Hippie Homeschool

Homeschooling With A Side of Public

Homeschool with a side of Public | LazyHippieMama.comTwo years ago, we thought long and hard about pulling our daughter out of public school. When we’d lived in the city we had a lot of choices as to where she could attend but when we moved to a small town the choices dried up. There was the local public school, there was the option to drive her 15+ miles one way every day throughout the Michigan winters, or there was homeschool. At first, we chose public school and it really wasn’t a bad experience.  Most of the teachers and the staff were super kind and loving folks, some of whom became personal friends. They were very skilled at their job and worked hard to give our child a great education. But…

we just felt it was a flawed system. Too few teachers, too many government restrictions, not nearly enough time for a kid to be a kid. We had lots and lots of small frustrations that added up to a big deal.

We started seriously considering homeschooling. A friend told us, “Make a list of 100 reasons. If you can’t come up with 100 you’re not serious enough about this. If you can, keep the list because there will be days (months, years) when you are asking yourself, ‘why in the world am I doing this?’ and at those moments you’ll be thankful for the reminder.”

It seemed a daunting task but we sat down to do it and, to our surprise the first 80 or so simply rolled off our tongues, one after another and the rest were quick to follow.  (Our list can be viewed here). One of those reasons was that our daughter had a passionate desire to learn music.  Music curriculum had been all but scrapped from the local elementary school and band didn’t start until 5th grade (she was in 3rd at the time).

Of course, many children study music through private lessons but we didn’t feel like we had time for that when she was in public school and we really didn’t have the money, either.  As a homeschooler, she could join the National Homeschool Music Ensemble and begin learning an instrument right away.  The cost was a fraction of what it would be to enroll her in private lessons. We jumped on it.

Homeschooling with a side of Public | LazyHippieMama.com

She began with the clarinet, but switched to trombone a few weeks in and she spent one year with the homeschool beginning band, learning the basics.  The second year she moved to the concert band and Handsome Hippie Hubby began playing with her. Parents are welcome to play with NHME, which creates a very cool environment where it’s not unusual to see a 7 year old instructing a 40 year old on proper finger positions.

Homeschool with a side of Public | LazyHippieMama.com

At the end of the school year her director approached her and said, “I remember in the beginning what you really wanted to play was French Horn.”  She nodded, enthusiastically. She’s wanted to play French horn since she saw one as a 3 year old but they are terribly expensive instruments. We didn’t have the means to buy one and the band only had 2, both already being used by older students. He told her to go look in the closet and, there it was: A shiny brass tangle of pipes with her name on it. Joy of joys! A double French horn just for her!  She was one happy kid!

Homeschool with a side of Public | LazyHippieMama.com

So the plan was hatched: she could play French horn with the beginning band and trombone with the concert band for the duration of 5th grade and, when she gets to 6th, we’ll determine which direction we are going to go.  But then…

Musical Cousin marched in the Rose Parade.

rose parade

It was beyond cool. We all sat around the TV watching for him and crying proud tears, texting and Tweeting with family far and wide.  His band did an extraordinary job.  Not long after that we were able to see his band’s award winning field performance.  The kids had worked for hours, nearly every day for months and it showed. The performance was jaw-dropping.

Sweet Hippie Daughter, wide-eyed, said, “I WANT TO DO THAT!”

carmel

Handsome Hippie Hubby and I glanced at each other. The homeschool band is a concert band. They don’t have the numbers, the space or the money to support a marching program.  Our local public school, however has a stellar marching program. Smaller than Musical Cousin’s set-up (the difference between a suburban school that graduates thousands each year and a rural school that has about 1,000 students in K-12 combined), but extremely well done and well supported by the community, none-the-less.

We discussed it for a while. We love homeschooling. It may not be right for every family, but it has been a super fit for us.  One of the things we love most is the ability to let our children spend as much time as they like pursuing those things that spark their passions most.  If that means our school weeks end up revolving around learning 3 different instruments then so be it. She can play trombone with the concert band, French horn with beginning band and percussion with the public school band. Math work can be done in the car on the way to rehearsal.

We contacted the local band director and asked him if he would be willing and able to allow us to participate in his program under Michigan’s “Revised School Code.”  This law says that, if you are homeschooling in Michigan (not virtual schooling or attending a charter school), you have the right to request permission from your local public school to attend any non-core class.

