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Simple Homeschool by Jamie Martin - 22h ago

On Monday our book club will be starting our two-week unit study on Laura Ingalls Wilder! If you’re a Little House fan you can join us by ordering Introverted Mom,
then filling out this form!

Weekend homeschool links: Featured Sponsor:

Are you trying to decide on reading or spelling curricula for the upcoming homeschool year? Keep an eye out for my full review of All About Learning coming soon!

Their scripted lessons are easy to teach, multi-sensory to keep interest high, and based on the successful Orton-Gillingham method of teaching. Plus they offer a ONE FULL YEAR guarantee, meaning there is really no risk at all!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

If you found this post helpful, subscribe via email here to receive Jamie’s FREE ebook, Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom!

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Simple Homeschool by Melissa Camara Wilkins - 5d ago

Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I am trying to remember what life skills I had when I entered adulthood. I feel like it was a short list: how to boil pasta, how to run a washing machine, how to navigate the college parking lot for students who didn’t live on campus? That may have been about it.

I picked up other things along the way (budgeting, morning and evening routines, real grocery shopping—not the kind where you shop while you’re hungry and buy one premade meal and three boxes of cookies).

And now my own kids need a whole bunch of skills that didn’t even exist when I was a young adult—things like healthy tech boundaries, social media skills, and email etiquette.

Here’s some of what we’ve been learning together lately.

(Though I just asked one of my teenagers what life skills she’s been surprised to need, and she said learning to write essays with MLA formatting, which I did not even have on my longlist of life skills. So it’s not like we’ve got this thing locked down.)

1. How to Rideshare

Years ago, a parent whose kids were already grown told me to be sure to teach mine to use public transportation. Knowing how to plan a route, having some idea of how to buy tickets, and understanding how to board and exit the bus or train or subway: all wise!

And when we took our oldest daughter to college orientation, we learned that advice has been updated.

We were encouraged to be sure our kids knew not only how to catch the bus, but also how to summon a rideshare (Uber, Lyft, whatever your preference)—and how to use the services more safely.

When their ride arrives, we want our kids to be sure the ride matches the car the app sent.

Is the make and model the same? Does the license plate match? Is the driver the same person pictured in the app photo? Do they answer to the name the app gave you? Whenever possible, ridesharing with a friend is also a great idea—and bonus, then everyone can split the cost.

2. Use Reminders

As far as I am concerned, this is why iPhones were invented: for the Reminders app. As our older kids get their own phones and begin to explore how to use them, we’ve helped them set daily and weekly Reminders to make their lives easier. This way, the kids can take responsibility for things we adults might otherwise need to remind them to do.

They have reminders to do their chores, reminders to change the rubber bands on their braces, and reminders to check in with parents. Our college-aged daughter tells us she sets reminders to get her to each of her classes on time.

Yes, this means we are all bummed if we misplace our phones. But ideally the reminder is just that: a reminder, not our only line of defense against chaos.

3. Moving Boxes Are For Moving!

This last year, our daughter moved into a dorm and then (eventually) back out again.

On both moving days, there were students carrying piles of clothing, armfuls of toiletries, and carefully balanced stacks of books and papers and curling irons and bath towels to and from their cars, because how else are you going to get your stuff from one place to another?

The answer to that one is actually moving boxes. There is a tool for that job.

Which reminded me to start pointing out to my teens: being scrappy and resourceful is always good, but also—sometimes having the right tool makes a job infinitely easier.

Also, knowing how to bake brownies to share is never a bad idea.

And my daughter tells me she could have used lessons in how to get milkshake out of carpet. So, you know. There’s always more to learn.

What life skills have your kids have needed that you didn’t see coming?

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Simple Homeschool by Jamie Martin - 1w ago

Give Your Child the World is still on sale for only $2.99 if you haven’t picked it up yet!

