with an Only Child

8. Next up is a free product!

Free Plants and Gardening Literacy Sampler Pack

SB-Plants-and-Gardening-Literacy-Pack-042413

7. A popular post thanks to Pinterest and Google…

Simple Kindergarten and First Grade Apple Unit Ideas, Crafts and Books

Simple-K-1-Apple-ideas-Pin

6. Thanks to a Facebook share by SimpleHomeschool.net, this post had a lot of traffic.

5 Reasons Not to Quit after the First Year of Homeschooling

5 Reasons Not to Quit after the First Year of Homeschooling

5. This next post gets a ton of Google traffic, especially on Sunday evenings and holiday weekends. It breaks my heart, to be honest, because I know so many of the people searching are probably in terrible teaching situations.

Why Teachers Quit Teaching Mid-Year

Why Teachers Quit Teaching Mid Year

4. I’m surprised the Pinterest number for this one isn’t much higher since it seems like it regularly gets repinned.

A Sample Kindergarten Homeschool Schedule for a Creative, Dreamer Child

A Sample Kindergarten Homeschool Schedule for a Creative Dreamer Child

3. Google apparently loves this product!

Shapes and Colors Bingo Game Cards

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2. Another big winner from Pinterest and Google…

Simple Pumpkin Ideas, Crafts and Books for Kindergarten and First Grade Units

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1. This one was the recipient of some Facebook love from FreeHomeschoolDeals.com which catapulted it to the top (like, far and away to the top!). It also gets a lot of love from Pinterest. It, too, has lots of good comments.

Why I homeschool in the afternoon and not the morning

Why I Homeschool in the Afternoon

 Check out more top ten lists from iHN authors! (link-up goes live on 1/5)

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Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 10

My Little Red Schoolhouse (almost) Little Free Library

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 10

When I discovered the Little Free Library movement I thought they were so cute and such a great idea. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are small libraries people put in their yard where they can share books with their neighbors. People borrow a book and return it when they are done. Anyone who has books they would be willing to share with others can also leave them there.

I mentioned it to my father-in-law in September and sent him a link to a Pinterest search full of Little Free Libraries of all kinds.

So guess what I got from my in-laws for Christmas?

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 6

Yes! My own little red schoolhouse to use for a free library!

Technically it isn’t an official Little Free Library. To do that you have to pay to register it and I’m not going to do that (at least for now). But David painted a sign to make it The Highlands Free Library. (The Highlands is our development.)

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 4

So we’ve filled it with some books we had to share and hope that others will use it.

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 3

We’re in the back of the development on a cul-de-sac, but there are many people who walk dogs so hopefully people will stop and look.

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 2

And once the weather gets nicer and children are around more hopefully it will get even more traffic. (We’ll also paint the post white in the spring.)

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 5

In the meantime, I think it’s just so cute that I’ll enjoy looking at it every time we come and go if nothing else!

Little Red Schoolhouse Free Library 7

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Homeschooler’s New Year’s Resolutions

As we head into the new year and are thinking about the ways we want to improve or change our lives, here are ten New Year’s Resolutions just for homeschoolers.

Enjoy!

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homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-2-i-will-not-grumble-when-my-children-ransack-the-house-looking-for-dress-up-materials-1032f

homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-3-i-will-not-complain-when-i-have-to-find-space-to-display-or-store-another-artistic-masterpiece-2d94f

homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-4-i-will-not-care-what-people-think-about-socialization-648f5

homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-5-i-will-not-feel-guilty-if-we-eat-pbj-for-lunch-five-days-in-a-row-e34d8

homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-6-i-will-remember-play-is-learning-93b69

homeschoolers-new-years-resolutions-7-i-will-remember-that-learning-takes-place-over-many-days-months-and-years-99975

homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-8-i-will-embrace-the-creative-messes-that-multiply-before-my-eyes-02cb7homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-9-i-will-not-wish-i-lived-at-downton-abbey-and-had-a-nanny-c38df

homeschoolers-new-years-resolution-10-i-will-fully-embrace-the-children-and-life-i-have-been-given-ec526