Overdue Books: Help Me Get My Family Off of The Library's "Most Wanted" List

The following is written by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck.

This summer my family and I managed to rack up thirty four dollars in library fines.  Thirty four dollars! I”m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed.

On the one hand, at ten cents a day per book, that number represents a lot of summer reading but on the other, building up enormous library late fees isn”t exactly the lesson in responsibility that I want to teach my children.

Luckily for my wallet, our sweet small town librarian waved the fines. (Possibly because she knows that at $1 sheet, my laminating habit will ensure that they get their money one way or another).

This amnesty, while kind, doesn”t relieve my guilt.  I really need to do better about keeping track of the library materials we check out.

Bad Habits

I know that the main problem is our relaxed summer schedule. Unlike during the rest of the year, our summer library day has floated around from week to week to the point that no one knows when anything is due anymore.

“Was this a Thursday check out?  Or a Saturday check out?  Or what about that time we dashed in real quick to get some books for the car ride to the family reunion?”

It also doesn”t help that we check out a variety of materials, so our designated space for library books on the bookshelf isn”t working when some things (audio books, dvds, vhs tapes) travel to other parts of the house for their use. [Read more…]

Sunday Showcase: Link Love

Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, is hosting a Back to School week with giveaways, advice, and fun.  I’ve had a sneak peek at the giveaways and the topic line-up and many of them  will be appealing for non-homeschooling families, too.  So, be sure to check out Simple Homeschool this week!

Small Steps, Big Changes: Developing a New Routine 15 Minutes at a Time


Sometimes, as an outsider looking in at another family’s routines, it is easy to wind up feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. If you’ve been feeling that way during our series on rhythm and routines this month, I want to gently remind you that most family’s routines probably didn’t fall into place in one day or even one week.

In fact, a common trend I’ve noticed among families who have steady rhythms in place is that these routines evolved for them over time. Some of their routines are still evolving.

They make small changes and adapt along the way. They tinker. They adjust. They take baby steps.

If you are a parent wondering how to begin making changes to your child’s current routines, or if you just want to know how to get started creating rhythm, my advice to you is to keep it simple. Start small. Set realistic goals. Give yourself time to make changes.

Specifically, give it 15 minutes.

You might be surprised at what a difference the adjustment of a quarter of an hour can make to your days. Making over your entire day all at once? A daunting task. Making small changes, with big benefits, just 15 minutes at a time? Now that is something you can do!

[Read more…]

Let’s Talk: Back to School – Reader Questions and Advice

The following post is by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck.

It is that time of year again:  time to start thinking about getting the kids ready for going back to school. In our area, the kids are heading back to classes on Monday.

The Simple Kids email box has received a few questions about back to school, but as some of you know, my family homeschools so this isn’t really my area of expertise.

Let’s Talk

I thought I would share those  questions here and then open up the comments and let our readers give their answers.  I know some of you are seasoned veterans at the whole back-to-school thing and I look forward to reading your wisdom. [Read more…]

The Family Mission Statement: A Written Road Map of Our Priorities

The following is by Kara Fleck, editor of Simple Kids.

Last year, while following along with Simple Mom’s Back to Basics series, our family created a Family Mission Statement.  As Tsh so wisely suggested, we used this exercise to discover what we are about as a family.

Going through the process of drafting a simple statement, one that sums up who we are and what we believe our purpose is, turned out to be a great family bonding experience.

Over the past year, we have found it has been beneficial for us to have this family “road-map” with our priorities well defined to help guide us. Keeping that mission in mind has helped with daily decision making.

Our mission statement has aided us in setting priorities for:

  • Our daily interactions with each other.
  • Our interactions in the world outside of our home.
  • Our daily schedule and rhythms.

As Tsh says,

When we’ve made deliberate decisions about what we’re about as a family, certain choices become a no-brainer. Even fun. You’re at peace with the choices you make, because they align with your priorities, and they just make sense.”

[Read more…]