everything I wish I knew before I started middle school: a letter to my rising 6th grader

what I wish I knew before middle school | teachmama.com

what I wish I knew before middle school | teachmama.com


I have a hard time believing it’s time to send you off to the wilds of middle school, but here we are, my friend.

It seems like just yesterday your aunts and I sat on the back porch with you, making felt flowers and blinging out your backpack for kindergarten.

Sending you into the building that first day, watching your little pink backpack bouncing down the hallway, was one of the hardest things I did up to that point.

But you were ready.

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

You were prepared for the adventure, eager to start that next chapter.

And like most everything you do, you rocked it.

Just like you’ll rock middle school.

But this time, instead of sending you off with homemade flowers, I’m sending you off with advice from some friends.  Our friends. Tons of great people we know from near and far.

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

Tons of people who have walked this walk before and who were willing to share what they wish they knew before they started middle school. So instead of hearing a boatload of advice from your boring old mom, you can take it from a bunch of other smart, cool, super-wise people.

Pretty much everything they said holds true for your dad and me, too.

So here’s what I wish I would have known before I started middle school.  (And here’s what we all want you to know):

  • You are smart and funny, caring, thoughtful, beautiful and brave. You have always been compassionate insightful and responsible. Just bring those things and everything else you have to share and you will be just fine. Middle school is big and fun and new, exciting and kind of confusing sometimes. Some big changes ahead. Lots of new friends, teachers, activities, choices. Guess what? Everyone around you is growing and changing at different paces and experiencing a lot of the same things as you, so don’t worry, you are not alone! Make new friends (but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold) that are as awesome as you and talk about what you are feeling and going through…I bet they can relate! Keep your chin up.  Three important things I learned from my three awesome older sisters before starting middle school: 1. Be kind even when those around you are not – you won’t be sorry. 2. Go with your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not & may get you in trouble. 3. Don’t bother with boys who act like jerks even if you think they are cute. When in doubt, call an aunt. You rock, and you are so incredibly loved.  -Aunt Katie

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • There will be kids that make fun of other kids and try to ‘seem’ cool and try too hard to fit in — they are usually missing something in their life. Don’t change who you are for anyone. Always be true to yourself. -Uncle Will
  • I wish I hadn’t ‘ditched’ my little sister in favor of school friends during middle school. God had given me a built-in BFF! – Stacey Ferguson, JusticeFergie.com
  • There will be moments that your world may seem like it’s ending. It’s not. These years are but a blip in the awesomeness of your life that is to come. -Erin Lane, AParentingProduction.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Kids can be mean. Stay strong and no matter what–Be Yourself. -Teri Edwards
  • I wish I had known that some of my friends would pull away from me when we got into middle school, and it was going to hurt. Alot. And sometimes middle schoolers can be just plain mean….which is especially hard when the meanness is coming from some of those former friends. I wish I had known that the meanness was more about them and not so much about me. I wish I had known that if I could just hold on, that things would be brighter and get better. And I would find new, wonderful friends…many of whom would still be my friends when I am old and gray! -Lauri Black

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com


  • Find a passion outside of school. I didn’t have a great group of friends in middle school–they were flakey and fickle, but I did have a lot of success with sports. I didn’t put all my energy into maintaining social relationships–I worked at other things and got a sense of fulfillment from my work on the soccer field and lacrosse field. I didn’t judge my worth by what my friends thought of me. I’d like to think the current WORLD CHAMP TEAM USA GIRLS felt the same. They probably had little time for time-sucking social dynamics. Find something outside of school (could be church, music, acting, collecting fossils) that makes you feel vibrant and happy. If you wait on others to validate you and make you feel successful it could be a very, very long wait. Oh, and don’t buy shoes thinking you’ll break them in–you never will. You’ll just get blisters and miss out on the fun. -Nicole Feliciano, CEO Momtrends Media.
  • Teenage boys will say anything VERY convincingly to get what their crazy stupid hormones want. And your crazy stupid hormones will want to believe it. Don’t. – Bon Crowder, MathFour.com
  • Don’t get a radical hair cut. You will never regret standing by a friend, but you will always regret NOT doing the right thing. Remove yourself from drama, and have friends outside of school. -Rebecca Levy, KidzVuz.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • These next few years you will be faced with a lot of change; you, your friends, expectations, school, etc. The person sitting next to you will be faced with similar challenges. You are never alone. Talk with someone who will listen and be there to support you. -Christine Quinn
  • The only thing I really remember about middle school is that I was tiny, a late bloomer and had no idea what the more developed girls were talking about half of the time. I longed to be cool and taller! I only wish I would have known I would grow taller than everyone else a few years later. LOL! So maybe my input would be, no matter where you are in the girly development phase… we’re all in the same boat together soon enough. Enjoy your childhood years as long as you can! There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to grow up. Just be confident and act like you know what’s going on… even if you really don’t:-) FYI – I still take this advice. Half of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing. ha! -Amy Locurto, LivingLocurto.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com


  • Be nice to your teachers! They are moms, dads, sisters and brothers who have feelings too. -Meredith Gordon Donate
  • Always remember that you’re never too old for a kiss and a hug to your mom and dad before and after school. -Audrey McClelland, MomGenerations.com
  • Be YOU! The next few years those around you in middle school will be discovering just exactly they think they are. Friends will get closer and friends will pull away sometimes even within the same day. Stay true to the person you know you are and how your parents have raised you to be. Find ways to express your talents an discover more about yourself through clubs, school projects, volunteering and activities outside of school. Always know that your Mom and Dad believe in you and think you a rockstar! -Kim Vij, The Educators’ Spin On It

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com


  • Drink lots of water and get into a beauty routine that involves washing your face before bed…. puberty might make your skin a hot mess for the next few years, just know you’re not alone! also…. call your AUNTS at ANY TIME of ANY DAY for ANY REASON whatsoever…. I promise we’ll be here for you. -Aunt Jenny
  • I loved elementary school.  What I didn’t realize and I wish someone had told me is that I would love the middle school years even more!
  • It’s a tough time in your life not sure what you are feeling and why. Talk to your parents about those feelings . They can help and do understand for they were once your age. Be yourself!! -Sara Collins Carlson