Weekend homeschool links: Featured Sponsors:

Retired Coast Guard officer and SAT/ACT tutor Jim Moran created Semper Smart Games to ensure his daughters conquered the math skills he saw students still struggling with as they prepared for college exams.

His popular games include PlaySmart Dice as well as Election Night–the latter also helps players comprehend the electoral college system, especially timely as we near another election year! Order now for free shipping in the US.

Check out one of Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op Deals of the Month:

Maestro Classics Stories in Music is an award-winning music education series that features performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, child-friendly, fun-filled stories and musical explanations. Order now to save 28% and get 500 points to use toward free curricula!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Written by Shawna of Not The Former Things

Sensory Processing Disorder is actually to blame for our decision to homeschool in the first place.

My oldest son was in public school until third grade. Every single day was a battle for both of us.

For me, it looked like trying to get him to wear clothes that were allowed in the dress code. Socks alone were enough to make both of us cry every morning.

For him, it was an all day long onslaught of noise, smells, and lighting that I know now put him in an almost constant state of flight or flight.

We made the decision to homeschool in part, because sensory issues were so overwhelming for my son.

A year later, we learned about sensory processing disorder and it all began to add up. Moreover, once my son was home for a bit, he was able to share, in bits and pieces, what his school experience was like.

He could hear the sound of every single pencil writing in his 33-child classroom.

He smelled the bleach used to clean the cafeteria, making it impossible for him to eat his lunch.

The grass on his hands, doing push-ups at PE, stung so much he would cry.

The echo of children, lining up in the corridors and classrooms was so intense, he spent most of his time finding ways to keep his ears covered.

I had no idea how bad it was for him. Honestly, ten years ago, most of the literature about sensory processing disorder questioned if it was even a real thing. Not one professional ever mentioned it, medically, therapeutically or educationally.

But when we began to homeschool my son, I could see the impact of sensory overload for my son more clearly.

It has changed the way we learn.

Sensory Processing Disorder And Our Homeschool

Here are just a few of the ways we accommodate my son’s sensory sensitivities in our learning each day:

Dress Code

My favorite part of homeschooling in the beginning was not having to cajole my son into wearing school approved footwear. I am not kidding.

The battle for socks and shoes each day was replaced by Crocs. Crocs for play. Crocs for church. Last month, my son even chose to wear Crocs to his prom. It’s a beautiful thing, not to worry or have a letter sent home again about obeying the dress rules.

Both of my children struggle with clothing in general. As such, we have a lot of soft t-shorts and elastic waist shorts. It doesn’t matter anymore.

Tactile Sensitivities

Holding a pencil is excruciating for my son due to tactile sensitives. While we have worked to help him better function with this task through occupational therapy, the truth is, it’s awful for him almost all the time.

The good news is because we homeschool, when it is time to learn, he can use any method of written communication he likes. Sometimes, it means he is writing with a larger, less tactile marker. Most of the time, it means he types. What matters most is what he is learning, not if he is using the required #2 pencil.

In addition, my son has not had to do push-ups on the grass since his school days. There are far less uncomfortable ways for him to exercise at home.

Noise Control

This was perhaps the easiest element of my son’s sensory processing issues to accommodate. Simply reducing the number of children from 33 in a classroom and 300 in a cafeteria, to two at our dining room table has made all the difference in the world.

As my son has gotten older, he has been able to take in more and more noise. In fact, he now participates in a hybrid program at a local private school that does get a little noisy sometimes. Because he has the chance to rest his ears at home, he is better able to tolerate it there, and continue to learn.

Sensory Activities and Input

Perhaps one of the best things about homeschooling a child with sensory issues is that you can include sensory activities and input to help your child stay regulated.

I incorporate sensory activities into our learning as much as possible for both of my boys.

I find it makes all the difference in their level of engagement and retention in what we are learning. It also helps them stay focused and regulated as their bodies are getting what they need throughout our days.

(You can find more information on the types of activities we use as part of our homeschool everyday HERE.)

