One of the Secrets to Nurturing a Strong Mind in Your Child

reading

I have been let in on a great secret.

Maybe it’s not a secret, but it was unknown to me until I actually tried it. My Ella, avid reader that she is, was always picking books at the library that were of the Geronimo Stilton sort. Fun, but in a candy-appetite sort of way. Sure, she was reading, and I always encourage reading, but Sally pointed out to me that just like our diets, what we feed our minds daily is important in being healthy. If my girl always reads “candy books”, her mind would be engaged, but not necessarily strong. Plus, what we consume frequently we tend to have an appetite for. I want my children to crave the good things. I also want her to learn about history and interesting people and science and so much more through “living books” and the wide world around us.

All to say, the secret…

It is, the book basket. And specifically, it looks like this: A basket by the bed filled with a biography, a history (can be historical fiction), a science/nature, a classic literature, and a fun book.

There it is, that’s it. That is what my girl has been cycling through the last few months, and it has been the greatest asset in nurturing her mind. Whenever we go to the library (usually every two weeks), she must pick at least five books on those topics. Of course she brings home more books to read, but those are the requirements. And friends, she is not only becoming an excellent reader, I know she is developing a strong mind. Her vocabulary is vast and her knowledge of historical events and people is growing weekly. And all through story and interesting texts.

People often ask me what I use for curriculum. Mostly, the library. We read. We read good, living books on a variety of subjects. We talk about them, and then we look up more information on what we’ve learned if we’ve become curious. We have a few other texts here and there, mainly for math and mapping, but our go-to is the library.

But how, you might ask, do you get your children to read the five books?

Rewards of course! ;) My children get to pick a special experience if they read a certain number of books. My nine year old has to read 50 chapter books (or, if they are science or biography, they can be 30 pages depending). Her choice of reward? Hershey park with her dad! My son, who has struggled with reading, also has to read 50, but they are of the BOB book variety. His choice? A night out with me in a hotel. Yes, these are expensive items, but they have to read quite a bit to earn the reward. They keep track by keeping a poster in their room and they put a sticker on it for each book they read. It has been a great success! Now listen, I didn’t come up with any of these ideas; I got them from Sally Clarkson. If you’re not following her, you must. She’s lovely and gracious and wise and has done the work in raising her children well. I love her so and you will too.

If you want more ideas, or book recommendations, pick up Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families by Sarah Clarkson (Sally’s daughter). It is wonderful, and is filled with practical advice for encouraging your children to read.

And just for fun, you must run right now and get your hands on the deeply touching book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It is one of the best books I have ever read. The kids and I were hooked; we couldn’t put it down. It is an exceptional work by Kate DiCamillo.

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Okay, your turn! What secrets do you have when it comes to encouraging your children to be well-read? Also, what is a current kids book you are loving right now?

Keep on!

SM

P.S. Another way we sneak in “reading” is by listening to audio books in the car. We are currently listening to Anne of Green Gables every time we go somewhere. It’s been a fun way to get more reading into our lives!

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The Type-B Homeschool Plan – Available to Download Now!

The Type-B Homeschool Plan - 14 Days to Homeschool Ready!

Many of you have asked me if and when I would release an updated Type-B Homeschool Planner. I have decided this year to just release the “plan” version, instead of the full planner.

Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time or resources this year to create a full planner, but I wanted you all to have access to the 14-Step planning guide. So, I have made the guide available in a PDF and you can download for only $2.99!

Download The Type-B Homeschool Plan by clicking the button below!

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Just get yourself a notebook, and you’re all set!

What’s in The Type-B Homeschool Plan?

The Type-B Homeschool Plan is the planner for the rest of us.

It’s the planner for the mom who struggles with details, gets overwhelmed with lesson-planning, and is generally laid back but knows she needs to get her ducks in a row if she’s going to homeschool well.

It is simple, clear, and offers step-by-step planning help.

The Type-B Homeschool Plan is everything that was in the original planner, minus the planning pages. I have added a few things here and there to it, but for the most part it is identical to the planner version (so if you already have it, you don’t need to buy it again).

Here’s to sweat-free homeschool planning!

Enjoy!

Love, SM

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Not Sure If You Want to Keep Homeschooling? Burned Out? Read This. (5 Ways to Enjoy Homeschooling)

Not Sure If You Want to Keep Homeschooling? Burned Out? Read This. (5 Ways to Enjoy Homeschooling)

I love homeschooling my kiddos.