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Later, when you talk to people about middle school, you’ll be surprised at just how many of them felt awkward and uncomfortable and like they didn’t fit in. Even the “cool kids.” You are not alone in whatever you’re feeling. -Christie Matte, QuirkyFusion.com
  • Don’t dwell on people that don’t like you, instead, remember that there’s plenty of people out there that will like you for who you are. In addition, I wish I’d participated more in school activities. And last, have a code with your parents so that you can tell them anything and you won’t get in trouble. -Jackie Silver Confrey, Amazing Life Lessons With Jackie

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Don’t worry about what other people are thinking about you. They aren’t! They are only thinking about themselves. -Candice Kilpatrick, MomMostTraveled.com
  • Consider a pen pal. Perhaps a friend that moved away or a childhood friend you trust. Someone who may not go to your school but who you can be open and honest with. If not to someone, perhaps to a diary. Write about the little things that excite you or that bother you. The littlest of things may just be the biggest to you at the time. Sharing your experiences with someone you trust can help with the journey. -Liz Deery

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • I wish I had known what a great resource teachers could have been. My friends bonded with some of our teachers and got a lot of support, but I was always too shy. Also, don’t assume it’s going to be awful! There’s a danger of the self-fulfilling prophecy with so many people talking about how awful middle school is. (Coincidentally, I have a Maddie entering 6th grade in the fall, also!) -Kakki Reynolds Lewis, KatherineLewis.com
  • The kids who are cool in middle school are rarely the kids who are cool as grown ups. Doesn’t make it any easier I know, but your day will come!!! -Danica Kombol, Everywhere Agency
  • Try your best to be nice… Even when it feels hard …be a loyal friend… Don’t keep secrets from mom and dad and follow your heart. Fitting in isn’t as important as being yourself, although that’s hard to understand now. Being you is the best part about being you! -Jennifer Flamish Lang

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • 1. You are loved.
    2. You have boundaries because you are loved and we want the best for you. Experience is “a” teacher, not the “best” teacher.
    3. Choose friends wisely. It’s takes time to make “good” friends. Don’t rush it. Watch a “friends” behavior over time.
    4. Be a good friend. Stand up for what is right even when it’s not popular.
    5. Stay connected to family (including siblings).
    6. Mommy and Daddy are praying for you everyday. You are smart. You are kind. You are beautiful.  -Kinta Jones, Mom of 3 (rising 9th grader, 7th grader, and 5th grader)
  • To not worry about being in with the cool crowd- look for friends who are your friend for you and stand by you! -Melissa Northway, DandelionMoms.com
  • Yes, you will meet new friends, but it won’t be a chore. Yes, there will be be the popular crowd, which my children never strived to be in. It all comes in time! You will meet good friends. They will be friends throughout high school. – Jodi Siarkas, JodiSiarkas.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Learn everything you can about hormones because they are about to RUN YOUR LIFE. Pray for yourself and your momma too! -Donne´ Allen
  • When you kiss someone for the first time it will be wet and awkward. Afterward, your heart will flutter a bit. It is normal. Boys and girls can be mean. Sometimes boys say mean things because they think you are cute and don’t know what to say. Girls tend to be mean because they are insecure. It is difficult to understand this when you are experiencing it, but true.-Christine Quinn

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Friendships may wax and wane. Your best friends, or your whole circle, may change, or not. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make new friends, or try something new. A new school offers a great chance to do that. What seems normal for everyone else may not be normal for you. The other kids are rarely what they appear to be anyway. They just look like they have it more together from the outside. Most people have the same insecurities and just want to be liked. People will remember your kindness, and you will be rewarded for it. (Having had a child enter middle school, high school and college, this is pretty much the advice I have given and that has been acted upon. It holds for every transition.) -Suz Lipman, Slow Family Online

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

middle school advice _ teachmama.com

  • Remember that you’re a team–mom and dad are all going to Middle School for the first time. .Good friends can be males or females. Girls tend to be more wicked in MS than at any other time in their lives. Boys need a friend who’s a girl to let them know when they’re being gross. .Be nice to the caf ladies–It may mean some extra fries.. A please and thank you will go a long way! Always pack your things the night before. Even plan what you’ll be wearing the next day. Getting up in the morning is difficult enough! The last thing you will want to do is be running around looking for things in the morning! Don’t make your parents have to bring something you forgot into school! Don’t be afraid to be a leader. Sometimes, you may need to be a follower. Never, ever, ever follow, when you know you should be leading! Be nice to the custodians… They are the ones who’ll open your jammed locker. If you see a piece of paper on the floor, pick it up! Be nice to the secretaries. They will lend you lunch money if you forget your money on the kitchen table! Just be nice to everyone. Just enjoy school and your life! As it is said, ” You’ll never pass this way again.” – Carolyn Roman, Spanish teacher 38 years

Maddy, you’ve totally got this.

We’re proud of you and we love you more than you will ever know.  Always remember that no matter what, as long as the stars shine and this great, big world turns, you will have an army of friends and family and behind you, ready to catch you when you fall and give you a high five when you rock it.

You are prepared for this adventure, and we are all excited for you to start this next chapter.

Let the fun begin!


mom & dad


Huge and happy thanks to my many friends and family members who helped write this post. I couldn’t have done it without you. 

Do you want to download all of this awesome advice and print it out for your little love? I don’t blame you.

You can download it here: middle school advice _ teachmama.com

And if you choose to share it–which we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!


what to consider when choosing a school for your child: parent checklist

find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com

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find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com


Now that my kids are 11, 10, and 8 years old (gasp!), I feel like there’s a lot I wish I would have known when it came to choosing schools for my children.

Believe me, we’re not even close to the finish line, and I’m not wishing time away. But looking back, there was a whole lot I didn’t know school shopping before my own kids hit Kindergarten.

There’s really a lot to consider.

So I’ve created a quick and easy parent check sheet to make things (hopefully!) easier for folks down the road.

Here’s the skinny. . .

What to Consider When Choosing a School for Your Child–Parent Checklist:

I’ll admit it. My husband slept out in his car overnight in order to get Maddy on the list for her preschool at 2 1/2 years old.

And though we loved the school, what we didn’t know was how class enrollment would chosen the next year. And what happened was that Maddy’s name was put in a lottery, and her name was picked for the afternoon class.

find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com

With a 1 year old and another baby on the way, an afternoon start would not work for our family.

