(Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn, Flickr CC)
Oh, wow, it’s been a while since I last blogged. Sorry for the radio silence, amigos. It’s been a rough two months with this pregnancy, but I’m feeling much, much better now, and I’m glad to be back again around the blog. The upside to spending a few weeks on quasi-bedrest is that I got to READ!
If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you might remember that one of the running series here is “on my bedside table:” books, articles, and other blog posts I’m reading and recommend.
Last blog post I wrote about how I’m preparing for the arrival of bebé 2 in July. I forgot to include RIE founder Magda Gerber’s book Your Self Confident Baby, which I just finished. Oh, man, I wish I had read this before having E.! It’s clear, easy to read, and gives a wonderful overview of the parenting philosophy. I’ve already recommended it to THREE different girlfriends who are expecting their first baby. Next up on my list to read is Gerber’s Dear Parent: caring for infants with respect. Her approach to infant and toddler care has truly transformed how I parent and relate to E.
I also just finished, and loved, two books by David Elkind, professor of child development at Tufts University. The first, The Hurried Child (originally published in 1981), advises parents to let children be, well, children. “…David Elkind emerged as the voice of parenting reason, calling our attention to the crippling effects of hurrying our children through life. He showed that by blurring the boundaries of what is age appropriate, by expecting–or imposing–too much too soon, we force our kids to grow up too fast, to mimic adult sophistication while secretly yearning for innocence.” (Source)
The second book of his I read is titled The Power of Play: learning what comes naturally (very reminiscent of Peter Gray’s Free to Learn, which I also highly recommend). “Today’s parents often worry that their children will be at a disadvantage if they are not engaged in constant learning, but…Elkind reassures us that imaginative play goes far to prepare children for academic and social success.” (Source) This book confirmed for me as the mother of a toddler that I don’t need to cave to the cultural pressure to enroll my daughter in Gymboree, Music Together, toddler soccer, and Mommy & Me yoga classes (which, please hear me, are wonderful and enriching and fun for many families) in order for her to learn.
If you’re looking for some new blogs to add to your feed, I just discovered a few that I can’t stop visiting:
- Kate, over at An Everyday Story, blogs about homeschooling following the Reggio Emilia educational model. Her homeschool play room is to die for!
- Another great inspiration for learning more about Reggio Emilia, with a little Waldorf mixed in, is Fairy Dust Teaching. They offer several amazing-sounding E-courses.
- I’ve also become a recent follower of the blog Happiness is here. Sara blogs about life as an unschooling mother of four girls. Check it out!
Currently, I’m the middle of reading Proust and the Squid: the story and science behind the reading brain by Maryanne Wolf. It’s dense (the history of the invention of reading, going all the way back to the Sumerians and the Egyptians), but fascinating (how and why our species invented the written word).
I’m also finishing up Dan Allender’s How children raise parents: the art of listening to your family. Writing from a Christian perspective, Allender, president and counselor at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, WA, implores parents to listen, really listen, to their child (reminds me of Maria Montessori’s maxim to “follow the child”). Parenting isn’t just about teaching or disciplining our children, but it’s also about hearing their voice so that we can effectively and lovingly answer the two ultimate questions of their heart: Am I loved? and Can I get my own way?
If you’re pressed for time and can’t quite commit to a 200-page book, but you’re still interested in reading about topics related to parenting, education, learning, and children, check out a few of these articles from my Pocket list. In particular, “Why typical preschool crafts are a total waste of time,” “The nursery that took all the children’s toys away,” and “The case against tummy time.” (Yes, you read all those right!)
Happy reading, friends!