Resources

Books To Help You Talk About Race and Discrimination with Your Children

We live in a discriminatory culture. Despite laws and movements, we've still got stereotypes and biases and preconceived notions about how people might look, act, speak, work, believe. In an effort to confront my own biases and raise children that stand up for justice, fight against discrimination and openly confront and dialogue about it, I've rounded up a list of books for you.  It is my hope that this booklist will help you begin to talk with your child(ren) about race and discrimination, equality and our part in it as we work to change it. 

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As Sarah Mackenzie says in her new book The Read Aloud Family, stories are what shape us. Stories are what change us. Story allows us to step into another person's shoes, to learn about their life.  Stories create empathy, compassion, courage to change in ways that we can't predict.

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I've created a booklist to help start the conversation with your kids. Here are just a few books for littles that made it on to the list:  Lila and the Crow, Let's Talk About Race, Whoever You Are, Separate Is Never Equal.

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And for mamas and other parents? Here are a few options for you: A Different Mirror, The Hate U Give, Half The Sky, This Will Be My Undoing. These will be coming soon on a separate booklist.

The conversation has to start right now. Studies show that little babies and children as young as 3 or 5 can have be biased.  Don't think you're very biased? Take this test, it is quite convicting!

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It is up to us as adults to begin an open, caring, respectful dialogue with our child(ren) about race, gender, identity, wealth, language, power, status. Is it hard? Is it awkward? Is it uncomfortable? YES! But without us modeling it for our kids, they won't have a safe space to learn. 

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This article and this one too may be helpful to help you identify your own biases and learn more about discrimination. Want a list of books to help you start the conversation? We've rounded up a list for both adults AND kids to change your thinking, open a dialogue and begin the conversation. These books include authors, subject matter by and about women, men, children, white people, people of color, humans of different socioeconomic status, backgrounds and more.

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Playful Pioneers Curriculum Review

One of my favorite memories while growing up was sitting with my dad and brother and sister and listening to our current read-aloud. Over the years we read rich, living books such as Little House on the Prairie (and the rest of the series), The Chronicles of Narnia, The Call of the Wild and more. I spent many of my formative years donning a bonnet and pretending I lived on the prairie, harvesting crops and protecting my home from bears. Today, I am so excited to share with you our review of Playful Pioneers. 

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The Playful Pioneers is a "literature and project based curriculum" put out by Jennifer at The Peaceful Press. It's obvious she poured her heart into this as it made my heart fill up with emotions as I opened it up for the first time. It is a lovely curriculum! We chose the Playful Pioneers for early elementary ages, but they also have a curriculum for preschoolers, word cards (which I will be purchasing as soon as this post is published because they are LOVELY!), chore cards, and more!

As I mentioned, we chose The Playful Pioneers package, which is based on the Little House series. This package included a parent guide, student sheets, cookbook, and weekly/daily schedules and more! It is chock-full of goodness!  The Bible verses and quotes chosen for copywork were lovely. My favorite thing about this curriculum was that it had so many hands-on opportunities! We made bread together just like Ma. We did a science experiment to see if popcorn and milk truly is tasty (I skipped that portion) and if it wouldn't overflow when mixed together just like we read! And even though our trip got snowed out, we tried to get visit horses just like Almanzo's Beau and Beauty.  

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 I have absolutely loved testing it and tweaking it for our family (we are using it in conjunction with A Modern Charlotte Mason's Early American History). This curriculum opened up a lot of discussion for our family: what does it mean to call people names they may or may not like? What do we do about jealousy (like when Laura was jealous of Mary's golden hair)? Should we act lazy like Almanzo's cousin or work hard as unto the Lord? I cannot recommend the Playful Pioneers curriculum enough-so many good things here! I

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BOOKS FOR MOTHER CULTURE: A CHARLOTTE MASON INSPIRED BOOKLIST FOR MAMAS

I have such a fantastic book list geared up for 2018! I am SO excited to share some of them with you today. 

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Charlotte Mason emphasized Mother Culture essentially as a time of intentionality. This is separate from teaching children, but is a time just for Mama to focus on her own education. Miss Mason recommended reading three different types of books at one time: a novel, a biography and something" harder", something to learn. Read on for some of our favorite books from those categories. Be sure to leave a comment-do you have booklist for 2018?

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The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola

The Happy Dinner Table by Anna Migeon

The Living Page by Karen Bestvater

The Glass Cage by Nicolas Carr

Last Child In the Woods by Richard Louv

The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson

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(SOME OF) OUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOKS

EEEK! It's the most wonderful time of the year (or so the song goes). I'm one of those annoying people who decorate for Christmas immediately after Halloween.  I love this season with all it's joy, the reflection on Christ's birth, and creating new traditions with my kids. I especially love taking down all our holiday books from storage.  It gets everyone excited about the season!

