Hidden Art Friday

Happy Friday, everybody!

I’m a little late getting this posted today, so hopefully you’re not all gone for the weekend! As you may have noticed, we needed to have a chill week here at the e2s blog. Some weeks are just like that. We hope you’ll stay tuned, though, because we have the best intentions to get back at it on Monday!

The past few weeks have been my family’s annual apple processing weeks (remember my applesauce post from last year?). We have an orchard in Pennsylvania we go to every year, and since we’ve been four years in a row now, the owner knows me and knows what type of apples I like. The apple harvest was a little scanty this year, but I still came home with 13 bushels total–10 Jonagold, and 3 Cortland. That’s a lot of apples.

So, besides canning over 150 quarts of applesauce, we’ve been eating a lot of them as snacks, and trying out a few other things, too.

AppleCiderVinegar

As appetizing as this looks, I’m hoping that it’s the beginning of some apple cider vinegar! I took the parts of the cooked apples that my KitchenAid applesauce attachment spits out, put them in a mason jar, and covered them with water and a loose lid. It’s been sitting in a dark cupboard for almost a week now, and I’m supposed to let it sit for another three or four. While I am excited to see how it turns out, my husband is a little more skeptical :)

AppleCrisp

We’ve also been using the apples for baking! This apple crisp recipe was the first one we tried, and after eating it, my kids decided we didn’t need to try any other recipes. We have, however, made this one about four times.

Around the web this week, here’s a great article on whether or not egg freezing lets women have it all. Back in the very early days at e2s, Bethany did a post on the trend of egg freezing, so I was happy to see a piece so similar over at National Review.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Posted in Hidden Art Fridays | 1 Comment

Hidden Art Friday

e2s pumpkinsIt’s fall!  (Here in SoCal, that means it’s in the 60s instead of the 70s when we first get up in the morning.)  I took the kids to get pumpkins this week, and we celebrated by eating pumpkin pancakes for breakfast two days in a row!

Although it’s not cold enough for winter clothes, I did decide to pull out everyone’s jeans and find out how much everyone had grown since last year.  When do you switch out clothes?  Anna and I shared our organizational systems for kid clothes last year, so I won’t rehash it all now.  (Anna’s method | my method)

Thanks to Heather Haupt at Cultivated Lives for bringing my attention to this article on why early learning programs don’t help and may harm our children.  It’s very much in line with what Anna has been saying in her current series.

 

Dear readers, please take a few minutes today to pray for your friends struggling with infertility and miscarriage.  And please pray for the family members who are grieving with them.

Posted in Hidden Art Fridays | 1 Comment

When Mom Leaves: Early Education

(This post is the latest in a series on how daycare is harmful to children. Click here for the beginning of the series.)

 

Early education has become a political buzz-word lately.  New York City’s Mayor De Blasio has just announced that full-time preschool will soon be available for all city dwellers. This is universally seen as a good thing—that with programs such as these, the United States will raise its test scores in comparison to other nations, that we’ll have better educated children, and a more well-rounded citizenry.

This is also something that I hear commonly in the daycare debate. It is not infrequent for women to think that if they stay home with their children, the kids will not be as well educated. With so much information available about early development, and so many programs training teachers for it, most women reason that they are not the best person to educate their children. With this understanding, it makes sense to put a child in daycare where he will be in a more stimulating educational environment with a skilled, trained teacher.

But while this is a popular thing to think, and an over-used reason to encourage a young mom to put her children in daycare, there is simply no basis for thinking that our young children learn better outside the home than in it. In fact, the science says completely the opposite:

A study of third graders by researchers at the University of Texas found that full-time daycare children had poorer grades and poorer study skills than children who were home-reared or whose mothers were employed part-time. (Dreskin, 131) 

These is plenty of internet discussion evaluating the benefits (or lack of) full-day kindergarten.  But the discussion of pre-K is an even more important one. The smaller a child is, the more damaging a full day of daycare will be on the attachment he has with his mother. The possible emotional effects of a damaged attachment far outweigh any educational benefits there might be at a daycare or pre-K facility. Wendy Dreskin, who ran both a preschool and daycare center for several years, tell us:

’We’re professionals,’ they claim. ‘We can teach your children better than you can.’ Dr. Burton White, the country’s foremost authority on educational development in the first three years of life, has determined that without question parents are the best teachers in a child’s early years. He has found that young children learn best from the person to whom they have a strong emotional attachment.” (Dreskin, 131)

As a stay-at-home mom with a few more children than is considered normal, I find it ironic that institutionalized learning for young children is championed by politicians. One of the main critical questions that I receive with my six children is, “How do you have enough time for them all? Are you able to give each child the individual attention he needs?”  The attention that my smallest children receive from me, even when divided with a few other children, is so much more individualized than any daycare would provide. For children three and over, it is typical to have one adult for every seven children. The fact that I am my children’s mother means that I will be far more emotionally invested in them than any childcare workers, and that fact alone will ensure that the quality of care and education they receive from me in their early years will be better than a daycare facility would provide.