The teacher was very helpful and, with the help of the school administration, we figured out how to make that work.  So, beginning just after labor day, Sweet Hippie Daughter is headed back to public school. Sort of. For an hour a day, a few days each week.  She won’t learn to march in 5th grade, but she’ll be laying the foundation to move forward within that program in the future, if she chooses to do so.

Now we are homeschoolers with a side of public school and I think I’m OK with that. I am very aware of how rare and wonderful it is to live in a time and place where we have so many options for educating our children and I am humbled, as always, by the kindness and willingness of others to help us find the path that works best for our family.

Have you ever tried anything like this, as a homeschooler?

I would LOVE to hear about your experience!

Homeschool with a side of Public | LazyHippieMama.com

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Talking To Kids About 9/11 – A Book Review of “Eleven” by Tom Rogers

***This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission from products purchased via these links.***

It’s hard to imagine, but school-aged children today either weren’t born yet when 9/11 happened or they were too young to remember it.  How do you talk about such a tragedy with young kids?

Recently, I was asked to write an honest review in return for a free copy of the young adult book, Eleven, by Tom Rogers.  I agreed, thinking that it might be a good book for Sweet Hippie Daughter to read in September, as we get the school year rolling.

The book has 40 chapters, many only a page or 2 long and it’s a quick read. I finished it in 2 days. It moves quickly and never loses your attention for a moment.

The story is told from the perspective of Alex, a little boy who is turning eleven on September 11, 2001.  For the most part, the entire book is about that one day in the boy’s life.  I think that most any young reader would find Alex to be an extremely relatable character. He wakes up, the morning of his birthday, full of hopes and expectations. He struggles a bit to listen and follow the rules the way he knows he should. He encounters bullies and friends on the way to school and then he’s sent home early for reasons none of the kids understand.  He finds himself swept into a series of events as he realizes that The World Trade Center has been attacked and his father, who works there, might never be coming home.

Along the way he meets and befriends Mac, an elderly man whose son also works in the Twin Towers and Radar, “The World’s Best Dog.”

I felt the author did an extraordinary job of presenting the human side of what happened on that day. You can almost feel the confusion of the children as they are sent home from school for “no reason,” the fear of the parents when they send the kids out to play in the yards with a strict “no TV” rule, and the powerful bonding of the citizens of New York as they came together to face something unlike anything they’d known before.

The book is honest in depicting the violence of what happened and the reader, at more than one point, finds themselves in the midst of the destruction, surrounded by the wounded, dead and dying. That said, at no point was the story overtly gory or sensationalist. The focus was put on the thoughts and feelings of the survivors, their will to help one another, and their longing to get home and embrace their families.

There is little, if any, mention of politics. It is the story of what happened on that one day and, if memory serves, on that day none of us really knew or understood why the bombers carried out their acts of terror.  We only knew that we’d been attacked and we were frightened and seeking answers – just like the characters so vividly brought to life in the book.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Eleven to anyone for themselves or their child. It’s an interesting book to read but I think it would also serve as a great platform for opening up a discussion about 9/11 and all that led up to it and followed it.  I intend to have my 5th grader read it this September.

Talking To Kids About 9/11 - A Book Review of "Eleven" by Tom Rogers | Lazy Hippie Mama

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A Very Special Book Review – The Gift of Charms, The Land of Dragor Book 1

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the items I may receive a small commission.

A Very Special Book Review - The Gift of Charms, The Land of Dragor Book 1 / LazyHippieMama.comIf you’re looking for a great new chapter book series for your young reader to enjoy this summer I have just the ticket…

There is a blogger I love more than any other. My totally unbiased opinion is that she is clever and brilliant and talented as well as adorably cute. Yes, she’s my 9-year-old daughter, but I promise, she’s all those other things, too.

Sweet Hippie Daughter was given a great opportunity from author Julia Suzuki to do a review of The Land of Dragor: Book 1: The Gift of Charms.

SHD got so totally sucked into this book that I literally had to go into her room and remove her e-reader so that she could fall asleep!  When she was done she wrote a shining review of it on her blog.  Below are a few of the excerpts from her post:

So this book is really great. It’s wonderful and fun (and not to mention, REALLY addicting) for fourth graders like me.

I would recommend this book to everybody who can read pretty well. It has lots of intense parts and you have to use your imagination in it. I think that Julia Suzuki should keep on writing all she can. She is a really great author and I want her to be known to the world.

It would mean the world to her if you popped over to read her whole post and say hello in the comments. She’s on a personal mission to make sure every child reads  The Gift of Charms this summer!

The book really is wonderful. It is colorful and imaginative in the way of the old fairy tales we all love and challenging enough to engage a child’s busy mind.

You can learn more about The Land of Dragor at Julia Suzuki’s website or by following her on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy reading!

A Very Special Book Review - The Gift of Charms, The Land of Dragor Book 1 / LazyHippieMama.com

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Summer’s Coming! – Online Tools & Apps For Summertime Learning

Summer's Coming! - Online Tools & Apps For Summertime Learning | LazyHippieMama.comSummer is coming! Thank God! It was a long, harsh winter around here and even those of us who love the snowy months are relived to see the sun again.  Of course, children everywhere are starting to get ants in their pants as the days get longer and warmer. They know that the end of the school year is drawing close.

I recently got this note on my Facebook page: “Hello my favorite Hippie:) was wondering if you could suggest some good websites/books/material for public school kids to help them not lose all their edu-ma-cation during the dog days of summer….”

I am a big believer that summer needs to be a time for playing outside. Run around, be noisy, get dirty, make friends and enjoy every minute of it! I know the reader that sent me the note. I’ve driven past her house and seen her gorgeous little girls giggling like crazy and hanging from the trees like a troop of tiny blonde-haired monkeys. Summer months won’t be wasted in front of the TV in that house, for sure!

Still, the occasional bad weather day or lazy morning indoors is inevitable.  These moments are the perfect time to sneak in a little educational refreshment. If your child loves the computer (and I haven’t met many that don’t) here are a few great tools that may inspire them to keep learning through the summer and hit the ground running in the fall.

Math Blaster

Cost: FREE – $150

If you’ve been around for a while you’ve probably read something I’ve written about Math Blaster before.  It is one of my most favorite online educational tools! It is one that we’ve used for well over a year now and my daughter hasn’t grown tired of it and it continues to be useful.

The games are gorgeous and fun and exciting. The student has to fight off invading aliens and such by solving math problems.  They can also design their own avatar, raise a virtual pet and interact with other users.

http://lazyhippiemama.com/2014/01/24/10-great-online-resources-for-learning | LazyHippieMama.com

I worry a lot about allowing Sweet Hippie Daughter to do anything online that lets her talk to strangers.  Math Blaster’s interactions are very limited.  They are forbidden to use their real names, ask questions like, “where do you live?” or use any number of words that could violate privacy or be construed as inappropriate.  If they try to do so a little “whoops! That’s not allowed” warning pops up.

We used the free version for a long time and it was very nice.  SHD begged for the paid version so that she could have fancy upgrades for her character.  Eventually, she did some extra work and earned herself the $9.99/month subscription.  For $150 you get a lifetime membership but I have commitment issues. I married my husband for life.  Everything else I’ll settle for month-to-month.

 Storia eBooks

Cost: FREE

I have not tried these myself, but Storia is a branch of Scholastic and I’ve never seen Scholastic put out anything that wasn’t top-notch. You can’t sign up for the reading program for a few more days yet, but my understanding is that the reading app is available for download on both apple and android devices as well as PCs at any time.

Storia is offering a free app and 5 free ebooks to help encourage kids to keep reading all summer long.

Scholastic is also offering a Free Summer Reading Challenge. There is an online tool for tracking your reading minutes and kids can earn points to win prizes.

Exploratoriam

Cost: FREE

Exploratoriam isn’t so much a website as a gateway. It is a very user-friendly site that will guide young learners to all sorts of amazing videos and activities. Young learners (or old ones, for that matter) can find out more about the Mars Rover, check out cool optical illusions, see how science is being applied in real ways in urban design, and so much  more.

They also offer a list of great educational apps.

Reading Eggs

Cost: Up to $69 per year.

There are always free trials and deals on the website or being offered by various bloggers if you google for them.  There is also a 6 month subscription offer, as well as IPad Apps, CD roms, books, flashcards and other items that you can purchase at various cost.

Your child gets an avatar in this game that they can dress up.  The avatar has an apartment and travels to various places to shop for clothes, go to the gym, etc.  At each of these places there are items that cost “eggs.”  (ie. furniture for the apartment, new clothes, a pet, etc)  In order to earn eggs the student can complete various tasks including reading, doing reports, spelling challenges and more.

If you’re interested in more details, here is  my review.

