Love, Joleen

Friday, March 24, 2017

6 Favorite Preschool Podcasts

I can't even tell you how long I've been wanting to write about podcasts in this space! "Podcasting" (originally known has "audioblogging") has an interesting history, dating back to the 80's but gaining popularity in their current format in 2004. Did you know that there are currently over 115,000 English-language podcasts available? Crazy, right? They're super easy to access, with most of us automatically carrying around the Podcasts app on our iPhones, without even realizing it. Plus, they're free! I've only been listening to podcasts for about a year now myself, but in that time they've completely changed the way I consume content. There is truly something for everyone. Only in recent months did it dawn on me to search for children's podcasts for Benjamin, and I'm so thrilled I did! 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Play, Play, Play: A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool Preschool

For two years we dabbled in totschool and we're currently 7 months in to homeschooling preschool. I mention this, so you can check out my previous and very well-organized blog posts, and snicker with me a bit. Ha ha. I come from an Early Childhood Education background and it's been hard to shake the traditional school flow I was trying so hard to recreate. I've finally figured out that it doesn't have to be, and really shouldn't be, so serious at four years old. In fact, I've learned that in other countries, traditional schooling doesn't even begin until 7 years old. Regardless, it's been proven time and again how important that act of play is for the development of a young child. This isn't to say that I never plan our weeks. To the contrary, we're currently following more of an "unschooling" philosophy. I think there is somewhat of a misconception about what unschooling may be. 
"Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning."
This means that most of our weekly themes (if we have one at all) are based on interests that Benjamin is showing. For example, now that spring is here, we're seeing more bees around our home. He's expressed fear of them but doesn't know much about them yet. I asked him if he'd like to learn more about the different types of bees and what they do/how they live. Then I went online and put in requests to hold various children's books about bees at the library. Next, I'll hop over to Pinterest and see what types of activities we can do. Sometimes I'll choose a theme based on an upcoming holiday or the new season we're in. Sometimes it's based on an upcoming field trip I know we'll be taking. But always -- always -- I strive to make it FUN!

Most weeks there is no theme at all. That's what I want to share with you today – a look into a typical day for us, with no plan! 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5 Must-Have Board Games for Preschoolers

I've honestly never been a huge fan of games. I haven't a clue why that would be, other than maybe I'm just a bit of a sore loser (ouch). I love puzzles, solo games like Sudoku, and other various virtual games. However, now that Benjamin is getting older, his interest in games has inspired my own interest in games. Also, I have seen and learned more about the benefits of playing games together. We are having the best time as a family!
*This post contains affiliate links
Toward the end of age 3, Benjamin starting showing interest and displaying more understanding in games. Prior to then he had been introduced to games through Memory, which is wonderful for children's cognitive development. His first real love for games came with World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game, which we must have played 100 times. It's a fun intro to games, with each player competing to find various items [set to Disney scene backdrops] before the rest of the players. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Difficult Times

I want to talk about something difficult. Ya'll, I'm struggling. The thing is, it's a trying time for many of us. It's been radio silence over here because there are just so many things I want to share, and at the end of the day, I haven't had the energy for it. As a family, we've done things I'm extremely proud of and I want to spend some time [soon] talking about the ways we're standing up for people and social justice. I want to document the marches in this space so that someday my son can see and hear the words behind the photos. Right now, I want to talk about loss. 
As most of you know, I had two miscarriages last year. And while my initial reaction was to cling to hope, and count my blessings, I've got to admit that I've had a rough time in recent weeks. We honored the first baby's due date by going away for the weekend as a family. The second baby would be due in less than two weeks... The baby was due on the anniversary of one of my best friend's death 3 years ago. I saw that as a gift and I think that's another reason why I'm in so much pain right now. I wrote about that friend and depression, here.

Friends, I am hurting. I am angry. I am questioning God's plan for me. Maybe it wouldn't hurt so bad if I was pregnant again but it's been nearly 7 months and I am not. Hormones have wrecked havoc over my body and emotions.

A few days ago I was driving and this came on the radio. Tears were streaming down my face. This. I can't tell you how many times I've sang/prayed this aloud since. I am clinging to this.


"I'm so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don't wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I've got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you're good
But this don't feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It's hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you're God
And I am not

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord"

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