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Living Books for Christmas (Ages 0-4)

1. Cranberry Christmas- Wende and Harry Devlin

2. Christmas in the Barn-Margaret Wise Brown

3. The Wild Christmas Reindeer AND Christmas Trolls-Jan Brett

4. Carl's Christmas-Alexandra Day

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Living Books for Christmas (Ages 5-8)

4. An Orange for Frankie-Patricia Polacco

5.Apple Tree Christmas- Trinka Hanks Noble

6. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree- Gloria Houston with Barbara Cooney

7. The Clown of God- Tomie de Paola

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HOW WE USE THE BIBLE IN THE EARLY YEARS

"Train up a child in the way they should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"

-Proverbs 22:6

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It's a lot of work to parent intentionally, to train my children to grow in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord". There are many ways I use the Bible to point my kids to the Lord, but this way is one of the simplest. I want the Bible to be a part of our daily lives so to that end I try to use it on a regular basis for training my children.

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I've added sticky notes to my brand new She Reads Truth Bible. We keep it out in our family room so it's always easily accessible. I've color coded highlighted passages and sticky note flags by topic: kindness, respect, honesty--things that my younger kids need to work on, learn about, etc.

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I've got a list of the topics and their color in the front of the Bible (not pictured).  Whenever I see a situation arise (and there are many!), I can simply find the corresponding topic and flip quickly and easily to a verse.

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I love the new She Reads Truth Bible.  The translation is easy to understand, has gorgeous color maps and illustrations (top image). The cover is also very thick and durable, great for even little hands to utilize.

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Want to get your own copy of the brand new She Reads Truth Bible?

Enter to win one of seven (7) copies here.

 

 

Check out a video of this gorgeous new bible here and purchase here.

The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of "Women in the Word of God every day." The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.   

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking. 

 

 

Note: I love many of the She Reads Truth products. The new Bible does not come with sticky note flags or highlighted text (that was my own DIY), however it does include gorgeous timelines, maps and other charts.   I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media.  While I was given the Bible for free,  all thoughts and opinions are my own. All images are my own and are copyrighted.

3 THINGS TO OUTSOURCE AS YOU HOMESCHOOL

Many businesses outsource certain aspects of their day to day tasks in order to save time and money. Both motherhood and home education are full time roles in and of themselves, combining the two makes for an even larger workload.  That doesn't even include any house cleaning, side jobs or work from home opportunities, paying bills, errands and appointments, volunteer or church work, or caring for a sick friend or friend that may need help. We've all seen various studies from Fortune, Salary.com and others that list a mother's salary between $65, 000 and $143,000 annually.

As home educators we are also responsible for curriculum research, lesson planning, cultural enrichment, and more. We are the Art Teacher, the Music Teacher, the History Teacher and so on. We've got our hands (and hearts) full, Mamas.

But there are some things we can go ahead and write off our to-do lists. We can choose to say no in order to free up more time to say yes to other things! You don't have to accomplish every single thing at the end of the day, it's choosing the right thing that is most important.

3 THINGS TO OUTSOURCE AS YOU HOMESCHOOL

1. House Cleaning

Don't misunderstand, there is something to be said for teaching your kids life skills, responsibility and house work. These are necessary and right skills to cultivate in our kids. But (!!) for those of us who love a freshly clean house, outsourcing a house cleaning is the way to go. If your budget allows, a monthly or biweekly cleaning offers just a small pick me up and saves you from doing a lot of deep cleaning when you could be focusing on other things! (House cleanings work well as gifts too, if you're wanting to gift a homeschool mama something special!)

2. Yard Work

Admittedly, I draw the line halfway here.  My husband commutes an hour each way to work and we have (almost) 3 young kids. I adore working in the yard, getting my hands dirty in rich soil.  It draws me in to a deeper communion with my Creator.  I also love teaching my kids the joy, patience and responsibility of growing a garden. What I don't like is the time spent on mowing, edging, bush and limb trimming and general yard maintenance. At this season in my life, I'm not willing to lose out on quality family time while I or my husband mow our yard and so we choose to outsource that. 

3. Groceries

Again, teaching your kids money management, good health habits and other valuable life lessons is important.  But so is sanity i.e. not taking a group of crying and pinching brothers into Target (ask me how I know). Save yourself some embarrassment and get your groceries delivered (we love Instacart!!)  for this season of life.  If you so choose, there are other ways to include your kids in this aspect: look up prices online, cut coupons from local newspapers, or consider using a CSA and make your pickup trips into a field trip each week.  In our family, we do a combination of our local CSA for weekly ingredients, and then a standard grocery order for anything we might need in bulk. 

As a thank you for reading this far, I'd love to offer you a $10 credit toward your grocery delivery. What other things, if any, do you outsource as a home educator? Do you see this as a worthwhile investment for your family?