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How to read aloud every day

read aloud every day

Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things.

I‘m convinced that the minutes and hours I spend reading to my children are the best invested moments of my entire life.

With six kids underfoot to love on and teach, I fight a constant feeling that I’m not meeting everyone’s needs- not taking time for the things that matter most- that someone is growing up with the underlying feeling of being overlooked or forgotten.

When I’m reading with my kids, I never feel that way. No one has to convince me that reading to my children will strengthen our relationship, form happy family memories, improve their ability to communicate, and make a lasting difference in all of our lives.

I am convinced that the story formed childhood my parents gave me was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.”

– Sarah Clarkson, Caught Up in a Story (p. 6)

I have seen the fruit of that already, and I believe in it with all my heart.

But just knowing doesn’t make the doing any easier.
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8 ways to raise art-smart kids

artsmart

Written by Laura Grace Weldon of Free Range Learning

My seven-year-old daughter and I dressed up for a special evening out together. After years of attending Cleveland Orchestra children’s programs and listening to stories of composers at home, she wanted to attend a “real” concert.

We settled in velvety seats, excited to see a college symphony perform.

When the music started she was silently enraptured. The man sitting behind my daughter leaned forward. I assumed he’d whisper his delight at seeing a music-loving child in attendance. Instead he informed me I was an idiot for bringing her. He was sure she’d wreck his evening, although he stomped away from his seat too soon to find out.

It’s assumed kids and fine arts don’t go together, or not till assignment-laden Shakespeare is imposed on high school students. Wrong!

The arts can be joyfully woven into children’s lives from babyhood on.

These days my kids (now teens and young adults) eagerly engage with the arts. They go to plays, enjoy new classical music scored for video games, and keep up with literature.

During a recent discussion I overheard my kids relate the theme of a current movie to Homer’s Odyssey, tied together with quotes from a Terry Pratchett book plus a cartoon meme.

Lightning fast, funny, and sharp. No curricula could possibly keep up.

Here’s the enjoyment-based way my family has gotten comfy with fine arts:

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The power of poetry

hannah2picmo

Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying with One Eye Open.

We’re in the living room. Two of the kids are stretched on the couch and they’re tugging a blanket between them, though they know better than to wear it out further.

The middle boy sits on the loveseat. He smiles and flops himself flat, legs off the side.

He knows he has the better seat, the one across from me.

I pick up the poetry book. It’s a thick, yellow anthology, one we’ve been working through for almost a year.

Every day we sit in our places and I read from it — words about love, and trees and ordinary people.  Today is no different.

This morning I read my best, paying attention to the rhythm and flow of the lines. I finish the last line of a Langston Hughes poem and then I don’t say anything because there is meaning in the air and I want them to feel it.

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Those little things I miss

kris1
Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

You know how everyone is always talking about the things you’re going to miss when your kids are older? When you’re knee-deep in diapers and toddler tantrums, sometimes you don’t believe those older moms.

I’m not going to lie to you – I don’t miss diapers or tantrums. I have been known to whisper to my kids that I’m glad they’re grown when witnessing one of those tantrums.

As I – and my kids – have gotten older, I’d started to think that maybe I wasn’t as sentimental as most because I wasn’t exactly pining for those younger days. However, in recent weeks, those nostalgic feelings have hit with a vengeance – particularly in the face of teen trials.

I’m not sure which is worse, dealing with a toddler tantrum or worrying about your 19-year-old who is out on a date – because, you know what? When I look at her, I still see that cherub-faced toddler. Cherub-faced toddlers should not be dating!

If you’re in the trenches with little ones, I thought you might like to know what I’m missing, lest you think that being a mom to older kids is all rainbows and unicorns.

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Candle making with kids

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Candle making with kids
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

You guys? I did something amazing.

I. MADE. FIRE!

Well, hand-dipped beeswax taper candles at least.

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t “do” crafting.

Aside from Green Kid Crafts (which I love exactly because I don’t have to plan anything, and all the supplies greet us at the door each month), I try to stick with my strengths, which happen to be in mostly non-artsy arenas.

But I love learning how to make practical things that my family can use, and for this reason (as well as reading about Mother creating them in Farmer Boy), I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making candles.
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