So we had to pick up and move schools. Had I known this is how enrollment for the 3’s classes was handled, would I have started there? I’m not even sure.

Here are some questions I’d suggest you look into finding answers to before your littles start school:


  • How far is the school?
  • How long is the commute?
  • How easy is parking?
  • Does the school feel welcoming?
  • Are classrooms clean, airy, and open?


  • How often will class meet?
  • How long is the class day?
  • Are there before care or aftercare options?
  • Are there ‘lunch bunch’ options?

find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com

find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com


  • Are the teachers state-certified educators?
  • How often do the teachers have professional development opportunities?
  • What is the teacher-student ratio?
  • Are parent volunteers permitted in the classroom?
  • What safety precautions are taken at the school?  Are all teachers and volunteers fingerprinted and given background checks?
  • Who is the director, and what is his/ her background?


  • How are classes organized?  What is the daily schedule?
  • What is the school’s educational philosophy?
  • How do I feel about school’s educational philosophy?
  • Are lessons age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate?
  • Does the school take field trips?

find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com


  • Are doors locked after drop-off? What is the sign-in/ sign-out procedure?
  • How is tuition processed each month?
  • Is there a discount for paying in full, upfront?
  • What is the sibling discount?
  • What are my fundraising obligations?
  • How are snacks handled–by the school or by parents?
  • What is the school’s allergy policy?
  • How does the school handle birthdays? Holidays?
  • What is the school’s potty training policy?
  • How does the school handle hitting/ biting/ bullies?


Would it be easier to have these questions on a quick and easy printable?

find the best school for your kids | teachmama.com

school search checklist _ teachmama.com


You can download it here: school search checklist _ teachmama.com


Back to school time is an exciting for so many families. Making sure that you choose the right school for your child is key so that your child–and you!–walk into the new year feeling ready and revived.


Need a good place to start? Look for a Childtime in your area, and schedule a visit.

Childtime. Opening Minds. Unleashing Imaginations.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Learning Care Group. The opinions and text are all mine.

budget challenge for students: real-life money management and big $ for classrooms and students

teach kids real life money management win grants and scholarships teachmama.com


teach kids real life money management win grants and scholarships  teachmama.com


Confession: for years and years I was the worst at balancing my checkbook.

I thought something might have been wrong with me that inevitably, month after month, I’d find myself in error.

Checks would bounce and payments would be late; it was often a mess.

A hot mess.

It was partly because I’d be lazy, or I’d forget, or I’d lose receipts.

Maybe it was because I started managing money too late–as a college freshman!–or maybe it was because math isn’t my thing. Either way, things are fine now but truly due in part to the fact that I married a man who moves much more slowly when it comes to money.

Thank goodness.

I made a promise to myself, though, that my kids would be better with money management than I. So we will start earlier. We will work together. And hopefully, they will move into their adult years as more financially savvy, more money-confident.

budget challenge for students: real-life money management and big $ for classrooms and students

(Yes–this is my for real check book from when I first graduated from college. It isn’t pretty.)

When I was contacted by my friends from We Are Teachers to work with the great people of H&R Block to share word of the H & R Block Budget Challenge, I was more than game.

The more families who support the H&R Block Budget Challenge and the more teachers who use the resources in their classrooms, the better. Truly.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Budget Challenge for Students: Real-Life Money Management and Big $ for Classrooms and Students:

It may sound a little complicated or (for some of you) scary. But hang in there. Keep on reading, my friend.

The H&R Block Budget Challenge is new to me, I’ll admit it. But it seems awesome. Awesome.

The challenge encourages kids to learn about personal finance in fun, authentic, and real ways.

And along the way there are prizes, scholarship money, and big-time classroom grants to be won.

budget challenge for students: real-life money management and big $ for classrooms and students

The H&R Block Budged Challenge has three components you need to know about:

They’ve got tons of parent resources. They’ve got tons of classroom resources. And they’ve got lots and lots of money to give to students and teachers.


Make your way to the site and then click on the tab that you need: 

budget challenge for students: real-life money management and big $ for classrooms and students


1. tons of awesome parent resources: any parent can use them for their own kids–check them out!

  • videos, facts and statistics
  • parent education resources
  • personal consumer resources for parents
  • career and college resources for parents
  • parents cannot do the challenge for

2. super-cool teacher and classroom resources: lesson plans and ideas that teachers will love, love, love.

Check it out:

3. scholarship and grant money: tons of it

Look at the info below!

budget challenge for students: real-life money management and big $ for classrooms and students


It’s awesome.

And as a gal who pored through college scholarship books (no joke–anyone who did the same thing knows how HUGE those books were and how laborious that process was!), this challenge–and the prizes it offers–are really remarkable.

The coolest thing? Even though it sounds corny, everyone who enters is a winner. The skills that students will walk away with after this challenge are invaluable.

For real.


Now what? 



Follow the WeAreTeachers / H&R Block Teaching About Money pinterest board:

Follow WeAreTeachers’s board Teaching About Money: H&R Block Dollars & Sense on Pinterest.


fyi: This post was written as part of a collaboration with WeAreTeachers.com and H&R Block. As always, all opinions are my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. 

anchored: finding hope in the unexpected: a book for all parents (giveaway! #AnchoredHope)

anchored: teachmama.com

anchored: teachmama.com


Confession: There are days I don’t appreciate my life the way I should.

I stress over a sink full of dishes, crumb-covered counters, and unmade beds.

Some days, when I hear my kids bickering, I want to poke my eyes out.  When I watch four people walk by a pile of clothes on the stairs, I want to weep. (I mean, can’t someone take them upstairs?)

But reading Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, by Kayla Aimee, has brought me down. It’s grounded me during these long summer days when trying to work with three kids home all day makes me feel like I’m getting nothing right and doing everything wrong.

Anchored has reminded me to really, truly appreciate all that I have because really?  This is a good life.anchored | teachmama.com

anchored: finding hope in the unexpected: a book for all parents

Actually, it’s a great life.

And I have so much to be thankful for.

I know this–believe me. I am grateful, but we all need reminders sometimes, don’t we?

I’m thrilled to be able to share this gift of a book with my you, my friends, many of whom are parents yourselves.

And I even have a fun giveaway for you.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected:

Really, Anchored is a book for everyone, whether you’re a parent or not. This is a story that reminds us to look for hope in unexpected places.

