Friday, May 13, 2016

Be inspired or be a purist?

For nearly two years now, I've been reading books and blogs on Maria Montessori and her pedagogy. It is an amazing and wholistic approach to education of the whole child, and I am hooked!

But, I find myself struggling with whether I should be inspired by the Montessori ideals or be a Montessori purist. We are homeschooling, and that means every element of curriculum and materials is up to me to develop and implement! O, the freedom and flexibility... But O, the decisions I must make.

I got to thinking about my struggle when reading about the clever ideas inspired by Montessori on

On the other hand, a comment was left by a Montessori purist who somehow manages to have the perfect, by-the-book Montessori classroom in her home.

Yikes! I am so torn between the two methods. On one hand, being purist is so expensive, as the materials whose cost is meant to be saddled by a school of 30 kids per class with the mote tip of being used by hundreds of kids over the materials' lifetime is shouldered by a school that will graduate 3, 7, or maybe 12 children.

On the other hand, being inspired means allowing myself to incorporate other ideas into the day, and leaving out those that don't necessarily aid my child.

If you have had the same struggle or are currently debating something similar, I'd love your comments! And, really, what do you think Maria Montessori herself would do?

Monday, February 15, 2016

When a stranger asks you about your sex life

I kid you not. At a church function recently, a lady I barely know came up to me with questions about my sex life. Here's how the convo went:
HER: So, when are you going to give that beautiful little girl a baby brother or sister?
ME: Uh, God gives us babies. It's up to Him. 
HER: Well, you are using NFP, right?
ME: (in shock!) Uh...
HER: You're not doing anything to stop it, are you?
In utter shock and unable to get the the courage up to tell her off, I proceeded to give her a 101 on Ecological Breastfeeding. It so happens, I explained, that God has provided our bodies with the amazing ability to nourish our babies through nursing, and that nourishment isn't just food. It's nourishment for the body, soul and psyche.

And, with Ecological Breastfeeding... meaning that mom and baby are absolutely inseparable, nursing frequently, even a few times an hour, and through the night... our bodies skip ovulation. Our hormones, knowing mother is busy nourishing a born child through breastfeeding, don't put any energy toward getting ready to nourish the next unborn baby.

Result: children spaced apart with any of the work and worry of Natural Family Planning. (NFP... also known as periodic abstinence. It is distinctly different scientifically than, thought sometimes referred to as, the Rhythm Method.)

Ah, what relief for this Catholic mom.

I loved what author Jennifer Fulwiler said about it (my paraphrase as I can't find her great quote!)
It doesn't matter how many or how few children you have, someone will be offended by that number.
So, I know the Catholic church has a lot to say about NFP and such, but I wonder if it may be helpful to have a bit more emphasis and education on Ecological Breastfeeding. Perhaps more Catholic churches should be hosting La Leche League meetings. Or, perhaps, require reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding during marriage preparation.

Ecological Breastfeeding absolutely can work for the modern, first world family. It's not just a historical thing or a third world country thing. Has it worked for you? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments!