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Compatible Valentine

On Valentine’s Day, I think about The people who are dear, How much they add to life’s delight Whenever they are near.

You’ve always been a total joy, Such pleasant company, I very much appreciate Our compatibility!

By Joanna Fuchs

Valentine Smile

On Valentine’s Day we think of those Who make our lives worthwhile, Those gracious, friendly people who We think of with a smile.

I am fortunate to know you, That’s why I want to say, To a rare and special person: Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Joanna Fuchs

Valentines Day sayings are for communicating fond or affectionate feelings. Valentine messages can express “like” or “love.” Valentine card poems for just about anyone are very useful. This Valentine card verse is like that. These Valentines verses can be sent to your entire Valentine card list. People especially like rhyming poems.

Valentine Treasures

Valentine treasures are people who have often crossed your mind, family, friends and others, too, who in your life have shined the warmth of love or a spark of light that makes you remember them; no matter how long since you’ve actually met, each one is a luminous gem, who gleams and glows in your memory, bringing special pleasures, and that’s why this Valentine comes to you: You’re one of those sparkling treasures!

By Joanna Fuchs

Valentine poetry is often sent to the very special people in your life. This Valentine poem is a greeting card message to send to those important people.

Valentine’s Day Reminds Me

Valentine’s Day reminds me of the smile I smile every time I think of you, the emotional lift I feel at the sound of your name. Valentine’s Day reminds me of the strength and comfort I get from knowing there are people like you in my life. Everything good about Valentine’s Day reminds me of you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Joanna Fuchs

This Valentine poetry has a Valentine’s Day saying that is sure to please. The Valentine message in this Valentine rhyme will make the recipient feel special! This short Valentine verse will linger in the memory with pleasure. It’s a short, sweet Valentine message.

Wherever I May Go

You’re in my thoughts and in my heart Wherever I may go; On Valentine’s Day, I’d like to say I care more than you know.

By Joanna Fuchs

vintage valentine images cherubs with basket of hearts

Valentines poetry comes in a variety of formats. Valentine messages can be Valentine’s Day rhymes, or they can be written in free verse, as this happy Valentine poem is. This Valentine message can be sent to family, friends, co-workers, anyone! Greeting card poems are sometimes too sentimental. This Valentine saying says enough without saying too much.

Special People

On Valentine’s Day, we think of people who have cheered and encouraged us, who go out of their way to be kind and caring, who have enriched our lives just by being themselves. You are such a person. I’m so happy you’re my _____ (friend, aunt, co-worker, etc.) Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Joanna Fuchs

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10 Tips from Homeschooling Moms of Four or More

As a stay at home mom, homeschooling four kids, I’m always on the lookout for ideas that will make life easier. I’ve found myself particularly interested in hearing advice from women with lots of children, who have been doing this longer than I have. By no means am I suggesting that the experience of families with one or two children isn’t relevant. My point is simply that the parents of several children engage in some seriously creative thinking to accomplish ordinary day to day tasks. This article is simply a collection of tips, gathered from ‘Moms of Many’, and is intended to supply helpful suggestions for homeschooling, maintaining your home, and generally keeping it all in balance.

Tip #1: Before you start homeschooling, evaluate your home’s discipline.
Every home has a method of discipline in place whether they realize it or not (I’m using the word ‘discipline’ here to mean training, nothing else). You’ve acted as a trainer, or coach for your child since the time they were born, teaching them to speak, tie their shoes, etc. Homeschooling is simply an extension of that role. Many people, especially those making a transition from public school, find it helpful to set aside a time for reflection, before jumping into that first homeschool year. Is the relationship between you and your child one that will easily facilitate teacher/pupil roles? Do you need to redefine your idea/method of discipline? This is the time to make necessary adjustments, even if it costs you some time in getting to the academics. Much better to address potential problems now, than deal with battles and power struggles while trying to teach math and phonics! Don’t feel like a ‘bad parent’ if you find yourself needing to make some changes. Lots of people have made very positive adjustments that they may never have had the opportunity to address had they not been spending so much time with their kids through homeschooling! Think of your children’s education as a house, with yourself as the architect and them as the builders/owners. This time of reflection is like the foundation. Once the foundation is set, you’re ready to build!

Tip #2: Books and curricula are tools, nothing more.
Remember the house analogy: You’re the architect, and the goals you determine for your children’s education are the blueprint. You’re also the supplier, since you have to provide your builders with the materials they’ll need! We do have a responsibility to our children to research, and weigh the pros and cons of the different curricula available. But the idea that the end result is completely dependent on making the right choice of materials is not only flawed; it could really drive you batty if you let it! Yes, superior tools make a job easier, but they don’t build on their own. Some of the materials you get may not be ideal, but time and money constraints require that you find a way to make them work. Others may simply not be right for the job. It’s up to you to decide where to draw that line. A word of encouragement for those of you who experience ‘curricula anxiety’; the abundance of choices available in the curricula market today wasn’t there twenty years ago, and homeschooling pioneers did very well with what they had available to them. Again, be grateful for all of the choices out there, but prepare yourself for the hard truth that there may not be a perfect curriculum that exactly suits your needs.

Tip #3: Educate yourself about learning styles.
Much has been written on ‘learning styles’ in the past several years, and homeschooling offers a unique opportunity to tailor teaching to a child’s specific personality. But don’t get so caught up in the thought that everything must be specialized that you find yourself dissatisfied with everything that doesn’t lend itself easily to your child’s ‘style’. Incorporate learning style information into your teaching. Moms with several children discover first hand the benefit of using a variety of methods to explain the same thing. It gives you a better chance of being able to reuse that nonconsumable text! You can also teach your child about the way he learns, and help him find ways to adapt information. Of course, there’s always the option to change a book or curriculum that isn’t doing the job. But by not limiting yourself to curricula that are ‘style-specific’, you may enrich your experience with a great program that you may not have chosen had you known that it was ‘visual’, etc. And you will definitely increase your child’s chances for success through college and beyond. Not many professors or supervisors are concerned with tailoring information to each individual’s need, but a person who understands how to take unfamiliar materials and decipher them in his own way will have a valuable skill. If you’re thinking that this sounds like a lot of trouble, you’re right. It may be difficult in the beginning. But as your children grow, it will actually make the job of teaching them easier, because they will begin to realize what it takes to teach themselves.

Tip#4: Effort spent on devising activities for a toddler is not wasted.
Those of you with little ones have probably already found this out the hard way! Try spending time with the youngest child before school time. Filling their need for attention first might help them to give you some time to focus on others. Keep some toys that are only brought out at school time, along with coloring books, paper, and crayons. If you have more than one school age child, consider having them alternate between one on one time with you and playing with younger siblings. There is the possibility that older children may balk at spending so much time with the ‘baby’. If this is the case, try describing this as ‘preschool time’ with the older child as the ‘teacher’. Use your own good judgment about what activities are safe and age appropriate. I’ve suggested some resources at the end of this article, and many ideas that you’ll find could easily be assembled ahead of time. Even if you’re still in the same room, having a productive activity can have a ‘quietening’ effect.

Tip #5: Don’t feel guilty about getting outside help with housework.
If you can afford it, that is! When you decide to keep your children at home to school, you’ve added a responsibility that many parents have delegated to someone else. In the case of private schools, they are paying someone to assume that responsibility. If you have the means to pay for someone else to handle some of your domestic responsibilities, there’s no more shame in it than there would be for paying someone to educate your children. Traditional maid services aren’t the only option out there, you can hire an acquaintance to come help out with laundry (one mom I know has done just that), or come up with your own inventive solutions.

Tip #6: Your kids can do more around the house than you realize.
By and large, the trend that I’ve seen in large families is to include children in daily household responsibilities. And the list of those responsibilities has ranged from taking care of younger siblings (in the teen years) to helping with laundry (at age 3). If they contribute to the mess, they can contribute to the clean up! Develop a list of responsibilities that they can ease into, and increase it as they get older. And if they ask if they can do something, let them try! The results achieved by a small person using only water may not make your floor look like it does after you’ve mopped, but it may buy you an extra day or two before it requires thorough cleaning.