It’s a story for anyone who has wondered, ‘Where is God in this?’

My friend Kayla Aimee tells the story about her journey to motherhood after struggling with infertility for years.  She tells her story about being a mom to a micro-preemie.

A micro-preemie, friends.

Do you even know what a micro-preemie is? I didn’t until I met Kayla.

A micro-preemie is a baby born under three pounds and before 26 weeks.  Can you even imagine?

anchored | teachmama.com

anchored | teachmama.com

Kayla gave birth to Scarlette Vonne at 25 weeks. Scarlette was one pound, eight ounces.

Twenty-five weeks. One pound, eight ounces.

I had known much of Kayla’s story before reading this book, but I had not a clue about the details. The challenges. The victories. The stress that the experience placed on her family, relationships, and her faith.

Kayla is not only one of the coolest women I know; she’s smart, savvy, beautiful inside and out, and to boot, she’s hilarious. And she’s a rockstar writer.

anchored | teachmama.com

So this book gracefully weaves together her story, a story that may seem foreign to many but to which so many of us can relate.  Everyone should have this book on his or her bookshelf.

We may not be parents of a micro-preemie, but each one of us has undoubtedly experienced some sort of challenge in our life that has pushed us, stretched us, or leveled us, forcing us to reach high for strength and to hang tightly to our anchors.


I am thrilled to be able to share with you an opportunity for your own copy of this book, along with a cool little extra to top it off.


GIVEAWAY: A signed copy of Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, by Kayla Aimee and an 8×10 art print painted by Ruth of Gracelaced.com!


Do you want to win a signed copy of Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, by Kayla Aimee and an 8×10 art print painted by Ruth of Gracelaced.com??!  Yes, yes you do.

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your name in the hat:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This giveaway ends Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at midnight ET and is open to folks here in the US only. Winner will be chosen by ‘Rafflecopter’ and will be notified on or around 07/15/15.  Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.


But wait. There’s more! There’s something for everyone here!


Even if you order this book on your own, you’ll be able to download the attached printable art from Gracelaced as your free gift. Awesome, right?

Pair the book with the artwork and some of the goodies below, and you have a really awesome gift for a mom, sister, friend, neighbor:


fyi: This post was inspired by Kayla Aimee’s new book, Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected. Order your copy of #AnchoredHope today to receive a free e­book and art print by clicking here

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.

summer swim team: an absolute MUST for families

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

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summertime swim team | teachmama.com

Summer swim has been a staple for our family for the last six years.

Ever since Maddy joined the pre-team the summer before Kindergarten, we’ve spent the first seven weeks of summer camped out at the pool in the mornings and have spent our Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings at swim meets and Sunday afternoons at dive meets.

We are grateful that our neighborhood pool is within walking distance from our home, and we definitely take advantage of it. But even if your family is not within walking distance to a pool, I cannot highly enough recommend that kids join a summer swim team.

It’s an absolute must for families for so many reasons. If you’re on the fence about it, I’m here to do what I can to push you in the ‘yes!’ direction.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Summer Swim Team–An Absolute Must For Families:

Our kids, 11, 9, and 8 years old, know that they’re on the swim team through middle school at the very least. But they really want to be. In fact, they’ve chosen to swim and dive, and the dive piece especially is their choice. They want to do it. They want to be there.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

They are counting down the days until they can be the pre-team coaches, until they can be the ‘big kids’ and until they get recognized at the banquet for being swim and dive seniors.

I, on the other hand, am just doing what I can to savor each season as it comes, knowing that the summer days may be long but the years are short.

Thinking about summer swim for your kids?

We love it for many reasons, but here are our top ones:

Kids learn to swim.

Really, they do. Yes, kids on our team must be comfortable in the water, but they don’t necessarily need to know the strokes. That’s where the pre-team coaches come in.

Our littlest swimmers learn water safety and basic strokes, and they become more confident in the water.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

Kids try new things and are challenged.

It’s not easy to walk into a pool on a cold June morning not knowing many people, but kids do it. And over time, those people on the team become good friends and playmates.

We all know how important it is for us to step out of our comfort zones every so often; joining a swim team–no matter the age–is a great way to do that.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

Kids will learn:

  • the proper swim strokes
  • how far they can push their little bodies
  • how to play safely in the water
  • how to jump and dive into the pool
  • how swim meets work
  • sportsmanship
  • teamwork
  • listening skills
  • confidence
  • and more.

Older children and younger are brought together and support each other.

Swim teams consist of young swimmers, 8 years old and under, and older swimmers, up to age 18.  Swimmers are broken up into different age groups: 8 & under; 9 & 10; 11 & 12; 13 & 14; 15 & older.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

All children are on the same team, but they rarely swim together. Except for the medleys and the graduated relays, where one swimmer from each age group takes a section of the race.

One thing I have loved is that our kids interact with other children from different age groups, and everyone supports each other through practices, social events, and meets. It’s awesome.

Families come together.

Our swim and dive teams pretty much create our social calendar for the summer.

Families gather to make the meets work, and they put in their time to make the swim season fun.

We eat meals together, play bingo, enjoy raft nights, support each other through losses, and celebrate our wins. We host book sales and evening events, party it up at an end-of-season banquet, and decorate homes for divisional and all-star meets.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

Communities come together.

We drive all around the area for swim and dive meets, making connections all around our community.

Friends from other neighborhood pools cheer for their school buddies across lanes, and pals who only see each other during basketball season or dance class compete against each other in the water.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins often join in the fun. Meets become a really great way to see tons of familiar faces and connect with new ones.

It’s. Just. Plain. Fun.

It’s fun. It really, truly is.

Though it gets to feel long by week six or seven–I won’t lie–swim and dive season really is one of the most fun times of the year.

summertime swim team | teachmama.com

Early mornings, long afternoons, and hot and muggy evenings are overshadowed by the laughs and memories created each season. I know for a fact that when my kids look back on the highlights of their childhood, summertime swim and dive will come to mind immediately.

Every child can have a strong foundation in water safety.

Really. Even if you don’t have a pool nearby, I’m sure that somewhere near you is a YMCA with a water safety or water survival program for kids.

Thanks to people like Justina Pratt who is a Safe Start Swimming Instructor at a Florida YMCA, these programs–and the people who teach our littlest swimmers–can change lives.  Actually, they can save lives.

Check it out:

I have totally loved the workforce appreciation series over at 1in100million.org. Share them with your kids. Share them with your friends. 

Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. They’re really cool clips, and they remind us to appreciate those people all around us every day who make our world a better place.

Check out:

teach kids workforce appreciation  teachmama.com


teach kids to thank everyday heroes teachmama.com


kronos: workforce appreciationfyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Find Your Influence, and as always, ideas and opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. Find out more at 1 in one hundred million. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of their videos and follow #WorkforceStories and #1in100MM!


cool instagram accounts for tweens and new users to follow

cool instagram accounts for tweens and new users to follow | teachmama.com

cool instagram accounts for tweens and new users to follow | teachmama.com

Oh, friends.

How I’ve fought the hard Instagram battle with my tween this year, and finally I let in.

Under many, many conditions:

  • We signed an updated Family Media Agreement.
  • We still use Screen Time Cards.
  • Phone use is restricted to our main floor of our house (not used upstairs).
  • We approve only followers we know personally or that I approve.
  • Her account is private–not public.
  • The phone is ours–not hers–but it’s being used by her, so any time we want to check on things, we can and do.
  • I follow her friends.
  • And more, like constant conversation and an open door for questions any time.

But what I realized is that as a tween, teen, or new user, it’s hard to find cool accounts to follow, so it’s difficult to really know how to properly use Instagram.

Sure, you want your kids to be able to follow their friends, but do you know what most of their friends are doing? A whole lot of duck-faced selfies, that’s what. A whole lot of selfies. Lots. Of. Selfies.  Don’t get me wrong–selfies are fine. But all of the time? Gets a little old.

How about changing things up a bit? Showing our new, younger users cool ways to use Instagram?

Really, there are so many creative and thoughtful ways to use this platform; it’s designed to be visually appealing, creative, and memorable. The problem is that kids need models. They need good examples.

Just like when I was teaching kids how to write a strong paragraph, thesis essay, or research paper–they need models. Examples. So they know what good looks like.

So Maddy and I have been searching and searching and searching this year to find cool Instagram accounts to follow.

We’ve found a ton.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Instagram Accounts for Tweens and New Users to Follow: 

Remember, friends, this is not a perfect list. And it’s only a start.

If you and your spouse make the decision to allow your child to use Instagram, you must be aware of the Terms of Service. You must first take into consideration how the platform is used and why you need to be an active part of the use.

Our family decided that we’d allow Maddy to give it a try with a whole lot of support.

And with support comes a whole lot of great people to follow so our new user learned how to use the platform by viewing firsthand how some people were really rocking it.

Here are a few cool users to follow if you–or your child–are just starting out on Instagram:



It’s Robby the Kid President. On instagram. He’s inspiring and awesome. Everyone should follow him.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com kid pres




Yep. THE White House is on Instagram. Did you even know that? My thought is this: if our kids are on Instagram and the White House is on Instagram, then our kids should definitely follow the White House. At the very least they’ll know what their president is up to.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com white house


Online community of book lovers –a division of Scholastic.  Everything teen. Great spot to find new titles!

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com



If you’re not following Humans of New York, you better be. It’s simply the most incredible photo journal I’ve ever encountered. Brandon Stanton is the photographer, and he basically photographs New Yorkers. And the coolest part? He shares their stories.

Buy the book. We’re obsessed. And though Maddy has asked me questions sometimes–because some of the stories are a little thought-provoking or sad–it’s a conversation worth having with your tween or teen.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com humans of ny



As in ‘playmobil’ and little photo scenes.  Just fun.  How cool is this? And what fun our kids could have with doing something like this themselves!

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com



Food 52:

I like this account because the focus is to help people be smarter, happier cooks. And the photos of food are beautiful.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com



All photos taken with a GoPro–and if you don’t know what a GoPro is, it’s a teeny camera that mounts to just about anything, allowing for people to video very cool things. This account, as you can imagine, shares some really awesome photographs.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com gopro


I love the idea behind these bracelets–they contain water from Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth, and mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. By wearing the bracelet, you are reminded to strive for balance in your life. The bracelets are photographed all over the world–it’s so cool to sea where they are and how people photograph them.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com gopro



Animal photos. Surprisingly human animal photos.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com animal planet



Not even joking when I say that the awesome of this profile is that Angie is mom to ‘Mayhem’–a 5 year old who literally creates runway dresses and costumes out of paper.  The outfits either come to her or she tries to replicate what the stars are wearing. Your kids–and you–will fall in love with this feed.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com mayhem



Gorgeous, breathtaking photos. We’re huge fans of the Discovery Channel over here, so this is a favorite.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com gopro



Love our littleBits sets, so this platform shares photos and videos of the littleBits at work–moving, blinking, beeping, and making magic happen, one circuit at a time.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com littlebits



Bright and beautiful school supplies. Everyone loves school supplies. Right? We sure do.  Have you ever seen them look so pretty?

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com yobi



The official account for National Geographic Travel means Awesome. Photos. The. End.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com



Maya is a bulldog in NYC.  This profile chronicles her adventures.  I love it.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com maya



Pretty food. Pretty, pretty, absolutely gorgeous food.  Like food art in such a fun way.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com




Photos from National Geographic photographers. And stories to go with them.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com natgeo



You guys. Food art. More of it. But different in that these photos sometimes make you forget that you’re looking at food. It’s just awesome.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com



My girls love this magazine, and the Instagram profile is just as beautiful.  Sure, kids posing as models all glammed up isn’t my thing, but these kids look cool. And they’re low on makeup.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com


Tracey shares everything Young Adult and New Adult books. She’s cool. And maybe she’ll inspire our kiddos to do some more reading.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com


The ONE campaign is just plain fantastic. What they do rocks. And so do all their photos. Hoping that this gets users psyched to do something, to make a change. To get involved.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com one




Amy Poehler and her bff Meredith Walker created Smart Girls to celebrate awesome girls–every girl. The photos are fun. And the message is stellar.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com amy



From Macmillan Children’s Publishing–books and more books.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com



My sweet friend Jessica shares her photos of her gorgeous little familia and their furry boy. First it was #TheoandBeau and then it became #TheoandEvvie. The photos are incredible, and the awesome thing is that Jessica and her family are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com jessica



BEFORE you follow this account, check it out for yourself. Most are positive quotes. Many are happy and really what we all need. Every day.

