What Do Kids Really Learn in Public Schools?

by Tiffany in Homeschool

(My daughter in an Amish schoolhouse)

I have written much about homeschooling versus public schooling. I have done both and each has advantages and disadvantages. I pretty much allow my kids to make their own choice as to the type of schooling they prefer and all three are in public schools right now. But for weeks now I have been considering pulling rank and taking my middle child, my daughter, out of school and continuing her education at home. I always thought she would be the best equipped to handle public schooling but some changes in her mood and behavior lately are causing some concern. She is only in Kindergarten for cripes sake but if this year is an indication of more like this to come… I am so very afraid.

Academically she is doing well and this is no surprise.. she is a VERY smart cookie. Socially she is doing well, she has friends and she enjoys school for the part. So I guess I am the one with the problem. I have a problem with her being more than a little obsessed with how fashionable her clothes are. I have a problem with her throwing tantrums if I try to make her wear the wrong color, a skirt that has not been bejeweled in some way, or heaven forbid.. a plain t-shirt.  I have a problem with everything she wears or owns either adding to or detracting from her “popularity points” at school. No I am not kidding.

I have a BIG problem with my six year old little girl acting more like a freaking teenager with every single day she spends in these public institutions! I also see a problem when observant family members start using terms like “mean girl” or “diva” to describe some of her behavior lately and not because they dared say it, but because they have a point.

This just confirms for me that public schools are the WORST type of social setting for kids. They may or may not be good for education but for socialization and for exposing kids to good role models… they really suck. I am putting so much effort in counteracting the bad stuff she learns there that it just makes sense to pull her out altogether.

I have some big decisions to make over the summer. Do you have any advice or experience for me?


Sun Smarts Are Better Than Sunscreen

by Tiffany in Beauty

Sun Smarts Are Better Than Sunscreen

According to a report by The Environmental Working Group, only 8% of the beach and sport sunscreens (39 out of 500) offer sufficient protection AND ingredients  safe enough to earn their “green” rating. In my safer sunscreens post I have highlighted some of the ones that received top honors on their list.

It is becoming clearer to more and more people that the sunscreen industry is actually less about protecting our skin and more about marketing. How else can they continue to peddle the insufficient and chemical laden products that they do? Especially when studies have been conducted in recent years that indicate we may be more likely to get cancer from our sunscreen than to avoid it.

My own personal practice in regards to sunscreen for me and my family is to not use it if at all possible and to utilize other protection methods instead. If I need to be out in the sun for an extended period of time I will use some of the safer sunscreens I mentioned above but again.. only if I feel I will not be able to avoid a burn without it. I grew up in sunny Phoenix, Arizona and my brother and I hardly ever burned and rarely did we use sunscreen… so it can be done.

Here are some of the ways:

Sun Hats

Yes,  the easiest way to avoid a burn on face, scalp, neck, and shoulders is a nice hat. Women are lucky in that we can get away with a really wide brim hat and some big sunglasses and be considered fashionable instead of weird. Here are a couple of my favorite hats for moms:

Large Straw Stripe Sun Hat


It is usually best to go for light colored hats that have wide brims. They keep you cool and offer the best protection. Don’t forget the sun hats for the kids too…

Summer Scarf/Wrap

A scarf isn’t just for winter. You get get lightweight cotton or silk scarves for summer to protect your neck and chest. If it is a wrap as well as a scarf then you can wear it across your back or fold it across your front, even put it over your head. If you get hot… do what I often did in Phoenix… dip in a water fountain and then drape it on yourself… it is a built in air conditioner!

Olive N Figs Crinkled Solid Colored 100% Cotton Summer Stole/Scarf/Wrap

A Sun Shade or Umbrella

I find that it is easy to get kids to stay shaded by letting them carry and umbrella. Or maybe my kids just love umbrellas more than most but they are always happy to stroll around with one. My nearly ten year old son carries one in his backpack so he will have it for walking home in the hot sun. Let them pick their own “cool” umbrella or buy a parasol for girls. I like this Gerbera Daisy or Sunflower Umbrella myself! Who wouldn’t want an excuse to carry these around?

How do you protect yourself from the sun without slathering on the sunscreen?

Sun Smarts Are Better Than Sunscreen Pin


Eco Travel Lid

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Just some link love for something I saw and fell in love with, the moment I saw it. For those that miss their Suran wrap here is a cloth wrap that fits over bowls for picnics, potlucks, overnight in the frig, etc. How cool is this??!?!

And no need to whip out the wallet, the inventor has made a tutorial so you can make your own!

BTW, please stop by Scholastic and vote for my blog in the green category for a Parent Blogger Award!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

6 Comments on Eco Travel Lid


Summer Love

by Tiffany in Tidbits

In a few days the kids will all be out of school for summer and the plan for a summer of fun is already being put into action. The past few days and the next few weeks will be a tail spin for me as I tread new waters (more about that later) but for now I just need to put on my big girl panties and put all my energy into making sure my kids have a great summer, so they won’t know how royally messed up stuff is right now. And I need to keep reminding myself that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

Soo…. what will we do this summer? Lazy days by the pool, farmer’s market days, gardening and growing our own food, building or buying a chicken coop, my oldest’s tenth birthday, garage sales, the you-pick Raspberry and strawberry farms nearby, hunting for more covered bridges, looking for an RV to renovate and greenovate, hanging in the hammock, eating tomatoes warm from the sun, putting clothes on the line to dry in the breeze, and enjoying every single laugh and smile from my loved ones.

Some previous “summer centric” posts you may like:

10 Ways to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

Homemade Healthy Veggie Popsicles

Fun Summer Field Trips

Summer Fun Ideas for Natural Kids

Limoncello Recipe

What will YOU be doing this summer?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

2 Comments on Summer Love


Plastic is Forever

by Tiffany in Environment

In this world of convenience we all need a reminder that that plastic is forever and the choices we make in purchasing plastic has an impact that goes beyond our wallet. Always, AWLAYS look for a plastic free alternative if you can.

5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Plastic in the Home

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

6 Comments on Plastic is Forever