Learning language is a natural process for children. However, the rate at which that process is mastered varies with each individual. In a society which is increasingly focused on end products, parents often feel pressured to push their children to attend speech therapy. While such programs may be beneficial for some children, it seems odd that an entire society suddenly needs help in order to accomplish what was once a naturally occurring learning process. People have disassociated from an integrated society to the extent that we no longer recognize what is developmentally appropriate for children any longer.
That is where certified speech-language pathologist Katherine L. Martin’s book, Does My Child Have a Speech Problem?, can help. Martin answers parents’ 50 top questions concerning speech issues and language development. By understanding what is developmentally appropriate, parents and educators can better assess whether or not there is a true need for speech help. Helpfully indexed, the book not only covers normal language development and speech issues, but provides greater information about when and where to seek help, and gives fun exercises to incorporate into daily life when needed. This quick read will give assurance to the many parents whose children are developing normally while helping others to find the help their children may need.
Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Photo by Elvert Barnes
As a mom, I want my children to have opportunities – opportunities to learn, to laugh, to explore, and to grow. To that end, I often find myself organizing events and activities in order to give them the opportunities they desire, whether in order for the activity to exist, to make it fit our family better, or to work around a limited budget. I organize the majority of field trips we go on. I’ve helped organize nonconventional coops for several years now. The most recent request was soccer.
My children are interested in playing soccer, but playing in leagues wasn’t the best fit for us. Registration alone costs anywhere from $55-$90 per child. Add in equipment, and you are well over $100 per child. Then you have weekly practices in addition to games. You have no idea when those practices or games will be when you sign up, and with four children, chances are that my husband and I would be playing soccer shuffle rather than enjoying watching our children. Most leagues are competitive, and even those that aren’t have to write out parental behavior expectations in order to curb the competitive nature of the parents. Overall, this was not the situation we wanted for our family.
We just wanted to meet up with other families to have some family soccer fun. So, I organized it. I sent the following information out to several lists, including a link for families to sign up:
Family Soccer Kick Around is intended for families of all ages to get together and have fun with soccer. This is a no cost, relaxed atmosphere for families looking for an affordable, non-competitive soccer experience. While there will be no formal instruction or games planned, it is our hope that we can have a community atmosphere with more experienced players helping out those with less or no experience in the form of helpful tips and techniques. Whether you choose to practice, set up an impromptu game, or just pass the ball around, meet up with other families looking to kick around a soccer ball. This is not a drop off activity, and adults are expected to participate as part of this all age family activity. We ask that all participants treat each other with respect.
Dates for Fall 2011 will include August 21 and 28 and September 4, 11, 18, and 25. We will meet at 6:30 PM at the soccer fields at [insert location]. Use of equipment is at your discretion.
Bring a ball. Bring your family. Have some fun.
Our first meet up will be this Sunday and we are all looking forward to having some fun family soccer. We’ve found that our family can find a way to do just about anything we want. Sometimes we just have to get a little creative.
Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up “little spaces of beauty.”
Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how ‘creating together’ has evolved from ‘things’ to memories.
The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity — The Happy Hippie Homemaker explains how involving her toddler in projects allows her to get more done, while providing valuable opportunities to teach and to bond (added bonus: amazing oatmeal raisin cookie recipe!).
Today’s activity on our Solstice Calendar was to make a wreath for our front door. I had originally planned something a bit more modern, but budget and time constraints, along with the fact that our steel door can get very hot in the sun (my original plan was edible), dictated some changes.
I cut a simple wreath shape out of a cardboard box that was in our recycling bin. You could purchase an actual wreath form at the store, but cardboard is free and reusing items is always good for our planet. Strips of fabric were cut from my stash. This is actually a good project to use up some of a fabric stash that has been sitting around for a while.
The kids debated about what colors to use. Traditional Yule colors of red, green, and gold were suggested, along with cheers for blues, a suggestion of a rainbow wreath, and others. They eventually settled on the colors of the sun – oranges and yellows, which fit in beautifully with our discussion.
Strips of roughly cut fabric are tied onto the form. The only caveat with this wreath is that you probably don’t want any cardboard showing. We opted to just tie on a lot of fabric. However, if I hadn’t had any children older than preschool age, I think I may have first wrapped the cardboard in fabric and then had them tie their pieces on. Scrunching the fabric together to hide the cardboard meant a lot more time spent on the wreath.
When we finished the wreath (I helped tie at the end), we were able to discuss the symbolism involved.
the sun wreath represents our celebration of the return of the sun, and longer days
the circular form represents the rotation of the planet, ofthe ever turning cycle of life and seasons
the multiple fabrics are both different and similar, representing our world is made of different peoples and cultures but that we are still all people
the ends of the fabric are the sun’s rays, radiating out and helping living things. Our actions not only affect ourselves but also affect others. When we do acts of kindness for others, theose people are more likely to have a good day and spread more kindness.
When my daughter was two years old, she drew on the wall with a pencil. It was actually a pretty cool drawing. We took a picture of it before she helped me wash the wall off.
There is something appealing about drawing on the wall, though. It’s a different experience drawing on a vertical surface as opposed to a horizontal one. That’s when I occassionally began taping up big pieces of paper on the wall for a creative outlet. The kids get to draw on the walls without actually drawing on the walls.
A couple of months ago, as I was taping up a big piece of paper, I decided to try something different. I drew frames of all different sizes and styles on the paper. My daughter walked in while I was doing it and sat watching. Then she raced off to get her brothers. The kids ran in, excited to fill in the frames.
They each seemed to like a different type of frame. My three year old began drawing on the medium sized frames, carefully picking cooridanting colors from his drawings to go on the frames. My daughter was drawn to the very small frames, experiemneting with pictures in different colors. However, my oldest surprised me the most. He wasn’t very interested in arts or crafts when he was younger. It has only been in the last two to three years that has has started to do them at all. He picked out each frame, contemplating what would go best. He actually spent the most time, drawing various landscapes and portraits, and of course, naming and signing each one.
Gone are the days of silent children standing still in a line at school. They no longer blindy accept just any order from adults. They have opinions and a voice. I often hear parents, or grandparents, or the gentleman at the grocery store complaining that kids today aren’t the same. Back in their day, kids did what they were told without question.
It’s not that children have changed. Society has changed, and frankly, that is a very good thing. Growing up, my house was silent. My father believed that children should not be heard and we tiptoed around silently until he would leave. Then everyone, kids and mother included, would run around to practice piano or listen to some music. My mother refused to tell anyone, especially my father, for whom she voted because she remembered a time when a woman’s vote was controlled by her husband. My grandmother rarely voted because that was a man’s job. Other families recall stories of not being able to ride at the front of the bus or drink from the same water fountains or pursue the same jobs or education. Abuse from those in control was accepted and not spoken of.
The “good old days” were only good for those who held the control. Children were subservient because subservience was modeled. Wives deferred to their husbands, who deferred to their bosses. Only a small portion of the population had rights and everyone else was kept in line. The paternal hierarchy was held in place and the rest of society amounted to little more than property.
We no longer see legal slavery in our country. All adults now have the legal right to vote. People are supposedly equal to one another and we are seeing minorities step up and expect to be treated as equals. While discrimination still exists, on the surface no one questions an adult who expects to be treated as a person.
Children haven’t changed. Society has changed for the better. Fewer people live their lives in fear and submission. While society hasn’t yet reached the point where children, the very future of our civilization and species, are treated as people, we are closer. I am happy to listen to my children’s thoughts, to work together with them to solve problems, and to share our journeys together.