1. Grounds for Change. Delicious coffee. Fair trade. What more could you ask for?
2. Starfall.com If you have preschool age kids, this is a great way to get them interested in phonics.
3. coconut oil. I have been loving coconut oil for a long time now. Now, this list of 101 uses...well, some of them might be a bit of a stretch. But if you're not using it, then you're late to the party. Get on the bandwagon already. I use it for healthy cooking, face moisturizer, and shaving cream (!! This is probably my favorite use! Thanks for the recommendation, Chrissy!)
4. Renew lotion. Coconut oil is all I need most of the time. But I am a mom to three dirty, yucky, stinky boys. I have to wash my hands a lot. I also live in the North. It's cold here. Winter skin care is serious business. Thankfully my friend Lindsay sells Melaleuca products. If you want to order, send me an e-mail and I can hook you up. Oh, and if you decide to go with the Renew lotion, do yourself a favor and get the 20 oz bottle. You won't regret it. I have never used a moisturizer that lasts so long, even with the constant hand washing.
5. All Sons and Daughters. For your listening pleasure:
6. Sevenly. Because people matter. Get a cute new top AND help someone. Win.Win.
7. Do some research before you shop:
Green America and Free2Work are great sites (and also have mobile apps!)
I have been doing some reading about slave labor, child labor, and human trafficking. This is scary stuff, friends. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of such big problems - especially in light of how deep the corruption is in some major companies. But, I don't want to cop-out and say we can't do anything. Surely, you can't be certain about every purchase you make being completely ethical, but I'm trying to change the things that I buy on a regular basis (like coffee, chocolate, make-up...that pretty much sums up all of life's needs, right? :)). I also feel like I could change where I make bigger purchases that I can plan out/research ahead of time. Let's make our money talk!
8. Along those lines, here are some some sites where you can read about slavery and find ways to be part of the solution:
The A21 Campaign "Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. As the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe. Every thirty seconds, someone is forced into this type of bondage—modern slavery"
End It Movement "Nothing happens just because we are aware of modern–day slavery, but nothing will EVER happen until we are."
9. National Geographic Picture of the Day I have probably already written about this in a previous post, but I'll write again because we love it that much. This is a much-loved part of our school day. We like to look at a new, breathtaking picture every day. We make observations, write stories about them, find the location on a map, do some research about that particular place/animal/thing, the list is endless of what you can do with this!
10. If you're not following Honest Toddler on twitter, you should be. So so funny.
So, in no particular order, here are some of the reasons that we homeschool:
- I want my boys to be able to do as much hands-on, messy learning as possible. Because that's when they get really excited about something. There are lots of ways to learn that don't involve desks or a classroom. This is especially helpful for whild and crazy boys like mine. And I like letting the boys be messy boys. You can see the way their eyes light up when they get to to explore outside and really dig into things they want to learn about. pun intended.
- I like to have structured parts to our day (usually in the morning we do our Bible reading, handwriting, reading, and math.) For kindergarten that takes maybe 1-2 hours, depending on how many interruptions we have and how quickly Roman catches onto the lesson. I also enjoy having a good amount of the day that's open-ended. This is where the child-guided learning comes in. When Roman finds an insect outside we can all take turns making observations and go find a book that tells us more about that insect. It's time that we spend on impromptu science experiments, exploring some art or music, watching a documentary, going for a bike ride, or writing letters to friends. It's also time that we are free build more relationships with friends or family: we could go to the zoo, cuddle up and read, have a play-date, or make a meal for someone.
- On that same note, we can change things up when we want to. It's getting close to the end of the year, sometimes Roman gets a little antsy on me. The other day it was raining and he was mad that they wouldn't be able to play outside. So, we got out one of our science books and read about water cycles, and did an experiment about rain. That didn't make up for not being able to go to the park, but at least it gave him something new and exciting to think about for a while. (And yes, I did let them out to jump in the puddles, too).
- We can spend time on more important things when we need to. Yes, I think there are more important things than schoolwork. Obviously, most of our mornings are spent on lessons, but when there is someone in the community that needs our help or something we can do to reach out to someone, I want to jump on that opportunity. That's WHY they're learning right? So they can make a difference in the world someday. (or today)
- We can travel when we want to. We have family all over the country now so we like to get out and visit whenever we can. It's nice that we can work our school schedule around (or into!) that. For example, when we visited my brother and his family in DC for Thanksgiving, we did a lot US History reading/projects beforehand, and visited the Museum of Natural History while we were there. We also strolled down to see the White House.
- I like hanging out with my kids. I think I would miss them if they were at school. They are interesting and funny and ask awesome questions and it's my joy to see them growing and changing every day.
(This is what happens when the littles are not being entertained.)
Judah is just starting to write his name! Yay!
(He also wrote about ten letter A's on the wall behind the couch in the basement. In pink marker.)
- Of COURSE there are days that I think I'm INSANE for trying to homeschool. Let's be real, no matter what school choice you make, there will always be tough days when you're going to question if you made the right decision. Nothing is perfect. What do you do when that happens? Pray for grace, have another cup of coffee, and start over tomorrow.
- We want our kids to know that their relationship with God, and their call to share the Gospel, is the most important thing in life. We want them to see that knowing, loving, and serving God is an adventure that takes courage but that it will be their greatest joy! I know that we could choose a private school where they would get that, too, and I know that many parents are great at teaching that while sending their kids to public school. But, I like having them here and knowing for sure what they are learning and hearing. And we can put the emphasis on what we feel is most beneficial. For example, I'm a big believer in memorizing scripture, so we make that a part of life around here. (Although now that I'm typing it, I'm realizing that I have been slacking on that.) New mercies every day, see?
(I love the simplicity of a child's mind. This is story Roman wrote about a king: "He will go to fight the bad guy. He will save the people. The bad guys is killed."