Tip #7: Spend time planning ahead for meals.
This can be as in-depth as ‘bulk cooking’ (cooking several meals in advance to keep in the freezer), or as simple as thinking about lunch at breakfast, and dinner at lunch. My personal modification to the bulk cooking idea is to cook large portions of meat at one time, using some of it for that night’s dinner, and freezing the rest in entree sized portions. This way, I have it on hand for those nights when I find myself facing the stove with little prep time and/or energy! Experiment with variations of systems until you find what works for you.

Tip #8: If you struggle with ‘scheduling’, try routines instead.
What’s the difference between a schedule and a routine? A schedule is generally a timed plan; routines are regular, habitual procedures. Programs and systems that use schedules to get people organized can be wonderful things, and I’ve included some links to popular ones below. If you’ve tried to implement a schedule into your homeschool and found that it didn’t seem to fit with what you were trying to do, try and develop some routines. They don’t have to be done in the same order, or even at the same time each day, but you might set some general guidelines (before breakfast, before lunch, etc.). Experiment with a school routine. Are there things your children can do on their own? Make up a list, and get them in the habit of doing what they can on their own before they come to you. This may take some time to develop, but just as with other worthy habits (diligence, punctuality, etc.), the benefit will be that it will save time in the future.

Tip #9: Take time to keep family relationships healthy.
You may be concerned about all of the ‘togetherness’ of homeschooling. After all, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’, doesn’t it? From what I’ve personally witnessed of homeschooling families, the opposite is usually true. One mother of seven told me that aside from requiring siblings to treat each other well, she considers a ‘Family Night’ to be of great importance to their family’s peace. She and her husband also have a ‘date night’ with just the two of them as often as they can. A ‘Family Night’ might seem like overkill to some, I mean, aren’t we together all day, every day, already? Well, yes, but don’t underestimate the power of setting aside time just for enjoying each other, if it seems to be all ‘business’ lately. Sometimes we’re spending less time together than we think, between rehearsals, music lessons, and sports. And while you may have reasons that preclude your going out of the house on a date with your spouse, there is something to be said for taking some one on one time for each other every day. It may not be until the kids are in bed, or it may just be a few minutes on the couch after dinner. Children can let you talk to each other for a short length of time, although it may take a few tries!

Tip #10: Remember why you do what you do.
All of the moms I talked with mentioned a sense of spiritual responsibility concerning their children when asked about their reasons for homeschooling. They would also tell you that since their ‘commission’ to homeschool is rooted in their faith, it is that same faith that sustains them when doubts or hard times hit. There will be times when it will be enough to take a hot bath and a two-day break. But there will definitely be times when you find yourself wondering, ‘Why am I doing this?’ You probably have ‘heart reasons’ for deciding to homeschool your children. Examine them well, and be ready to reaffirm them to yourself when those hard times come. Knowing that those times will come is probably the best information you can have, along with knowing that other people experience it, too! But even the best advice won’t make decisions for you, or magically pull all of the pieces into place. Forming your family’s own homeschooling style is something that takes time. Ours is still developing after four years, and it continues to develop as I encounter and incorporate new ideas. I hope that these tips can help you in the ongoing process of living out the decision to educate at home. Your homeschooling journey may not be bump free, but you can make it a great ride. So hold on tight, and have fun!



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What she needs from you now

Teen pregnancy is not something parents wish for. Even if you are aware that your teen may be sexually active, news of her pregnancy will be shocking.

Once you are over the initial reaction, how do you move forward and help? Parents need to know how to help prevent tragedies like the 14-year-old accused of killing her newborn baby.

The news story was sobering — a pregnant teen delivered her baby at home and strangled it because she “didn’t know what to do with it.” While two of her aunts suspected she was hiding a pregnancy, her mother remained in denial. Could this story have had a different ending if the teen had more support? When you suspect — or confirm — that your daughter is pregnant, she needs your support, regardless of how you feel about the situation.

Are teens playing it safe, or still taking risks? >>

What now?