But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I felt fearful, nervous, inadequate, and unsure. I read homeschooling blogs and posts from homeschooling moms who seemed to be so good at schedules and crafts and organization. I began to feel like I had no business homeschooling. I’m not organized, I’m not detailed, and I’m not into crafts or strict schedules.

But I know now that those aren’t the requirements for homeschooling.

I also know now I’m a Type-B mom. And I’m finally okay with that. But before I accepted embraced who I was, I almost quit.

I remember sitting down on a friend’s couch and telling her that I thought I should just put my kids in school. I wasn’t cut out for homeschooling, and I didn’t want my kids to miss out. I felt so torn up about it. What to do?

On the drive home from her house, I called another homeschooling friend who put her daughter in private school for a year and I explained my thoughts and asked her for advice. She asked me this question, “Why did you decide to homeschool?”

Good question. I somehow hadn’t even considered it in such a long time I had forgotten about it. But there it was: Why?

I said to her, “I want to disciple my kids, and teach them according to their bents and strengths. I want to do life with them and help along, preparing them for the world.”

And there it was. The biggest thing was that I wanted to be with them, discipling them, day in and day out. Yes, I want them to have a strong education, but first and foremost I want to teach them how to live.

It was that conversation that reminded me of the beauty of homeschooling, and further more, it made me realize I didn’t have to homeschool according to how anyone else did it. I could tailer our homeschooling to my personality and our unique family dynamics. Recognizing this truth was a game-changer for our family. And now, I am not fearful, and am much better at not comparing myself to other homeschool moms. I am enjoying homeschooling, and I adore watching my kids grow into who God fashioned them to be.

Here are a few things I’ve learned that led to me enjoying homeschooling…

5 Ways to Enjoy Homeschooling

Know Your Why (and Revisit it Often)

Do you have a “why”?

When my friend asked me why I was homeschooling, it brought me to the core of the matter. It made me think about the purpose behind why I am giving myself to this work of educating my children. And you know, once I answered that question, it was a fresh wind to my soul, and felt excited and delighted to homeschool again.

That was two years ago and I still find it such a joy to home educate.

Embrace Who You Are

There is accepting yourself and there is embracing yourself. I say, embrace the beautiful person that God wove you together to be. Sure, you have your quirks, your shortfalls, and there is that pesky sin-nature, but the core of who you are, all that color stuffed inside your soul from the Master Artist, that’s you. And your personalty is God-given and I believe He delights in it, because when you are fully you, He is fully glorified. To deny who you are, or to try and be like someone else, is to deny His handiwork. So maybe you’re not into details, or maybe you rock at them, either way, be you in how you homeschool and you will experience great joy in the process.

Go With What Works for Your Family

Everyone has a different family dynamic. What works for me isn’t going to necessarily work for you. Figure out the unique chemistry of your people and go with it. Do you like to sleep in and get school going late morning over pancakes? Great! Do you like watching the sun rise and hitting the ground running? Great! Strict schedule keeper? Rock it. Flexible, do school throughout the day mom? Cool. We are all different, and there isn’t a right or wrong way to homeschool. Figure out your family puzzle (as Sally says), and get on with it!

Don’t Push Your Kids Before They’re Ready

Each child learns at a different rate. The beauty of homeschooling is that you don’t have to push them before they’re ready. You can watch and observe as they grow and how they learn, and push gently when the time is right. You’ll know. You gain confidence the more you do this homeschooling thing. I used to think I had to understand how my children learned before we even began, and it overwhelmed me! I finally let that go and just did my best, and it became evident when something was or was not working. I didn’t have to force understanding it, it just presented itself.

Here’s the thing, I once read or heard (can’t remember where) this illustration that helped me in teaching my kids: If you look at a class photo, the kids are different heights. You might have an extremely tall child, or a short child, and varying heights in between. That is what it’s like inside a child, it’s just that we can’t see it, and so we tend to treat children as if they’re all in the same place mentally. The reality is, they aren’t. With homeschooling you have the opportunity to know your child and go at their pace.

My daughter is an avid reader, but my son, who is eight, has struggled. He is still only reading BOB books. But he is improving slowly, and I get to be with him to encourage him and not make him feel anything other than what he is, smart. :)

Don’t compare your kids with other kids, and be careful not to push them before they are ready. You’ll know.

