After our local public school buildings had been closed for more than a year, we opted to keep our kids home for another two months. Why? Will this be a setback in their education?
Why, yes, the young Earthlings over here are still distance learning, and we’re glad they’re staying home and staying safe and leaving space in the schools for the kids who more strongly need to get back in-person...but some days are difficult. Today, there were three times in three hours when we checked on our first-grader … Continue reading Distance Learning Dance Party!
As the novel coronavirus that attacked Earth in 2019 continues into 2021, we're still staying home a lot of the time and seeing hardly anyone outside our family, and it's really getting old! Yes, I was able to write a cheery article about celebrating holidays with just your household, and I mean every word of … Continue reading The Upstairs Room and other pandemic reading
You might think kids doing distance learning don't need "school lunches"--but our kids showed us in the spring that they need more structure.
Games are great for practicing our ability to follow rules and compete fairly--but sometimes, we learn by breaking the rules. Join my 6-year-old, dinosaurs, Time Repair Agents, and Christmas carolers on board a ship in the year 345....
About ten days ago, I read my newly six-year-old Lydia a science fiction short story that she's since asked her father, older brother, and me to read again and again. It's available free to read online: "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Leiber. My father read this story to me many times, beginning one night … Continue reading Pandemic Perspective: A Pail of Air
Lydia is in kindergarten now and easily picking up the "sight words" and phonics as they're taught. There's no need to pressure her to pick up reading any faster, but I pounced on this opportunity to help her practice by doing something she was really interested in doing! The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one … Continue reading How playing Gollum can boost reading skills
I said that in 2019 I was going to write a series on this topic, and here it is New Year's Eve and I haven't! So here's my outline, and feel free to comment with questions about these topics, and I'll get to work on this in 2020! UPDATE: I've now filled in the outline … Continue reading 15 Ways to Build a Smarter Kid
This is a guest post by Jill Exman Tedlock. Read Part 1 here! What do I feed my kid? We follow Kids Eat in Color's recommendation of feeding kids exactly what adults are served. Kids Eat in Color toes a pretty hard line: Kids eat “adult food”. In our house, we serve both things the … Continue reading Tips for Feeding a Picky Eater: Part 2
This is a guest post by Jill Exman Tedlock, whom I met through New Mom's Coffee, an absolutely wonderful resource here in metropolitan Pittsburgh. Once you've attended this in-person discussion group, you can join several affiliated Facebook groups to discuss raising children of different ages or to discuss related topics, like cooking for your family. … Continue reading Tips for Feeding a Picky Eater: Part 1
My family spends a lot less time in the car than the American average, but we get into our car for hours-long errand binges some weekends and several long road trips each year. For the past three school years, my son had to be driven through urban rush-hour traffic to a weekly activity at dinnertime. … Continue reading Cutting Back on Car Snacks
There are various methods for teaching a child how to do household tasks and motivating her to be involved in the daily work of maintaining the family home. One that's worked well for me is this: Show the child how to solve a problem she created, and then extend her new skill into routine maintenance. … Continue reading How to Get Preschoolers to Help with Housework
In this particular household of Earthlings, we all have about the same color of skin, and if we wanted to wear makeup we'd get the second-lightest shade in most brands: We are not the palest people on the planet, but we're fairly fair. That said, we're not especially prone to sunburn, so we don't wear … Continue reading Sunscreens that Save Your Skin Without Hurting the Earth
Once upon a time, there was a stuffed bear. It was a very soft bear, with shaggy white fur and a pink nose. It held a pink plush heart with a stiff taffeta ruffle around the edges, and on the heart was embroidered, Hug Me. The bear could never let go of that heart, for … Continue reading How Repurposing Brings Abundance
I recently read two novels translated into English, a book written in English that attempts to translate "boy world" into ideas parents can understand, and an English mystery with some parallels to the Swedish mystery I'd just read. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum A young man finds … Continue reading Wild Sheep, Wingmen, and Dueling Detectives [book reviews]
Next week, I'll be starting a new job! That's great news in general, but it means I only have two days left to savor my daily bus ride with my four-year-old Lydia, bringing her home from preschool. My new job's location makes it too difficult and time-consuming for me to get to Lydia's school by … Continue reading Two Books for Me, Two for My Four-Year-Old
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Well, it's happened with the second child: That moment when a total stranger interrupts my reading aloud to voice the opinion that the child is too young to understand what I'm reading. Here's how I described this phenomenon when my first child was 4 years old: I must say, I got far less flak from … Continue reading Our kids understand books because we read them books!
Lydia and I were riding in the back seat of our car, along the highway at the beginning of our family's Memorial Day vacation. Lydia was looking out the window at the passing cars and suddenly turned to me. LYDIA: Mama, do you know about a tater-totter? That's a car but with two wheels in … Continue reading Tater-Totter: A 4-year-old’s Traffic Safety Invention
Tonight I attended a meeting at my son's school (grades K-8) about the decision to hire a full-time security guard and get a metal detector. I meant to do some research before the meeting on the extent to which schools with metal detectors have experienced shooting rampages, compared to schools without. I ended up not … Continue reading Do metal detectors prevent school shootings?