My Blog

Theory and Practice

Craving Freedom and Needing Structure

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Amidst all the color-coded hour-by-hour homeschool schedules flooding social media, I want to offer a different take on how to help your child organize their day if you have a child who paradoxically craves freedom and needs structure. I created for my eight-year-old twice-exceptional second-grader a pie graph showing the amount of time (out of a 24-hour day) he can spend exploring/reading/playing/learning what he's passionate about, vs. the amount of time I would like him to focus on...

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Montessori Red Flags

Some parents choose a private school based on location, ratio, or test results. But if your child is in a Montessori school specifically because you want them to reap the benefits of a Montessori education, I have some disconcerting news: The burden is on YOU to ensure the school is following authentic Montessori practices.

The name "Montessori" is not trademarked, so anyone can use it and steal the educational philosophy's reputation (and your hard-earned money). And many so-called...

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The Art of Introducing a Lesson

Often, the most challenging part of giving a lesson is getting the children excited and ready to learn. Here are seven strategies to ensure your presentation gets off to a good start.

1. Check your attitude: You need to believe in the value of what you're going to present. The children will smell your fear or hesitation a mile away. If a particular topic scares you, spend more time with it. Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, use your hands to explore the concept, and find new ways of...

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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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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 Un-Checklist

If you're a teacher or homeschooling parent who uses checklists to encourage a child's organization and accountability, then you already know just how quickly checklists can turn into a battle of wills between adult and child. You also probably sense that checklists hinder freedom of choice. And you've surely noticed that checklists shift the focus of the child's work away from self-development and flow, and towards task completion and industrial efficiency.

While checklists can work...

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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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The Puzzle-Child

Over the years of working in Montessori classrooms I've met many children who are eager to attend lessons, engage in follow-up work, and share their new knowledge. And then there are the occasional "puzzles" (as my son's Primary guide once referred to him). How do you know if you live or work with a puzzle-child?

puzzle

Puzzle-children are those for whom learning comes easily but who see most teaching as a hindrance to their own learning agenda. On a good day, they grumpily humor your agenda for a...

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Moon-tessori (haha, couldn't resist)

"You're great at this homeschooling thing because you're a teacher... I don't think I could do it because I don't know much about anything."

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase since we started homeschooling two months ago, coming from the most capable and well-prepared mothers in my circle of friends. So here's a little secret... I don't know everything. Heck, I don't know most things! But I don't let that hold me back from learning and sharing with my children. Here's an...

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