GenZ Read Together

Cost: $4.95 for 20 stories or $19.95 for 100

GenZ offers “articles” on every subject from pop culture to ancient history.  Each segment includes a related YouTube video and an activity or puzzle of some sort to help kids retain what they’ve read. I can’t tell you how many times in the past year I’ve said to my daughter, “Did you know that…” and she comes back with, “Yeah. I already knew that. I learned it on GenZ.”  It is well worth the small price!

You can read my full review here.

Dolphy Games

Cost: $9.99

*Please note that Dolphy has been a sponsor on this site but this mention is NOT sponsored. I just wanted to include them because I think they have a great product*

These games are primarily for very young children – pre-K through 1st grade. They are great! Each game is personalized with your child’s own name. The instructions are instinctive and easy to follow. The images are bright and colorful. The sounds are engaging and your child can’t help but learn while they are playing.

You can read my full review here.

Khan Academy

Cost: FREE

Khan Academy is not a game, but an online school. If your child is interested in a certain subject or needs to brush up on a specific skill Khan is sort of like the cool, interactive, online version of school worksheets.  They cover every subject and I do mean every subject… from ancient art to philosophy to the ins and outs of Obamacare. Also reading, writing and arithmetic.

Hopefully these tools will help keep learning fresh all summer long. Just don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

http://lazyhippiemama.com/2014/01/24/10-great-online-resources-for-learning | LazyHippieMama.com

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

Learning Chemistry, Physics and Math in the Garden – Part 2

Learning Chemistry, Physics and Math in the Garden – Part 2 | LazyHippieMama.comAgriculture is science. If you’re growing something – whether flowers in a pot on the windowsill or vast fields of vegetables – you’ve got a ready-built classroom.

There are some obvious lessons: What does a seed require to sprout? How do plants “eat and drink” from the soil? Which animals are harmful/helpful to plants? Etc.  But there are other things that can be learned in the garden as well.  A good gardener has a grasp on chemistry, physics and math.

This post is the second in a series of three. If you’d like to read the first to get some ideas on garden chemistry and earth science you can click here.  Part three will be available next Friday, April 25.  These two are a few of my most favorite because they’re both bound to be extra fun!

Trajectory & force

image source: letterstonature.wordpress.com

image source: letterstonature.wordpress.com

We discovered this lesson out of necessity.  Rather than one large garden, we have several small garden plots around the yard.  There are 2 that can’t be reached by the hose.  We needed to figure out how to “shoot” the water further to reach those spaces.

Start by turning on your garden hose, with no attachments on the open end.  The water will just sort of fall out.  What happens if you make the opening smaller by covering part of it with your thumb? What happens if you angle the hose up or down?

Greatest lesson ever on a hot day!

Simple machines

image source: school-for-champions.com

image source: school-for-champions.com

In gardening you often find you need to move heavy objects.  For all of our wonderful modern technology it is still the simple machines that often turn out to be the best tool for the job.

Levers – Stick a long-handled spade deep into the dirt. Have the child sit on the ground and try to move that piece of earth by grasping the handle at the very base. Now do the same thing using the middle and the end of the handle.  Discuss why it’s so much easier to lift the soil with the end of the handle.

Wheel and axle - next time you need to move a big bag of mulch ask your child to carry it. When they see how heavy it is, put it in a wheel barrow and have them  transport it that way. Point out the simplicity of a single wheel with an axle through the center and note how much easier that makes it to move something.

Other simple machines include the wedge (an axe or log splitter), screws, inclined planes (ramps), and pulleys. As these come into use in your gardening, take the time to show your child what you are using and explain why it makes your task easier.  Understanding these basic ideas creates a great foundation for understanding the much wider world of Newtonian physics.

Don’t miss next Friday! We’ll talk about how the garden can help teach some of the trickier parts of math.

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“123 Tracing” Review – A Great App For Preschoolers

123 Tracing Free - A Review of An Educational App For Preschoolers | LazyHIppieMama.com*This is a sponsored post. I was compensated to offer my honest review of this product.

I am a big fan of keeping young children outdoors and encouraging them to move their bodies and play.  I’m also a realist.  We live in an electronic world and our children need to grow up knowing how to use the technology that is developing at an astounding rate all around them.  For that reason I don’t mind letting my kids – even my youngest – “plug-in” at times.  I consider it extra bonus points when they can have fun playing and the game is teaching them a valuable skill.

