The Pen is Mightier

The Pen is Mightier
My younger son’s note to his big brother.

While my boys generally get along well, like all siblings they sometimes squabble with each other.  The other day when we were cleaning up my [then] three-year-old’s room to prepare for his birthday party, I found the above message on his shelf.  It was clear he had taken the time to write something, but I wasn’t aware that he could spell (let alone write!) words other than his name, and so I wasn’t certain what – if anything – he was trying to communicate. … Continue reading

Super Easy Sharpie Tie Dye

I’ve done tie dye projects with my children in the past.  While they were fun, they were also extremely messy and rather time consuming to set up and clean up.  So when one of our favorite children’s librarians showed my 8-year old how to get a tie-dye-effect using Sharpie markers and isopropyl alcohol, we had to give it a try.

 

The process was incredibly simply. … Continue reading

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Our local library recently started a program entitled 1000 Books Before Kindergarten as a way of encouraging parents to read to their young children.

 

In our house, we read all the time.  I homeschool my kids, and our homeschooling largely consists of sitting down with stacks of books and reading them together.

 

When one of the children’s librarians told us about the program, my older son immediately announced, “Mama, we should sign up [my 3-year-old].”  He paused briefly, “You want to do it, right Kyle?”  Of course, my 3-year-old said yes. … Continue reading

A 3-year-old’s Lesson in Spending

My 3-year-old's Lesson in Spending
The car my 3-year-old bought, and then realized it was a mistake.

Last week my 3-year-old walked up and handed me his little car, “I’m ready to give this to Ari,” he declared.  (Ari is the grandson of our next-door neighbor.  When my 3-year-old outgrows his clothes or toys, we pass them along to Ari.)

 

“Are you sure?” I asked.… Continue reading

Chapter Books with Strong Female Characters

A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of my family’s favorite picture books with strong female characters.  Today, I am posting a list of our favorite chapter books containing strong girls or women.

 

The list contains everything from books accessible to early readers to chapter books that are appropriate for young adults.  I’ve read most of the books geared at younger readers with my 8-year-old, though none of the young adult books (those are waiting on our bookshelves for future reading).… Continue reading

Fractions, Compassion, and Sharing

Fractions, Compassion, and SharingMy son approached me and asked, “I can’t remember which is bigger: one-half or one-twelfth?”

 

This, of course, led to an impromptu math lesson.  We talked about fractions.  I explained that the denominator – the bottom number – of a fraction tells you how many equal parts something is divided into.  I explained that the numerator – the top number – of a fraction tells you how many of those equal parts you’re discussing.… Continue reading

Toilet Readiness, or Remembering to Simply Trust your Child

Toilet Readiness, or Remembering to Simply Trust your Child
Our remaining cloth diaper stash, ready to pack up and give away.

Whenever the topic of potty training comes up (and it does when you hang out with other parents of young children), I joke that our dog toilet-trained my oldest son.  And I say it only half in jest.  One night when I was cooking dinner, my son – at age 2.5 – came in and announced, “I peed outside, just like Mazel[-dog].”  He declared that he wanted to wear underwear, and he was going to pee outside like the dog all the time. … Continue reading

Encouraging Self-Sufficiency: Teaching my 7-year-old to do Laundry

Encouraging Self-Sufficiency: Teaching my 7-year-old to do Laundry
My 7-year-old loading the washing machine.

Before my children move out of the house, there are a wide variety of skills that I want them to master.  Basic self-care, home care (HERE and HERE), basic repair skills, cooking, financial literacy, and many other things along these lines.  One of these skills is doing laundry.

 

My 7-year-old, who has watched me do laundry from the time I wore him as a newborn, recently expressed an interest in doing the laundry himself. … Continue reading

Making Large-Scale Public Art

Making Large-Scale Public Art
Tagging a downtown elementary school. *photo credit: Markus*

Art that is larger than life.  Tagging buildings (well, temporarily).  Showing the world a bit of what resides in your mind and heart.  Remaking the city with your own images.  Telling a story that the whole community can see and hear.  This is the purview of Austrian artist Markus Dorninger.… Continue reading