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.
[Read more…]

A Case for Lazy Summer Days

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

Some moms can’t rest. They are always busy and feel uncomfortable, maybe even guilty, sitting still. If you are that kind of mom, you may see summer break as a chance to cram in the school work or extracurricular projects that you didn’t complete during the school year.

Reconsider your desire.

I want to make a case for “lazy summer days” with no academic tie ins. Take a lesson from the unschoolers or delight directed learners this summer and let your child choose his activities even if they appear “unprofitable.”

Hours of outdoor play, a week at camp, and time spent with grandparents or cousins go a long way to mature a child. Sometimes after a long break, a child is developmentally ready for something that was a struggle before.

Our brains are mysteries. Sometimes things just click, most often when we are not focused on the “thing.”
[Read more…]

Mindful Homeschooling

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

Mindfulness is living in the moment, enjoying the present as opposed to dwelling on the past or the future. It is when the mind is at rest rather than racing a mile a minute. Research has shown that mindfulness helps us deal with stress and generally makes us more content.

I personally am trying to be more mindful – to gratefully savor each moment that comes my way instead of always rushing off to the next task on my to-do list. This effort has powerfully affected my homeschooling life as well.

Planning Versus Doing

I’m one of those moms who love planning. I love researching and organizing materials. I love making printables to match our curriculum, scouring catalogs for the best resources, and reading forums to keep up with the latest homeschooling trends. In fact, I could spend most of my time planning our homeschool instead of actually implementing anything.

What good is my planning if I never do it or if I plan so much that there is not enough time in the day to possibly accomplish it all?

In The Hurried Child, David Elkind, a child psychologist, says that the most critical factor in “beginning to read is the child’s attachment to an adult who spends time reading to or with the child. The motivation for reading, which is a difficult task, is social.” [Read more…]

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