Monday links

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weekend links
We had the privilege of exploring our nation’s capital on the way to see family this weekend!

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Starting the year right

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The following is a guest post by Laura Thomas of This Eternal Moment.

 A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge” – Thomas Carlyle

I will never forget my first day of kindergarten. I wore my favorite ruffly dress that twirled nicely, my hair in pigtails, and clutched my favorite pink doll tightly.

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I was excited and terrified all at once. I was eager to learn and even more eager to be liked by my classmates.

Thankfully, the first face to greet me that morning was my teacher, Ms. Neal. Ms. Neal was one of those people created to make small people feel significant, loved, and happy. We were a group of more than 20 kids, but Ms. Neal made us all feel special.

And there was nothing that we wanted more than to see her smile and sense her approval of our oddly-cut shapes or wobbly-written letters. And approval she gave — loads of it.

More than 30 years later, my brother, a Delta pilot, returned to sit in the back of her classroom just to watch Ms. Neal work her magic. The children quietly sat in their places, raised their hands, respecting her and each other. How did she do it?

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Learning to be more committed to our kids than to our educational ideals

Being More Committed to Our Kids Than to Our Educational Ideals

The following is a post by contributor Angie Kauffman of Real Life at Home.

We never set out to be homeschoolers.  I had never even heard of homeschooling until I was in college.  I was working on my first degree in education, and when I heard about it, I thought it sounded ridiculous.  How did people think they could teach their children at home when I was spending years in college to become a credentialed teacher?

Life is often funny like that, isn’t it?  I can still picture sitting in a class thinking how insane that was.

Little did I know that my views would soften once I started having children.  Eventually, they would soften so much that I would not only stop thinking that homeschooling was insane, but I would think it sounded like a pretty good idea for my family.
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Giveaway: $125 package from Sparkle Stories

Helping & Healing Audio Stories

This giveaway has ended; thanks for your interest!

“Your son struggles with fear of the dark. Your daughter is sensitive, and gets overwhelmed easily. You want your children to be more generous with each other.

What can help? Stories. Children can learn new ways of relating, and can discover new inner resources, simply by listening to stories that address their challenges.”

Sparkle Stories produces original audio stories for children.  Our stories are simple, delightful and filled with a sense of wonder.  They inspire children to play, to marvel, to laugh, to be kind.

We have eleven original subscription Story Series – all of which follow the seasons of the year. Families can subscribe and hear fresh stories each week, or they can try our Audio Books — with easy downloads right off the Sparkle site.

We also have story packages for travel, story packages to give as gifts, and stories for all ages. Perfect for every day quiet times, car rides or family travel!

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My favorite thing about back to school time

My favorite thing about back to school time
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

“It’s back-to-school time, or as homeschoolers call it, stay-where-you-are time.”
~ Stephen Colbert

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He wakes early–and I always know when.

I hear his voice drift down the hallway–starting the day with a song. Love songs for me, for God, for the gift of life itself. Ever the optimist, Jonathan greets the morning with joy.

But I wonder how the refrains would alter with a rush for breakfast, bus stops, and quick goodbyes.

Would we miss out on the music altogether?

Time for morning love songs–one of my favorite things.
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