Friday, March 27, 2009

A few things I am loving...

-attempting a vegetable garden with Charlie and Mary Kate's help.
-visits to the river on lovely spring evenings
-when Charlie's asks to snuggle "just a little bit more"
-featuring Georgia O'keefe with my students and providing fresh flowers for inspriation in spring.
-Mary Kate loving her binkies (one in the mouth and one in hand). And the fact that it doesn't bother me a bit!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Unconditional Parenting Part 2

I have finished reading Alfie Kohn's book, Unconditional Parenting. I began reading the book in hopes to find a better approach to handling situations with Charlie. It was very helpful and somewhat relieving to find techniques that don't involve pushing rewards or punishing with abandonment. I especially like his ideas of working with children and explaining which behaviors are unacceptable. After all, it is our job to help them grow up to be good people. they are not going to just learn it on their own. So, why not teach them and explaining the WHY! Making kids aware of how it makes others feel when they are not kind is important. You may say that this is not rocket science, of course you talk to your kid and explain that we don't hurt people. But I think Alfie Kohn is saying, take it to a new level of understanding. Take the, "Because I said so..." "No hitting" "That is unacceptable" "Be nice" and work with your child on helping him or her understand. "When you hit people it hurts them. It makes them sad. Look at her face." "Spitting is not acceptable behavior. It is very rude and it doesn't make people feel good." I found myself reading this book with hopes to help my family but also found it to parallel my daily struggles in teaching. I feel that I am much more level headed and non-reactive in teaching than I am at home with my children. Once again, it reassured me that the more nurturing and structured environment for young children the less control and need for "doing to" discipline. I am just trying to be the best parent I can be. A life-long learner I strive to be everyday! Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well. Aristotle

Friday, March 20, 2009

My new baby

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new little friend. She is here, my Nikon D80 is here. I can't seem to put it down. She is a little intimidating but FUN! She feels so good in my hands almost as if I am holding my newborn. Silly, I know! I have yet to upload photos of our life. Please be patient. While you wait, here are a few inspiring photographers and artist that I grew up to appreciate and love! Ansel Adams and Frank Loyd Wright both produce clean, fresh and orderly artwork. There seems to be a theme of order in my life. Hmmm. I am craving it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

To Be or Not To Be

Well, Montessori is Not To Be the place for Charlie next year. Hubby and I had the opportunity to tour a local Montessori. While we were very impressed with the materials, devoured the "order" of everything, and fell in love with the meaningfulness of every learning tool... the cost is not going to be in our budget. Initially, it left me feeling that we were not able to provide the BEST for our son. After days of discussion and reflection, we both feel that we are going to take the pieces of the program that we love and embrace. We will try our best to implement these practices in our home in hopes that Charlie will appreciate order in the world, be respected as an individual, make connections to the outside world, be provided with real-hands-on experiences and will be loved unconditionally!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Unconditional Parenting Part 1

The lord, my mom and dad know that I certainly was not a compliant child by any means. I had a mind of my own and was going to let everyone know. I shouldn’t speak for my husband, but I also know that he was no angel himself. So, it did not surprise us when our son made it known that he too had his own little way of figuring out the world. Do the words defiant, mischievous and aggressive sound familiar mom, dad, ma, and pa? Despite his non-compliant behaviors, he is the most curious little guy and has a love for learning that most of my first grade students do not have. I googled 2 year old behavior daily. I asked advice from seasoned parents, counselors and friends. I have tried all conventional ways of discipline (time-outs, spanking, and rewards). I have had this overwhelming feeling to “control” my child’s behavior. It has left me with no control and an uneasy feeling of how it is making my child feel and myself. I began to realize that I was spending so much time trying to control my son that I was beginning to not enjoy the time I spent with him. It was time for a change. My friend gave me a wonderful book, Unconditional Parenting (moving from rewards and punishments to love and reason) by Alfie Kohn. I was relieved as soon as I started reading this book. It reassured me that there are other ways to get our child to do what we want him to do without leaving him and ourselves emotionally exhausted. I did not want to send my children the message that they are only loved when they please mom or dad. I want them to know that we love them unconditionally!!