20 favorite Christmas books for kids

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Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and writer at Steady Mom

Last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we followed our usual tradition of chopping down our Christmas tree.

But there’s another tradition we always follow on that day as well, and I was reminded of it when one of my children asked:

“When will we get the Christmas books out?”

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a selection of special titles to read and share together, would it?

So here’s a list of 20 favorites–most of these reside in our personal home library, but a few are new-to-me popular titles I’ve heard about online. Enjoy!
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5 popular cooperative board games to keep the peace

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5 popular cooperative board games to keep the peaceWritten by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Ya’ll, I should just ‘fess up to something:

Game time isn’t always my favorite.

I know, I know. Board games can be fabulous for learning and reinforcing new concepts.

But in my house–my kids don’t always like to lose. Even when we’re playing “just for fun,” even when an incredible learning game is designed to teach them helpful skills.

It didn’t take me long to discover this several years ago, when my preschoolers became board game ready. We sure had some big “I lost” tantrums here and there.

So over the years I focused less on board games with the kids, because it wasn’t worth the drama. I would play one-on-one with a single child instead. That was an improvement, but it didn’t guarantee peace in our living room.

Eventually, though, I stumbled upon something that helped tremendously. I only wish I had found out about them earlier.

Cooperative board games

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20 of the best picture books from 2015

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20 of the best picture books from 2015
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Can you believe we’re creeping slowly toward the end of another year?

One thing I love about the holiday season for us as homeschoolers, is that we quiet our “school” day a bit and make extra time for other pursuits: plenty of time in the kitchen and, of course, lots and lots of books!

I thought it might be helpful if I compiled a selection for all of us to choose from, which turned into this post!

Some of these books are silly; some are sweet. Some will make your kids snort with laughter; some will bring tears to eyes. Some have received official accolades and book awards; some are personal favorites. Some you may want to check out from the library; some you may want to put on your holiday wish lists!

One note: Because of the way book awards are handled by Caldecott and the American Library Association, some of these titles officially launched in 2014, though they are considered 2015 award winners.

Picture books are generally assumed to be for ages 4-8, but many of these could go younger or older, depending on the child! You’ll be able to tell what’s best for your little people.

20 of the best picture books from 2015

Here they are, alongside excerpts from reviews they’ve been given:
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60 TV shows recommended for ages 8-12 (with a printable chart)

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60 TV shows for ages 8-12
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

After a decade of use and about a year of saving, Steve and I finally entered the 21st century a few weeks ago when we purchased a new widescreen television and got rid of our old tube model–the one my nana bought for us right after Jonathan (now 10) was born!

This purchase was both exciting and overwhelming. We knew we could stream our Netflix membership and Amazon Prime account to the set, but with Apple TV we can also stream other channels–many of which we would not normally watch. (This is even without having cable!)

Our kids, who generally choose one show each on Saturdays and Sundays, were clamoring at their newfound options. And I knew I needed to undertake a tv research project to sort it all out and make sure we use our new screen intentionally.

I asked on my Facebook page about your favorite shows for the 8-12 age range, then went through the responses one by one. After two weeks I’ve finally finished this undertaking for our family, and I hope you’ll find it helpful for yours, too.

In the list below I’ve included shows that can be found on Amazon Prime Streaming, Discovery Education Streaming, Netflix Streaming, and Netflix DVD.
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5 minutes to a more satisfying homeschool day

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?”


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.”

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