Homeschooling a child with sensory processing disorder brings its challenges to be sure. I firmly believe it is an excellent choice, however, for a child struggling with sensory overload.

We cannot expect a child to learn when he is overwhelmed with noise, lighting, smells, and textures. Homeschooling allows us to accommodate our children in ways that help them both physically and academically.

Are you homeschooling a child with sensory processing disorder? How does it effect learning in your home?

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Simple Homeschool by Jamie Martin - 2w ago

So fun to find out that Give Your Child the World is only $2.99 on Kindle right now,
perfect to have on your phone when you’re at the library:

Weekend homeschool links: Featured Sponsors:

I cannot wait to come to the Great Homeschool Convention in Rochester, New York in just a few weeks – August 1st-3rd! I’ll be there signing books as well as speaking on a panel with some of my favorite ladies: Sarah Mackenzie, Pam Barnhill, and Colleen Kessler, and I’d LOVE to meet you, too!

If you register before the end of this Sunday, July 7th, you can use code SIMPLEHS2019 for $10 off your registration. These conventions are incredible opportunities to get inspired and equipped for a new homeschool year–hope to see you there!

My friend Molly Christensen has created an incredible homeschool curriculum that allows you to teach an hour a day, homeschool even if you feel disorganized, and raise kids who love to learn and can easily get into college!

Find out more about Building Heroes Academy by trying out her free 3-part video series here.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Written by Kari Patterson

Six years ago, when my kids were just six and four-years-old, I shared the lazy girl’s guide to home education. At the time, of course, this was a bit of a risk. I was relying heavily on my experience as a child, since I hadn’t been homeschooling my own kids long enough to see any clear results from this philosophy.

But it resonated with me deeply. I knew in order for them to own their education I would need to let them drive it. I knew that educating my children wasn’t about me transferring some body of knowledge from my brain to theirs. It’s virtually impossible to actually retain information you care nothing for, information you think you don’t need.

Further, I saw from the very youngest age that children want to learn. Now that I have a baby again I’m struck by this anew–he is constantly exploring, discovering, experimenting, tasting, feeling. And he learns so quickly! No one has to coach him to grab everything in sight!

Sadly, this hunger for learning often dwindles the more time they spend in school. Several school-teacher friends of mine shared that by 4th grade they see a dramatic decline in student’s interest.

This is tragic! Their hunger for learning should be increasing as their mental capacity increases, just as one’s physical appetite increases as the physical body grows. If appetites are dwindling then something is terribly wrong!

I can honestly say now, six years later, my kids are more hungry for learning than ever. They are constantly learning.

As I type these words I see several documents open on my computer: Dutch is writing a new bug encyclopedia, Heidi is writing another story about her favorite created character: Arisuac, daughter of Coyrot, sister of SunDew.  My phone tabs are equally cluttered with bug research and cat breeding information. When I swung by the library last I found twelve cat encyclopedias on hold. As I type these words late at night Heidi is up doing MindBender logic games.

They are obsessive learners.

And I see them learning and growing in non-book ways as well. We just built a deck together as a family. They both carried lumber, set concrete stones, leveled boards, drove screws. They learned the whole process, and now when asked, “What are the two critical things, when building a structure?” They’ll shout, “Level and square!”

The building process was interesting to them because it was real. It was a real deck, with real tools, that really mattered. Even if they’re reluctant at first, kids enjoy taking part of things that matter.

We also listen to the Brant Hansen Oddcast every day as a family and that has sparked loads of learning, great conversation, and laughter.

Now at night before bed they beg for what they call “Comedy Workshop:” Someone names a topic and we all have to come up with humorous improv lines or puns. Sure, this isn’t “schoolwork,” but I love that they’re learning to think on their feet without stressing about perfection and also learning about humor–all the education in the world won’t amount to much if you haven’t learned to laugh!

