OK so here’s my problem… I am two completely different and separate people. Part of me is mom, mom who has three kids, a dog, house and no life. The other half of me is a teacher, a teacher who taught middle school for 6 years and likes things very structured. It’s a constant inner struggle and sometimes those two don’t mesh well (see my personal growth mission about Perfectionism1 and 2).
As a mom when it’s rainy, cold, and yucky I want to play games, watch movies, and snuggle on the couch. When it’s pretty outside I want to be at the playground, park, the beach, checking out a new trail, or going to the zoo. Anything that’s fun, outdoor, and nature related.
Now the teacher side of me clashes with the mom side of me more often than I would like to admit. The teacher in me feels like we have to accomplish everything that I planned for the week. We have to spend a certain amount of time going over the letter the day, the calendar, this shape, that color, this activity, and that book.
So what do you do in the situation when one side wins out more than the other? How do you find a way to make the mom and the teacher, as it is in my case, play together nicely?
It’s extremely hard to include every educational activity you found on Pinterest or that you planned according to what the curriculum says you need to cover for that day, week, or month. Something else I’ve learned is that sometimes just getting out of the house and trying something new is so much more educational than any worksheet you put in front of your kids.
To get myself out of this battle that rages on in my head, I’ve started trying new things. Let’s face it, Spring has almost sprung! I have severe cabin fever and so do my kids. If I can find a way for us to learn, still cover some of the same concepts I wanted to cover and do that outside, I’m going to do it. If I can do that by taking a trip to the nearby nature center or a taking a day trip to the Bay, then I’m going to do it.
So here’s how:
- Practice drawing letters, numbers, and shapes in the dirt/sand/mud.
- Read signs. Talk about what the colors, symbols mean.
- Look at maps. Talk about the purpose for a map and how to use them to find your way through the trail.
- Talk about the weather. You can observe the clouds, the sun, etc. Bring a journal and have your little ones draw what they see.
- Use sticks, twigs, or other elements in nature to build letters, numbers, or shapes. They can even spell out words.
- Practice counting. Count shells, birds in the sky, leaves on a branch, etc.
- Explore colors.
- Collect objects and then sort them into groups. Talk about the different ways to categorize/classify objects you find.
- Learn about trees, plants, flowers, etc.
- Talk about your senses. Find objects that appeal to your different senses.
It’s not necessary to sit at a table to learn. You can take your education on the road and learn as you explore, you just have to be creative and find ways to make it all work!
What is your favorite way to combat Spring Fever? Do you have a similar Mom vs. Teacher battle and how do you deal?