Tag Archives: motivation

Education News & Links

23 Apr

Sistema Winnipeg, an after school music education pilot program running in two Winnipeg elementary schools. It’s amazing! There is no cost to the families. They provide the instruments along with instruction by professional musicians and practice time for the children. It’s still a new program but so far the parents are reporting that their children have more positive outlook towards school and life in general and both parents and teachers see that it having a positive impact on their school work as well. Video and article here.

 

And after that lovely reminder of how important music is to children’s education, the Toronto School Board is considering cuts to the music program. Listen to Ontario Today’s interview and callers here.

 

Grandma got STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This blog is subverts the idea of grandmas being completely out-of-touch with these complex subjects. Features inspiring, pioneering women who work in these fields. Great read for kids, especially girls!

 

Discipline in Montessori with Miss Donna 

[EDIT: I re-watched the videos again with Biker and missed the part when she did a slow drop of the baby because he hit her. Personally, I wouldn’t do that! Freestyle has hit me and Biker a couple of times (a light swat) but what we did was catch her hand gently but firmly and told her, “No. We do not hit.” Then, we asked her why she chose to hit us and tried to address whatever frustration she was feeling and give her acceptable options of expressing said frustration, such as telling us in words what is bothering her. She has only done this a couple of times and hasn’t since, so we’ll see!]

A lot of my discipline philosophy aligns with Miss Donna’s, which shouldn’t be surprising as she’s a Montessori educator (albeit much more experienced and eloquent than me!). I like Dr. Montessori’s “teach by teaching not by correcting” philosophy. 

I liked that she acknowledges that there is no right or wrong answer in parenting and that it’s mostly about the tone about 80% of the time. Makes sense!

In the videos, she talks about predetermined boundaries, agreeing on the basic issues with your partner, saying no first, commands vs questions, “choice-ing them to death.” I laughed when she talked when she told her story about her reaction when her son told her “I hate you, you’re the worst mom!” I dread the day Freestyle or Real Baby says that to me (but I know it’s coming!), but I will keep in mind what she said about that! 

Each video is about 15 minutes long but worth watching.

 

(When she said “issues,” Freestyle lit up and said, “Shoes! She said shoes!”)

 

 

“These are my confessions…”

20 Aug

 

Dun, dun, duuun!

Sometimes I look at other parenting blogs and start to feel so…inferior. Everything seems so lovely and light and educational and healthy in their homes and it seems like their children’s days are filled to the brim with educational Montessori activities.

 

 

…a tangent…

This is why I quit facebook. I realized that I was spending so much time just clicking onto friends’ profiles and feeling so jealous and left out. Everyone looked better and like they were doing more exciting things in their lives than me. After awhile, I did realize that you can’t always trust people’s profiles since 99% of us will post flattering images and try to represent ourselves in the best light (I certainly did!).

So, I decided to take myself off to prevent these negative thoughts. I also was starting to feel odd sharing EVERYTHING online and didn’t like the idea that once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.

I am so happy with my decision.

Even now, whenever I email photos of Freestyle to friends and family, I always include the line:

Please do not post Freestyle’s photos online (facebook, etc.). Thank you!

Personally, I don’t like the idea of her image being seen by people I don’t know and again, being stored online forever. I also feel that she has a right to decide whether or not she wants her image splattered on the Internet, which is why I don’t post photos here of her face and use a nickname on this blog.

…okay, back to this confessional…

So, I was looking back at some of my older posts and didn’t want to be giving off the impression that we have this super-organized, super-healthy, super-organic, super-super Montessori household filled with teachable moments all the live long day, lest it gives the wrong impression of who I really am! That’s why I decided to be open and honest and write down some of the things that I’ve done as a parent that I’m not necessarily proud of and wouldn’t want/think to post here!

 

Here are my confessions (I’m going to try to list them without annoyingly trying to justify them all!):

 

  • This is a hard one…I’ve fed my baby poison McDonald’s. As much as I’d love to have Freestyle eat only a diet of whole organic homemade food, well, I have to be realistic as well. Biker and I try to avoid it (though there is one RIGHT next to where I live…darn them!) but do eat fast food once in awhile, and a couple of times we got breakfast there. I’ve fed Freestyle some of my Egg McMuffin, hash browns, and smoothie.
  • As much as I enjoyed co-sleeping (for the better part of the last year) and breastfeeding, I am also very happy that Freestyle now sleeps in her own bed in her own room and has self-weaned after being breastfed for about 22 months (err, with some gentle encouragement from me, I have to admit!). We really wanted this to happen well in advance for when the baby arrives so that she doesn’t associate getting kicked out of our bed and off the boob with the new baby!
  • Sometimes we don’t do anything productive/educational all day. On lazy days we just hang out at home. A couple afternoons found me laying on the couch reading and Freestyle playing beside me on her own. I think it’s also because it’s summer, so we’re mostly outside for the morning and then the afternoons we just hang out post-nap, pre-dinner prep. Once in awhile I’ll take her swimming in our condo pool. However, I am resolved to make a more formal plan for when she turns 3 next year, when I will prepare a (casual) routine and prepare a homeschool program for her (first year Casa).
  • I am happy with my decision to work part-time so that I can be at home with Freestyle, but sometimes I do miss getting dressed up (and by “dressed up” I mean wearing something other than a t-shirt or what Biker calls a muu-muu!) and going to work to be around other adults. There are days that feel so, so long but in the end, I am grateful for what I have, even though I sound like a whiny brat about it sometimes!
  • I have resorted to bribery on many an occasion. Basically, if Freestyle wants something (that I do find appropriate, not just anything!) but should be doing something else first, I will use that thing she wants as the carrot. Example: “If you want to play with the play dough, you need to put your blocks away first.” And yes…an extreme example: “Let’s get into the car NOW and I’ll give you a cookie once you are strapped in!” 🙂
  • As much as we try to limit Freestyle’s time in front of the TV/computer (One of the reasons we canceled our cable. The second reason was to save money!), there have been times when I’m on a deadline and it’s not a babysitting day and I’ve just worked on the computer with Freestyle on my lap while she watches a show/movie on the side of the screen. We’re to a point when she sees me on the computer, she assumes that she’ll be watching her new favourite, Winnie the Pooh. Uh oh.
  • There are times I just let her watch something on the computer while I just surfed or wrote a blog post. This I am going to make a conscious effort to stop though since it’s unnecessary. Err, starting tomorrow! (She’s on my lap right now because I am avoiding the piles of laundry that are awaiting me and uploading photos to send to my family!). Oops.

 

 

Whew, that was cathartic! Again, I’m not proud of them, but I also know they’re not the worse things in the world. BUT I do know that I should make more of an effort with them too…

Well, there’s no such thing as a Perfect Parent and I think great parents are made, not born. So there’s hope for me yet! That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. 🙂

 

 

If you have any “confessions,” feel free to comment here so that I don’t feel badly all by myself! 🙂

 

A Late Start

4 Jan

My initial idea was to open a part-time Montessori program in my home. It would have been perfect!

However, since I live in a condo, there is a regulation that does not allow businesses to operate in the units. So, I couldn’t, in good conscious, go ahead with it (open a Montessori program illegally and then go on to teach children right from wrong?!).

I had begun planning and researching: planning the space (convert our dining room), making a list of materials to buy/make, reading books and writing up a curriculum (including themes), and looking at the different Toddler albums available for purchase (I’m trained for elementary). All this came to a grinding halt after the very disappointing news specified above.

Now that the new year has begun, it just hit me that Freestyle will be 18 months this month! Already? How did that happen (apparently, Freestyle will have to be taught time from someone else)?!

My hope is that this blog will help me get my butt in gear!