Unfortunately, the newspaper can’t use my column this week, so I thought I’d share some photos today instead. Some of you might be interested in knowing that the flower I use in my logo is a kind of Columbine. I discovered it in a wildflower seed mix, and I try to collect the seeds every year and replant them. Last year none of them bloomed, but this year I have a few, and they are so pretty.
I took a couple of weeks to stop writing, stop reading what’s new in the homeschooling world, and I did very little social media. I watched movies instead! My brain is thanking me for it. I highly recommend it too. Now I’m refreshed and I have more writing ideas, which I was lacking before I took the break.
I may be blogging less through the summer as I work on some other projects too, but I promise to post my weekly columns.
Sometimes you just gotta do something different.
What have you done differently lately?
I’ve been writing a weekly column for my newspaper for nearly four years now (wow!), and for the first time, I’ve decided to take a break. I’m going to extend that vacation to blogging and social media as well. Good-bye, Internet….for a week or two.
Meanwhile, if you’d like some reading material, here are some of my oldies but goodies.
- The Importance of Play
- Setting Our Homeschool Priorities for Two Boys, ages 5 & 2
- Supporting Your Child’s Interests Is a Good Thing
- There is no consensus on how to raise kids
- The Benefits of Storytelling
Have a wonderful two weeks! I’m still available by e-mail if you’d like to chat: shellipabis (at) gmail (dot) com
Recently this blog has acquired over 150 followers, and while I know that’s peanuts in the blogging world, and the blogging experts say that only about 5-10% of my following actually read my posts regularly anyway, I am still tickled pink that 150+ people have found Mama of Letters worthy enough to click “follow.” Even a few true followers makes me happy, and you know who you are.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You encourage me and keep me going.
Many years ago I started Mama of Letters, but it was only more recently when I switched to WordPress and decided to focus on homeschooling and daily life with children. I don’t make money with this blog, and I try to be as honest and straightforward as I can (while still protecting my family’s privacy). I also try to give information that will be helpful to you. I think about what I might like to know, if I were in your shoes. For me that has a lot to do with learning how to relax and do it our way… I hope I inspire you to do it your way.
I have met some wonderful people by writing this blog, and I want to thank those of you who have left comments and/or e-mailed me with your comments and questions. I love connecting with you. I really do.
I apologize for something though. I have always felt that it’s nice for a blogger to try to reciprocate the online relationships by reading and leaving comments on others’ blogs. However, since I’ve started this homeschooling blog I find it impossible to do that while maintaining the lifestyle I purport to have on this blog — simple, creative, mindful, with time spent outdoors and ample time focused on my children — so I don’t do it. If you come here looking for another follower for your blog, you’ll probably be disappointed, but that’s all the more reason I want to thank you, if you read my blog anyway.
I am also not so active on social media. I spend a little time on Facebook, and no time on Google+. Pinterest not so much. I use Twitter more, but there are days that I’m silent there too. I know you can understand why I have to limit myself in these venues.
Having said that, this past year I discovered that Flipboard on my iPad makes reading blogs super easy for me, so I try to at least “flip” through some of my favorite blogs once a week or so. I rarely leave comments. Mostly because it’s hard to do on my iPad, and I usually can’t get passed those darn captcha phrases! (“I really am a REAL person!”) So I apologize for that too, but I do enjoy reading your inspiring blogs, and I wish I had more time for it.
If you have a blog that you’d like for me to read, please leave me a link my comments. I can’t promise anything, but I will add it to my feed!
WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?
How is your homeschooling going? Please leave me a comment. I love to chat.
Do you have concerns or questions about homeschooling you haven’t talked to anyone about yet? Please e-mail me.
Or is there another topic you’re interested in? Motherhood… writing… storytelling… photography… blogging… gardening…. those are all my favorite topics!
Part of the reason I write is because it’s who I am…it’s good for my mental health to write out my thoughts and organize my life this way. (I tried not writing once and it didn’t last very long.)
But I write for an audience because I want to connect with others who share similar interests, and I want to help others attain their goals just as I work toward mine. I really do, and I’m not just saying that. (If I didn’t want to I’d just keep a journal.) It’s more fun doing it together.
So, I would love to get to know you. Please leave me a comment. Tell me how I could help you. Or just say hello and tell me what your plans are for this weekend.
