Let’s Get This Straight: 2 Thoughts About Homeschoolers vs. Public Schoolers

LauraAll Posts, Homeschooling, Motherhood

I think there’s a tension between homeschoolers vs. public/ private schoolers. (I dunno… I could be wrong… but I think it’s there.)

We’re each doing our very best, yet we’re afraid that maybe our children are missing out.

We wonder if other women are judging us.

We stumble over our words when we talk with one another because we’re not sure if we’ll offend, mortify, disappoint, overwhelm, or hurt someone’s feelings.

The best case scenario is an unspoken “agree to disagree” stance in which we just don’t talk about school.

It’s kind of a mess.

Jesus wants something better for His daughters, for His Church. He wants us to love one another and cheer one another on.

He wants us to believe that He has different gifts, callings, circumstances, and good works for each one of us to do.

He wants us to be content with the work He establishes for us and to be all about loving Him and making disciples.

But, how do we do that?

I think it begins with a few changes in our mindset.

Here are 2 things that help me to believe the best about you believing the best about me:

  1. One woman’s lifestyle doesn’t mean she’s right and you’re wrong. And it doesn’t mean she’s judging you. 

Too often, we look at another woman’s decisions and assume that she thinks she’s right. It follows that if she thinks she’s right, she must think I’m wrong. Therefore, she must be judging me.

But is she?

Does she really think she’s right and I’m wrong?

Our lifestyle choices are rarely that black-and-white. We need to remember that other women make decisions the same way we do: in a complicated, circumstantial, pros-and-cons, pray, pray, pray way.

Sometimes, we do something because God is calling and equipping us to do that good work.

Sometimes, our circumstances determine our situation.

Sometimes, we’d love to make another choice, but we cannot for one reason or another.

Sometimes we have misgivings about what we are doing and are praying for the grace to change.

When it comes down to it, many of our lifestyle choices aren’t a matter of “right” and “wrong”: they are a matter of preference, values, calling, diversity, opportunity, circumstances, and season.

What would happen if we gave each other the benefit of the doubt?

What would happen if we didn’t assume someone was judging us just because she has chosen a particular way of educating her children?

2. We need God’s divine help to dispel misunderstandings and pursue unity.

The best way to address misunderstandings is through relationships, right? Regular, open communication helps us to see beyond our assumptions and to understand the woman who is making different choices.

But let’s be honest: for busy moms, this is impractical, difficult, and time-consuming.

Working moms are working, and not available for play dates when stay-at-home-moms do most of their connecting. Homeschooling moms are home, educating their children, and are not available to meet for coffee when working moms are more likely to get together. In the evening when women without children are available, moms are at home tucking little ones into bed.

(When women do have a few golden moments to socialize, it makes sense that the women who are available match lifestyle choices. We can relate to one another and offer encouragement and strength.)

We have very few opportunities, practically speaking, to get together with women from other walks of life to help us get over our misconceptions and our fear of being judged.

Even if we try to take steps toward unity and understanding, it’s hard and impractical.

We need to acknowledge this difficulty and extend grace to one another.

We need God to make the most of our peace-making efforts and relationships. He alone can level rocky ground and straighten crooked paths amongst women.

Let’s ask Him to help us to connect with other women, to always believe the best, and to go first.

I’ll go first! 🙂

Why I homeschool our children:

If it helps you to understand me a bit better: while I was happily attending a private Christian elementary school, God called me to homeschool my children some day. That’s a true story. Just as He calls someone to be a missionary to China, He called me to homeschool my children. He equipped me through my excellent public high school education, liberal arts college education, and state school graduate education.

I don’t homeschool because I had a bad experience in school.

I don’t homeschool because we want to shelter our children.

I don’t homeschool because I don’t like the school system or our school district.

I homeschool because God is calling me to do it and, frankly, I want to embrace it.  As it turns out, it’s a glorious calling: I love the blessings of home schooling – the conversations, books-read, personalized education, outdoors, friendships, service, and discipleship opportunities.

I can rattle off a list of ways that God has opened doors and provided for me to walk in this often-difficult, often-lonely calling. On the bad days when I want to quit, I review the ways He has called and equipped me and I choose to keep going until He leads me in a different direction. On the good days, I’m all-in: the children and I read together, laugh together, and thoroughly enjoy a hands-on hearts-in education.

I love to share the wealth that comes from homeschooling. The homeschool world is full of incredible books, resources, and opportunities that would benefit any mother, regardless of her educational choices. 