By sharing all this I certainly do not mean to imply that we’re just rockin’ it in every area. We have our weak areas, like anyone else. But I can see the hunger for learning increasing as the years go by, and that, to me, is success.

So as I revisit this lazy girls’ guide six years later, I see the three key components and still wholeheartedly agree these are the key. They are:

1. Give Access.

If something is hard to find, hard to get out, and hard to put away, kids will avoid it. Half the battle of education is making excellent educational resources accessible to them and giving space to let them have free reign.

What begins as exploring soon becomes studying as their little brains develop into young adulthood. Maps, encyclopedias, classic literature, games, field guides, educational coloring books, art supplies, music instruments, magazines–all of these are just waiting to be devoured by eager minds.

2. Create Order.

I would say this is my biggest challenge over the years. I am constantly working to organize and maintain helpful systems of order so that we can thrive.

How many eager educational moments have been frustrated by not knowing where something is, or having so much other housework to do that learning constantly takes a back seat. When we are orderly, we all enjoy the learning process so much more.

3. Allow Boredom.

Hands down, if there was only ONE piece of educational advice I would give to a new homeschool parent it would be this: Allow boredom. From the youngest age, our children were never permitted to use “the b word.”

In fact, in their 10 and 12 years, they have never said “bored” or “boring.” I’ve never even heard them say they have nothing to do. If there’s a book to read or a world outside to explore, there’s plenty to do!

It is not our job to entertain our children, and if we are with them (modeling an eager-to-learn attitude) and giving them access to rich and nourishing materials and environments they’ll become voracious learners.

They won’t become mentally lazy because of constantly having things done to them or information coming at them. They’ll learn to go get information, experiences, discoveries. Their minds will be accustomed to active learning, which is the most satisfying kind.

I don’t know about you, but I often struggle with second-guessing and wondering if I’m “doing it right.” It’s good to revisit these simple principles and remind myself to trust the process.

If our kids’ love of learning is increasing, let’s relax about the details, and celebrate the fact that healthy appetites are growing, and this is good.

Your turn: What are your children obsessed with these days? How do you encourage them in their desire to learn?

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Simple Homeschool by Jamie Martin - 3w ago

What a joy to sign copies of Introverted Mom in DC over the weekend! (see more pics here)

Writing books can be such a solitary endeavor, so actually talking to readers one-on-one was this introvert’s dream, and made me even more excited about meeting more of you
at Great Homeschool Conventions in New York this August!

Weekend homeschool links: Featured Sponsors:

Sometimes I hear people say: “I know I can homeschool the younger years, but I can’t teach Chemistry or Geometry!” The good news? You don’t have to!

That’s why My Fun Science exists: to take higher math and science off your shoulders while giving your kids a live classroom experience online. Save $50 on your child’s first class if you sign up for their mailing list!

I’m a huge fan of AirBnB, and it saved us so much money when we were in DC. We stayed TWO nights with more space for much less than ONE night in a small hotel room–and we had free city parking, too!

We’ve stayed in loads of AirBnBs and have never had a bad experience. If you’d like to try it, use this link to sign up and you’ll save $ off your first trip anytime in the next year!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

When my husband and I were young, new parents, we said we wouldn’t make our kids work as teens. They could if they wanted to, but we wouldn’t require it because they had their whole lives to work and pay bills.

Then, we discovered this not-so-little thing called “car insurance for teen drivers.” And gas. Ouch.

So, as they reached driving age, we told each of our kids that they had to be able to pay their own gas and insurance to get their driver’s licenses.

All were fortunate enough to find flexible jobs that didn’t require many hours but paid enough to provide gas and insurance money, along with some spending money.

Their part-time jobs also provided some learning opportunities that proved just as valuable as the income:

1. Money Management

The best way to learn money management skills is to put them into practice with your own money. And nothing teaches a teen the value of money better than spending their own hard-earned dollars.

Working taught my kids to plan for expenditures so they could pay their bills and put some of each check into savings. Plus, because our bank only allows so many withdrawals from savings each month, they learned to consider future expenses and how they spent each paycheck carefully.

