Resource Page: The Space Between
I want to sincerely thank everyone for joining me for the iHomeschool Studio The Space Between: The Luxury of Discovering Your Own Happiness talk. This resource page was created as a supplement to my talk about The Space Between. I love to talk to parents and educators about my passions: education, homeschooling, special needs, gifted/twice-exceptional learners, family, nature, games, and books. Be sure to subscribe to My Little Poppies for e-mail updates so that you don’t miss a thing! I have lots of exciting posts and projects planned for the upcoming year.
What is the Space Between?
The Space Between is the term I use to describe the free, unstructured time. You know that white spot in your planner? Those twenty minutes of silent coffee drinking before the kids wake up? That hour at the end of the day that you spend reading in bed? That’s the space between.
We live in a go-go-go, do all the things!, over-scheduled, over-worked, over-caffeinated, and under-rested society. Anything less than full-steam-ahead is seen as wasting time. The Space Between is not valued in our current culture. We are raising a generation of top-speed kids who cannot be still.
I strongly believe that free, unstructured time is essential for everyone, but most especially for our children. I believe that unstructured time is both educational and necessary, not only for a child’s sense of well-being but also for his or her healthy development and happiness.
Related My Little Poppies Posts
I credit the Space Between for helping me become who I am today. I learned about my life’s true passions, and I learned what makes me truly, deeply happy during the space between. I learned to be still and sit with myself. I have seen the value in The Space Between first-hand. Because of this, I make sure my children have ample space between each day. Here are two My Little Poppies posts on this topic:
The Space Between is especially important for introverts
I am an introvert. I’m married to an introvert, and two of our three children are introverts. If you’re an introvert, you’re already aware of the need for The Space Between. The Space Between helps introverts to feel energized and whole. Here are three My Little Poppies posts on introversion:
Did you know that there is a phenomenal new website called Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts, created by Susan Cain, author of Quiet? If you are an introvert, you have to check out the site!
I love when I read a book that meshes with my parenting and educational philosophy. In the widget below, you will find some of my most favorite The Space Between books. From Simplicity Parenting to Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry to Ten Minute Mindfulness. What books would you add to my list? I’m always looking to add to my Goodreads shelves!
One way to cultivate more Space Between in your family life is to incorporate mindfulness into your day. I’ve always been a fan of yoga and mindfulness. Aside from enjoying yoga and mindfulness, I have called upon these skills at stressful times in my life: from graduate school to those early weeks postpartum. Learning to calm yourself, be still, and cope with stressors is an important life skill.
In the widget below, you will find some of our favorite mindfulness resources for children. From Mind Up to Indigo Dreams to Have You Filled a Bucket Today? Are you looking for an app that teaches mindfulness? We are recently obsessed with Headspace -it’s portable and easy to incorporate into your day, as it is only ten minutes! What is your favorite resource? Share here!
Here are some resources on mindfulness from around the web:
When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom ~ Lauren Cassani Davis, The Atlantic
Why Teaching Mindfulness Benefits Students’ Learning ~ Tina Barseghian, Mind Shift
The Importance of Teaching Mindfulness ~ Aran Levasseur, Mind Shift
I would argue that mindfulness is beneficial to all children, but I can tell you that mindfulness has been a lifesaver for my little guy, who is a world class worrier. Do you have a little child with BIG worries, too? You might want to incorporate some mindfulness into your routine and see if that Worry Monster packs his bags and heads out of town!
Here are some worry-related posts that I’ve written. I hope they help your little worrier!
Make Your Own Worry Basket ~ My Little Poppies
Little Kids with BIG Worries ~ Simple Homeschool
Riding the Waves of Anxiety ~ Year Round Homeschooling
One of the many benefits to having ample Space Between is having more time to spend in nature. Many studies have demonstrated that spending time in nature reduces stress, increases happiness, and improves health. Most children today do not get enough outdoor time. It’s important for children to explore, interact with, and learn from the natural world. Plus, it’s fun! And, speaking of fun, here’s a fun-filled post to help you get started!
Here are some nature-related resources from around the web:
Health Benefits ~ National Wildlife Federation
Kids These Days: Why is America’s Youth Staying Indoors? ~ The Nature Conservancy
Last Child in the Woods ~ Richard Louv
I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that childhood is quite a bit different now, for our children, than it was for us when we were young. I can remember long, lazy days during which I spent the majority of my time outdoors, either by myself, with my brothers, or with my neighborhood friends. I would leave the house after breakfast, stop in for lunch, and then leave again until it was time for dinner. I didn’t expect my parents to entertain me, nor did I have scheduled “play dates” – play happened naturally in The Space Between. There was no reason to schedule it in! Here is a post I wrote on this topic:
Here are some play-related resources from around the web:
The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds ~ Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, Pediatrics
Let the Kids Learn Through Play ~ David Kohn, New York Times
All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids are More Anxious, Depressed ~ Esther Etin, The Atlantic
Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain ~ Jon Hamilton, NPR
The reality is, all you need to play is your imagination, but in case you need a little help you can find some of our family’s favorite materials in the widget below:
I have loved board games since I was a little girl. Now, as a mom to three little people, I love them even more! One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling, in this gamer’s eyes, is the ability to play games as often as we’d like. Our family is not limited to weekends. We don’t have to try to squeeze in family game night in our already over scheduled weekend calendar. Instead, we have plenty of Space Between. I play games with my children multiple times per week, and sometimes even multiple times per day. I love to incorporate games into our learning. In my mind, there is no better way to end a unit study than with a board game! I’ve written so many game posts that I’m not going to list them all here. Instead, I’ll share one of my readers’ favorite game-related posts:
Here are some game-related resources from around the web:
A Quest for a Different Learning Model: Playing Games in School ~ Mary Talbot, Hechinger Report
The Benefits of Board Games ~ Scholastic
We love games over here, so it’s hard to choose favorites. It’s like choosing a favorite book! In the widget below, you will find some of our family’s most favorite games, from Gravity Maze to Ticket to Ride to Prime Climb!
Join the conversation!
Now that you’ve heard from me, I’d love to hear from you! How do you feel about The Space Between? Do you see value in downtime? What are your favorite ways to use that blessed space between all of those to-dos and must-dos? Share your thoughts in the comments! I love hearing from you.
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