Monthly Archives: June 2014

Of Cauliflower and Cardboard: Finding Good Daycare

When I was on maternity leave and searching for good daycare, I had definite ideas about what I wanted to see before trusting my child to a stranger. My original criteria included being home-based, play-based, having no TV and good … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Of Cauliflower and Cardboard: Finding Good Daycare

  1. Kelly says:

    These are the signs of a good provider, in my book, after working in child care for 15 years. Luckily, after a rough start, we found someone that meets all of these needs. You want to walk with 8-10 kids (including my two year old twins) to the park a block away on a regular basis? Perfect! You have a “no thank you bite” policy on veggies? Perfect! You spend the majority of your afternoon outside? Perfect! You spend the majority of your mornings reading stories either one on one or in small groups and then engaging the kids in elaborate pretend games? Perfect! If a child doesn’t want to participate in the activity you planned for the day, you let them choose from a whole host of developmentally appropriate but challenging and fun activities? YOU ARE MY HERO.

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      So glad you found the perfect spot for your family. Sounds as if you have a confident provider and I hope you shower him/her with thanks. As your story demonstrates, it’s common for families to start off with a “rough start” and then settle in to finding the right person to fill their needs.

Summer Slide or School Slide?

As the school year wraps up, the usual things come home in my kids’ backpacks – stubby pencils, forgotten jackets, artwork, end-of-year piles of papers. But one item startled me. It was a note assuming I was scared of summer: … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules, Joyful Literacy | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

8 Responses to Summer Slide or School Slide?

  1. Erika Cedillo says:

    I loved your post!! We are just experiencing the first year at school with my oldest daughter and I was getting on that mood but your post just reminded me that summer is about life and fun. I really loved it!! Thanks for reminding us how much our children learn from playing and exploring the world around them.

  2. I agree with everything you wrote, Heather. One of my strongest recurring end of school year memories is all the plans I was making to “do stuff” during the summer. Nothing related to school usually. Mostly games I wanted to play, places in town I wanted to explore, what my friends and I would do with our days, going to the beach, playing baseball or softball, going to the local park and doing all the activities the “park leaders” would facilitate.

    Perhaps most important, the chance to run, jump, climb, get caught in the rain, do “nothing” and come home at the end of the day dirty, sweaty, tired, but glad it was only one day out of about 90. So I guess what I learned during summer was how to be a kid.

    I don’t worry about anything being lost during the school year because the act of learning in a certain genre is what’s really taught. By genre I mean- music is an aural language and playing music or singing teaches us to use that part of our brain which requires us to use our hearing to analyze, adjust, synchronize with other musicians. Math is a numerical language that teaches us to use the calculator part of our brain. Reading is a visual language that teaches us to develop our word and thought forming skills. Visual Art is a tactile, sensual language that teaches us how to create or reproduce shapes, colors, three-dimensional objects and better understand what makes an object pleasant to look at or touch.

    When I was in band all through school, I rarely remembered any pieces we performed or practiced that year. But the next year I had improved and was able to play successively more difficult music because I had gone through the process of developing my skills one piece at a time, one note at a time. It’s the doing part of the learning that’s most important, not the retention part of the learning. Retention comes after the doing.


  3. Heather Shumaker says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories, Chris. Love your phrase “it’s the doing part of learning that’s most important.”

  4. CJ says:

    Thank you for this post! I’m so sick of hearing about the “summer slide” in the media I want to scream! As a preschool teacher for the last 12 years, every year I seem to see more and more 3-5 year olds who don’t have the chance to just explore, dream and, yes, learn during the summer. And they are, in my opinion, suffering because of it. My children are grown now, but I was very blessed to be able to let them have their summers to “think their own thoughts, play their own games, and take a break from academics.” They were able to do things and explore things during the summer that they didn’t have the opportunity to during the school year. My oldest, my daughter, in now in a very competitive graduate program studying Physical Therapy. My youngest, my son, will be a junior in college this fall, and plans to continue on in grad school in Audiology. Did they suffer “summer slide” during their summers “off”? Absolutely NOT! They have become well-rounded adults because they were able to do all that you talk about in your post. Very sorry for the long post, but I wanted young parents to know that it IS OK!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Thanks for your encouragement to all parents raising kids out there. Fear and worry can get out of hand. Many thanks for adding your voice.

  5. Nikki Stahl says:

    Your new slogan:

    It’s okay to play.

    I want to wear a t-shirt and shout it from the rooftops!

Screen Time for Parents

I remember when I first saw someone walking down the street with a cell phone to their ear. It was a remarkable sight, and not that long ago. ┬áNow what’s remarkable is seeing someone who’s NOT got a device attached … Continue reading

Posted in Parenting with Renegade Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Screen Time for Parents

  1. I think the electronic distractions will get worse until it gets so pervasive that it becomes “cool” to not be attached to an electronic device. Unfortunately, our kids will suffer because they’ll learn to behave by watching Mom and Dad. And when the kids have children of their own, their children might rebel against their parents completely ignoring them because they’re a slave to their devices.
    I only hope we don’t become a world of zombies wandering around with our eyes glued to a screen.

    My only tip is that real life is not what you see on a screen! Put it away and look at the beautiful scenery instead of videoing it with your cell phone! Bend over and smell the flowers instead of googling roses on Wikipedia to find out what they smell like. Attend a concert in the park in your town and listen to a live band rather than check the latest one-hit wonder out on YouTube.


  2. Nikki Stahl says:

    I still don’t have a smartphone for this reason. It’s too hard to parent while being that distracted. And, I’ll admit that I’m just as addicted to the Internet as everyone else.

    There are so many emotional/educational/social development reasons to not be on a cell phone when you’re with your children, BUT what gets me the most is how unsafe it is.

    We live in a region surrounded by water and everywhere I go I see parents with small children, near water, distracted by their cell phones. You see it so much, it hardly even registers in your brain that it shouldn’t be done, but when a two-year-old wanders into a boat ramp with a car backing down, and nobody notices, it is just terrifying. I’m hoping there comes a day when beaches and other public water access areas have signs posting about the dangers of phones and kids.

    Of course, this is not just limited to water. The just-walking toddler on the top of the jungle gym makes me cringe just as much.

    But, I shouldn’t just write about it here. I should do something about it!

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful post. “It’s too hard to parent while being that distracted.” Parenting requires a lot of multi-tasking as it is, devices can make our patience and thinking skills even more fragmented.

      Beaches and phones – yes, that is a new danger. Thanks for pointing it out.