Schoolkins // Why We Choose Homeschooling by Heidi Steffens

Schoolkins // Why We Choose Homeschooling by Heidi Steffens

Schoolkins // Why We Choose Homeschooling by Heidi Steffens

Schoolkins // Why We Choose Homeschooling by Heidi Steffens

Schoolkins // Why We Choose Homeschooling by Heidi Steffens

Homeschooling is becoming more accepted and popular in our country. And yet I still hear mothers tell me time and time again, “I wish I could homeschool, I just don’t think I could do it”. Many don’t feel qualified because they aren’t teachers themselves. But you don’t need fancy degrees or certain accomplishments to homeschool your children. All you need is love and a desire to do the best you can for your children.

There are many reasons we chose to homeschool our children. The ability to tailor each of our children’s education individually, considering learning readiness, strengths and gender differences and providing for learning that is not “one size fits all”. The reason of freedom; allowing them a wild and free childhood, with many hours outdoors free from homework and learning free of stress, and to provide for an environment free from bullying, peer pressure and comparing. But among the many valuable reasons we chose to homeschool, more time with my children is the reason I treasure the most. Time is one word that captures many of the reasons for homeschooling our children. Homeschooling has the amazing ability of slowing time.

Time. We all want more of it; there never seems to be enough. Always there is this rushing to get everything done and our children grow up before our eyes. I hear so often from older mothers, “Enjoy these years, because they are gone before you know it.” Homeschooling stops the rush and slows time.

Children nowadays have about 180 school days a year and are in school an average of 6 hours a day. That adds up to a total of, at the very least, 1080 hours a year that they are away from home and their family during the happiest hours of their day. Most come home tired and cranky with homework yet to do and lessons still to practice, and family time is given the “leftovers” of everyone’s day.

Homeschooling gives an extra 1080 hours a year together. That extra time together benefits our family in many ways. Spending time together allows for closer relationships to develop. We are able to spend the best hours, the freshest hours, of our days together. There is no frantic rushing around in the morning, getting dressed, throwing lunches together and eating breakfast on the run. Instead of feeling frantic and rushed, most of our days are flexible and relaxed, and yet ironically, productive and full of learning.

Siblings are allowed the time and the opportunity to know each other better. They are allowed moments together that never would have been had we not made the decision to homeschool. These moments, this time, forms tight bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.

Another benefit of the time spent each day with my children, is that I am able to not only teach but also to influence our children in our personal family values, in our faith, in their character development, life skills and work ethic. Me, their mama, who loves them like no other in this world. Me, a mama who can often be impatient, unorganized and overwhelmed. Homeschooling stretches and changes me into a mother who realizes her imperfections and need of grace.

I hear so often from mothers that they would like to homeschool but they don’t know how. The idea of homeschooling can often be overwhelming, as it was for me, but it doesn’t have to be. Homeschooling can be simple and fun, something you grow into over time and with experience.

“We’re not trying to do school at home, we are trying to homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We’re not trying to replicate the time, style, or content of the classroom. Rather we’re trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7-days each week. The “formal” portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceberg” (Steve and Jane Lambert).

Since most of us have been “schooled” we have this idea of what homeschooling should look like, how it should be. But it doesn’t have to be that way, it shouldn’t be that way when our children are young. Homeschooling should be simple, making the teaching and the learning easy and fun. School is robbing our children of their childhood and instead replacing it with the stress, the burdens, and the anxiety of adulthood. There is a way to teach our children responsibility and accountability and a “lifestyle of learning” while allowing them a childhood that is wild and free.

Raymond Moore in his book, Better Late Than Early has said this, “When can the child’s ability to see, hear and touch be effectively coordinated? Some scientists suggest that these abilities develop most rapidly between the ages of 5 and 7 and reach a point of efficient functioning around age 10 or 11. At this age, the various aspects of a child’s development have reached a level of maturity and integration that make learning relatively easy” (p.64-65). …If one waits a few months until the child is ready for these experiences, he will have developed the necessary coordination to learn these tasks without any instruction and with little or no pressure. And he is far less likely to develop anxieties and frustrations in the process. Premature teaching often results not only in damage to the child, but also in an enormous amount of wasted effort by parents and teachers who feel compelled to teach skills or facts too early” (p.78). Understanding this has taken enormous pressure off of me to force and push learning. It has eased my guilt when my children aren’t performing up to the world’s standards. I understand now that they need time to develop individually, and so I wait until they are ready to learn. As our children age and are ready, a more formal learning time of the three R’s, reading, writing, and arithmetic, will have it’s place within our day.