But some? A little edgy and questionable. Just check it out.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com quote




That’s right. A word a day. And why not celebrate words on Instagram?

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com dictionary



Friends. Are we following each other? Let’s.

Check it out–


Follow me for fun, quick learning ideas and activities.  In the summer, every single day I’ll post our #tabletopsurprises. And on Friday I’ll share a round-up here.

instagram accounts for tweens | teachmama.com teach mama

On Instagram, I tend to keep things pretty simple withphotos of some of the cool things we’re up to that don’t always make it to the blog.

But this year, I’m adding a little quickie video as well. Should be fun.

And if nothing else, I do hope it inspires you to get a little crafty and creative with your crew during the long summer months.



What are your other favorite, must-follow Instagram accounts?

I’ll let you in on a little secret–this is the first of a series of posts. I have a ton of great profiles to follow that wouldn’t fit in this one post, so do let me know who yours are, and I’ll do my best to add them!

And remember–these are not all G-rated; you must use this platform, as in all social media platforms, with your discretion.

Check out our initial Instagram post for more information:

how to talk to your kids about instagram | teachmama.com #digitalliteracy #digitalkids


digital kids | teachmama.com



fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This small percentage of money helps offset the costs of hosting this blog, which helps me keep this content free for you. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

help kids stay in touch with friends when school’s out: autograph sheet

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

I can’t even believe it, but school’s almost out for my kids.

Though I’m totally psyched to begin our tabletop surprises this year, I’m also always a little sad when the school year ends.

It means my kids are getting older and that time continues to move . . . quickly.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

This year, especially I feel like I’m having a difficult time as Maddy moves into the wilds of middle school leaving Owen and Cora behind in elementary school. It has been a true joy for me to have all three kids in one school for the last three years.

And I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the fact that I began this blog even before Maddy started Kindergarten. Insanity.

But also awesome, I know. I have so much to be thankful for–that is a fact.

So I’ll spare you the waterworks–that will surely come on Friday at her Fifth Grade Recognition Ceremony (sob!)–and instead I’ll share something that I created for all three of my little loves so that they can stay in touch with their buddies through the long summer months.

It’s pretty cool. And it’s something they’ll just shove in their binder for the last few days, pull out before and after school and maybe at lunchtime.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Help Kids Stay in Touch With Friends When School’s Out–Autograph Sheet: 

This is a super-easy and fun sheet, and the emphasis here is that kids will write their phone number or address so that they can communicate over the summer.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

If kids are old enough and their parents permit it, then hopefully kids can write down their email address or instagram name.

Any way they want to stay in touch, they share.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet

Download the printable and help kids stay in touch with friends when school’s out: help kids stay in touch with friends when school’s out: autograph sheet

If you choose to share this printable–and we hope you do!–please link to this page instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

It’s simple and easy.

And when I showed the kids today, they were pretty happy. And I’ll be pretty happy mid-summer when they ask for a playdate with a pal and I tell them to reach out and plan it themselves!


How do you keep kids connected with their pals over the summer? It’s not easy–so I’m open for ideas and suggestions!

Need a few ideas for summertime fun? Join us!

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com



Are your kids still in school?

Do you want them to do a little ‘thank you’ writing to their teachers? Definitely check out this post over on Scholastic Parents:

end of year thank you  teachmama  pinterest  scholastic

cool activities for kids all summer long: NEW tabletop surprises

cool activities for kids all summer long: NEW tabletop surprises

cool activities for kids all summer long: NEW tabletop surprises


It’s here! It’s here! It’s heeerrreeeee!

I’m so happy. I’m so excited.

And more than ever, I’m over the moon thrilled and elated that summer is right around the corner!

Though I work from home, and it’s always an adjustment to have all the kids home all day long, and we have a busy swim and dive schedule, and ohmygosh I have to feed three kids three meals every single day for like a million days, I have found the most awesome plan for summer fun for my kids–tabletop surprises.

This will be the third summer we’re rocking tabletop surprises, and the kids–and I–couldn’t be more ready to rock and roll!

Here’s the skinny. . .

Cool Activities for Kids All Summer Long–NEW Tabletop Surprises: 

Tabletop Surprises are what works for us because I have three different kids–11, 9, and 8 years old–each with their own personality and plans.

And Tabletop Surprises work for us all.

What are Tabletop Surprises? Tabletop Surprises are invitations to learn, play, create, invent, and think–on their own time. 

Little fun activities just waiting for someone to come along and try ‘em out.

tabletop surprises   teachmama.com 2

This year, everyone helped make the calendars. 

I brought out last year’s Tabletop Surprises calendars, and Maddy, Owen, and Cora wrote, scratched, added, and edited.

summer fun for older kids teachmama.com tabletop surprises

summer fun for older kids teachmama.com tabletop surprises

summer fun for older kids teachmama.com tabletop surprises

I want this summer to be fun for them. And I want them to have some say in what we do each day.

And though they had their own ideas about what they wanted their summer to look like (see below!), I added, adapted, and think they’ll be pretty happy with what we have planned.

Despite what it may look like, Tabletop Surprises allow for so much flexibility in our schedules. They’re short activities that can be done independently (for the most part), so if something fun comes up in our schedule, we drop and go.

That simple.

summer fun for older kids teachmama.com tabletop surprises

How to I get the kids to actually sit down and do the activities? 

A few ways:

1. The activities are fun and the kids want to do them;

2. At any given time, on any given day, I have been known to toss a few gems into the gem jars of people who have been spotted doing the activity. Not every day, but some days.

3.  I’ll join them. Really.

Kids–I truly believe–like to hang out with their parents. Especially if their parents are kinda cool or funny or at least act like they’re cool or funny. I like to hang out with my kids, so when they sit, if I can, I’ll join them.

tabletop surprises   teachmama.com 2

What are the ideas and what makes them so fun?

The activities are hands-on. They’re cool. They’re creative and crafty. They’re unusual. They’re familiar. They’re old and they’re new. They’re digital and battery-free. They’re indoors and outdoors.

It’s a mix, and that keeps them going. And it’s only ten weeks. That gives us one week for vacation and one week to totally pound out math packets and summer school assignments.