I also love to hear about other school environments. I don’t want to “just tolerate” educational differences – I want to hear all about them. I want my sisters and friends to know that I’m completely supportive of the educational choices they are making and that I’m interested in that aspect of their lives. When my sister tells me about the wonderful traditions in her children’s sweet elementary school, I celebrate the goodness in that school and daydream about how I can apply the same virtue in our homeschool. I take note of the amazing ways teachers make learning fun, the math games they play, the reading centers they build, and the field trips they take. 

Of course, I struggle with jealousy when I hear about a school child’s amazing teacher – I wish my kids had her, too.

I struggle with feelings of inadequacy when I hear about a public school kid’s field trips, free music lessons, assembly programs, classroom decorations, and computer classes.

Every year, I mourn the fact that my kids don’t have that butterflies-in-the-stomach “first day of school” or the bus ride or the daily connection with many teachers and friends.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear all about it from you. That doesn’t mean I think you’re judging me when you tell me all about it.

I’d so much rather hear about your child’s life than to coddle my own feelings.

I’d so much rather learn from the wealth of your educational choices than avoid a few FOMO’s.

There are gains and losses to every earthly endeavor. Instead of being afraid of one another, instead of avoiding topics that are near and dear to our hearts, let’s see the life-giving potential of sharing our lives.

Let’s keep walking forward with God.

Let’s cheer one another on, offering the wealth of our calling, choices, and experiences.


True Confessions: We are not following that schedule I posted a few weeks ago!

LauraAll Posts

Dear reader,

I’ve been meaning to write this post for days now just to let you know that we aren’t following that tidy summer schedule that I posted a few weeks ago. As soon as I realized that our summer was shaping up differently, I removed the post so I wouldn’t mislead anyone, but I haven’t had time to acknowledge it formally. I’ve been waiting for a magical explanation to come to me – I wanted to write a Pinterest-worthy post about flexibility and willingness to change – but it’s not happening. So, here is a very unfancy FYI to let you know that our summer has turned out much more relaxed and unstructured than I intended.

As it turns out, we ended up getting a pool membership this year and signing a few of our kiddos up for swimming lessons. We’ve been trying to go to the pool as often as possible and the kids are loving it. They are much more comfortable in the water this year and that thrills me. We’ve spent afternoons and evenings there with our little cooler and a pile of towels.  We also discovered that the YMCA is providing free lunches for kids all summer. They send the lunch to a church that is 3 miles away and volunteers serve us lunch every day. (I know, AMAZING.) We bip over there several times a week and thank God for such a blessing! Add to that birthdays, beaches, and camps… and there’s just no room for a tidy little schedule of any sort.

I just wanted you to know. Now you can stop imagining me over here having some amazingly productive summer. 🙂 It’s been a good summer – great at times – but with far less handwriting, that’s for sure.




Connect with your child: Ask for an opinion

LauraAll Posts, Motherhood

Don’t you love to be consulted? Don’t you love when someone asks you what you think? It pulls you into that person’s world and makes you feel honored, respected, and valued. Your child will feel the same way when you ask for their opinion about something that really matters.

Is there a decision you have to make that you could share with your child? Is there something you’re thinking about or a problem you have to solve that could use your child’s perspective? Look for an opportunity to sincerely ask your child, “What do you think?” or “What would you do?”

Demonstrating that you value your child’s thoughts will strengthen your relationship and let them see that the two of you are connected in an important way.

Connect with your child: Smile.


Today’s challenge is as simple as it gets. Today, you and I are going to intentionally smile at our child throughout the day. Smile when she wakes up. Smile when he walks into the room. Smile when you look at her across the table, when you glance at him in the rear-view mirror, and when you say good-night.

Your smile does three important things. It…

  1. Communicates your acceptance, trust, and approval.
  2. Demonstrates that despite all of the stress, obligations, and responsibilities in your life, you are trusting God to carry the weight of the world for you.
  3. Makes you more beautiful. (True story! When you smile, you are your most beautiful you. Ask anyone.)

When we smile at our child, we extend an offer of connection they can rarely and barely resist. It’s like a life preserver tossed to an exhausted swimmer, a free t-shirt launched to an excited baseball fan, and a handful of candy tossed from a Parade float to the kid with an open bag, just waiting for something sweet.

(Have you had an opportunity to ask your child what makes him or her feel loved? What’d you learn? Make sure you use that information! Snuggle, pray, play, sit by, or hike with your kiddo to say, “I love you”. )

Connect with your child: Just ask.