I downloaded 123 Tracing Free from the Amazon AppStore onto my Kindle Fire and Toddler-saurus Rex took to it instantly.  He loves anything electronic and he loves to read and count but, at 2 1/2 he hasn’t shown much interest yet in trying to write with a pencil.  This app allowed him to use his fingers to trace the letters and he was absolutely thrilled with it.

The colors and images were bright and clear and simple and the game was easy and instinctive for him.  He was delighted with the praise it gave him.  The hardest part was trying to console him when the battery died on the Kindle!

If you’re looking for a way to introduce the concept of tracing numbers and letters to your child I would highly recommend this one! You can get by following this link to the AppStore.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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Learning Chemistry, Physics and Math in the Garden – Part 1

Chemistry, Physics & Math in the Garden - Part One | LazyHippieMama.comAgriculture is science. If you’re growing something – whether flowers in a pot on the windowsill or vast fields of vegetables – you’ve got a ready-built classroom.

There are some obvious lessons: What does a seed require to sprout? How do plants “eat and drink” from the soil? Which animals are harmful/helpful to plants? Etc.  But there are other things that can be learned in the garden as well.  A good gardener has a grasp on chemistry, physics and math.

Each Friday for the rest of the month of April I’m going to be sharing ideas for very simple, low-cost ways to use your garden to explore science and math.

1) Acid or Base?

Soil can become acidic or alkaline over time.  To find out which way your dirt is leaning you can take a handful of earth and mix it with water until it’s liquid mud.  Separate it into 2 cups. Add vinagar (acid) to one cup and baking soda (base) to the other.  Watch for a reaction.  If the mud is acidic the baking soda will create a foamy reaction. If it is alkaline the vinegar will do the same. If it is neutral (or close to it) neither substance will react.

Chemistry, Physics & Math in the Garden - Part One | LazyHippieMama.com

Why does the reaction happen? Because the acid will dissolve the bonds holding the molecules together in the base. That creates energy which is released into the liquid. When the energy is burned up, the reaction calms and the bubbling effect will slow and, eventually, come to a stop.  For a much more thorough (but still quite kid-friendly) explanation check out this website.

2) Absorbency/capacity

Different plants grow well in different types of soil.  Tomatoes love very damp earth. Pumpkins will sprout on a hot compost pile. Lavender loves dry, gravelly sand. The reason for the variation (at least in part) is that each of these plants have a different requirement for the amount of water needed to grow and each type of soil has a different rate of absorbency.

Go around the yard and see if you can find some different types of soil.  You may find that you have several kinds, naturally.  In my yard I have one streak of red clay, a sandy stretch and a lot of black loam.  Get creative. Do you have playground sand? Potting soil? Mulch? Gravel?

Put a sample of each type in a cup or bowl.  Using a measuring cup start adding water to each sample to see which types of soil are the most absorbent.

Wikianswers has a great explanation of why the different types of soil hold water differently.

3)  Erosion

erosionTake a plate full of earth and have your child blow, as hard as they can on the dirt and see if they can make it blow away.  Can they make it into shapes, like sand dunes? Discuss in what ways the wind shapes the dirt.

If you hold the dirt at a slight angle and run a small amount of water over it what happens? Can they cut a valley? Does it wash away entirely?

Now try the same thing with dirt that has something growing in it (like a piece of sod). Can you still move the earth?  How do the plants help “anchor” the dirt to the ground?

These experiments can offer a great opening into discussions about all sort of things. Why do farmers plant cover crops? Why are there stands of trees between fields in the midwest? Why do architects need to know about how erosion works when building bridges over rivers, houses on hillsides or planning cities in valleys?

Come back next Friday! We’ll cover trajectory, simple machines, measuring area and more!

If you liked this post, it would mean a great deal to me if you would click this banner to vote for LazyHippieMama as a great homeschool blog. You don’t have to register or anything. One click = one vote.  Thank you for being a part of this community!

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A Book Starring Your Child – A “Let’s Read About Me” Review

Anyone who has ever turned the pages of the family photo album with a little one on their lap knows that babies and toddlers LOVE to see themselves and others they know in photographs. What better way, then, to engage them in story time than by making them a part of the story?

That’s what the folks at “Let’s Read About Me” have done.  When they offered to make me a book for Toddler-saurus Rex in exchange for an honest review I was thrilled.

