About Melissa Camara Wilkins

Melissa is a homeschooling mama of six in Southern California. She writes about living with intention and parenting with creativity. Get her free ebook, Do Your Thing: How to Find Time to Do What Matters, to help you explore who you were made to be, and what you’re meant to do.

3 tips for finding good books fast

3 Tips For Finding Good Books
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

A few months ago I met with some friends for a Let’s All Talk About Parenting Night.

A “parenting mastermind group,” if you will. Or “an excuse to troubleshoot over tall glasses of lemonade.” Either way.

We met in the evening, so we had to figure out what to do about food. Should we assign dishes? Sign up to bring stuff? This was actually more effort than anyone wanted to spend, so we decided to all just bring something. Anything.

We ended up with the aforementioned lemonade, but also wine and cheese and fruit and crackers, veggies and hummus, a couple of salads, a pasta dish, and something chocolate.

Everyone brought their own best thing. We put all our offerings together, and we had a feast.

I think life is like that, too. I have something to offer, you have something to offer.

Our gifts may be wholly unrelated to salad and chocolate, but we’re each holding something we can share with our families and with our world.
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4 words you really need to hear right now

4words
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

You know what? I’m proud of my kids.

They’re creative and funny, they’re interesting and curious, and they pursue all kinds of ideas I would never have thought to investigate. I bet you feel the same way about your kids. I bet you even tell them that.

Maybe you don’t use those particular words, but I bet your face lights up when they show you their latest creations. I bet you ask thoughtful questions when they tell you what they’re reading or writing or puzzling over.

I bet you celebrate their projects and their accomplishments, because they’re pretty great. I bet you let them know that you’re proud of them in a zillion little ways.
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Melissa’s homeschool day in the life (with a 2-, 5-, 8-, 9-, 12- & 15-year-old)

melissamainpicmo
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I feel a little silly writing to you about our daily routine, because between holidays and travel and sick kids, the pattern of our days has been off for weeks.

Our usual daily routine starts with breakfast and morning chores. After that, I try to structure our time and our environment and let each kid choose what to work on within that framework.

So all morning, the house is more-or-less calm and I’m available to help kids with focused work. After lunch we have quiet time, when we can each rest or work on our own projects without being interrupted (much). Then in the afternoons we play or run errands, make and eat dinner, prepare for the next day, and go to bed.

dayinthelife3

This week, though, is a planning week at our house.

This is a new system we’re trying this year and so far we love it. We do our usual projects for four weeks, and then we take a planning week to reflect on what we’ve been working on, and to make plans and goals for the next four weeks.

Here’s what that looks like:

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5 minutes to a more satisfying homeschool day

melissamainpicmo
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

When I was a little girl, there was one question that came up every day.

The actual days were all different. I would go to school, and then I might have soccer practice or dance lessons or scouts or choir, but at the end of it all, my mom would always ask, “What did you do today?”

I would say the same thing every day, the same thing you probably said every day, the same thing most kids say most days. “What did you do today?”

“Nothing.”

I did nothing. We all did nothing.

That can’t have been true for all of us, every day, year after year. I hope.

Now I’m at home with my own kids all day every day. I know for sure that they did not do “nothing.” They have never spent a day doing nothing in their entire lives. But when their dad walks in the door after work and asks what they did today, guess what they say?

Unless we took a field trip or were visited by aliens, he usually hears: “Oh, nothing.”

Right.
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Homeschooling through disruption: The hardest part of Melissa’s homeschool year

Homeschooling through disruption
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I thrive on peace and calm and intention and purpose. I like to meet needs and meet goals, to make progress and make things work. Our days are fluid, but there’s “fluid” and then there’s “melted into a pile of goo.” I prefer the former.

Disruption, in other words, is not my favorite thing.

Last year, when we were trying to move to a new house in the middle of the school year, I mostly wanted to hide until the whole thing was over.

We live in an area where the housing market could best be described as “utterly insane.” Every morning we would open an app to look for new dots representing homes in our area, then send virtual messages begging to see those houses before anyone else did.

The whole thing seemed a lot like playing the worst video game ever, and when you won, you would get the joy of complete life upheaval. So that was great.

The hardest part of my homeschool year

We don’t hope to move often, but life throws plenty of other disruptions at us all the time, doesn’t it? Here’s what helps us cope with ours.

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