Homeschooling looks different for each family but the how of homeschooling when children are young is simple.

  • Teach them character development and responsibility while learning to be helpful with chores, or your “dailys”.
  • Teach them life skills as they learn alongside you, their mother.
  • Look for opportunities of service for others within the family, within the community, and within the world.
  • Surround them with classical music and the masters of art and poetry.
  • Read, read, and then read some more, exposing them to quality literature that expands their mind. Reading opens up opportunities to explore and visit a variety of places and times and allows them an abundance of experiences from their safe place of home.
  • Allow time for them to play on their own and pursue their own interests. “Play is the highest form of research” (Albert Einstein). And make time to play with them.
  • Encourage and join them in going outside and exploring the beauty of nature. Plant a garden together.
  • Allow time for nature journaling; drawing and identifying allows one to see and to learn in detail about the world we live in.

“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” (Charlotte Mason).

Allow yourself as a mother, to grow into homeschooling. Homeschooling is a process, a changing, a growing, a learning, a journey. If you are interested in homeschooling, I encourage you to read up on it and educate yourself. There are many amazing books that have been written about homeschooling, but I have listed the books that have had a tremendous impact in the journey of home educating our children. The list of books below can be overwhelming, but just start reading them slowly, one at a time. The first five authors instilled a desire to homeschool and the last three authors showed me how.

Susan Schaeffer Macaulay:  For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School

Gladys Hunt: Honey for a Child’s Heart

Sally Clarkson: The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity and The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children

Raymond Moore: Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education and Home Grown Kids

Marie Winn: The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life

Elaine Cooper: When Children Love to Learn

Chris and Ellyn Davis: I Saw the Angel in the Marble and I carved the Angel in the Marble

Clay Clarkson: Educating the WholeHearted Child

You can do it, Mama. You will grow into it. You don’t need to be an expert; just be a mother who wants to spend time with her children, a mother who wants them to learn from the one who knows and loves them the most.

Momkins // Floral and Turquoise

A  floral shift dress and Turquoise jewelry (or anything Turqouise) is my favorite Summer uniform.  Turquoise reminds me of all the tropical vacations that I dream about daily, and a good floral frock is always a must.  Pick bold and oversized floral patterns with a dark background so the colors pop.  This will make your  dress have a more modern vibe, and be less “borrowed from my grandma’s closet”.   I love pairing shorter dresses with neutral suede or leather booties or sandals to keep it grounded and not too girly.   Or! Even better, forget the shoes and go barefoot and dance away with your babiekins on the sand at the beach!  Summer is here, horray!

Momkins // Florals and Turquoise

Babiekins Magazine | Floral Shift Dress

Babiekins Magazine | Floral Shift Dress

Babiekins Magazine | Floral Shift Dress


Babiekins Magazine | Floral Shift Dress


Floral Dress from Free People
Suede Booties from Sam Edelman
Bar Necklaces from James Michelle



Featurekins // MINIMODE

Featurekins // MiniMode

A few days ago, Chalk NYC designer Colleen Crivello and InStyle Magazine’s Marketing Director Maria Benetos launched MINIMODE, a brand-new collaborative project for stylish moms. We asked these two incredibly inspirational women to share more about the new site, share their top-five style must-haves, and more.

Maria and Colleen, can you tell our readers a little more about the editorial­-based shopping experience you’ve created?
MINIMODE is a style site for women whose love of fashion did not change once they became moms. All of our content goes back to product and shopping — for kids, babies and new and expectant moms. Or you can skip the content altogether and just shop.