Do you ever feel like you get to the end of the day and wonder if you connected with your child?

I find myself wondering, Did I even look at her all day? Did I touch him? Did I smile at her?  These questions catch me off guard more often than I’d like and remind me to be intentional about connecting with my kids.

Sometimes I notice that I’m wrapped up in my own little world and I need to “up the connecting ante” across the board. Other times I notice that one particular child seems to be lonely and sitting on the sidelines of life; she needs me to intentionally pursue her and remind her that there’s a place for her here.

Now that we’re enjoying the sweetness of summer, let’s think of July as the month we’re going to intentionally connect with a sweet kiddo in our lives.  As often as I can, I’ll share a post-it note’s worth of encouragement that’ll help you build your relationship with your child.

So, here’s what we’re going to do today:

Ask, “When do you feel most loved by me?”

I feel loved – and naturally give love – by words of affirmation and engaging conversation. That means my kids get lots of affirmation, lots of listening ears, and lots of conversation, but this doesn’t mean they really feel loved by it 

When I asked my kids, “When do you feel most loved by me?” I was surprised by their answers. 

My 4 year old son replied, “I feel special when you pray for me.” I loved his answer because he unintentionally told me two things about himself: first, that “love” to him meant “feeling special” and secondly, that he really was savoring those moments at the breakfast table or at bedtime when I’d pray for him. Who knew?

My 7 year old daughter said, “I feel close to you when you cuddle with me.” Her answer helped me to see that “love” to her meant “feeling close” and that any time I could wrap my arm around her or sit by her side, she was feeling the love.

That was a few years ago, so I wonder if their answers have changed? It’s about time I checked back in. I’m going to jot this down on a post-it note and make sure I ask them today. You, too? Your child’s answer will flavor the rest of the ways you pursue them this month.

(If your child is stumped by your question, try this free and easy “5 Love Languages Profile for Children”. A few simple “either/ or” choices will help you to see what “love” means to your kiddo.)

Let us know what you discover!


The Big Family Book Party: June 2017

LauraAll Posts, Books

June has been a fun month full of birthday parties, picnics, swimming lessons, afternoons at the pool, women’s ministry planning, homeschool planning, and project-tackling. That means that I *almost* forgot to do a Big Family Book Party for June! My daughter reminded me about it and I am determined to “publish”this post before the month turns into July. The kids all rallied around me for the photo shoot.

This month, we are recommending our favorite activity-themed books.

For the ballerina…

Viv spends hours with this beautiful book. Ballet Spectacular: a young ballet lover’s guide and an insight into a magical world features rich photos, history, and information about the Royal Ballet. Viv has learned about the history of ballet, creating a ballet, life in a ballet company, ballet school, and famous ballets. It’s a visual delight with plenty of interesting information.  

For the baby…

Josiah loves a lift-the-flap book. Where is Baby’s Bellybutton by Karen Katz is a current go-to.

For the big girl…

Audrey recommends this adorable quiet book, My Big Day. Brush your teeth, get dressed, put some socks in a washing machine, tie your shoes, take the dog for a walk… learn fine-motor skills with some simple everyday activities. This book is beautifully made and very sturdy.

For the LEGO lover…

We scored the LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary at our local used book sale (minifigure included!) and Malachi has studied it from cover-to-cover. Because it would never keep my own attention, I almost overlooked it, but my boy loves it. He couldn’t wait to tell you about it. If he studies his Bible, history, and science lessons like he has studied this book, he’ll do well in life.

For the chess novice…

My kids used The Kids’ Book of Chess to teach themselves how to play. The book explains the game in the context of a story with characters, motives, strategy, and everything. Easy as that. Lia spent hours setting up the board to replicate the examples in the book and playing against herself. Then, they all got in on the fun and had a tournament of sorts.

For women…

As for me? Well, I’ve had my nose in a stack of Women’s Ministry books because we are working on that in our church. I highly recommend Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt. It gets right to the heart of why women’s ministry is important and what it should be all about. I was borrowing a copy from a friend but was secretly happy when our daughter spilled water on it. This forced me to buy a new copy for my friend and feel free to underline all of the important passages in my own copy. 🙂

For men…

Although Ryan hasn’t had his nose in a book lately, he has been listening to Freakonomics (a “podacst that explores the hidden side of everything”) episodes during his commute. He comes home with the most interesting tidbits about carseats, stock markets, and lawn care.