2. Time Management

School comes first. My kids probably couldn’t tell you how many times they’ve heard that sentence. They knew that if their schoolwork suffered because they were working, the job had to go. I was okay with the kids adjusting their school hours around their work schedules, as long as they did their schoolwork and did it well.

Knowing that school takes priority proved an excellent incentive to hone their time management skills with little input from me. That doesn’t mean that I got to retire my nagging skills entirely, but I did get to give them some well-deserved time off.

3. Experience and Credit

Work experience may seem an obvious benefit of a part-time job, but sometimes we forget just how much experience teens get. They learn:

  • customer service and interpersonal skills
  • dealing with difficult co-workers
  • meeting deadlines and expectations
  • taking direction from managers and supervisors
  • teamwork
  • cleaning up after others (Finally!)
  • taking initiative
  • communication skills

Plus, you can often count work experience as credit hours on a teen’s high school transcript. The umbrella school we use allows us to count work experience as an elective.

4. Career Exploration

Sometimes a part-time job provides teens a chance to explore future career options. A teen interested in becoming a vet may work at a vet’s office to get a first-hand look at her future career.

My son, a talented musician, worked for a music school teaching guitar lessons and running the audio for their live performances. He currently works on the production team at our church and is considering a career in the audio-visual industry.

Another sometimes unexpected benefit of part-time jobs for teens is that they see what they don’t want to do.

I’ve known more than one kid with no desire to attend college decide to enroll and earn a degree after working. They decided if they were going to have to work that hard for their money, it was going to be pursuing a career they enjoyed.

5. Life Skills

A part-time job teaches a teen a variety of life skills beyond money and time management. First, there are all the dreaded tax forms. They’re a pain, but we all have to learn what they mean and how to complete them. Experience is an excellent teacher.

All three of my kids opened checking and savings accounts when they started working. Nearly every employer uses direct deposit these days. We learned with my oldest that a payroll debit card is more trouble than its worth. So, each of my kids took a trip to the bank. They opened both a checking and savings account and set up direct deposit.

Teens also learn pretty quickly how expensive it is to eat out every time you work. Mine learned how to plan ahead. They packed their own lunches and did their own grocery shopping for favorite take-along meals.

My boy, who is probably my thriftiest kid, requested that I make more meals that were good reheated so he could take leftovers. {grin}

There are so many benefits of part-time jobs for teens. Although we’ve had both good and bad experiences with the workforce, I’m glad my teens had the chance to learn through their part-time jobs.

Do your teens work? What have they learned through their experience?

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Simple Homeschool by Jamie Martin - 1M ago

Heading off this weekend to sign copies of Introverted Mom at the American Library Association conference in Washington, DC! Will share fun updates on Instagram!

Weekend homeschool links: Featured Sponsors:

Summer is the perfect time to play around with Flexible Homeschool App, getting the hang of it before a new homeschool year begins!

Created by other homeschool parents, it keeps track of your kids’ progress without being so rigid that you can’t live REAL life, plus it makes creating reports a breeze. Try it out for just $1!

If you’re new to homeschooling (or if you’ve just never taken a peek), check out Oak Meadow!

In our early years it gave a blueprint for our days, providing both gentle structure & flexibility. Their creative, holistic curricula goes from PreK-12th, w/ an optional accredited distance school to join!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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Written by Kara Fleck

Once upon a time, in a season of self doubt and struggle, I was feeling overburdened with homeschool FOMO (fear of missing out). Comparison was hurting my pride.

I needed to remember that there is a simple solution to my Instagram Envy and internet overwhelm: unplug.

That’s it.

Unplug.

Super simple, but a reminder I need from time to time. I unplugged and within a few days I could feel the knots untangling and my confidence returning.

Maybe you need to hear it, too? Are you feeling like your homeschool doesn’t measure up to the picture perfect images we are bombarded with? Are you doubting your abilities?