How does this make homeschooling more enjoyable? You won’t be fearful, you won’t be pulling your hair out when your child isn’t understanding something, and there won’t be nearly as many tears. Unfortunately, the pressure is on for kids, and they feel it, and it is causing unneeded stress in their little bodies. Let them be who they are. Let them enjoy schooling (okay, they won’t enjoy all of it!). Let them be kids and play and for goodness sake, it’s okay if they don’t know world history by first grade!

I’ll end this section by sharing with you what my mentor shared with me, “If you want your children to be brilliant, read to them tons (and give them good books), have them around adults, and play good music!” ;)

Put Blinders On

Honestly, I have avoided our local homeschool conference for two years because I didn’t want to get neurotic about our educational choices. I know that if I go and look at all the thousands of choices, I will compare, fret, and get overwhelmed. It seems there is always something I could be doing better, and wouldn’t you know XYZ has just the product to help me! And ya’ll, I’m a sucker for it. Avoiding the choices the last two years has been very good for me, and I’ve been happier for it, I’m sure. Irony alert: I got asked to speak at CHAP this year, our local homeschool convention! Ha! So, I will be there, but if you see me, remind me to put my blinders on! ;)

Just as an FYI, I don’t there is anything wrong with looking over curriculum choices at a conference, and I’m sure I’ll do it this year, since I’ll be there. The point is that once you make your decision, be confident in it! Go forward, no comparing, no looking back! And this goes for what you read online as well. If you aren’t encouraged by it, bop away and move on! You are you, you are woven uniquely by God, and you are able to school your babes!

Here’s to the delight of homeschooling!

SM

P.S. Get The Type-B Homeschool Plan (lesson planning for the rest of us) for only $2.99 by clicking HERE!

The Type-B Homeschool Plan - 14 Days to Homeschool Ready!

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Five Keys to Success for a Type-B Homeschooling Mom

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I was done.

I thought, “Why am I homeschooling?! I am no good at it, I’m undisciplined, and I’m not one of those crafty, awesome, Type-A moms. Maybe I should just put my kids in school.”

Done, I tell you. I had had it, and I had decided that I was not fit to be my kids teacher. I wasn’t made for it. I should be doing something else with my time.

So why did I feel so crummy about letting go of homeschooling? I decided to call a dear friend who would understand, a friend who had homeschooled her children, then put her daughter in school, then took her out again.

I dialed. She answered. “I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure I should still be homeschooling. Help?” 

Read the rest of this article over at Money Saving Mom. There is also a discount and a giveaway!

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School Accessories Giveaway, 10 Winners!

schoolgiveawayI LOVE back-to-school time.

Love it. 

I love the smell of notebooks and pencils and binders and books. I love that every year for the first day of school the kiddos and I go out to breakfast, go shopping for one new school outfit each, head to the park to feed the ducks, make “About Me” books, and then take school pictures in our new outfits. Such fun!

We also have a little tradition of walking to the school bus with the neighborhood kids, you know, solidarity and all. As the neighborhood kids board the school bus, my kids wave goodbye and say, “So long suckas!” I kid, I kid on that last part!

Well, in honor of almost back to school (and for sure back to school in the South, where you all are CRAZY starting so early), and The Type-B Homeschool Planner, I give you DaySpring and some super cute school accessories to begin the year with!

Today, you have a chance to win all of things shown above!

And how about the fact that there will be 10 WINNERS! Yep. 10 of you will get to take home the four items in the above picture, BUT they will be your choice. So, if you don’t want a bearded notebook, you can have a cute owl one, or a mustache one. Perhaps instead of the “Shine” water bottle, you’d like the “Joy’s of Life” one instead. Your choice!

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Get the Planner!

Want to know more about the Type-B Homeschool Planner? Click HERE!

Hold, write in it, love it! Click below to get the spiral-bound physical copy for only $24.99 (FREE shipping, unless it’s international – email me sarahmaewrites (at) gmail.com for international rates!)




(If you have any trouble, please email sarahmaewrites (at) gmail.com)

Want the PDF version instead? No problem! It’s only $9.99!
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Enter to Win!

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the form below! Good “luck”! And be sure to come back tomorrow for ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! WOOT!

Open to U.S. residents only.

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Love, Sarah Mae

P.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win the Type-B Homeschool Planner AND Chevron Scarf from Sorta Southern Boutique! If you buy the planner and then win the planner giveaway, you will get a full refund!

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