The Downside to Minimalism (that no one likes to talk about)

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Minimalism is in. Marie Kondo has become a household name, and even Emily Gilmore jumped on the decluttering bandwagon!

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5 Ways We Teach Language Arts without a Curriculum

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You don’t need an expensive curriculum to teach Language Arts in your homeschool.

When I first started homeschooling, I was so tempted to purchase a curriculum called All About Reading and All About Spelling to teach Language Arts. Each level cost more than $160 combined! With four levels each (this didn’t even include handwriting or writing!), I would have spent more than $600, and that’s just for one kid. 

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Why You Should Quit Clipping Coupons

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I first read about extreme couponing in the Boston Globe sometime in 2011. The front page featured Kathy Spencer, author of How to Shop For Free: Shopping Secrets for Women Who Love to Get Something for Nothing. Her minuscule grocery budget inspired me, to say the least, and I immediately jumped on the extreme couponing bandwagon.

We had a new baby, a boatload of student debt, and one income. I committed to being a stay at home mom out of deep conviction, but I itched to contribute financially. Like any good drug, extreme couponing filled a void, and I convinced myself that saving money was my most valuable contribution to our family.

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Quitting Babywise: Best Decision Ever

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I like steps. I love plans. And I really love control. And sleep, did I mention sleep?

Babywise parenting seemed to fit my personality like a glove. I bought the book On Becoming Babywise, prepared to follow its advice with precision.  What could go wrong?

Only that babies could care less what book you read about feeding and sleep training.  

They just want you to figure out what they need and give it to them.

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Bullet Journaling: Take What You Need, Leave the Rest

homeschool mom bullet journal

I used to be A-type. I adored planners and scoured the stores for the best one each December.

Then I became a mom. With each successive child, I used my planner less and less. Instead, I turned to sticky notes, random sheets of paper, spiral notebooks, and google calendar.

These systems were less than ideal for obvious reasons. The sticky notes inevitably got lost under a fresh stack of mail. The spiral notebooks? Uninspiring, to say the least (don’t we all buy planners for their inspiring covers and layouts?).

And I had nowhere to write down long-term ideas and lists: books I wanted to read, curriculum I wanted to explore down the road, or little things I needed for the house (have you ever finally found time to go shopping only to arrive home without the one thing you actually needed?).

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How to Encourage Pretend Play (A story of kids needing less than we think)

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Creating an environment that encourages pretend play can feel daunting in our screen-filled world.  Many parents who want to foster their child’s imagination think a play kitchen is an essential toy for encouraging creative play.  In fact, play kitchens are now commonplace, found in most homes with young children.

I fell for it too – believing a play kitchen (and other props) to be absolutely necessary for my kids to play pretend.  

As my daughter approached three years old, I started looking for the perfect play kitchen.  Home aesthetics are important to me, so I prioritized the ones I could handle looking at every day in our small apartment.  

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How to organize with a disorganized family

how to organize the disorganized family, organizing with a disorganized family

Have you ever spent hours rearranging and organizing your home only to have it be a disaster the very next day? 

You think angrily to yourself, our house could be clean and orderly if everyone else would just get on board.

Perfect Storage Solutions…For Your Habits

That perfect IKEA storage case with drawers – one for each LEGO® color? One child always empties every drawer onto the floor to find what he wants, and they need to be resorted all the time.

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Developing Your Philosophy of Education (Before You Homeschool)

homeschool philosophy of education, what to do before you start homeschooling

“Why do we do this anyways?” Her brows furrowed with confusion.

I felt for my new friend who had been homeschooling for over a year now. I never stopped to ask the question myself until four months into homeschooling…when all the methods I thought would work just didn’t.

And without a good answer to that question, many people quit.

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Dear Parent: You’re Not “Failing”; You’re Learning.

am i failing as a parent, what to do when I feel like a failure parenting

I open my inbox to find an e-mail from another blogger.

The subject line: “Am I failing my kids??” 

This Sunday, our pastor described a recent personal conversation he had with God about how he was doing as a father. “Am I failing my kids?” he desperately asked.

Yesterday, at the end of a particularly stressful day, I found those exact same thoughts running through my head.

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Why We Stopped Giving “Chores”, and What We Do Instead

should we give chores, do kids need chores, alternative to chores

Our kids don’t do chores.

Gasp! Before you jump to the comments for a good rant about the value of contributing to the family via chores, let me explain. Instead of “chores”, our kids do “family service” and “paid jobs”.

Does it really matter what you call it? Whatever you call it, chores are chores, some would say. But I believe word choice makes all the difference, especially when it comes to our attitude towards work.

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