Friday Five: back to the books, kids’ kindles, & more

posted in: journal 7

Faithful Follow-through

Back to school after 5 weeks off!

We survived and got back on track with only a few tears and bumps. With motivation to get out and play in the new snow, the kids hunkered down, moved through their checklists, and did good work (because not-good work means staying in to make it good).

It helped that we only did review math for this week and there were no literature class assignments.

It’s been a good week, but I’m tired!

Follow me on Instagram


We gave Hans and Jaeger Kindle Fires for Christmas, which we like for several reasons:

* The parental controls are specific and customizable enough to block internet browsing but not apps we load. * Trello (where we keep our school checklists) has a kindle app. * Audible comes built-in, and I’ve collected an extensive Audible collection. * Books load faster and smoother, making Lingua Latina less of a headache. * They have a notepad app which they both enjoy using during piano lessons or car rides - I consider it practice “ubiquitous capture.”
  • In addition to their Audible audiobooks, with Prime Music (not the subscription service, just the default app) they have access to a playlist I can curate from my laptop.
  • We set a curfew period to disable them between 9:30pm-6am.
We haven’t put any games on them, so their kindles are really more like a portable, digital bookcase + planner. It’s working for us so far!

Feed for ‘phones

…And the audio blog podcasts are back with a bang! I’m really excited about the topics this season: 6 weeks of personality talk and review reminders.
I was also a guest on the Moms on Purpose podcast: Ep. 10: Organize Your Home & Your Attitude!


Why Mama Needs a Hobby
by Dawn Garrett at
How many of us were told that “only” being a wife and mother was not sufficient? That we would “lose” our identity if we didn’t strive for work or seek for that career to be our own person? While I deny that I “lose my identity” by being a wife and mother, I do affirm that another part of who I am and how I fulfill that role is in the creative endeavors I may enjoy.
Really, having a creative hobby is at the heart of scholé - sure, there's a deep reading and contemplation aspect, but the heart is experiencing a life that is fully in touch with all aspects of our God-created humanity: not just menial details, but a full-orbed life. Do you have a hobby? Are you experimenting with hobbies? I chose a new one for 2017 I'll be sharing later. If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #mamaneedsahobby to share your hobby and what it adds to your life! Let's spur one another on!
Writing as a Liberating Art
by Andrew Kern at CiRCE
True freedom has everything to do with how behavior, work, and thought are measured. Where do the criteria arise? This is not as obscure a thought as it might seem. Whoever assesses you is your boss. So where do the standards of assessment come from?
There is so much to think about in this article (no surprise, there!) - and the primary example is a subject near to my heart: teaching writing. This is an article to reread every day for months. As homeschool moms we must assess. We assess our children and we assess ourselves. That's why we're so beat down: we assess ourselves according to inappropriate, unrealistic standards. And too often, we also assess our children either too harshly on the same idealistic scale, or not at all. Both are errors. But it takes work to evaluate our criteria and adopt standards that are true, good, and beautiful. Yes, it does. Let's dig in to our real work.
The Learning That Happens Despite Me
by Lindsey Brigham
The biggest thing I learned about teaching in 2016 was to give thanks for the grace of learning that comes despite my failures.
Are two CiRCE articles in a week acceptable? This takeaway summary right at the top of the article is amazing. We're not just to acknowledge the learning that happens apart from us, but to give thanks for the learning that happens even when we fail. Of course, that's not an excuse for failing, but it is a crucial and hope-renewing perspective. Give thanks. Always and in everything.

Free-Reading Fans

The kids were caught reading this week:

7 Responses

  1. Jennifer
    | Reply

    I subscribe to your blog and haven’t commented before, but was interested by your mention of the Kindles. I also love all the options that you mentioned, but wanted to give you a warning. The “Shop” function allows access to Amazon’s full catalog (which of course includes all kinds of adult-themed items.) My child, who was curious because of something he heard the neighborhood kids talking about, used the “shop” function to look for books about a certain word. He was quickly introduced to a world that I wish he didn’t have to see so early. I remember as a kid that if you didn’t know what something was, you would look up dirty words in the dictionary… now the kids use google for that and the definitions are full-color. Amazon Shop provided the same type of experience. So, just a warning. I had no idea that was accessible, or that it would be used that way, but kids figure things out. If you had already figured out a way to protect your kids from that, or if another reader has, I would love to hear about it. Kindle Free Time will protect your kids from access to the “Shop” function, but the kids can’t use audible or prime music with Free Time.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      That is a good caution! In the parental controls you can block the Amazon shop without blocking the Audible or Music apps – we do have it blocked. I just double-checked. :) A couple times a week I’ve glanced through their “recent” tab, and also because the kindles are all on my Amazon account, I can see what apps and how much time has been spent on each kindle. I did leave the camera unblocked, but any photos they take auto-upload to my account, so I can keep an eye on that as well.

      • Jennifer
        | Reply

        That is good to know, I will double check my parental controls. Which version of the Kindle Fire did you get? That might be the difference. Mine are a 2nd gen Fire and a Fire HD7. I can’t block “shop” on either of them. Maybe I need a new version.

  2. Annie
    | Reply

    Hi Mystie,
    Did you find a way to limit which Audible books show up on the Kindle Fire? Right now, my whole Audible library is showing up and I have not found a way around that.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      No, I don’t think there’s a way to limit the Audible library.

  3. Meredith_in_Aus
    | Reply

    Hi Mystie,
    I’d love to see a post about how you use Trello for the kids’ checklists. You’re my go-to homeschool tech girl and I love borrowing your brain for figuring these things out. Thanks so much.
    In Him,

  4. mystie
    | Reply

    Membership created from mystie’s import.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *