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parenting

Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Homeschooling

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My kids and I began homeschooling halfway through the school year when I left my Montessori teaching job, and at first I invested all my energy into re-creating a small classroom in my living room.  I had visions of my children happily engaging  in my inspiring lessons. But instead of harmony and joyful learning, there was apathy and avoidance of anything that remotely resembled what they knew as school.

Humbled and defeated, I gave up my visions of my one-room schoolhouse. I wiped...

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Raising Creative Problem-Solvers

Do you constantly referee children's disagreements? Do you tend to side with one child, frustrating the other? Or do you offer solutions, only to be ignored? If you're nodding in response to any of these questions, this will help...

The scenario:

My 4.5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son share a room. It's the only place in the house where they're allowed to play LEGOs, so the plastic pieces don't take over ourBLW_Two_Bacchic_Putti_Fighting living room/homeschool area. Both kids love LEGOs, but my older son likes to...

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Why We Hike

"Why do we have to do this hike?", complained my almost-eight-year-old son, his arms drooping by his sides. We had been hiking for almost two hours, had just conquered a half-mile 500-foot elevation gain, and still faced another mile uphill before reaching the summit.

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My husband, unable to stomach my son's complaints, put our younger daughter in the carrier and charged up the hill. I took a deep breath and silently asked myself, "Why do we make them hike?"

Walking beside my son at his...

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Why You NEED to Take a Day Off (Hint: It's not about self-care)

I just spent the afternoon listening to the legendary author and feminist Gloria Steinem. Among the topics she addressed was the issue of democratic heterosexual households. She argued that society has convinced us there are "male" qualities and "female" qualities. However, when we realize that the "qualities necessary to raise children - patience, nurturing, attention to detail, empathy" - are HUMAN qualities, we'll have taken the first step towards a democratic household.

Why don't many men...

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What Matters In The End

"If it's not my idea, I don't want to do it."

This seems to be my seven-year-old son's motto these days, which is kind of annoying because we're spending the summer in a city with a wealth of world-class museums that I want him to experience. I know he'll enjoy them once we're there, but transitions have never been his strong suit.

After some trial and error (and many arguments) trying to motivate him to leave the house, I've found a two-part formula that seems to work. It both gets him excited...

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The Entitlement Myth

A few weeks into his first-grade year, my formerly sweet and relatively cooperative son began acting sassy, cocky, and entitled. Requests for help were met with groans and eye-rolls. Limits were countered with sighs and "whatever"s.

We gave him the benefit of a doubt: Surely he was just imitating his older classmates' rude behaviors. Or maybe this was a misguided attempt at being more independent. All my friends' children were acting the same way, so it was probably a developmental phase....

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Rediscovering Motherhood

An American friend and colleague who lives in Asia recently shared with me that her in-laws had moved out of her house. They had been very involved in raising her children, so I asked if she missed having the help. She texted back, "No. I'm forced to be the mom and it's what my kids want and what family is supposed to be."

As I sat staring at her words on my screen, the last seven years of my life - my entire parenthood journey - flashed before my eyes. I remembered how both times I had a baby...

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The Good Struggle

This morning, let's talk about compassion (identifying our common struggles) and empathy (letting others know they're not alone).

Raise your hand if you want your child to show compassion and empathy for others. OK, that's pretty much everyone in the audience. Put your hands down.

Now, raise your hand if you want your child to suffer. Anyone? Anyone? *crickets*

Most of us agree that it's painful to watch our child get hurt (physically or emotionally). So painful, in fact, that it triggers the...

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A Village: Its Value and Values

A Montessori learning community is a dynamic village, whose success - defined not in financial terms but by the growth and joy of the children - depends on the collaboration and shared values of all its members. What role do you play?

The Montessori Guide

Each environment (classroom) is steered by a well-trained and experienced Montessori guide. She needs to have a profound love for children and a vision of their immense potential; keep herself immersed in Montessori theory and continuously...

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Entitlement: Been There, Done That

Few things trigger me more than interacting with a child who has an entitled attitude. rich-kidWhy? Because I was one of them. I grew up in a traditional Mexican upper-middle-class family, with a stay-at-home mom and two maids who did all the housework so we didn't have to. I never did my laundry, tidied my room, or set a table. Those things just happened!

When I was 18, my mom went back to school and decided that I needed to learn how to run a home. One night, my dad was coming home a bit later than...

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