Since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards—and its precursor, the 2001 No Child Left Behind law—schools have focused on meeting rigid standards and preparing students for standardized tests. With school test scores being held up to scrutiny (and in some cases affecting teacher jobs or the threat of being put on the “watch list”), a lot of emphasis is put on preparing students for those tests. In many cases, this has resulted in schools eliminating recess in order to squeeze in more teaching time. When Atlanta elementary schools replaced recess with more instructional time, the superintendent was quoted as saying, “We are intent on improving academic performance. You don’t do that by having kids hanging from monkey bars.” (source) Hanging from monkey bars is one of my daughter’s favorite parts of the school day. We hear detailed accounts at dinner of the games she and her friends play … Continue reading
Parents who return to work after a baby is born usually rely on childcare outside the home. While cost, location and availability are big factors in making such a decision, natural parents might want to consider eco-friendly factors as well. This was not something I had considered at all when, at four months old, Sofie went off to daycare. My daughter’s first childcare provider was an in-home day care, which was nice in that it was small (3-4 kids) and Sofie received lots of loving, individual attention. The provider was agreeable to changing cloth diapers, feeding Sofie with my warmed-up breast milk, and occasionally wearing her in a carrier. Her home was cozy with plenty of time spent outside. On the down side, the TV was often on, and no preference was given to green furnishings or materials. At age two, we moved Sofie to an early childhood education center. … Continue reading
I started reading to Sofie in the first few months of her life. It didn’t matter to me that she probably couldn’t understand a word of it, nor that the pictures were likely blurry to her still developing vision. I love books and I wanted her to love them too. Besides, reading gave me another way to entertain a newborn. (There’s only so much peek-a-boo a mom can take!) My character voices piqued her interest. Brightly colored illustrations drew her in. We started a children’s library early and read to Sofie every day. Now, at eight years old, she reads to herself every day. Books are always on her wish list for birthdays and holidays. She’s begun her own library. She loves a good story. And she has a love of language that I feel came from her early exposure to books. A Wink of Encouragement Research shows that the … Continue reading
Welcome to the August 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have talked about how they continue learning throughout life and inspire their children to do the same. ***** From the beginning, my husband and I have been less focused on the academic standards of a school and more interested in what Sofie will learn from her school environment about communication, conflict resolution, working as a team or making mistakes… Rather than be someone who learns just enough to pass the test, we want her to be a lifelong learner. Because of this, we’ve been front-loading her education, spending our dollars in the formative early years as opposed to saving for college, a time when Sofie will be living the values, qualities and influences that she experienced … Continue reading
Welcome to my monthly installment of eco-friendly arts and craft projects gathered from around the Internet. While some projects require adult supervision, they are a fun, educational and green hobby for your kids to enjoy! This month’s collection includes a few back-to-school ideas. T-Shirt Tote from Planet Forward Jute-Wrapped Pencil Holders from Untrendy Life Rock Dominoes from Childcareland Blog Juice Carton Desk Organizer from Inhabitos Mini Cardboard Guitar from Mini Eco This post has been shared at Natural Family Friday.