MINIMODE has been a project long in the making. What has been the main inspiration — more than anything else ­­–  prompting you to launch?
The main inspiration was a personal need for it. As moms who both have full-time careers we do most of our shopping for our kids and ourselves online, but felt it was overwhelming sifting through everything that is out there in the children’s market. We wanted something very curated but that would also be fun to visit, so we came up with The goal is to inspire women with our trend stories and profiles on stylish and successful moms while giving them a joyful shopping experience.

Maria, what are some ways your background as the Marketing Director for InStyle Magazine has prepared you for this foray into the children’s fashion world?
I’ve always in worked in fashion – apart from InStyle I’ve also been at Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Allure and Interview among other fashion media brands. And I’ve always been in marketing, so launching MINIMODE combined the two things I love: being within the world of style but still being about to utilize my business and marketing skills.

Featurekins // MiniMode

Colleen, you design children’s clothing for Chalk NYC. How did you and Maria meet? Can you tell us how the decision to collaborate came about?
Maria and I met through a mutual friend who has girls the same age as ours. We were all new moms so we’d plan these fun nights out and on one of those nights while having a group dinner at SohoHouse, Maria mentioned that she always wanted to start a kid’s shopping site. She asked for my advice since I had recently launched Chalk NYC and before we knew it, the idea evolved into mini-mode and we became business partners. It was really organic.

It now feels like we’ve known each other forever because we spend more time with each other than we do with our husbands! We complement each other perfectly from a business point of view and as friends.

You both clearly are chic mamas. How did each of your style perspectives evolve ­­– if at all –­­ once you became mothers?
The thing is, it didn’t! And I think that was part of the impetus of MINIMODE. We still dressed the same and felt the same, and we saw that all our other chic mommy friends were the in the same boat. But there was not a kid’s shopping site that spoke to us as women who also happen to have kids.

Featurekins // MiniMode
What are your top five summer style and/or beauty essentials for moms?

  1. A BIKINI //Eres is definitely a go-to and Solid & Striped is another brand we love.
  2. A cool pair of SUNNIES // Mirrored is super-chic for this summer). I just bought the gold-mirrored Linda Farrow glassesand Victoria Beckham also makes great ones in different colors — her blue ones are my list. Plus, you’ll be able to match your MINI with our new Sons + Daughters kids’ sunglasses collaboration featuring gold and silver mirrored lenses!
  3. Don’t scrimp on SUNSCREEN // It’s SO important!  La Roche Posay’s Anthelios is a life-saver during summer.
  4. A CAFTAN//  Twois a smaller brand based in New York that makes the most beautiful tunics and caftans using handwoven textiles and saris from India.
  5. A killer pair of SANDALS // We love sandal styles which look hot yet are still comfy. Isabel Marant’s Justy studded sandals are on our Want List.

In your prediction, what’s one of the next big style trends for littles?
Clothes that take inspiration from grown-up trends. We do a regular feature on MINIMODE called “From the Runway” where we highlight a runway trend and curate current kids’ product around it. Right now we have one highlighting the “Prima Ballerina” trend that was huge during Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Week, featuring beautiful and adorable dancer-off-duty looks for kids. You’ll see more brands like Boy+Girl and Chalk NYC which design kid’s clothes that are cool and not so precious.

Featurekins // MiniModeWhat can our readers expect from MINIMODE throughout this upcoming summer season?
More interviews with inspiring and chic moms along with their curated picks, more fab summer products and a very exciting collaboration we are launching toward the end of the summer for back to school! We update our content daily so there is always something fresh to experience and buy.

Fashionkins // Lofty Aspirations

Some tween fashion inspiration for your weekend. Do you have a tween at home? What are some of their favorite brands?