Enjoy other book recommendations…

The Big Family Book Party: May, 2017

The Big Family Book Party: April, 2017

The Big Family Book Party: March, 2017

Get Your Child to Play More Games, Solve More Puzzles, and Exercise Creativity

LauraFamily Fun, Homeschooling, Motherhood

Don’t you just love when your child is totally absorbed in creating, puzzling, or playing? I do!

We have a closet full of incredible games and toys – solitaire marbles, colored blocks, a Buddha board, dominoes, chess – but with a baby crawling around, I haven’t known what to do with all of those tiny pieces and fragile items.

So, I shut them all up in a closet.

All of our beautiful games and learning toys were just sitting in a closet. Ignored. Sad. Lonely.

Last year, I was brainstorming a way to engage my older children in some of the hidden gems in our closet and I love what we discovered. I’ve just gotta tell you all about it.

This strategy rocks. It’s super-simple. Totally do-able. And has engaged my kiddos in hours of creative play. And the really nice thing is that the games no longer feel so dejected.

I call it… The One Thing on A High Table.

Yep, that’s right. Every few weeks, I place a different thing on the high black table that stands right in the middle of our everyday living.

None of the babies can reach the small pieces and the older children (and adults and all of our visitors) are immediately drawn into the fun. If it’s a game, they may play it the traditional way, but I’ve found that by leaving it out for two weeks or so, each child tinkers around with the pieces, creating designs, new games, slow-motion videos… I’m always amazed by what I discover at the high table.

The possibilities are endless…


Marble Solitaire

Colorful blocks


The Super Sorting Pie


Shut the Box



Even a basket of buttons or big, smooth stones beckons to a child, “Come and create a while.

The rules are simple: it all stays on the table.

The magic wand is in your hand. Here’s the key to keeping the fun alive: switch out the game before your child is tired of it and don’t ask for input. Just “let the new thing appear”. As they walk by the table, they’ll glimpse something new and interesting out of the corner of their eye, it will call their name, and they’ll be pulled into the wonder.

The bonus: Our table happens to be right inside our front door. It’s a great location. When guests arrive, they jump right in, painting on the Buddha board, or trying their hand at Shut the Box. If you have the space for something like this, try it out! It’s yard sale season, keep your eye open for a high table of your own. 🙂

Potty Training in 3 Simple Quotations

LauraAll Posts, Motherhood, Toddlers

A friend recently asked me to share all of my potty training insights. To be honest, I don’t have much to share. Potty training isn’t my forte.

Though I rejoice that 6 out of the 7 people in our family are potty trained, I’m not quite sure how it all came about. Each time, we tried the 3-Day Thing, and yet…

One of our kiddos took longer than others.

One was waaaay too distracted.

One was less interested.

One – one amazing child of ours – figured it all out within 24 hours of training and said, “I’m potty-trained, Mom.” Bam. Done.

Another one relapsed after 2 years of consistency.

SO, in my experience there is no pattern or formula for fail-safe, accident-free, blissful potty training.

I do, however, have 3 cosmos-shaking quotations about potty-training that I’m willing to share with you.

1. “Treat your child the way you’ll want to be treated when you’re old and they help YOU go to the potty.”

This is the golden rule of potty training.

A mother of 7 told me this one. I’m amazed that the concept has shaped how I think about the servant-part of parenting. When I consider that I’m modeling the way I’d like them to treat me, I’m kinder and much more patient, that’s for sure.

2. “There’s no turning back now, Mom.”

We aim for the focused 3-day Potty Training Thing, putting the child on the potty every 15- 20 minutes.

In the past, we’d transition to pull-ups. But when we were about to train our third child, we decided to go right to underwear instead of transitioning with pull-ups. That day, a good friend and experienced dad stopped by and heard about our Project of the Day. He said, “There’s no turning back now, Mom. Whatever you do, don’t go back to diapers or pull-ups.”

We took his advice and I’m glad we did. It required consistency and dogged determination, but the process seemed to go much more smoothly. Of course, there were plenty of accidents that I couldn’t bear to clean up (you know the kind) so, I threw some underwear away. We’ve shopped around for inexpensive packs of underwear. At the end of the day, we’ve thrown away and spent far less than if we had transitioned to pull-ups or gone back-and-forth.

3. “I count on my children having accidents until they are 4 or 5 years old.”