The process is very simple. You go to their website and choose from several different titles such as, “Who Loves?”, “Busy,” “Counting,” or others.  There are samples of each format for you to look through and choose from.  You can also choose from a few different sizes of books including a larger, hardcover “memory” edition or a smaller paperback that is just the right size for tiny hands.

Once you choose which story your little one will star in you have to do the only truly difficult part.  You have to choose which photos to include! Uploading them and personalizing each page’s script with your child’s name is very simple.

Your book will be shipped to you neatly packaged or you may request gift wrap at check out if you’re buying for a special occasion.

The process really is that simple. It only takes a few minutes and the instructions couldn’t be any easier to follow.

I was very curious to see what our books would look like!  When they came I tore them open right away. (I confess one of my most favorite parts of blogging is packages in the mail. I feel like one of the townspeople in “The Music Man” overtime the USPS truck turns the corner!)  I was not disappointed at all!

We got two copies of our “Days of the Week” book – one of each size.  Both of them seemed very sturdy and well up to being handled by my less than perfectly gentle 2-year-old.

If you look closely at the hardcover book you can see that the cover photo is not printed directly on the cover but rather on photo paper and then attached and covered with a transparent sticker of sorts.  It was extremely neat and well done. I can’t see any way it would ever come apart.

Let's Read About Me ReviewThe photos were not as sharp and boldly colored as you would see if you had them printed like snapshots but rather they were sort of muted and soft edged.  I don’t mean this as a criticism.  I liked it very much. I thought it made the book look more like a story book and less like a photo album.  I would recommend, though, that you choose very clear very well-lighted photographs for your book.  The only page I wasn’t thrilled with in ours was the page that included a poorly lit picture that I’d debated using in the first place. The better quality images you give them to work with the better your story will look.

I thought it was interesting that the little book was printed on waterproof paper.  It looks and feels like a regular high-quality paper but it’s actually much more able to stand up to being chewed on or licked. Not that I’m admitting that my strange little boy licks the pages of his books. I’m just saying you can trust me. We tested it. Totally saliva proof. (He must get it from his father’s side of the family.)

Considering that the last early reader that caught my eye in the store was $24 (Yipes! We didn’t need 6 pages of entertainment that badly.) I think these well-made, unique, personalized keepsakes are worth every penny of their $10-20 price tag. They would be absolutely perfect in an Easter basket!

Have fun creating your own “Let’s Read About Me” early reader book!

A Book Starring Your Child - A "Let's Read About Me" Review

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Top Ten Reasons You Should Shop In Thrift Stores

Top Ten Reasons You Should Shop In Thrift Stores by Lazy Hippie Mama#10 – You’ll save money.  

I had to go for the obvious one first.  Regardless of your financial situation it’s always wise to be frugal and you won’t find many places where your dollar will stretch further than it will at the thrift store.  The last time we went we ended up with a movie, a fairly fabulous like-new toddler toy, a pair of sunglasses and a stuffed space alien (Sweet Hippie Daughter has a thing for aliens. If you are one, and you happen to be hiding among us, and you’ve come in peace, my kid really wants to meet you.). Total cost – just under $5.

#9 - They’re an educational treasure.

Books, computer games, globes, maps, puzzles and so much more line the shelves at thrift stores, often on sale for pocket change. Those are great educational resources whether you homeschool or not.  But there are so many more opportunities for learning at thrift stores!  Walk around and look from a child’s perspective.  Why were so many clothes made from polyester 40 years ago? Why don’t TVs have dials any more? What’s the difference between the way a record, a tape and a CD record sound? What are those old wash basins and pitchers for? Why do mirrors lose their reflectivity in the spots where the paint chips off? There are an infinite number of discussions, experiments and ideas that can be triggered by just wandering among items that have known a long life.

#8 - They’re nostalgic.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Shop In Thrift Stores

Neither Handsome Hippie Hubby nor I went looking for a fake wooden barometer but when we saw this one, that reminded both of us of happy childhood days in our grandparents’ homes we knew that it needed to come home with us.

It’s a rare trip to the thrift store where neither Handsome Hippie or I exclaim, “Oh my gosh! My grandparents had one of these!”  We find toys that remind us of our own childhoods and visiting aunts and uncles and places we loved that we haven’t thought of in years.  Sometimes we laugh at the memories, or we celebrate that they’ve passed, or we mourn a bit for someone dear who is gone from our lives now.  It’s a great way for us to be closer to each other. You’d think after spending 1/4 of our lives together we’d know all there is to know about each other  but new stories surface after most every thrift store trip.

#7 – You can find things that may not otherwise be for sale in your region.

Do you love Disney World memorabilia? Japanese art? Southwestern decor? Those things can be hard to find if you don’t live in specific areas but, at thrift stores, you never know what treasures may turn up from all over the globe.

#6 – You’ll likely be funding a worthy cause.

Not all thrift stores are connected to charitable organizations. Of those that are, some give a significantly higher percentage of your sales dollar directly to the cause than others, but the vast majority of thrift stores do help fund some really great programs from schools to hospitals to research foundations and more.  It’s a fun and painless way to make a positive difference in your community.

#5 – It’s good for the planet.

I live in a tiny town, surrounded by tiny towns.  Within a 20 minute drive of my house there are at least 7 thrift stores.  Can you imagine if ALL the stuff they sold ended up in a landfill? How many resources would be burned up creating, packaging and selling new items to replace the perfectly good ones being thrown away?  Thrift stores are a great recycling tool.

#4 – It will spark your creativity.

Maybe you’ll find a frame you love and you’ll be inspired to make something special to put in it.  Perhaps you’ll stumble across some curtains made of a wonderful fabric and turn them into your new favorite dress.  It could be that the idea for your entire garden design will be sparked by a trinket on a bric-a-brac shelf.  Thrift stores are a wonderful place to let your imagination take hold.

#3 – You may acquire a new skill.

Have you been thinking about taking up knitting, wood working, stained glass window making, cooking, nail art or sculpting but you just weren’t sure if you would like it so you’ve been hesitating to sink the money into the supplies you need?  Go to the thrift store!  Odds are you won’t find everything you need to start your new hobby, all in pristine condition.  However, you can probably find some of what you need, in usable condition at a significantly lower cost than you’d get it new.  Then you can try your hand at it and decide if it’s worth a larger investment.

#2 – You can eliminate as well as accumulate.

Before your shopping trip, go through your house and toss all that old stuff that is no longer filling a need in your life into a box (or 10). Take it to the thrift store and drop it off on your way in.  Someone else will be thrilled to have your clutter and you get to head home with some new treasures, knowing you now have plenty of space to store or display them appropriately.  Everybody wins!

And the #1 reason you should shop in thrift stores….

Because you might find that one elusive item you never knew you always wanted.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Shop In Thrift Stores by Lazy Hippie Mama

Top Ten Reasons You Should Shop In Thrift StoresI recently found this Jesus action figure at The Salvation Army.  It made me smile. Then I started to giggle. Then I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants.  “Gliding action!”  BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  He has little wheels on his feet so he can buzz around the table.  Who made this? Why? Is he part of a set? Oh, I must know!

Why is this so funny to me? Because it’s Jesus. And he’s an action figure.  WITH GLIDING ACTION!  

I’m giggling even as I type this.

How about you? Why do you love to shop in thrift stores? What’s your most favorite thrift store treasure?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 

 

A Different Kind of Storybook For Early Readers – Bird and Butterfly

I was contacted by Dr. Amanda Stanford who asked if I would be willing to review a new book for very young children that was written in a different way. I was intrigued and agreed.  The book, Bird And Butterfly, came and I flipped through it and knew right away that I wanted to share it with Toddler-saurus Rex to see how he reacted.

The main difference in the book is that all of the text is kept entirely separate from the illustrations allowing children to focus, individually on each aspect.

After you read this statement and get the idea in your mind, you have the treat of turning the page to see the stunning illustrations by Kitty Van Oosten.  I LOVED that these pictures weren’t “cartoonish.”  They were gorgeous, artistic creations that T-Rex and I would both really look at for a long moment before turning the page.  Often he would comment, “there he goes!” or “He’s chasing him!”  Which let me know that he was making the connection between the words I had read to him and the picture we were looking at.

A Different Kind of Storybook - A Bird and Butterfly ReviewThese books have been endorsed by Dr. Robert Titzer, creator of Your Baby Can Read and I can see why. They truly show, in a more obvious way than traditional children’s books, the connections between the words and the story.

Dr. Stanford now has several books available.  If you would like more information, please visit her website, The Reworked Press.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow Lazy Hippie Mama  by emailFacebookGoogle+Twitter or Instagram to get all the updates?

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

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