JUNE, 2013


School is out! We marvel at the end of each year how quickly time is flying by. It's no wonder that as parents, we feel like we are sprinting through life. School, sports practice, sports games, church, music lessons, school extracurricular activities, and sleepovers...they seem to rob us of our family time and make it ever more difficult to instill all the knowledge we feel we must impart to our children.


I am not sure if Kindergarten graduations are common around the US/world. In Texas, they are, so our little guys walk across the stage to grab a "diploma" that they have, indeed, successfully learned the alphabet and how to follow school rules. Greg and I silently scoff at this, not because we don't want to see our child happy and proud, but because whomever came up with the idea of adding one more thing to the end of the busy school year is nuts. The last few weeks of school are so chaotic and chock-full of scheduling conflicts that our heads spin a full 360 degrees; these weeks are a contributing factor to Greg's baldness and simply make it an outrageous proposition that we can continue our normal routine. But then we watched Henry up on stage so proud, so happy, and flashing a subtle "i love you" sign our way, and we realize that life is indeed moving along at light speed.


But it's also these last few weeks that make us crave a little LESS. A little less routine, a little less on the calendar, and a little less waking up to an early alarm. I know in our household, we take a wee break from our fisherkids. We just take a week or two [or three!] to chill. Then we redo the responsibility magnet, adding new responsibilities and changing things up a bit. Kids usually get a little raise, too, kind of like time off for good behavior. This gives us plenty of time before the new school year to get our new routine in place and still have leniency to chill out during the torturously hot Texas summer.


I guess the point is this: we have GOT to stop and take a breath. I am the worst at remembering this and Greg tells me all the time to stop and just sit down for a bit. My response is inevitably, "If I sit down, then I will have even more to do tomorrow..." It reminds me of my Nana telling Grandad, "Well these dishes won't wash themselves, Bob." But Greg is correct (it has taken me fifteen years of marriage to say that, by the way). We do need to breathe deeply and truly enjoy our families. Although time flies by, remember our mantra with fisherkids: We are in a parenting marathon not a sprint. There is a lesson in just about everything, and plenty of time to impart our knowledge to our children. But you will never get time back, so make time for your family. It is in this spirit that we wish you all a joyful, relaxing, summer!  


Gratefully and Humbly,

Jennifer Beck


Summertime Responsibilities
Summertime Giving
and they will never know they are learning, too!  
As we always say, there is more to our system than just teaching kids how to clean a toilet or make a bed!  We are teaching our children how to live on their own one day.  So when we come up with ideas for our children's responsibility magnet (both responsibilities that we expect as part of the family team as well as responsibilities that allow our kids to earn money), think about running your household; what does it take to keep a safe, healthy, happy home?

Now think about what it takes to run a FUN household....try some of those this summer! Some of you have read this before in previous newsletters, but we have our kids take one day each week during summer break to make dinner for the family.  This sounds like a no brainer, but it actually involves MANY independent living responsibilities: creating a healthy menu, writing a grocery list, shopping for the groceries, preparing the meal, setting the table, and then enjoying the meal they have prepared, knowing they have fed their family a healthy meal.  Try chaperoning your children in the grocery store as they find the ingredients they need.  You can teach them about price comparison, couponing, and reading nutrition labels. They can even pay for the groceries if you give them cash ahead of time.  It's often frightening that our children don't understand the concept of cost/cash back!  Let them set the table elegantly; this teaches them lessons that cost hundreds in formal cotillion classes!  Let them make a centerpiece for the table (this can be quite entertaining). Please be sure to supervise the cooking so your kids don't get hurt.  You can access a video of our girls cooking dinner from a couple of years ago by clicking here.  It was such a fun night.  Here's our menu for tonight, lovingly prepared tonight by our daughter Claire: 

Another fun responsibility is to give them charge of one garden area or garden container.  They can tend the garden and raise cut flowers for centerpieces at dinner or a bouquet for grandma, raise vegetables for pizza sauce, raise a butterfly garden, or even start a pumpkin patch for Halloween time.  There is a lot more to raising a garden than just watering from time to time, and they will learn so much.

Put your children in (sort of) charge of July 4th plans!  They can help you research where to watch fireworks, come up with a menu for the day, design and send invites to party guests if you have a get-together, help with decorations, and much more.

Have your children put together a family (or neighborhood) garage sale.  It's hilarious to see their value of certain items when it comes to pricing what will be in the sale.  Your stuff will be worth 50 cents but the Barbie missing a head and one arm will be worth $20.00.

Have them wash your car.  Granted, you may have to take it through one of those $3.00 car washes afterward, but surely they can clean the inside!  It involves water, suds, and they can get sloppy. 

Have them wash the outside of the windows.  Again, they can get wet and sloppy and if you use one of those window cleaners that attaches to your hose, it will be almost streak free!

Have your kids be responsible for a summer photo album/scrapbook.  They can take pictures of events throughout the summer and then either make an album or teach them how to do it digitally/online.

Your kids can plan family movie night/game night each week.  They can decide what to watch/play and what to eat.  Or they can pick out the candy!  Check out our family movie night spinner to add a little more fun.

If you are taking a vacation, let your older child be responsible (with your help) for one day of the finances.  Give them a budget for the day and let them learn a bit about cost of luxury.  It is similar to what we discuss in our Parent's Guide: kids beg us for a bottle of water in the checkout aisle simply because they don't have a frame of reference for the cost.  When you tell them it will be a week's worth of chores, they will probably choose the free water fountain instead.  Vacationing is similar...they beg/ask because they have no frame of reference for the cost.  So if you give them a budget and all activities for the day have to stay within that budget, they have a little more perspective and a greater appreciation for the vacation.  Now, there is a line that we tread lightly: we don't want to stress our kids out about finances.  They will have plenty of time in life to worry about bills!  But it is important to introduce the concept of budgeting, and this is a no-stress way to do that.

Whatever you decide, remember that we are teaching our children that life should be lived responsibly, but that doesn't mean BORING!   
summer outings can lead to charitable giving  
Heading to the zoo? Off to a museum? Chillin' at the library?  Have your children take their Give money bags and donate their earned funds!  Even if you little one only has two quarters to donate, the message is sound: give to others.  Be sure that your child understands what the money is going to be used for so (s)he finds it easier to part with the earned money! 
helping you organize your children's daily lessons  

We have been working on this for quite some time.  We apologize for the delay, but our goal is to make sure our customers are not spending money needlessly!  We are in the process of having the parts manufactured and then it will be loaded on our site for sale!  Look for the homeschool station to hit our site around July 15.  Thank you for your patience!  {Sneak peak at the notepad below}


We invite you to read about our journey.  Click here to learn more about us and our family; after all....you have kind of invited us into your home by ordering our products, so we should get to know each other!