Be Patient Moms, the Light Will Come On

by Katie Henderson on September 29, 2018

by Beverly Howard, Kindermusik Mom

As a mother and as a teacher I have discovered that, although I have a great amount of patience for children, I struggle with waiting for the big moments– the “ah ha” moments. Every child will reach every milestone at their own pace. We are made to possess different talents and abilities. Some of us are artists, some are “book smart”, some are socially advanced, and a few lucky people excel in multiple areas. Rarely is any of this by choice.

When my daughter started attending Kindermusik she was at an age where I knew she would be engaged mentally, but the physical engagement would be minimal, especially at 6 months old. However, as she became a walker and moved up to the 1 year old class, I was a little worried because she wouldn’t participate much in class. She would always do the moves with me at home– whether it was spinning, rolling over, or simply clapping– but never in class. I was lucky that we had a great teacher who assured me that it was perfectly normal and that she was probably observing and learning in class so that she could later do it at home.

I think that is precisely what happened. I observed exactly that today and had an “ah ha” moment myself. I watched how excited she was to get the opportunity to do something she has talked about for months– riding in a real combine. Up to the moment she got into the combine she was very excited, and then she got quiet. I watched as she looked around and quietly took it all in. The whole time she was quietly watching, with a smile on her face. That is when I realized that she is an observer. She learns by watching and waiting to figure it out before reacting. As a person who learns best by doing, I am not used to this quiet, patient type of learning.

The new semester of Kindermusik started a few weeks ago and Isabelle had her own “ah ha” moment. The light bulb came on for her that day. She actually did the moves as we did them with the music and even vocalized what she was doing! I wanted to explode with pride! I realized then that I need to let her learn at her own pace and try to be more patient for these types of milestones. Just like I had to be patient in the classroom with each my students as they learned how to read, count, and write. Children need time to explore, become confident, and process new things. Every child has their own way of learning and their own special strengths. Celebrate their strengths and patiently work on their weaknesses– they will get there on their own time. When they do, it will mean so much more because of the hard work it took to get there.

Teaching Math Through a Childhood of Play

by Katie Henderson on August 20, 2018

by Beverly Smith, Kindermusik Mom

When you think of teaching math to your child, you likely think of numbers, addition/subtraction and memorizing facts. As a mother and former elementary teacher with a math endorsement, I’m here to say math is so much more than numbers and memorization.

Before technology took over our homes, we played to learn. We played board games, explored outside, turned our living room into a fort, baked cookies, sang songs, read books, played cards, and so much more. When you step back and think about it, we basically spent all day problem solving. We learned by playing and it prepared us for math in ways many of today’s kids are missing.

Learning math with board games

Though you likely didn’t realize it at the time, board games can be a great way to start or reinforce math skills. Think about playing Monopoly.

Action Math or critical thinking skills
Rolling dice Counting dots (one to one correspondence)
Simple addition (counting on)
Purchasing properties How and when to spend money
Using money Counting, spending and saving money
Moving Monopoly pieces Spatial awareness and one to one correspondence

Even while playing, kids are constantly doing math, regardless of whether they actually finish a game of Monopoly.

Keep kids learning throughout the day

  • I was an avid rock collector, lightning bug catcher and hopscotch master. Those common outdoor activities helped me to learn counting, sorting and comparing more and less. My sister and I would always compare who could catch the most bugs or who could fill a bucket with the most wild blackberries.
  • Inside at the dining room table, we’d play cards for hours on end. Three-year-old me had a few favorites … War, Go Fish, and Rummy. We learned to recognize and compare numbers, count objects on the cards, and solve problems.
  • In the living room, our couch cushion forts, tents and imaginary tree houses taught spatial awareness.
  • In the kitchen, we learned how to follow directions, measure quantities and count cookies while helping our mom bake.
  • At night, we’d read books for hours — by ourselves, or with sibling and parents. As we turned the pages we’d learn about time, measurement, problem solving, and the value of an adventure.
  • Even riding in the car, we’d spend our days singing along to nursery rhymes and songs that taught counting, timing, and history.

Many kids learn best when they’re engaged in play. Technology is great at supplementing all you do, but most kids learn from experiences. The more senses they use, the more engaged their mind becomes and the more they learn.

Make a commitment

I get it. We’re all super busy. In my household we have a rule of no TV while our daughter is awake. Believe me, it can be hard, but I’ve learned to cherish our time together. So how can you fit in play with the busy lives we lead?

  • Plan a weekly game night
  • Make a rule of no electronics for certain hours in the day
  • Incorporate reading or songs into your bedtime routine
  • Turn off the TV and play

Kids are only little once, so make a commitment to teach new skills and create new memories through play. You won’t regret it.

Reflections on Ethiopia – Learning Truly to Embrace “what is.”

August 6, 2018

“It is what it is” – a phrase often heard in America. Most times, what we hear behind those words is a spirit of exasperation, frustration, or even resentment toward whatever circumstances have brought us to where we are. The words seem to be a routine attempt to accept “what is” but the emotion that […]

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All That Really Matters, by Beverly Smith

June 9, 2018

The journey of motherhood has changed me in so many wonderful ways. One of those ways is how I see the world and what really matters. It’s easy to be happy when you realize that all you really need is faith, family, and friendship. All the material things started to fade off of my radar […]

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Making Memories with Mama

May 21, 2018

By: Beverly Smith, Kindermusik parent When I think of the journey through the first year of Kindermusik for my daughter, Isabelle, I can’t help but feel grateful for all the joy it has brought her and my family. I moved to Normal, Illinois, when Isabelle was four months old. In the few short months since […]

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Process over Product – Considering a New Way of Life

January 1, 2018

This Christmas I was definitely NOT going to spend the multiple days and trips up and down my attic ladder needed to lug the 12 + large crates of decorations out when we were going away for the holiday. My life was too frantic, my back giving me fits, and I needed a break. I […]

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Kids – No Hidden Agenda There!

October 20, 2017

by Katie Henderson, Founder/Director of Music Connections Foundation As an early childhood educator, one of my “go to” kid sayings comes from the author of a favorite parenting book – Conscious Discipline, by Dr. Becky Baily. “Children are either extending love or calling for it.” Period. End of story. There is no hidden agenda or […]

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Gratitude with Intention – a Powerful Choice!

October 29, 2016

In my collection of fall decorations is a plate, gifted me by one of my dearest friends, embossed with this saying: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” It was given to me at a time when I really needed to hear just that – you know, one of those messages from above – but […]

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Keep Calm – Pass it On

October 17, 2016

This quote from L. R. Knost, a child development researcher and author, has crossed my path numerous times in the past year and it struck a chord in me from the first. Had I seen this 10 years ago when I was deep in the little one/big emotion drama, I would have printed posters of […]

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Advice to a Parent – Say YES more often!

August 4, 2016

by Katie Henderson, Founder/Director of Music Connections Foundation, Inc. Last night in my final Kindermusik summer class, “Zoo Train,” my little cuties were heavily “into” exploring every single thing in our classroom other than all the things I had intended for us to explore: a tiny, random little bucket hung on the wall just above […]

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