Babiekins Magazine|Feaurekins//Lofty Aspirations by Julie Martin

Babiekins Magazine|Feaurekins//Lofty Aspirations by Julie Martin

Babiekins Magazine|Feaurekins//Lofty Aspirations by Julie Martin

Babiekins Magazine|Feaurekins//Lofty Aspirations by Julie Martin

Babiekins Magazine|Feaurekins//Lofty Aspirations by Julie Martin

Babiekins Magazine|Feaurekins//Lofty Aspirations by Julie Martin

Photography & Concept: Julie A Martin|Styling: Sunshine Madsen|
Models: Ruby and Makenna

Wardrobe//Vintage|Anthropologie|Peek|Zara|Feather + Stone|Free People|Doc Marten|Gap|Tucker & Tate|Neve/Hawk

Fashionkins // Mommy & Me

Babiekins Magazine | Fashionkins // Mommy & MeCredits // 01. Girl’s Dress | 02. Mommy’s Dress | 03. Girl’s Pants | 04. Mommy’s Top | 05. Girl’s Tunic | 06. Mommy’s Tunic

In several countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated in the month of May and I look forward to honoring all the mommies that I respect and admire who greatly deserve a day to be spoiled. My favorite Mother’s Day celebrations are spent with my boys having breakfast in bed (made by my husband — of course) or having brunch at our favorite restaurant followed by kicking a soccer ball and chasing butterflies in the park. I also like to match my son by wearing similar or same graphic tees for a great photo opportunity — say cheese! I especially think it is sweet when moms and daughters dress in similar fashions — I love the “Mommy & Me” look and with so many cool designers also designing children’s wear it is easier now than ever to look hip and cool and just like your little mini me.

Featurekins // Indoor Camp Party From Land Of Nod

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking camping was SO cool. My parents really weren’t “campers”, but oh, I dreamed gathering around a smoky, sparkling campfire spinning scary stories, snuggling under a woolen blanket under the shelter of a canvas tent, and then in the morning, exploring the mountainous wilds.

Now that I’m older, I know the reality of camping — especially camping with kids — and it’s a lot more work than I dreamed of as a child! There are a million things I’d rather be doing than chasing the bugs out of my tent, trying to cook over a damp campfire, and then coaxing the kids to sleep to a chorus of crickets and coyotes.

But I’m not ready to let go of my perfect idea of camping the way I imagined it as a child.  I still want to camp.

So I’m beyond ecstatic about this. The Land of Nod now has a whole range of  fun, fresh and quirky items so you can throw a little camp party…indoors! (Thank you, The Land Of Nod! Thank you! Thank you!)

Here are The Land of Nod goodies we’d invite to our camp party…

Featurekins // Indoor Camping from The Land Of Nod

1. Raccoon Pillow  |  02. Campsite Nightlight  |  03. Don’t Feed The Bear Rug  |  04.   Neon Dash Blanket   |  05. Mission Control Sleeping Bag  |  06. Tracy Walker Wall Art 

Fashionkins // Hangin’ at the Laundromat

Guest Post by Melissa Picken.

Here’s to hoping you have as much fun at the laundromat as these stylish babiekins! Happy Monday!

Babiekins Magazine|Lil'Stylekins//Hangin' at the Laundromat

Babiekins Magazine|Lil'Stylekins//Hangin' at the Laundromat

Babiekins Magazine|Lil'Stylekins//Hangin' at the Laundromat

Babiekins Magazine|Lil'Stylekins//Hangin' at the Laundromat

Babiekins Magazine|Lil'Stylekins//Hangin' at the Laundromat

Babiekins Magazine|Lil'Stylekins//Hangin' at the Laundromat

Wardrobe c/o Mini Model Gallery|Dress:Wolf & Rita|Tee:Lucky No.7|Leggings:Beau Loves|Dress:Tutu Du Monde|Socks:Bobo Choses|Zigzag pants:Lucky No.7|Super Hero tee:Stella McCartney Kids|Apple Dress:Stella McCartney|Sweater:Mini Rodini|Shorts:Wolf & Rita

Momkins // 70’s Inspired

Babiekinsmag // Momkins // 70s Inspired

Babiekinsmag // Momkins // 70s Inspired

Babiekinsmag // Momkins // 70s Inspired

Babiekinsmag // Momkins // 70s Inspired

Babiekinsmag // Momkins // 70s Inspired

Something about warmer weather just brings out the inner hippie in me. I love the way flowy tops, wide legged jeans and giant round sunglasses just convey that easy, breezy summertime feeling. I believe that bell bottoms are universally flattering and these super flares in white denim is undeniably fresh and just right for summer! This boxy blouse is one of my favorite pieces currently with its retro cut collar and relaxed fit. Of course, the only shoes that seemed right for this outfit were my trusty vintage inspired clogs and to polish it all off, some giant round sunglasses. 1970s boho mama!

