I am starting a new Mom of the Month series! Every month I want to interview different Moms and feature some of the neat things they are doing. We are all different and can learn so much from each other. I know it inspires me to learn from other Moms and hear some of their advice. I hope you will find it fun as well!
Melissa is an amazing Mom! I have been super impressed with Melissa and all she does to teach her kids, care for her family, and serve in her church/community. Melissa has a MA in British & American Literature from the University of Utah. Before starting a family & becoming a stay-at-home, Melissa was a teacher at a prestigious private school in Utah. Needless to say, she loves teaching and continuing to learn. She is now a mother of five with the oldest being 7 years old and the youngest 6 weeks. Her kids are little geniuses! Here are some of her secrets that she uses with her own kids that she so graciously was willing to share.
1 Wide World Wednesday: Every Wednesday she sets out a table clothe of a map of the world with each country and continent labeled. She found the material at Joann Fabrics and had her Mom hem it for her. They set this on the table as their table clothe to initiate conversation. They talk about what different parts of the world are like, large world history events, and how places differ from where they live. I am sure if they are eating a meal that comes from a certain country they talk about that, too.
2 Teach Kids to Free-hand the World Map: This is an excellent idea to get kids to internalize the geography of the world. She first teaches her kids to sketch a very very basic outline consisting of a few circles and line for the equator. Once they grasp the basics of where the 7 continents of the world are she starts helping them draw the continents still very basicly. For instance, Antartica is long and skinny on the bottom and consists of a few bumps. She has them draw the world map several times a week. Once they are getting the hang of it she helps them add in a couple more details and so forth every week. She got this particular idea from the book The Core, by Leigh A Bortins which teaches how to go about this map drawing in more detail and ways to teach other helpful areas of learning.
3 Read the Childhood of Famous Americans Series: This series originally published in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, are easy to read, short, and perfect for kids. The original/vintage ones are her favorite not the more recently published ones although these are probably still pretty good, too. This book series can typically be checked out at your local library or purchased online. The biographies of the early Revolutionary Americans are some of her favorites like those of Abigail Adams and George Washington. These books not only teach values, put the modern day luxories and things we take for granted into perspective, but have helped her and her children come to love some of the great predecessors and contributors of our country. They are easy to follow along and have brought about a sweet kinship as they’ve come to know and feel like personal friends with these early American predecessors.
4 Make a Huge Timeline on Butcher Paper: Not only are her kids learning about Famous Americans but the world at large and how it all fits into a timeline. She got a role of butcher paper from IKEA for $5 and taped it up across three walls of their playroom. Then she filled in certain large world history events and scriptural points with a date and a picture. She brings the timeline to life when she is out and about with her kids. If they visit a special event or museum, like for example the World War I Museum here in Kansas City, they then come home and do a little craft representing something they learned. Afterwards she has them place it on the timeline. With the timeline in mind, she has tried to do things that correspond to different time periods of history to get an overall feel for what goes where. What a cool idea and excellent visual she is forever establishing in their mind and hers!
5 Listen to Story of the World Series by Susan Wise Bauer in the Car: To help get the Timeline project working, Melissa started listening to Story of the World Children’s audio book series in the car as they drive around to do errands. The 1st series starts out very basic and understandable for kids and progressively becomes more difficult. The way she has learned to be successful at it is to listen to a little bit at a time, pause the CD, and talk with her kids about what they’ve just heard. A little bit, frequently, is what has made this work. Her excitement and enthusiasm for learning about these world events is what gets her kids interested in understanding them, too. Sometimes they don’t pick up a word of what was said on the CD but when she pauses it and rephrases the very same thing in her own voice and with her own interest and excitement, they listen. Not only are they learning but she is learning! It is fun and building a family culture of appreciating the world around them.
So many great ideas! Thank you Melissa. It is incredible what you are doing and you are inspiring us all. I really caught what a joy it is for you to be learning alongside your kids and what special memories you are forging together. Thank you!
P.S. Just so that no one will get the idea that any one of us Moms out there are perfect Mom of Month will always have a Disclaimer.
“I struggle with patience, I frequently go to bed without having cleaned up the whole kitchen, I frequently sacrifice style for comfort, I don’t understand the world of health insurance and make my husband deal with it, and I do not wash the bed sheets on a weekly basis.”
Thank you Melissa!
Now back to you my readers: Try these ideas! Promise me… even just one. They are awesome! I’ve started trying to incorporate these with my kids and have found they’ve been helpful in giving me guidance as to what to do with my kids especially now that we have more time with it being summer. These suggestions are actually really FUN, too! You still have half the summer left so give it a try! You can do it!!! You are probably more awesome than you even know! 🙂