And really? I have a whole bunch of back-up this year–4 extra weeks planned out roughly. Just a whole bunch of extra cool, fun things that kids might want to do if and when we find time.

tabletop surprises calendar 2015 | teachmama.com

What do you think? Ready to give Tabletop Surprises a look? 


  1. Print out the calendar: tabletop surprises calendar 2015 teachmama.com
  2. Subscribe to teachmama.com via email.
  3. Download the Tabletop Surprises Resource Guide (you’ll get it when you confirm your subscription, yo!).
  4. Give your kids the skinny on Tabletop Surprises.  Tell them: This summer is totally going to rock. Each day, you’ll have a fun activity waiting right here on the table for you. All summer long. Not even kidding. You’re that lucky.
  5. Start learning, playing, creating, inventing, and thinking alongside your kiddos!
  6. And? Share your #tabletopsurprises via instagram or twitter  just for fun.  We will have a few goodies along the way for families who jump in on the fun. So start sharing and start learning.
  7. Now. Go ahead and create the summer of your dreams. Well. . .

tabletop surprises   teachmama.com 2

Wait. What’s holding you back?

My kids. They’re totally not game for anything anymore now that they’re tweens and teens.

Um. I understand. I get it. My kids have days when they just want to hole up and ignore me. And that’s fine. But there are many days when they want fun things to do.

They want an excuse to play with their old faves, to get their hands dirty, to explore and have fun.

And Tabletop Surprises let them do just that.

tabletop surprises calendar 2015 | teachmama.com

Me. I’m busy. I don’t have time for this. 

Yes. You. Do.  I’ve got every single thing you need right here. Ten weeks.  Links to resources and everything.  Just print out a few things, gather supplies the night before and set it out on your table or a small shelf or somewhere so it’s all there when the kids wake up.  They’ll do it when they’re able.

In fact, I’ve so got this covered, that if you subscribe to teachmama.com via email (only a few emails a week–full of awesome for you and your kids!) you’ll have access to every single thing you need for the entire ten weeks. Every link. Every printable. Bam.


Okay, well. . . I may just be convinced.

Give me a look at this stuff. 

Sure. Check out last year’s Tabletop Surprises to get an idea about what we’re doing.

tabletop surprise 2015 sign up teachmam

Or check out 2013:

Or check out our

live focused: may is the month for YOU — get started with these ideas

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links



live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com


Friends, it’s taken me a bit to get to this important post this month, but here it is.

All year long we’ve been focusing on living with intention, making our time on this earth really count.

We’ve covered organization, friendship, clarity, and growth, and now, mid-year, we’re looking at ourselves.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Live Focused–May is the Month for YOU:

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

(Here I am, enjoying my very first butterbeer. . . a dream.)

We’re all busy, this I know for sure.

But when was the last time you really took time for you? When have you recently carved out time in your schedule for doing something that you truly love to do?

If you’re not sure or you can’t remember, then it’s time to make a change.

And if you’re rolling your eyes and feeling defeated before you even begin, then you really, really need to make a change. Because you know what? It’s okay to take care of ourselves. In fact, it’s a necessity.

It’s just that often it seems like we’re moving at such superhuman speeds that we can’t find the time.

Here’s this month’s printable to add to the others. Use it.

live focused: may self teachmama.com

Here’s the May printable to add to your other #livefocused printables: live focused printable may 2015

(If you choose to share this printable–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!).

Identify your anchors.

What’s holding you back from doing what you really love? These are the ‘anchors’ that are keeping you stuck in place–and anchors come in all shapes and sizes.

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

Is your anchor time? You can’t find enough of it to do what you want?

Is your anchor money? You feel like there’s no extra money in the budget for you to ‘splurge’ on things for you.

Is your anchor fear? Exhaustion? Confusion? Frustration? Embarrassment? 

Really, there are a million anchors–a million reasons–for you to not do what you’d like.

But there are double that many reasons for you to do more of what you like.

The number one reason to do more of what you like is that you will feel better and do better when you take time out for you. Okay, so that’s two reasons. But whatever. You get what I’m saying.

It’s true.

My good friend Jessica Turner’s Fringe Hours is an incredibly helpful resource for women who are trying desperately to reclaim time. To find something for themselves in that time. To carve out even minutes during the day to do what they love, even when there’s a pile of laundry to be folded and bathrooms to clean.

Jessica created a Fringe Hours Manifesto that you should consider printing and keeping close:

live focused: focus on SELF teachmama.com

You can print the Fringe Hours Manifesto here: Manifesto-Printable

(If you choose to share this information–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Or go ahead and visit the Fringe Hours page directly. Thank you!).

If you haven’t found a copy of The Fringe Hours, you can grab one from Amazon or from DaySpring.  And definitely check out Jessica’s Fringe Hours site for the awesome Time Tracker, wallpapers for your phone, and more.

Good news– DaySpring is having a rockstar Memorial Day sale– 25% off entire purchase with code 25MEMORIAL.  (Treat yourself to the book and some of the other awesome products like notepads and journals!)


Remember what you love to do.

It’s hard, especially when you’re in the throes of life, to sometimes even know what you love to do. I get it.

I remember, when Maddy, Owen, and Cora were young, feeling like the only thing I ever wanted to do with my free time was sleep. Like close my eyes and rest. I was that tired.


But once I started running, doing yoga, writing this blog (really!), things turned around. I had more energy. I felt a renewed zest for life. I rediscovered the spring in my step.  I was a better mom, a better wife, a better friend and daughter.

This month, take time to figure out–or remember–what you love to do. We’ll give you some good ideas as a starting point.

How about:

Do something for you.  Really. It’s okay.

I’m no expert–believe me, I didn’t write the book on this–but I can tell you what I’ve done for me that’s made me really happy in the recent past:

1. I’ve just recently tried Stitch Fix. And I love it.

My second ‘fix‘ came today, and Maddy turned to me and said, Mom, I love how happy you are when your Stitch Fix.

She’s right. I am happy.

Stitch Fix makes me happy, and I don’t care if that makes me sound like a brat.

What is it? Stitch Fix is like having a personal shopper–really–where five items are sent to you, and you can keep or send the items back. It’s AWE-some. You pay $20 a month, and you fill out a detailed description of your style. Then your items land on your doorstep.

Whatever you want, you keep, and that $20 goes toward the cost; if you buy all five items, you get 25% off the total cost and your $20 stylist fee goes toward your purchase.

