Archives for April 2011

5 Ways to Simplify Dinner in a Homeschool Kitchen

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

There was a time when I looked at homeschool families and thought they must have it all together at home.  I imagined dreamy, organized living spaces and multi-course meals spread on the farm table three times a day. After all, they were home – they must have plenty of time on their hands for such things.

Then I became a homeschooler.

Very quickly I learned that although I’d be spending more time at home than I ever had in my adult life, my home would become messy and the dinner hour would come fast. Oh, and most importantly, I learned that homeschooling is a very full time job and some days down right exhausting. As it should be for the responsibility that it is.

In addition to homeschooling, I also work from home. I know many of you can relate to the engaging, inspiring, and tiring sort of days I’m talking about.

There was a time when making dinner found me slipping into the kitchen around 5:00, turning on NPR, and pouring a glass of red to be enjoyed while I prepared the planned meal for the evening (I always did work with a menu plan). Nowadays, it is easy to feel done for the day just as soon as we check that final item off our homeschool list.

I actually love to cook, so this lack of dinner hour enthusiasm saddened me. I needed a freshened up approach to making dinner. The kitchen is one area that I have trouble handing over the reins, it is my happy place, my domain… but I knew I needed to enlist some help and shift my own perspective in order to energize the dinner hour.
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The Case for Once a Month Cleaning

The case for once a month cleaning
Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

This post is part one in a three part series about cleaning. You can find the second post here and the third here!

Late last year, I thought I had it made when I booked a local company to clean my house once a month.

Any homeschooling parent knows that a home needs more than monthly care, but I figured they would do the deep cleaning, and I could keep up with the rest. It sounded like a dream come true for this work-at-home mom.

But it didn’t turn out that way. The cleaning company were used to customers who worked outside of the home. Not a problem, I thought. The kids and I will just go out for a few hours, and return to a tidy house. But when the cleaners failed to show up on time, after I’d worked hard to get the kids ready, it started to frustrate me. And when they didn’t clean the way I wanted or return my emails, I decided to move on.

Then one day I had an epiphany. If the cleaners could deep clean my whole house once a month, why couldn’t I?

Turns out I can, and I’ve been doing so for the past three months.

Here’s how it works.
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Weekend Giveaway: Peace Hill Press

This giveaway has ended and the winner has been contacted via email. Thanks for entering!

Welcome to today’s weekend giveaway, brought to you by Peace Hill Press.

Learn more about Peace Hill Press:

“Most educational presses are run by large, international companies. Not us. We’re a small company; we want to stay that way. When you call our office, you don’t get a phone tree; you get to talk to us directly.

Our books aren’t written by committee; they’re produced by a small group of dedicated, skilled writers who have training, experience, and (in most cases) multiple graduate degrees.

Our materials provide parents with a rare combination of academic rigor and ease of use. We are proud to say that our materials are the best books available for teaching history and language arts that we have seen. We’re also proud that as we come out with more and more products, they keep getting better and better.”

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Why We School Year Round

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

The simple answer to the question of why we school year round is: Because Life is Messy.

Which is the utter truth.  The house gets messy when everyone stays home.  The house gets messy when we leave.  Sickness, travel, visiting relatives, potty training…they’re the stuff that makes life interesting.  But they also interrupt the daily routine of life and school that we work so hard to achieve.

When we began setting up our family routines to include schooling my oldest boys, a friend gave me some wise advice: The school schedule should fit the family lifestyle, instead of the family lifestyle being crammed into a school schedule.

The best way for us to make school fit the family is to make school a part of our family lifestyle…all the time.

The benefits of schooling year-round:
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Waldorf Education: Behind the Silk Curtains

Written by contributor Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys

When one discovers Waldorf education, there can be a wide variety of first impressions. My own introduction was hearing that “the arts are incorporated into every subject.” That resonated with me, and I was eager to learn more.

Others may be introduced to a Waldorf craft activity, learn about Waldorf dolls, or attend a seasonal festival. These are all important elements of Waldorf education, but there is so much more to it beyond the art on the walls, silk curtains, or beeswax crayons.

What stands behind Waldorf education is a worldview called anthroposophy (an-thro-POS-o-fee) developed by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and founder of the first Waldorf School during the early 20th century.

Anthroposophy means “knowledge of the human being.” Central to Waldorf education is Steiner’s view of child development and recognition of the human being as an individual consisting of body, soul and spirit.

Waldorf schools aim to teach not only the intellect, but rather to educate the whole child: “head, heart and hands.”
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