I will continue to respond directly to your comments, and if you don’t want to leave a comment, please e-mail me directly at shelli (at) gmail (dot) com. Of course, if you feel more comfortable lurking, I understand, and I appreciate your readership too.
How can I encourage you and keep you going?
If you are someone who has “liked” my Facebook page — Thank you! — you may not be receiving all my updates in your news feed. That’s because the beloved Facebook wants me to pay to promote my page. For reasons I’m sure you can guess, I’m not going to do that. I’ve known about this for a while, but I wasn’t sure how to get around it until I learned (thanks to Simple Homeschool) that you can make sure you receive the notifications by going to my page and hovering over the “liked” button and then making sure there’s a check mark next to “Get Notifications.” That is, if you want notifications. And if you do, thank you so much. It humbles me that so many people are following my page and blog. (I was happy when I got to “10!”)
You guys are keeping me going. Thanks.
It’s been a busy summer, and Worthy Reads is long overdue. I’m sure I’ve missed a few worthy reads too, so if you have any interesting articles about homeschooling, education, parenting, storytelling, or something else you know I should read, please leave them in the comments! Below are my Worthy Reads. (Keep in mind that I don’t always agree with the commentary in these articles, but I consider them worthy to consider or be aware of.) I also have a little bit of Blog Business to share with you.
The Benefits of Unschooling: Report I from a Large Survey - Psychology Today
What Leads Families to “Unschool” Their Children? Report II - Psychology Today
The Challenges of Unschooling: Report III from a Large Survey – Psychology Today
Some Fascinating Facts About Homeschool vs. Public School - Homeschool World
How Homeschooling Helped a Young Engineer/Entrepreneur - StateImpact.npr.org
My View: Homeschooling: Marching to the beat of a different drummer – CNN Schools of Thought
The questions, the answers – Avant Parenting
Homeschooled Students Well-Prepared for College, Study Finds - Huffington Post
Home-school Happenings: Making it work for all families – Citizen-Times.com
Some negative media on homeschooling:
Homeschooling needs either tighter regulation or to be banned - Denialism BLOG
Nature Journaling with Kids – Simple Homemade
how do kids REALLY learn to write, 2.0 – Wonder Farm
My View: Let preschoolers, kindergarteners play to learn – CNN Schools of Thought
Bright students ‘cannot write essays’ say Cambridge dons – The Telegraph
Highly educated, deeply in dept – Philly.com
Living near good schools will cost an extra $200K – CNN Schools of Thought
Report: Test cheating may be widespread - CNN Schools of Thought
The high stakes of standardized tests – CNN Schools of Thought
Mom’s love good for child’s brain – PsyPost
Jonah Lehrer on How to Be Creative – WSJ.com
Why Bilinguals Are Smarter - The New York Times Sunday Review
- Earlier in the summer I tweaked the header on this blog as well as the menu and right-hand menu options. I hope you find this blog easy to read and find information. I welcome any suggestions that may help you.
- I added a “No Disclaimer Needed” page because I want my readers to know that I am not given any compensation to promote any products or services. If I recommend a product or service it’s because I happened to buy it, or it was given to me as a gift. Read this page for more information.
- I have added pages to make it easier for you to find my posts related to project-based homeschooling, storytelling, resources for Georgia homeschoolers, and, of course, I continue to update my general Table of Contents with my posts that are specifically about homeschooling.
- I have also added a Contact page (don’t know why I didn’t sooner!) because I want everyone to know that I’m available to offer homeschooling support and encouragement to anyone who might need it. I am also open to ideas on what to write about!
- Speaking of what to write about, I do have plenty of ideas, and some of them I’ve had for much too long. I hope to cover these topics in the future, and I hope you’ll stick with me and offer your comments!
- Thinking Outside the Box: On Socialization
- Back to Homeschool: First Day of “official homeschool”
- Complying with Georgia’s Homeschool Laws: We are official!
- Goals for this coming year: 2012-2013
- Homeschooling with a Three-Year-Old Tag-Along
- Kindergarten Lesson: The Solar System
- A Child-Led Lesson: The Human Body
- Continuing with the Reading Lessons
- Continuing with the Math Lessons
- More on Project-based Homeschooling
- More on Using Storytelling in Your Homeschooling
- Homeschooling with an iPad
- Learning Styles
- My Attempts at Character Building
- Beginning Preschool with a Kinesthetic Learner
- And more!
