Monday, November 16, 2015

Baking Soda and Vinegar Toddler Color Mixing Invitation

Lincoln couldn't get enough of this invitation. He played and squeezed until it was gone and then wanted more. So we emptied and reloaded and he works again. Until we had no more baking soda. <3

#MamaMayiCreate #MamaMayiLearn #MamaMayi #MamaMayiShop #Montessori #Montessori101 #kidsart #kidscience #unplugged #childhood #totschool #preschool #lifelonglearner #unschool #homeschool


Layla built a #simplemachine this morning for co-op. I am so proud of her for sticking to it and following it through but I definitely learned that building, constructing, this kind of project is not for everyone. Sure, we can brush up our skills, persevere, learn a lesson in grit and in seeing something through --- but it reminded me that kids aren't and don't have to be interested in everything (and neither do adults!) She walked away at least three times completely frustrating, getting angry, deciding to leave for some deep breaths in a cardboard house built in the living room. Lincoln (age 2) sat in the kitchen, the whole duration of the project, trying to figure it our and put it together - inspired by the problem solving in front of him and determined to do it. Layla said several times how much she didn't enjoy "this part" or "that".

And it's okay. 

We all have talents an gifts. And they aren't all the same (thank goodness). This was a good reminder for me while I focus on the gifts of each of my children and help them to discover on their own what gifts they have that they want to OWN and nurture.  #ahamoments

#mindfulnessmonday #mindfulkids #mindfulparenting #peacefulparenting #homeschool #homeschooling #unschooling #unschool #mamamayi #mamamayishop #mamamayimake

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Snap Circuits made a quiet breakfast

Our morning. For these few moments - before the chaos ensues over who does what next; no one wants to clean up; I need more food hectic ... For this moment I am embracing the quiet and stillness that is occurring in my kitchen while I cook and Layla and Lincoln build @snap_circuits_jr and Lillian does some Math-building (checking her answers as she's done).... In these moments I think #homeschooling #unschooling is ROCKING it. Everyone engaged in thought and problem solving and community. I need to bank these moments so I can easily recall them when I question why I work at home and why we homeschool (probably later today around 4 or 5 when everyone goes batshit crazy). For now, I'll drink this in, along with my morning coffee. 

#grateful #mindfulkids #mindfulness #MamaMayi #MamaMayiShop #MamaMayiLearn #science #steam #stem #math #kidscience #kidsmath #kidengineer

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Play-based writing

Sometimes I completely stress out about "unschooling" ... Letting my child lead the way. Sometimes I wonder 

Am I doing enough?

Is she doing enough?

Is she on par?

It seems silly, when I slow down and actually think about it. Silly because all children, reach milestones on their own schedule... A notion that we often refer to in early childhood and development (rolling over, smiling, crawling, walking, talking, etc) and then somehow abandon when children reach more formidable years.

There is variation in any learning task ... It hit me when Layla was almost 5 and "swimming". I had practiced and practiced and practiced with her and she just ... Wasn't getting it. She did it, but it was mechanical and hard and our practice was filled with power struggles. Though she Wanted to swim she just wasn't ready yet. Then, one day, in the pool - Bam. Without much teaching or preparation she swam underwater - from one side to the other - just like that. She has worn not a swimmy or vest or tube since.

Because she was ready.

Just like she took her first steps when she was ready.

Just as she ate when she was ready.

Just as she learned her letters (more than memorizing a song), wrote her numbers, and read .... When she was ready.

Create opportunity, absolutely. Lead by example. Show interest. Listen. Definitely.

But there need not be the struggle to learn.

Children were born learners. 

They are so incredibly adept and amazing at it. Given the opportunity to investigate, question, experiment, fail...and try again .... They learn so so much. 

I always stress out about our planned, unplanned ways .... because it is different than the traditional school of thought I participated in.  

Our #writing lately has been #thankyou notes, #gratitude journals, #lists, and #playingpretend .... Look at alll that information she had in her head she wanted to get onto paper. Not assigned. Not for a grade. Just because she was creating a bed and breakfast at home and wanted to have a restaurant here, too. Not stopping....just going. Just writing. Totally unforced. Unplanned. Un-power-struggled.

This is pages 1 and 2 of about 5. 

This girl likes to #cook, she loves, loves, loves, #lists and she loves to #plan a #party. 

This was after cleaning a bathroom for an hour because she wanted the bed and breakfast to have a nice bathroom for guests; complete with toiletries, soaps, towels, and mouth wash all set out nicely. Oh, and potty books.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gratitude - Teaching Children and Ourselves to be Thankful

What is Gratitude?
- Gratitude is the ability to BE thankful and appreciative.

Why is Gratitude important?

- Gratitude is important because it brings us back to brings us back to kindness. It allows us to BE in the presence of our life's many blessings: however simple or profound.

Why do we need to PRACTICE Gratitude?

- Have you ever had a bad day that seems to spiral worse and worse? The kind where you want to curl back into bed and hide? Sometimes it's not easy to see the positives around us ... And negative energy from others (or ourselves) has a way of trickling into our thoughts and affecting how we interact with the world (which can, in turn, attract more of that same negative energy). By taking a moment to pause, center into kindness, and shift our mindset to that of thankfulness we our training our brains to slow down and notice. We are becoming aware of our state of mind, our thoughts, and momentum in the world. It is that pause and reflection that is so important. 

By practicing Gratitude we are setting an intention of thankfulness. I believe thankful hearts are happy, smiley hearts. It's much easier to breathe when we are filling ourselves with that which we are grateful. 

Why TEACH our children Gratitude?

- I try teach my children Gratitude because I think it is important to their self-care. Just as brushing your teeth is important to your oral hygiene; Just as eating a healthy, balanced meal is important to your physical body's growth and health; Just as exercise builds muscles and strengthens your physical body;  Tuning into the joys and kindness in our world is essential to nurturing your Mind and Spirit. I believe the practice of Gratitude has a huge impact on how we all interact with each other and engage in our worlds. Though embracing gratitude comes more easily to some, it is a practice that becomes more easily accessible over time - with practice - acknowledgment - and pause. At first, the practice might seem daunting or over-thought, but eventually it will be second nature - a subconscious script or internal attitude that shines out towards loved ones, friends, nature, the things around us, and our world.

HOW do you practice Gratitude with kids?

- Practicing Gratitude with your kids and family can be a really connecting time. I love to hear how my own little ones find Gratitude in their own lives...

Here are some ways to practice Gratitude with your little ones.

- In the morning, pause to breathe deeply together and give thanks for a new day.

- On a walk (even a routine walk to school or the grocery store) can turn into Gratitude practice by NOTICING the simple, natural treasures and beauty around you. Pause for a moment to store those mindful photos in your memory bank.

- Write a note to your little one and tuck it in his or her lunch box or under his or her pillow. Write how grateful you are that they are part of your life; how much your happier and fuller your family is for having his or her presence in it; reminding them of a special time you shared together.

- At dinner, pause and give thanks for the food you are sending into your body to nurture its cells and fuel your body and mind.

- Take turns sharing one or two things you are thankful for each day during dinner, bathtime, or right before bed.

- Create a Gratitude Journal where you store drawings, words, magazine cutouts, or pictures of the things you are grateful for. Make it a nightly or weekly ritual to pause and reflect in your journal together. Slowing down to find thankfulness is a practice that really helps build connection.

- Send a Thank You note to someone every week. Pausing to remind yourself is a wonderful practice in gratitude and a positive way to spread that LovingKindness into the world.

- Fill out a Gratitude Blurb Journal sheet ( #MamaMayIMindfulKids FREE Printable). Fill out one blurb, a whole sheet, or a few, whatever moves you. These are Seasonal journal pages so you can collect them in a binder and reflect on your gratitude throughout the year.

- Slow down for some pillow talk before bed and incorporate a thankfulness poem or gratitude-share right before sleep. I love to end our night reminding each other of all the things we are most grateful for in our lives. It makes me feel cozier somehow and feels like the perfect segue into peaceful, happy dreams!

A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart.

The FREE Printable can be found HERE