There is no center, there is no program, there is no caregiver whose attributes could ever be compared with the ‘properties’ which a mother, how has given life to her child and who has the greatest and deepest commitment to that child, can give her own child. (Armento, 141)

There is no amount of early childhood education that can replace the emotional connection a small child has with his mother. Damaging that emotional connection will never be overcome by providing amazing educational resources.  A mother, sitting with her toddler on her lap, reading Goodnight Moon to him for the forty-seventh time will be giving him the kind of love and educational input that his little mind needs. No center, full of trained professionals and the latest high-tech toys, can ever replace that.

Update: Here’s a great piece from the Washington Post on whether or not early education actually helps anybody.

Part 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4

 

Works Cited:

Schlafly, Phyllis, Ed. Who Will Rock the Cradle. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990.
Dreskin, Wendy. “Daycare: A Child’s View.” Schlafly 123-138.
Armento, Gene. “How Do We Measure Quality Child Care.” Schlafly 139-146.

Posted in Daycare, For New Moms, Having It All, Importance of Mothers, Using Our Minds | 1 Comment

On Communicating Joy to Our Children

Last week, I talked about what a purposeful mom can communicate to her children by staying home to care for them herself.  One of our readers commented that her mom stayed home but was resentful and negative about the experience:

It’s been very hard for me to break those thought patterns – even though I did choose to stay home six years ago, I still struggle to view it with joy every day. It also leaves me feeling very isolated, while never really getting time to myself to recharge, either.

Staying home with our young children doesn’t automatically qualify us for mom of the year.  A sahm can communicate a poisonous message of resentment and dissatisfaction by complaining about the drudgery of her life, the material possessions she can’t have, and the excitement she’s giving up by staying home.  All of us will have hard days; the question is how we respond to the temptation to have a bad attitude.  I’ve talked in the past about how we can seek intellectual stimulation in and through the home, and here are a few more reminders that I need myself this week!

  • I think we need to be careful about who we spend time with.  I’ve been in groups of women that egg me on to complaining about my life, and I’ve had to choose to seek out the friends who encourage me to focus on the vision God has given me.  We hope that this blog (and our facebook page) can be a place of encouragement and building each other up.
  • We need to keep our end goal in mind.  Carolyn Mahaney just blogged about this topic, reminding us that “Motherhood has dignity and glory because of the dignity and glory of the One for whom we mother.”  I have to remind myself that I am changing diapers to the glory of God.
  • We need to choose to have fun with our kids!  I’m a type-A firstborn, and I can get so caught up in my List Of Things To Do (you know, the list that never gets done…) that I become frustrated when things are not going According To Plan.  Instead of lashing out at my kids or myself, I have the best success when I do something totally unexpected or silly.  I have a friend who initiates nerf gun fights with her kids, suddenly tosses them into the swimming pool in their clothes (they’re old enough to swim well), or breaks into song in the midst of a tense moment.  Lately our family has been enjoying Kiss Attacks–you grab a family member, yell “Kiss Attack!” and start covering her with kisses.  Usually even the crying kiddo joins in the fun, dissolving into giggles as the “victim” gets smooched by everyone in the house.
  • We need to be intentional about telling our kids that we love them and enjoy them.  I have one child who is pushing all my buttons right now, so I’ve committed to spending a couple minutes at naptime just with her, snuggling and letting her tell me whatever is on her mind (usually it’s a plot point of Frozen).  Even when someone frustrates me enough that I have to address it, I always repeat, “I will always love you.  No matter what you do, I could never stop loving you because I am your Mommy!”  And I make sure to tell my kids (often!) how blessed I am to be able to hang out with them all day.
  • Mentors can help us see the bigger picture.  I’m blessed with a mom and mother-in-law who totally share and support my vision, but there are many other wise women who have encouraged me over the years.  Sally Clarkson just blogged about “Surviving Desperate, Mundane Times & Flourishing in the Normal.”  Go read that this week when you’re feeling your attitude falter!
Posted in For New Moms, Importance of Mothers | Leave a comment
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