After a few years of frustration over occasional accidents – even 2 or 3 years after a child being potty-trained – a friend shrugged her shoulders and told me that she counts on her kids having accidents even when they are 4 or 5 years old. I breathed a sigh of relief to learn that I’m not alone! She told me that she keeps a change of clothes in the car and doesn’t make a big deal about it when it happens. Now I do that, too.

This mentality was a game changer for me.

Being prepared for accidents helps me to extend grace to my child as well as to myself. We’re not shocked. We’re not angry. We just clean it up. No big deal.

I haven’t tracked the data scientifically or anything, but I’m certain that my kids have far fewer accidents now that I’m prepared and relaxed. Wonders!

So, there you have it, all I know about potty training in 3 simple quotes: “don’t turn back”, “prepare for accidents”, and “treat your child with dignity”.

What about you? What do you know about potty training?

The Playful Pioneers Review: 3 First Impressions

LauraBooks, Homeschooling

I first heard of Jennifer Pepito’s curriculum on The Homeschool Snapshots podcast.

I love her philosophy about the preschool years and became interested in her “Peaceful Preschool” curriculum. While I was checking that out, I discovered her newest  curriculum, “The Playful Pioneers“, which provides a multi-sensory approach to the first 5 books in The Little House on the Prairie series for early-elementary students.

I wanted to make sure I got this post out to you asap because she is offering 20% off either curriculum through June with the discount code “Summer”. You may want to snatch this one up!

Why I Chose The Playful Pioneers for our Children…

Like SO many homeschoolers, I adore The Little House series.

I grew up believing imagining I was Laura Ingalls Wilder – surviving blizzards, teaching bullies, sweeping for hours, and making gallons of nature soup.

Eight years ago, I read the first few books to our oldest daughter. Then two years ago, our second daughter hid away behind one Little House book after another until she emerged from the entire series, smiling and inspired.

Now that our son is entering first grade and our 3-year-old is precocious enough to listen in, I think it’s time to enjoy the series together.

The Playful Pioneers curriculum provides just what we need to map out our reading and dig into the pioneer lifestyle.

I decided to begin the curriculum this summer since it’s targeted toward K – 3rd graders, but my rising 7th and 4th grader begged to be included in the fun. With the flexibility of summer, I want to try it on for size and see how it works best in our home.

I LOVE that it begins with Farmer Boy. This appeals to my 6-year old son right off the bat. I’m so thankful for that! After the first week’s reading, he wanted to run right off and “play Farmer Boy!” (Who could ask for more?)

One of the highlights from Week 1 was making a pink dye from rose petals. With it, we dyed some yarn and white socks. We decided that the color of the socks is best described as, “Well, ew, Farmer Boy Pink?”.

I dunno. What would you call this color??

With two weeks under our belts, here are my first impressions about The Playful Pioneers:

  • It’s well-organized, simple, and easy to follow. 

When you purchase the curriculum, you’ll receive a few downloads: The Student Worksheets, The Book List, The Cookbook, and The Curriculum. I printed it out, punched holes in everything, organized the student worksheets with their corresponding Week #, and put it in a 3-inch binder.

Each week provides a clear one-page overview of every activity, then each day has a more specific description with internet links included for project instructions, etc.

There’s no question about what to do, when. This curriculum provides simple, do-able assignments and projects to enhance each day’s reading. I’m confident that my children are learning so much from the multi-sensory approach of making rose-petal dye and popcorn, listening to music and poetry, and drawing and writing.

  • It’s a thorough curriculum.

Along with your favorite Math and Language Arts curriculum, The Playful Pioneers could be everything else you need for a 30 week school year.

Because we’re starting this in the summer, we’re simply doing the day’s reading while the children work on the copy work/ coloring pages or a related art project. If there’s an additional art or practical skills project, we do that in the afternoon.

In the fall, I’ll be more conscientious to include the Scripture copy work, the additional reading, as well as the science and history elements.

  • It’s hands-on, sensory fun for a wide range of ages and grade levels.

Even though The Playful Pioneers is geared toward K – 3rd grade, my 3-year old and 12-year old daughters are enjoying it just as much as anyone.

For example of how the assignments appeal to a broad range of ages, check out that photo of the horses. The prompt was, “Draw a horse, using p. 141 in Farm Anatomy as a guide”.  My 6-year old and my 6th grader were equally absorbed in the assignment and felt good about their work. You can see how they each naturally applied it to their own ability level.

My older daughters love the copy work and coloring, and are really enjoying the art and practical skills projects. And of course, who wouldn’t enjoy the books themselves? The Little House books are timeless literature for every age.

