Merriment’s agenda: Setting expectations for Christmas day

The following is a guest post written by Cari Stone of Thoughts Interrupted.

A note from Jamie: As the countdown for Christmas begins, I hope you can glean some helpful tips from this repost. It originally published on December 21, 2011.

I finally had enough. Somewhere between untangling the brand new battery operated car out of my daughter’s hair and consuming one too many cookies baked by my diabetic second cousin, I knew much of what I’d come to accept about Christmas Day needed to change.

Amidst the merriment I’d forgotten a key piece of our family’s rhythm – the invaluable practice of establishing expectations.

As homeschoolers we’re fairly adept at setting the stage in our regular lives. Well communicated expectations offer both structure and fluidity to our days – an established paradigm to explore within. Everyone, it seems, can breathe easier when our expressed hopes and desires are on the table.

Why then do we tend to sidestep this discipline in the name of Christmas break? The end results (misbehaving children, one too many trips to the dessert table or missed opportunities on the relational front) are often laced with regret.

Let this year be different.

Somewhere between stuffing stockings and baking that final pie take a moment to consider the value that shared expectations can bring to this year’s celebration.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.
[Read more...]

Newtown as I know it

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

I never intended to write about my current location here, or in any online space. I crave privacy and am tiger-mother fierce about protecting that of my kids. But when you see the town in which you live and love plastered across national and international news, the time has come to open up.

I make my home in Newtown, Connecticut–scene of last week’s 2nd deadliest school shooting in US history. If we had not chosen to homeschool, all three of my babes would have walked through the doors of Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday morning.

Who knows if all three would have come home again.

This tragedy hits close, shockingly close, to our home. Within walking distance families currently nurse a private grief that I find unimaginable.

What disturbs me, though, is that most of you are hearing about Newtown for the first time. Please know that there is another side than the sheer horror of what you’ve seen.

There’s the truth–what life is really like here. And though we’ve only lived in this town for a year and a half, this place will be part of our family’s heart, and history, forever.

This is Newtown as I know it:
[Read more...]

10 life lessons learned on the playground (& a giveaway!)

The following is a guest post written by Sarah Olmsted of Imagine Childhood.

I‘ve always thought children are better teachers than yoga instructors. Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga.  It’s something that makes a huge difference in the way I feel on a daily basis. It strengthens my mind, my body, and my spirit. It helps me shake off the worries and cares of my day.  It reminds me to breath deeply and intensionally.

But my yoga instructor still can’t hold a candle to a kid when it comes to teaching me how to be open, present and engaged in my life.  In my experience, children are the definitive authority in this arena.

So, on days when I’m feeling particularly stuck, I tend to gravitate more toward the sandbox than Savasana.

Here are ten life lessons I’ve learned on the playground.
[Read more...]

Q&A Friday: How is Dad involved in your family’s homeschool?

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

I know of a few stay-at-home homeschooling fathers, dads who take on the majority of official teaching duties or co-teach throughout the day with their spouses. It always warms my heart to hear of fathers devoting their time to families in this way. But for the most part, it still seems like the majority of teaching responsibilities in a homeschool often resides with mothers.

Occasionally I hear dissatisfaction or questions about this from moms/wives:

“How can I get my husband more involved with our days at home?”

“How can I get my children to view my spouse as an active participant in our homeschool–even though he spends most of his day away at work?”
[Read more...]

10 back to school traditions (Back to School Week)

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

A note from Jamie: I’ve been getting a few requests for back to school tradition ideas. So it seemed fitting to kick off this year’s back to school week with this repost, which originally published on August 16, 2010. Enjoy!

Welcome to Back to School Week here on Simple Homeschool! Thanks for visiting–be sure to stop by every day this week. We have an awesome line up of posts and giveaways to help you kick off your school year with excitement and enthusiasm.

There’s no better way to celebrate the first day of school than with a special tradition. Kids love rituals and a well-chosen tradition adds meaning to the routines of our lives. Even if you’ve already started school or homeschool year-round, you can still pick a day to honor your children and your homeschool.

If you haven’t yet stumbled across the perfect back-to-school tradition for your family, here are ten ideas to get you thinking.
[Read more...]