So your daughter is pregnant — now what? Especially in the early stages of the pregnancy, emotions are high. This is a life-changing situation for your daughter, for your family and for the father of her baby. “Regardless of the complicated emotions that will most certainly arise during the pregnancy and once the baby is born, teens need parental support during this time,” says Katie Hurley, LCSW. “Without parental support, they are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care and maintain a healthy pregnancy diet.” It may be difficult for parents to step up and be supportive when they are upset, but this is crucial for your daughter and her baby. “Teen pregnancy is scary, isolating and can increase the risk for depression,” adds Hurley.

Dr. John Duffy has worked with many pregnant teens and their families. “I’ve found a few truths through these experiences,“ he shares. “Pregnant teenage girls do not need lectures about ‘carelessness’, ‘stupidity’ or ‘disregard for family rules or values.‘ I have witnessed a lot of this type of shaming from parents, and it makes things worse.“

Making your daughter feel the shame of her pregnancy — rather than dealing with the situation — does nothing to help her. What does help is to model good regulation on your emotions. “This is not to say that parents are not allowed their own feelings or disappointments,” adds Duffy, “but the bulk of the discussions should be warm, supportive and progressive in nature. I find that parents who are open and available can serve as trusted, badly-needed advisors to pregnant teens.”

Getting their facts wrong, clueless teens are getting pregnant >>

Moving forward

Teen pregnancy affects your daughter right now, but also has a major impact on her future. Plans for finishing school and going to college may be in jeopardy, and she needs guidance to navigate her future. “With parental support, they will be better prepared for the arrival of the baby,” says Hurley. “The fact remains that 50 percent of teen moms do not finish high school and teen moms are less likely to attend college. If parents work together with their teens to help plan for the baby, establish childcare and routines, and provide social support, those statistics can change,” adds Hurley.

A teen’s perspective

SheKnows writer Jessica Watson remembers her experience as a teen. “When I found myself pregnant at the age of 16, my parents were understandably very disappointed. It took time for them to process the news and all of the changes this meant for my life but they never turned their back on helping me reach my goals,” she shares. “They knew I needed to go to college and ultimately become a self-sufficient adult so they helped me make that happen.”

What does Watson think, now that she is the parent of a teenage girl herself? “I think not giving up on your teenager is the key,” she shares. “Letting them know you are there for them and they can still have a future even though it may be different than what either of you planned is the most important thing you can do as a parent.”

Teen pregnancy is something no parent wants to deal with. Talk to your teens often and keep the lines of communication open, so if your family is faced with a pregnancy you can provide the support your daughter needs.

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pocket money


Is pocket money a good idea? How much should you give your children? All parents ask themselves these questions… here’s a quick guide.

Should I give my children pocket money or not? There’s no law on giving children pocket money, so it’s up to you whether you decide to or not. Even in our money-driven world, you don’t have to provide your child with extra, though handling money is good for children as it teaches them the value of money (whether it be regular pocket money, money they receive for their birthday, cash gifts from family members or money put into a savings account for them by grandparents). Customs vary from country to country: in northern Europe, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg, children tend to receive pocket money from an early age, while further south, in Spain and Italy, kids tend to receive money on special occasions rather than on a regular basis. In the UK, 86% of kids receive regular pocket money from their parents.

At what age should I give my children pocket money? There’s no point in giving children money if they don’t understand what it means! Give a five-year-old a coin to go and buy some sweets every now and then, but nothing more. Don’t start giving your children pocket money before they can count and before they’re able to understand a bit about the relationship between money and what you can buy with it. If they can’t add or subtract yet, forget it. Start giving your children a small sum of money when they’re 7 or 8 years old, or otherwise wait until they ask for pocket money themselves!

How much should I give? It depends on how old your child is. According to a Halifax survey (carried out in 2006), the average weekly sum for pocket money is £6.30 for 7-12-year-olds and £9.76 for 12-16-year-olds. Take your budget into account, and explain to your child that their pocket money depends on how much you earn. Show them examples to illustrate what you mean, showing them your salary and your monthly household budget.