I have a few pieces of blog business to announce, but I’m sure you are most interested in knowing the winner of the e-book “Nuturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms” by Renee Tougas. If you didn’t win or didn’t notice the drawing, I highly recommend that you buy the e-book from Renee. It’s only $3.00, and Renee offers a lot of practical advice for busy moms on how they can work creative pursuits into their everyday lives while rearing children. She gave me a lot of food for thought, and I plan to go back through her book at some point because it’s very inspiring, and I don’t want to forget her advice. (Click here to purchase the e-book.)
I’m also going to write a little more on exactly how I organize and make time for my writing and other projects in a future blog post, and if you scroll down, I’m listing some other “blog post goals” too!
Without further ado:
- Okay, so I know you have already seen the winner of the drawing in the photo. This afternoon my son volunteered to cut out all your names from the paper I typed them on. He meticulously folded them and put them into a basket (the two-year-old added a few bits of his own paper too), and then he drew one name: sherilynorton! Congratulations, Sherilyn! Renee will be sending you your copy shortly.
- My second order of business is to let you know that I created a Mama of Letters Facebook page, and I have also been adding my blog posts to my Google+ account. I had been reluctant to create the Facebook page or do anything with Google+ for a long time because I just don’t have time for more social networking. I know a lot of people don’t like it if you’re not “social” or join in conversations. The only place I post regularly is Twitter, and even there I’m off and on because as a busy mom, I have to sort my priorities – I’m sure you understand. Though I love connecting with other people – in real life and online, I have to tip the scale to my family and my personal pursuits. Having said that, I know an enormous amount of people use Facebook and Google+, and it’s really no trouble for me to simply add my posts to it. At this time I can’t commit to more than that, but in the future who knows? If you use one of these mediums and don’t mind someone who is “anti-social” I will appreciate you liking my Facebook page or adding me to your group on Google+.
- When you write regularly like I do, it’s amazing to notice that new ideas keep surfacing. This is a blessing, yet it can also overwhelm me if I start to think I have to do it all right now. I stopped thinking in terms of right nowa while back and instead, I make lists, lists, lists. Since I have a good working list of what I want to write for my columns and blog, I thought I’d share some of them with you. I hope some of this will interest you and you’ll come back to read it:
- Later this week I’ll be posting my column about how I have been Teaching Kindergarten Math.
- How I find time for my writing and other creative pursuits (includes some tools I use)
- Teaching literacy through puppet shows and storytelling
- A review of Discover Your Child’s Learning Style and an assessment of my family’s learning styles.
- My practice year is over (before we are legal homeschoolers): What did I figure out? …and this may be tied to:
- Making a portfolio and keeping track of my homeschooler’s work
- Transitioning out of nap time – Yikes!
- How can a homeschooler find time to clean the house?
- The Dirty Secret: TV Time
- Bedtime Routines and the learning opportunities they offer
- Yes, You Can Homeschool! (Answering a commenter’s list of excuses she receives when people tell her they couldn’t do it.)
- Kindergarten lessons: solar system, weather, geography and my son’s interest in the human body and nature
- My Attempts at Character Building for My Five-year-old
- Finally, despite the ideas spinning in my head that I want to get down on paper, I am considering taking a blog vacation in May. We’ll have family visiting us at that time, and I have other writing and photography projects that I need to work on, so I may take 2 or even 4 weeks off this blog. I find that sometimes it helps to just focus on something in a planned period of time instead of trying to do everything at once. I’m sure blog advisors might tell me this isn’t good for my blog, but as I mentioned before, I have to sort my priorities, and I’m sure those who already enjoy my blog (I hope you do) will understand.
Thanks to everyone who have subscribed to my blog. You really inspire me to keep going, and I hope you find some of the information I post here helpful.
Just a quick note to give y’all a heads-up! Later this week I’ll be offering a free give-away for creative moms who need a little inspiration and practical advice on how to make time for creative pursuits. I’m able to offer this because one of my favorite bloggers is giving me something special to share with you. So please come back and participate! I’ll post it sometime Thursday….I can’t promise an exact time because, well, you know how it is with little kids.
I’d love for you to sign up for my RSS feed or sign up to receive my posts by e-mail in the left margin…..>
Thank you for your support.
Just a bit of blog business:
- First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Simple Homeschool who included my post, In Response to a Teacher’s Questions About Homeschooling, in their weekend links.
