My Blog

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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Story of Chemistry: Part I

I wrote this story a while back for the Upper Elementary group I inherited that hadn't been exposed to chemistry. I never got around to writing Part II but if you take on that challenge, let me know!

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Pretty much all that we see or touch in our seemingly solid existence is made from an unimaginable number of tiny atoms, each a different type of element or building block. When you combine these atoms in different ways, they make up everything that we can see in the Universe.

Do you...

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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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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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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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Cosmic Calendar

Connecting math, language, history and other academic subjects to your child's real-life experiences makes learning relevant, increases participation, and supports development. A hands-on home calendar is an ideal tool to learn and practice a variety of skills (whether you homeschool or not!). It also provides many opportunities for cultural explorations. Here's how we use it in our home...

MATH: The first day of each month, I take down the calendar numbers, divide them into three piles (1-10,...

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Long Live the Short Chains

The Montessori Short Chains and Arrows pack a big learning punch and are often under-utilized.IMG_4716 They're great for a homeschool environment because they don't take up any shelf space. Their initial purpose is to help the child first count linearly and then skip-count. But when your child is comfortable with these two concepts, you can use the chains for much more! Here are four ideas...

IMG_4657Find the number: Ask the child to set out the hundred chain with the corresponding arrows, while you cut up a...

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Unschooling: Soap Bubble Edition

My four-year-old found an old bubble wand and asked if we could make bubbles, so I googled this recipe and we set to work. She had a great time measuring, pouring and stirring, and she got to experience sugar disappearing in water to make a solution (yay, science and vocabulary!).

We were having so much fun blowing bubbles on our back patio that my seven-year-old decided to join the party. He wanted to see how far the bubbles could travel without popping, and noticed that there were several...

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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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