How do I organise pocket money? – Be clear with your children from the start about when they will get their pocket money (every Wednesday, for example) and how much they will get, and stick to it (if you don’t keep your word, how can you expect them to keep theirs?!). – Explain the rules to them: pocket money is theirs to use however they want, but they won’t get any more than the agreed sum and they won’t get it in advance. – Encourage them to put a bit of money to one side to save for something they really want. – Ban your teenagers from buying dangerous goods with their pocket money (cigarettes and alcohol), or else you’ll stop it. – Don’t give your children money for getting good grades (schoolwork shouldn’t be paid any more than household chores should be – it’s normal to expect your children to do their schoolwork and help you with the housework!). However, you could give your children a bit of extra money for special jobs such as painting. Tips – Don’t stop your children from buying something silly or useless with their pocket money. Let them make their own mistakes and learn from them (unless what they want to buy is dangerous, that is!). – Increase the amount every year. – Make it clear what you buy your children (clothes, school materials, books, etc) and what they buy with their pocket money (extra games for the Playstation, new roller blades, sweets, toys and gadgets). – When you go shopping, make your children read the price tags, compare prices with them, explain the cost of living to them and show them how to spend their money wisely.

What if my child doesn’t want pocket money?! It’s rare for children to refuse pocket money, but they may do if they aren’t mature enough and are worried it’s too grown up for them. Don’t force them into taking it! If your child is too young, there’s no hurry. Wait until they ask you to buy them sweets or a toy and explain that with pocket money they can buy things for themselves. Explain that pocket money is for big boys and girls. A small amount will be enough for them to handle.


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4 boys 480x670

I am growing up, daddy
Don’t you see?
you gotta let me go
let me spread my wings
I am growing up, Daddy
Don’t you see?
Gonna Explore the world, Daddy
Gonna be seen
Let me go, Daddy 
I will come back to see
See you and mommy on those summer eve’s 
You gotta let me go, Daddy
Please set me Free?

© Kaleigh Greenfield

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Growing Up Poem


I have always been treated like a little kid. I was never able to make my own decisions or make any mistakes. I just want to be who I am and I am not a kid and I am not perfect. I just thought it was time I stood up for myself.


You make me feel empty 
You make me feel sad
You make me feel like I have lost everything I had

Now all I do is lay here and cry
I even sometimes wish I could just lay down and die

I’m sick of this life
I’m sick of these tears
I’m sick of the guilt trip you put on me for years and years

I’m going to live life as I choose
I’m no longer going to cry tears because of you
I’m not going to feel guilty for the things that you did
And I will say this I’m no longer a kid

This is a fight I’m willing to win

© Vidajo Vanorder


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Children are growing up too quickly because of modern life. Picture posed by models

Children are growing up too quickly because of a combination of early testing in school, advertising, bad childcare and a reliance on computer games and television, experts warned today.

A group of 200 teachers, academics, authors, charity leaders and other experts have written a letter calling for a drive to ‘interrupt the erosion of childhood’.

They write: ‘Our children are subjected to increasing commercial pressures, they begin formal education earlier than the European norm, and they spend ever more time indoors with screen-based technology, rather than in outdoor activity.

‘The time has come to move from awareness to action.’

The letter outlines a four-point programme to restore proper values to childhood.

It says: ‘We call on all organisations and individuals concerned about the erosion of childhood to come together to achieve the following: public information campaigns about children’s developmental needs, what constitutes “quality childcare”, and the dangers of a consumerist screen-based life-style; the establishment of a genuinely play-based curriculum in nurseries and primary schools up to the age of six, free from the downward pressure of formal learning, tests and targets.’

It also called for initiatives to ensure that children’s outdoor play and connection to nature are encouraged and the banning of all forms of marketing directed at children up to at least age seven.

The letter, to the Daily newspaper, comes five years after many of the same experts wrote to the newspaper urging the Government to stop children being poisoned by the modern world.

Their comments led to an inquiry into the state of childhood by the Children’s Society, which was concerned about rising levels of depression among youngsters in the UK.

The group believe ‘the erosion of childhood in Britain has continued apace since 2006’.

They concluded: ‘It is everyone’s responsibility to challenge policy-making and cultural developments that entice children into growing up too quickly – and to protect their right to be healthy and joyful natural learners.’


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Buzz In The Snow

Cogitare est Vivare...


love nature, and all things creative

Barkha Sharma Konfar

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ― Octavia E. Butler


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