The Friday Five: Making Back-to-School a Little Simpler

stainedglassartLucy

Would you believe the kids and I are  already back-to-school?  We set our own calendar as homeschoolers, but actually many local schools are currently in session, too.  I would wager that some of you are reading this after sending your own kids off to school this morning. I raise my coffee mug to you, mamas and papas.

After a wonderful, whirlwind summer it seems a little mind-boggling that it is time once again for backpacks and books.

My own kids are taking classes and are participating in more clubs and activities outside of our home this year and it has been a little shocking how quickly our calendar switched from block parties, play dates at the park, and mornings at the creek to meetings, classes, and practices.

In many ways, this return to steadier routines is actually kind of nice, and we do limit the number of activities the kids participate in, but I can see how things could get overwhelming in a hurry this school year.

So, for this week’s Friday Five I’m sharing five resources to making going back-to-school a little simpler, and know that I’m sharing this list for myself just as much as for all of you.

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For the man who wrecks me, on the occasion of our lucky 13th wedding anniversary

ChrisKidsJuly2013

This week Christopher and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. I have a tradition that I started on my Rockin” Granola blog years ago.  Every anniversary I add a bit to this post, my annual love letter to my husband.

Rockin” Granola is mostly about knitting and crafting these days, but I thought it seemed fitting, if a bit of a break from my usual content here, to share this year”s update here on the Simple Kids blog.

After all, without this man of mine, things would certainly be different around this space (I”d never find the time between diaper changes to write it, for one thing).

So, readers, I hope you”ll indulge me a bit.  I have a public declaration of love to make.
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The Friday Five: Max’s Seventh Birthday

Max turns seven!

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Yesterday, my son Max celebrated his seventh trip around the sun.  So, I’d like to dedicate today’s Friday Five to my son Max, to seventh birthdays, and to celebrating the kids we love.

Today’s Friday Five is all about Max and his seventh birthday:

One

You are my one and only son and I love you so very much, wild thing.  I know that you put up with a lot being the only son in a house full of girls, but it is safe to say that you are totally adored by your sisters.  Well, most of the time.

Once upon a time you were the biggest baby in the NICU (at nine pounds, fifteen ounces) and sometimes when I think about how far we’ve come together, I feel both humbled and proud at the same time.  Being your mama is a pretty amazing thing and I’m so happy you picked me!

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Avoiding the Summer Slide and Join Us for the June Summer Learning Twitter Event

SKvolcanoDR

As part of the Target Inner Circle, I was excited to get to team up with Amy Mascott of Teach Mama and We Teach for an article for Target’s A Bullseye View blog.  We’re sharing 10 Fun Ways to Help Kids Avoid the Summer Slide.

From the article:

It’s the summertime, and our kids are ending the year with their heads and hearts full of knowledge.

We want our children to enjoy summer days of swimming, sports and relaxation and summer nights of fireflies, campfires and fireworks. We don’t, however, want them to lose all of the progress they have made over the school year to the dreaded “Summer Slide.” Studies have concluded that when they don’t engage in educational activities during vacation, kids can be set back by up to three months in their math and reading skills.

Here are ten creative and exciting ways to keep kids of all ages learning all summer long!

[Read the rest at A Bullseye View ...]

I’ve got another neat thing regarding summer learning to share with you today.  On Tuesday evening, there will be a Twitter chat with some special guests – and some pretty cool prizes, too!

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The thing about being eleven and a half …

SKJillianreadingMay

We’re in the middle of the tween years with my oldest daughter.  Just like those tender newborn years, I’m finding that each milestone with my first born brings its own new set of joys and, of course, new challenges.

In some ways, these years are more perplexing to me as her mother because, unlike those baby days, I cannot fix everything.  My presence isn’t enough to offer comfort for the things that upset her.

The thing about eleven and a half is that it is hard.  The term “tween” gets thrown around with such cutesy abandon, but this in-between age the name is derived from comes with some “big feelings” (as my kids say) and that isn’t light and cute.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve said the wrong thing to her, given her the wrong advice, messed up in my approach, crushed her feelings when I meant to lift her up.  There’s a learning curve to these years, and this rookie tween mother hasn’t mastered it.

It is a new road, for both of us.

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