- Second, I’m happy to say that I finally bit the bullet and paid WordPress so that this can be an AD-FREE blog. I knew those sneaky ads (which they cleverly never let me see) were there, and I despised them, but I have to watch the money I spend, and I appreciated the opportunity to get started with a free blog. Perhaps someday I will research how to put ads of my own choosing that I can fully endorse, but for now Mama of Letters will be sans ads.
And here are my Worthy Reads in no particular order…
Confessions of a ‘Bad’ Teacher by William Johnson in The New York Times Sunday Review.
Workforce Preparedness: Is Your Grad Ready for the Real World? – Houston Chronicle Blog – A little dense and specific to Houston, but I thought it posed a good question. Students need to think in terms of getting the skills they need to be prepared to compete in the workforce.
Myth Busting: How Reading is Taught in a Waldorf School – I love learning about different educational philosophies, so I was happy to come across this post on Moon Child.
UN Produced Atlas shows Girls Still Falling behind Boys in Education - SOS Children’s Villages: Canada – I talk a lot about boys and homeschooling, but this is a reminder that all children around the world are still struggling to get a decent education.
Afraid of Your Child’s Math Textbook? You Should Be. – by Annie Keeghan on her blog, Chronic Sense.
Educating and Raising Boys (I will add the following to my page Worthy Reads About Raising and Educating Boys.)
Boys falling behind girls in education, experts look for solutions by Bruce Lindsay for KSL.com-Utah
All-boys’ classes grow confidence, leadership by Tamara Shephard on InsideToronto.com
Who says raising boys is easier? by LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
Learning to live with ‘boy energy’ by Stephen Bede Scharper
The Moral Status of Homeschooling and Public Schooling Motivations by Pamela J. Stubbart, Huffington Post – another response to Dana Goldstein’s article in Slate.
In ‘Class’ – at Home – Ted Landphair’s AMERICA
The Best Homeschooling Resources Online – By Jamie Martin for Parents.com
Why I Could Never Have Homeschooled My Children – A Response - by Sharon Greethal for BlogHer.com – Scroll down to see a comment I left here. I don’t believe homeschoolers should ever question a non-homeschooler’s parenting skills or commitment to their children.
I am too negative about homeschooling - From the blog, Skipping School, which is written by Kate Fridkis. She was homeschooled Pre-K through 12th grade and then went on to college at Rutgers and Columbia. Now she’s a freelance writer. And obviously, I recommend her blog as well.
Should Home-schoolers Play for High School Teams? in Room for Debate on the The New York Times.
I’m taking a break from my series about Homeschool Priorities to bring you an installment of Worthy Reads. This is because my reader has been filling up with interesting articles, and I need to clean it out.
But first, I have to thank Simple Homeschool for including me on their Weekends Links. What an honor! I’m especially humbled because I’m so busy with my boys that I don’t get a chance to read other blogs as much as I like, so I really appreciate the shout out. And for anyone who is a new subscriber, thanks so much for following me. You really encourage me to keep going.
Here are some Worthy Reads I’ve come across in the last few weeks. A few of them were passed on to me by my awesome Twitter friends. Thanks, guys!
In Praise of Homeschools - Excellent argument FOR homeschooling.
The Innovative Educator’s Guide to Getting Started with Unschooling - This whole blog looks like it’s worth following!
What the U.S. Census says about homeschool families - “A disportionate percentage of homeschooled students are boys — 58 percent, even though boys are a slight minority in the U.S. school population.”
Regarding Boys (These will also be added to my post Worthy Reads for Raising and Educating Boys, which is my attempt to compile information on this subject.)
Teaching boys to be men – Interesting article about a boy’s school in Kenyan newspaper. The quote I found most provocative in the article: “Why boys? Though she knows she might sound unpopular, Purity believes that the girl child has been empowered at the expense of the boy.”
Anything Boys Can Do…Biology may play only a minor role in the math gender gap: Scientific American
What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success - “Finland’s success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play.”
Why Schools Don’t Value Spatial Reasoning - Very interesting, and I agree with this. My 2-year-old seems to excel in spatial reasoning, so this topic is of interest to me.
Why Don’t We Value Spatial Intelligence - After reading the article above, I had to go to the article he cited – another good read.
Why A Teen Who Talks Back May Have a Bright Future – “Effective arguing acted as something of an inoculation against negative peer pressure. Kids who felt confident to express themselves to their parents also felt confident being honest with their friends.”
If you’ve found any worthy reads lately, please leave a link in the comments!