Archives for 2011

How Our Christmas Bucket List is Helping Us Homeschool through the Holidays

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinitely learning

Christmas. It’s wonderful and overwhelming all at the same time. In our attempts to create happy holiday memories and traditions for our families it’s easy to get overwhelmed, stressed, and quite possibly push your homeschooling to the back burner.

While it’s perfectly okay to let go of homeschooling during a busy season (something we’ve typically done in the past), one of our family’s goals this year is to keep a steady pace with our home learning.

The challenge for us is the stop and go learning that happens around busy times–like the holidays.
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Bedtime Reading: It’s Not About the Books

The following is a guest post written by Jimmie of Jimmie’s Collage.

Reading to our children is confirmed to be one of the best ways to promote academic success. It builds vocabulary and critical thinking skills not to mention providing a foundation for literacy. We all know that, and most of us do read to our children, especially at bedtime. We have discovered the joy of sharing an adventure novel with our children where the characters almost become part of the family.

But the most important element of bedtime reading isn’t the reading at all. The real treasure that comes from bedtime reading is the communication between you and your child – communication that goes far beyond the shared experience of the plot.

You might be missing this benefit if at the end of the chapter, you shut the book, turn off the light and say goodnight. But if you linger after reading time is done and talk to your child, you know the gift I’m referring to. There is a special closeness that happens as you lie on the bed with the lights dim and all the busyness of the day complete. Those nighttime discussions are precious and life transforming.

My daughter has come to expect our night time talk so much that even if we don’t read together, she will ask me to get on the bed “just to talk.” This habit demonstrates that the lines of communication are staying open with my middle schooler.

So many parents and children, even in homeschooling families, don’t really talk beyond of the practical logistics of life. They don’t dream about the future, share hurts and fears, and problem solve troubling situations.

Of course the time of day doesn’t matter. Your time may be at breakfast or in the afternoon. The point is undivided attention. And that is why bedtime is perfect. Your pajamas are on; the daily tasks are complete. Sleep is the only job ahead of you. Distractions are at a minimum.

If you want to work on your bedtime communication, here are some tips.
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Weekend Links: Home for the Holidays Winners

I hope you’ve enjoyed Home for the Holidays as much as I have. It’s been fun introducing you to some amazing companies and products and choosing the winners (at random, of course) feels a bit like playing Santa!

If you see your name on the winner list below, look for an email from me later today. Reply quickly and our vendors will get your prize to you before the holidays!

Read on to see if you’re one of Simple Homeschool’s three winners.
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Giveaway: $100 Gift Certificate from Sarah’s Silks

This giveaway has ended and I’ll announce the winner shortly!

I‘m back for our final Home for the Holidays giveaway! We’ve enjoyed 15 giveaways across the entire network this week—all great gift ideas, just in time for the holidays.

I’m excited about my last giveaway today because of all the imaginative play it’s going to inspire in my little people and in the home of one lucky winner.

It’s a $100 gift certificate to Sarah’s Silks–a store full of dress up inspiration for kids.

Whether you have toddlers, preschoolers, or elementary-aged children, you’ll find something in this shop to add to your Christmas list.

Find out how you can win!

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Home for the Holidays: What’s your favorite holiday read-aloud?

To add some fun to our Home for the Holidays week, we thought we’d give YOU the chance to add your two cents to the mix! On each site, we’ve got a question we’d like you to answer. Share your thoughts below in the comments, and then hop over to visit the other sites!

The day after Thanksgiving our family cut down our Christmas tree from a nearby farm, and retrieved the box of holiday decorations from the basement. In our home, this also means bringing up our library of holiday books we’ve accumulated over the years.

I spread them out on our living room rug while the kids played outside, and had the fun of watching as they “discovered” the books after coming in:
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