Monday, May 04, 2009

LinkFest And Random Thoughts

You know, it's when you are unable to back up your words with physical action that your parenting history really "tells," you know? I'm really taking it easy today because of the pain in my back. I have managed not to lift the baby more than twice, which has only been possible because Ryan is strong enough to scoop him up for me--and because Ryan is willing to help. We had a moment this morning that made me nervous for how this day would go, when Ryan had a hunger-induced fit about cooperating with me today, but that quickly passed once breakfast was consumed.

If you haven't noticed, we're kind of riding a wave of Ryan-regression lately, which I've come to learn is a normal kid thing to do: 3 steps forward, one step back, then 3 GIANT steps forward....has anyone else noticed this?

I've made sure to express my appreciation to Ryan for his extra assistance today, and I think he's feeling some pride in being able to be so helpful. I've also expressed appreciation to Morgan for her self-sufficiency. She is not as truly helpful with the baby, but just her being able to manage her own affairs independently is very wonderful. I'm so glad that she can get her own food, handle her own potty affairs (with minor assistance from me), and generally entertain herself. Not only CAN she do these things, she DOES them--she is finally getting to the point where she expects to handle these things independently instead of expecting me to do it for her. She can even buckle and unbuckle her seatbelt--finally!

A thought about entertaining oneself--it just occurred to me that my kids are never bored. Is that a stage that comes later? Probably, but I've noticed some of Ryan's friends doing it already. For now, I plan to enjoy the fact that my People are never at odds for something to do. Sure, they often want to do something other than the thing I'd like them to do, but they don't lounge around saying, "I'm booorrred. I need something to doooooo." I remember saying that quite a bit. I'm hoping that our general parenting philosophy of providing them lots of opportunity and input into choosing their own pursuits--we expect them to, actually--will make any "I'm bored" stage relatively painless. I say this knowing (after 7 years of parenthood) that the best laid plans of mice and parents gang oft awry, but I'm hopeful.

Oh, I promised some links!

Morgan's new online educational obsession: BrainPOP Jr. Our free trial is ending tomorrow, but I think we'll subscribe. Knowing her, we'll get our money's worth. Ryan is extremely interested, too, especially in the section about learning how to skip-count money.

Joanne Jacobs has an interesting post about how the focus on academics in Kindergarten has reduced play time. Time and freedom for imaginative pursuits of their own choosing is so essential to children.

Some really thought-provoking quotations from Maria Montessori (emphasis added):

  • The world of education is like an island where people, cut off from the world, are prepared for life by exclusion from it. [Yay for homeschooling!]
  • The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.
  • We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child's spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.
  • Adults look upon a child as something empty that is to be filled through their own efforts, as something inert and helpless for which they must do everything, as something lacking an inner guide and in constant need of inner direction. . . . An adult who acts in this way, even though he may be convinced that he is filled with zeal, love, and a spirit of sacrifice on behalf of his child, unconsciously suppresses the development of the child's own personality. [This one was so good, I had to bold the whole thing. I couldn't agree more, and this is part of my own set of parenting principles.]

It's been a while since I've read anything by Montessori, and while I recall having some philosophical disagreements with some of her ideas, I'm struck by these quotes I found, and think I ought to revisit and discover more of her writings.

And for a little Swine Flu humor don't miss this post from No Whey, Mama!


Anonymous said...

the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.I don't know about children but lots of adults these days seem to confound good with activity.

Kelly Elmore said...

I agree with that. But for children, it's the reverse I think. Children who sit still and play quietly or draw or write are good. Children who move around, talk, and ask questions get Ritalin.