Monthly Archives: June 2012

Entertaining Kids

This week I was asked to write an article on how to “entertain” kids during the summer.  It’s supposed to be tips for parents so having the kids home all summer doesn’t drive you crazy.  The thing is, I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Entertaining Kids

  1. Heather – I love this post!

    I grew up Tom Sawyer style and we tried to pass that along to our son (almost 29 now). Part of that philosophy is not having a television (we haven’t had one for over 32 years).

    As a minimalist, we don’t have “things” to take care of — that, in turn, leaves us with time and space to cultivate our inner ecology; to insure that our inner landscape blossoms.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Two great points, Laurie! Each “thing” we have takes up our time. Which is more important? And when is there time for TV?

  2. I’m with you 100% on this post, Heather. 🙂

    I most certainly was not entertained as a child and I’m grateful every day to my parents for that.

    The perfect summer day for me would be to hop on my bike and join my friends playing baseball, hide and seek, “army,” kick-it-and run, or running around in the sprinkler on really hot days. We’d come home for lunch, inhale a dish of Chef Boyardee Ravioli and a PB&J, wash it down with a glass of milk or Kool-Aid, then head back out until dinner time.

    On rainy summer days, I’d go up into our attic playroom and play with my slot car racing track, goof around with my GI Joes, or play board games with friends or siblings.

    When I had the proverbial “I’m bored and there’s nothing to do” day, Mom would just shove me out the door and say, “Go find your friends and play,” or, “Whatever you are going to do, do it OUTSIDE.”

    We did the usual family experience things: camping, bike hikes, picnics at the beach, an occasional trip to a museum, but that was never considered being entertained by my parents. It was just, “We’re all going on a bike hike. Period.” We didn’t expect it of Mom or Dad, just accepted that this was how the rules went.

    One of the things I truly lament about American society today is the lack of freedom and unorganized play time children have. I think “unorganized play time” is an oxymoron. Such a shame.


    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Love your mom – “Whatever you are going to do, do it OUTSIDE.” Excellent words. We need to hear more of that. Also love the outings “this is what we’re going to do.” Parents give so many choices to kids, it’s easy for kids to slip into being bossy and over-privileged.

      Sounds as if you grew up in the right era! Kids need that space and unstructured time no matter when they grow up.

Striving for Great Literature in 2nd Grade

My first books were stapled together with wallpaper covers.  I still have them.  Each day in elementary school we’d draw a new picture on the top half of the sheet and scrawl the next installment of the story on the … Continue reading

Posted in Joyful Literacy | 5 Comments

5 Responses to Striving for Great Literature in 2nd Grade

  1. Heather – Ohhhh, I love your head-on tackle with tragedy!

    You asked: What were your early books like? What age did you discover you wanted to be a writer?

    At age 7 (like you), I wrote (to everyone’s horror!) my first will. I’m actually not kidding. I thought it would be very important to write — in detail — who got what in the event of my untimely demise.

    Unintentionally, it was a very “powerful” move on my part because everyone walked around me “on egg shelf” — for a while. And then the drama wore off and I was just another 7-year-old kid again. But oh, that brief moment in the limelight was pretty exhilarating!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Oh, how funny. A will! You must have been quite an interesting 7-year-old! Thanks for sharing, Laurie. Shows you were always thinking….Your post left me laughing.

  2. I don’t think I ever wrote a book when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure I collaborated on a play sometime around 6th grade. Actually decided I liked writing and wanted to give novel writing a try only about three years ago. I hope I’m a late bloomer.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Late bloomers have good company! I just learned that James Michener published his first book at age 40 and went on to write so many more. Alex Haley wrote Roots at 55 and the first Little House on the Prairie book wasn’t written until Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65. Plenty of time!

  3. Anne Stanton says:

    Both of these stories made me laugh! Heather, saw the article on your new parenting book in the Record-Eagle today.

Priorities and precious minutes

The next Starlighting author to be featured hails from Milwaukee — Jeanette Hurt.  I met Jeanette at the Madison Writer’s Institute standing in the hotel hallway with her two-year-old son, Quinn.  I’ve brought a toddler to a conference before and … Continue reading

Posted in Starlighting Tips | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Priorities and precious minutes

  1. I had the privilege or meeting and presenting with Jeannette at the Writers’ Institute. I know first-hand that she has a high-wattage smile, is a wonderful facilitator, and has lots of vim and vitality!

  2. My first priority is myself. Keeping me in as good a shape as possible in all ways. Then comes family, mainly my wife of course (no children). Then writing. I get a pretty steady 12-15 hours per week of writing done. But during the golf season, golf creeps up the priority list enough that I might not get those 12 hours in. 🙂 What can I say? I’m addicted to the silly game.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Ah – I’m guessing golf season is sneaking up the priority list now. But maybe that fits in with your first priority of taking care of yourself in all ways? Good for you getting in so many good writing hours a week, Chris.

What are you waiting for?

It always makes me marvel when novelists write, complete and publish novels at an early age.  Take the Bronte sisters, for instance.  Emily died of tuberculosis at age 30 after writing Wuthering Heights.   Anne died at 29 of the same … Continue reading

Posted in Starlighting Tips | 5 Comments

5 Responses to What are you waiting for?

  1. Heather – It’s working!

    Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? I talk with my clients about not “spending” time, but “investing” it instead — doing things that are positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. Writing definitely falls into the “investing” category.

    I love the idea of the Bronte Sisters as action figures – and enjoyed the short video clip.

  2. Heather Shumaker says:

    Investing time is a great idea. Happy writing and investing! Glad you liked the novelist action figures — my new image of ANY novelist who completes a novel is an action figure. It takes action to get that work done.

  3. I think an Edgar Allen Poe action figure might be popular with all the horror genre fans. 😉
    Not sure about Stephen King, though. 😉

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Ooo – Edgar Allen Poe. With a raven. Just think of how many action-figure writers we could dream up!

  4. Jim Lyon says:

    I agree with youwholeheartedly, but am curious how you prevent your childrens grades from being affected by the no homework prohibition. Have you actually convinced their teachers to not send homework home?