Details: Bell Bottoms: Free People | Blouse: H&M | Clogs: Similar pair here |  Sunglasses: Amazon |

Fashionkins // Playing Dress Up

My daughter is going through a super girly phase. We are talking pink & princess everything in our house right now! Playing dress up in her disney dresses is an everyday activity. So I have been trying to incorporate more feminine looks in her everyday wardrobe and taking full advantage of all the pastel pink pieces available this season. I am a strong believer in accessories and I feel like they can make or break an outfit. It amazes me at how many companies are now creating accessory lines for kids. I find that most of the brands I like for her are online based boutiques, but I really like to see things in person for certain outfits. My go to store at the moment is Forever 21, they always have fun, playful accessories that are so easy to style on your little ones. I know these phases come & go so I will try and have as much fun dressing up with her as long as possible!
Babiekins Magazine | Playing dress upBabiekins Magazine | Playing dress upBabiekins Magazine | Playing dress upBabiekins Magazine | Playing dress upBabiekins Magazine | Playing dress upBabiekins Magazine | Playing dress upBabiekins Magazine | Playing dress up

Credits // Flower cat ears from Forever 21|Top from Gap|Skirt from Kardashian Kids|Knee high socks from Target|Shoes from Gap

Luvkins // Pop Lab

Babiekins Magazine | Fashionkins // Pop Lab

Credits // 01. T Shirt | 02. Eye Glasses | 03. Shirt | 04. Paint Dress | 05. Glasses Dress | 06. Polo Body | 07. Puzzle

This spring season eye glasses replace mustaches as the new cool icon; the polo makes a return as a fashion staple; and chemistry blurs with art creating Pop Lab. I am loving this new ‘geek chic’ trend because I grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy and I have always loved experimenting with science. I consider the most wonderful experiments to be the ones that don’t turn out quite as expected – it’s the mistakes that surprise us with a fusion of Pop Lab. I am looking forward to creating science experiments with my little babiekin that teach him about the wonderfully unexpected world of science.

Healthykins // Yogurt Banana Popsicles

Get the summer feeling started with a funny and delicious recipe for your kids…

Yogurt Banana Popsicles

– 3-4 smaller bananas
– 1 container of yogurt
– 1/4 cup of sugar
– 2 vanilla beans
Other items you will need:
– Popsicle sticks
– Hand blender to mix
– Silicone popsicle form


1. Peel the bananas and mix with the extract of the vanilla, sugar and yogurt in a mixing beaker. You can be the judge on how big you wish the pieces of banana to be; and mix for a longer or shorter period.
2. Place the mixure into the silicone popsicle form and insert the sticks.
3. Place the form in the freezer.
4. Let freeze for 3-4 hours.

Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 01 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 02 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 03 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 04 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 05 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 06 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 07 Babiekins Magazine | Yogurt Banana Popsicles 08

Yogurt Banana Popsicles // Photography: Annelie Klein

Fashionkins // Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

The skies finally turned blue and the sun came out!
We got so excited about Spring weather and the thought of sandy toes and wearing swimsuits again.
So here’s a little retrokins 40’s inspired flashback.

Babiekins Magazine|Fashionkins//Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

Babiekins Magazine|Fashionkins//Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

Babiekins Magazine|Fashionkins//Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

Babiekins Magazine|Fashionkins//Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

Babiekins Magazine|Fashionkins//Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

Babiekins Magazine|Fashionkins//Swimsuits: Retrokins Style

Photographer: Josephina Carlier|Styling: Deidre Rodriguez & Josephina Carlier|Assistant: Jill Douglas|Hair & mu: Jill Douglas|Model: Samantha Beining @ Karen Greer Models & Talent| Location:Costa d’Este Beach Resort| Wardrobe: Pieces from Agnes Valentine,Janie & Jack,Crew Cuts,Zara,Piccola Ludo,Converse