I’m anticipating that the older girls will want to continue being a part of the fun in the fall. If so, I’ll just shape their curriculum around what we’ll be reading and experiencing at that time. I can keep you posted about that if you’re interested.

My first impression of The Playful Pioneers? Two thumbs up! Excellent quality. Affordable. Do-Able. Meaningful.

Click here to check it out for yourself! And remember… 20% off with the code “Summer”. 🙂


Our Plans for a Regular Old Summer Day

LauraAll Posts, Books, Homeschooling

Year-round schooling is my style. I thrive in the sweet terrarium of structure and accomplishment.

My children, on the other hand, need a nice, long break from the monotony thrill of a rigorous academic schedule. Besides, our summer schedule is gladly full of friends, outdoor adventures, vacation, and camps, so it’s not realistic to expect school-work-as-usual.

When we are home, I like to keep a general daily schedule so the kids know what to expect. I’ve discovered that even summer vacation thrives with a little structure, so that everything hums along. The younger they are, the more passionate I am about having them read, write, and reason a bit each day. (Personal history proves that a 3-day weekend – let alone a 3-month vacation – can make a Kindergartner write their 5’s backwards after working so hard to write them correctly. Ack! That hurts. So, we keep things like “5’s” fresh through the summer.)

Here’s our “Regular Ole’ Summer Day” plan.

Play until Breakfast.

8 o’clock: Breakfast

Outdoor chores (Before the sun!)

9ish – 10ish a.m. The Playful Pioneer

We’ve just begun a beautiful and fun curriculum that takes young students through The Little House on the Prairie Books w/ activities, crafts, recipes, coloring, and Copywork. It’s meant for K-3, but my older girls begged to be let in on the fun. I’ll be sharing more about this soon. Stay tuned.

10ish – 11ish a.m. “Snack and Stuff”

We’ll all grab a snack and then… The older girls want to keep up with their math and practice their music or ballet. They’re both writing stories for The Secret Keep Girl Story-Writing Contest, so they use this time to work on that.

Meanwhile, I play with Malachi and Audrey, aiming to help Malachi do some math, reading, and writing as we play. My top 5 ideas: “Toy Store”, “Sunday School,” “Camp,” “Train Station,” and “Restaurant”.

11ish – 12ish p.m. Free time

12ish – 1ish p.m. Lunch/ Free time

1ish – 2ish p.m. Quiet Reading Hour

2ish – 3ish p.m. Read-aloud + an Art Project or a Game

I love this special time just with my older 3. We’ve read so many wonderful books together, painted many watercolors, and played many games. Just yesterday, Malachi and I won a game of Rummikub. 🙂

3ish – 3:30 p.m. Indoor Chores

3:30 – 5 p.m. Free time until dinner

All of that free time is beautiful for children! They can run and play and create! But, I must admit that all of that free time gives me the jitters. I don’t mind a dose of boredom that results in discovery and play, but I do mind boredom that results in complaining, snack-begging, and aimlessness. (Two-sides of the same coin!)

Our kids love to play outside and can spend hours with Playmobil or LEGOS, it’s just a matter of getting them going sometimes.  So for a quick reference, I made a list of fun things they can do and posted it on the fridge. If they need an idea, there it is. The list is full of everything you’d expect: playdoh, dolls, bubbles, clay…

My biggest concern is myself:  I can flat-out wilt under the intensity of unstructured time. To appease myself, I posted a 2nd list on the fridge: a list of “You ACCOMPLISHED something!” ideas for myself. (I used Pam Barnhill’s free Summer printables.)

I’m sure that most of that “free time” will be taking care of business, getting supplies for little ones, applying sunscreen on four little noses, restoring peace to the universe, and patching up boo boos. BUT, for those rare moments when I have free time and don’t know how to begin, I can glance at my list for an idea to make the most of my opportunity. 🙂


When it comes to community and online summer reading programs, I tend to fail.

I don’t know why.

They are just so hard.

The lists, the entries, the prizes… I try to juggle the Summer Reading Program Ball, but it’s one I keep dropping. So for the past few summers, I’ve just created our own Family Reading Challenge.

This year, I compiled a list of good books that are also good movies. Read a book from the list and we’ll watch the movie! Easy and fun.

I tried to include titles that are both good books and good movies. Want the plan for your own fridge? Here’s a copy that you can edit according to your particular family’s taste. Just click here: A Book and a Movie: Summer Reading Fun.

What goes on at your house on a regular old summer day?