Or perhaps your doubt isn’t homeschool related. Is there is something else troubling you and giving you pause about your own worth and abilities?

Before you quit (homeschool, baking, photography, writing, painting, whatever it is), try this:

UNPLUG.

No Instagram.

No Pinterest.

No YouTube.

No Facebook group.

No email newsletters.

None of it.

Those things can be lovely and inspirational and informative. Networking, learning from each other, being genuine fans and appreciating each other in this wonderful, wide internet can be a very positive thing.

I know this. I live this. I love this! (well, most of the time)

The last thing I personally want to be to any of my audience is a source of discouragement. In fact, that is the opposite of why I am putting myself and our homeschool out here.

I’m here because I want to inspire, to encourage, and to show that if messy, imperfect me and my messy, imperfect family can do this then you and your family can, too.

I sure do like a pretty picture. A well composed blog post is my pride. I’m selective about what I put on my social media. I love playing with filters and light and color.

Advances in technology let many of us amateurs play around with professional looking results. Looks can be deceiving.

Quiet the electronic hum

I’m a social media creator but I’m also a consumer.

And as a consumer I speak from experience when I say that the moment those pins and images and essays and memes and resource lists start becoming the impossible ruler you measure yourself up against – you vs. the entire internet – the moment you start comparing yourself to that booming collective voice … unplug.

Disconnect from the outside influence, judgement, and comments.

Quiet that electronic hum, mute those groups, unfollow folks that make you feel less than.

Close the curtain on the virtual window, stop taking in all the visuals of other people’s work and lives … and give yourself time alone with your craft, your skill, your family’s homeschool.

Take that time for just you and your writing. Your painting. Your THING. Let yourself and your kids simmer in those things. Take a true break.

Shut everything out and measure yourself against … yourself.

And then see how you feel afterward.

Right now you want to quit.

And maybe you should. There might be some legitimacy to that feeling you have.

But ask yourself, be honest, WHY do you want to quit? WHAT is telling you to stop?

Once upon a time you loved this.

Once upon a time it was a perfect fit.

Perhaps that has changed.

Or, perhaps what has changed is that you’re spending too much time watching and viewing and not enough time actually enjoying and doing.

Or you’re doing, but you feel like the entire world is looking over your shoulder, judging and trolling. Don’t forget you’ve got some control there. You can turn it off.

Apples and oranges

I think we also need to be careful not to compare our oranges to someone else’s apples: don’t compare someone else’s photography talent with your ability to homeschool in real life. These are two different things.  Yes, a person can be great at both, but it’s not fair or accurate to judge those separate skill sets against each other.

For example, my husband is a fantastic cook. I’ve been happily eating meals he makes for almost half of my life. However, a food photographer he is not. He just isn’t very skilled at capturing the beauty and deliciousness of the plates of food he makes. It wouldn’t be fair, or accurate, to call him a poor cook based on his photography skills.

Don’t measure your success this way, friends. It isn’t accurate.

Everyone else isn’t doing it all. I promise.

Unplug. Step back. Focus just on creating and learning. The internet will still be there when you’re ready to come back.

In the meantime:

Live!

Learn!

Do!

Be!

Because I have a hunch that maybe part of what is going on here is just good old self doubt. And self doubt is really hard to be rational about when you’re faced with dozens and dozens of images and words and messages of EVERYONE DOING EVERYTHING.

And you know everyone isn’t doing everything, right? 

It just looks that way because the internet is one big collective voice highlight reel. 

Maybe you’ll still need to quit, to let this particular chapter of life go. That’s okay. You know your life and your family better than anyone else. And in the internet free quiet you’ll be able to hear your inner voice better when and if you make changes.

You’ll be able to make the decision from a clear, comparison free place.

Maybe once you’ve cleared out some of that digital clutter, what you’ll find in those free spaces is exactly what you need to keep going.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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