Jewelry, handbags, tops, skirts, dresses, tanks–it’s awesome.



2. I started doing Beachbody–the 21 Day Fix and PiYo. And I love it.

I tried the PiYo DVDs last year because I’ve been a longtime fan of pilates and  yoga.  And I even tried Beachbody Shakeology and after a bit of trial and error, I really came to like it.

No Weights. No Jumps. Just Hardcore Results. DEFINE YOURSELF with PiYo!
21 Day Fix. Simple Eating. Simple Fitness. Fast Results.
So now I’ve been rocking out to the 21 Day Fix each morning (okay, or about 4-5 mornings each week), and some mornings I’ll mix it up with a little PiYo or a run.  And I try to have a shake every other day. It was an investment in me, and I feel so much better for it.

More importantly, though, I feel so much stronger for it.

And the cool thing is that several of my friends are working hard as Beachbody coaches–guiding people to better health and fitness and getting paid for it. Awesome.

Smart women working hard–changing lives and earning some extra money.


3. I started using döTERRA essential oils. For real. (Don’t laugh.) And I love it.

I’m sure you have friends or family members who are into the essential oil thing. And if you don’t, well then, we should talk. . . (cough).

I’m kidding. Kind of.


But essential oils are simply ‘natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.’

Take a minute to check out my little ole essential oil page; know that the videos are super helpful. Though I’m not a full-fledged oil expert, I have been using them with my family for about six months. We’ve seen some really great changes.

I’ll write more about them later, but I really just like having options when someone in our family isn’t feeling 100%. I like the excitement of looking up the ailment in our essential oil guide, trying the oil, and experiencing results.

I like that there is an oil for just about everything–anxiety, stress, indigestion, pain, and insomnia. I like that the oils can be ingested, infused, or used topically. I like that there are boatloads of supports out there for newbies to this world, and I like that so many women are making a killing selling them.

I like that you can buy them at really reasonable prices, so even if you aren’t sure about them, you can give a few a try and not break the bank.


Oh friends. Let’s get this started.


Here’s to hoping that you do end up carving some time for YOU this month. Please tell me where, when and how you’re doing it and remember that each person who shares his or her successes is an inspiration for everyone else!!


 live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com sq

Are you in? Let me know, friends. I need to know I’m not walking alone on this journey!

  • share any of the photos here on your facebook page
  • share any of the photos here on your twitter or instagram page
  • share any of the photos here on your google + page or blog!

Tweet this:

  • tweet this: I am ready for some ME TIME this month! Join @teachmama and me: #livefocused
  • tweet this: I am psyched to join @teachmama in her #livefocused 2015 adventure! Join me: http://ctt.ec/warK2+
  • tweet this: Do YOU want to live a more focused, intentional life this year? Join the #livefocused crew: http://ctt.ec/ad7NC+ @teachmama
  • tweet this: Make this year COUNT. Get focused. Live intentionally. http://ctt.ec/aq9Vy+ #livefocused @teachmama

Check it all out video-style:

 And? If you don’t already subscribe to teachmama.com’s YouTube channel, you totally want to!

live focused 2015 teachmama.com b w collage



click below for #livefocused archives:

ive focused in 2015 organization teachmama.com sq

live focused in 2015 friendship teachmama.com sq

live focused in 2015 clarity teachmama.com sq 2

live focused in 2015 growth teachmama.com sq 2

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

preparing kids for Kindergarten: the summer before school starts — Home Study

kindergarten prep summer before teachmama.com


Do you have a little one heading off to the wilds of Kindergarten this year? 

Then this Home Study is for YOU.


kindergarten prep  summer before  teachmama.com


This is just one of the many teach mama Home Studies that are short, information-packed, interactive courses designed to change your life.

Perhaps you think ‘changing your life’ is a little lofty–but it’s true.  It really can change your life–and your child’s. 

In the last 10 years, I have spoken at dozens of local and national events, sharing information about teaching, learning, and community building.  One workshop I’ve done dozens of times is about how parents can prepare their children for Kindergarten. 

Time and time again, the feedback is the same: parents have said to me that what they learned in my workshop changed the way they spent time with their children. 

So exciting, right? I know.

I love it, and because it’s something I totally love doing, I’m opening the Home Study up to a larger group for a early summer workshop.  It’ll be awesome. And I know everyone will learn a ton.

And? We’re offering the whole workshop for $20 off through May. Check it out and share this page with your friends.

They’ll thank you for it!

home study kinder prep SUMMER

Check it out to learn more, but know that spots are filling quickly: teach mama Home Study: Kindergarten Prep SUMMER


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preparing for kindergarten summer before

parent teacher connect: parents and teachers working TOGETHER is the key to children’s success in school

parent teacher connect  teachmama.com

parent teacher connect  teachmama.com


We’ve got something cool brewing, my friends, and we want you to come along for the ride!

Join us over at teachmama.com: parent teacher connect— a platform where parents and teachers can ask questions, get answers, support each other, and learn how to best reach all of our children.  

Parents and teachers working TOGETHER is the key to children’s success in school. Parent Teacher Connect is a spot for parents and teachers to CONNECT. 

Everyone is welcome here–parents, teachers, administrators, classroom volunteers, you name it.

Here we can have a working, continual dialogue between parents AND teachers. I am SO excited to bring to life a platform where parents and teachers can ask questions, get answers, support each other, and learn how to best reach all of our children.


  • What do you wish parents knew about their children’s success in school?
  • What resources do you have that really help to reach students?
  • How best do you communicate with parents?
  • What works in your classroom?
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  • What do you wish teachers knew about how your child can meet with success in school?
  • What resources do you have that really help support your child?
  • How best do you communicate with teachers?
  • How do you manage homework?

We’re here for ANY and ALL questions you have, but our goal is to cover the following topics each day:

Math Monday: math will be our focus here

Techy Tuesday: tips, tricks, ideas for integrating technology at home and in the classroom

Wildcard Wednesday: anything goes!

Read to Me Thursday: books, books, books!

Foundation Friday: help for building foundations for learning at home and in the classroom

STEM Saturday: science, technology, engineering, and math

Social Sunday: share links, resources, posts, anything that you want others to read or see

Join us: teachmama.com: parent teacher connect.

Tell me, friends–what topics do you want to see covered? How can we make this group work for you?

We really want to know!