I May Not Know Fourth Grade Math, but I Can Sing a Mean Lullaby | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I May Not Know Fourth Grade Math, but I Can Sing a Mean Lullaby

Yesterday our Spring edition of BYU Magazine came in the mail.  You know, the magazine you get from your college alma mater? We all get them, no matter where we went to school.  I have to say that Joel and I both look forward to getting BYU Magazine, while the ASU Magazine usually gets recycled without even being cracked open.  I love BYU Magazine.

This issue had a particularly interesting article* about mothers and how they use their education with their children.  There was a mother who was an art major who used her daughter's princess phase (they all have them) to teach her about art history and period clothing.  There was a mother who loved geography and kept maps on the kitchen table.  There was a mother who majored in business who constantly used business tactics as she disciplined her children.  Plus many others.

I loved the way this article illustrated that our educations absolutely do not go to waste, even if we choose to be (gasp!) Stay At Home Mothers.  I hate it when people assume that a woman's education isn't being used, just because it isn't being used in the workforce.  

I've been thinking about my own college education, and how I use it in my mothering.  As far as my major (Music--Vocal Performance) goes, I certainly make sure my children play their own musical instruments.  I am pretty well equipped to help them practice, and to teach them theory.  I love to talk to them about the songs we're listening to, even though once we were listening to Erlkonig by Schubert, and I scarred them for life by telling them the story behind it.  I have been teaching Sophia solfege lately, and she really loves it.  She got very excited last night at Bria's choir concert when they sang Do-Re-Mi from Sound of Music.  And if nothing else, I can sing the best lullabies for miles around, just ask my kids.

I'll need to think further on how I use the rest of my college education in the home, because I really hope I do.

But now, I want to know what you do?  How does your college education manifest itself in your mothering? Or even if you didn't go to college, because that's okay, too.  We've all been educated, and we should be using the things we've learned!

*The article is not online yet, but I have linked the archive page, so maybe they'll put it online in a week or so. It's in the Spring 2010 issue, and is titled "Homework."

33 comments :

  1. love those examples of the moms and what they do - and you too! hmm, my degree is in psych and english - i'd say the psych comes in handy now as i always think of how i mother because of it - the conditioning of the mice always comes to mind from my textbooks. as for english - i love to read to the kids and make up stories. i will have to think about this more and think of some creative ways to "on-purpose" implement my education. :)

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  2. Lovely post! I did not finish my degree, but I went through some really difficult things as a child. I developed an anxiety disorder, PTSD, because of it. I have done a lot of work trying to heal and understand. And that has been an education. I have used that education to teach my children compassion and tolerance, which I feel is often sadly lacking in some religious households. Kids are usually taught (indirectly)to judge, often, those that make bad choices. I have taught my children that we don't know what is in anyone's heart. They have been through tremendous pain in their lives. Do not judge. Just love.

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  3. I think that just being educated has a huge impact. There is no way that your knowledge and culture doesn't rub off on your kids on a daily basis. I'm sure going to have to read about Erlkonig now! (My daughter's princess phase lasted about a month. Waaa!!!)

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  4. Erlkonig is an awesome song, and yes, it's quite creepy.

    I read the same article and thought about what a lame mom I am. :)

    But I guess I'm not entirely lame. I make them practice the darned piano almost every single day and yell "D-FLAT" from the kitchen when they play the wrong note. They just love it when I do that.

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  5. Educate a mom, educate generations.
    It's true.
    My kids know where babies come from, and that lots of girls make REALLY bad choices. :)

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  6. I'm not a mother but I teach college students and I often have to convince them that the most important thing that they learn in college is not the "material," it's learning how to learn. And if mothering doesn't involve learning new things, I don't know what does! I teach history and I know that my students will forget a lot of the "facts" that I teach them but I hope that some of the bigger issues will stick with them--things like the value of different cultures, the many different pathways that people take in life, and the way that large, intangible forces can make an impact on individual societies and individual lives.

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  7. I have been getting that magazine for 10 years now, and have never, ever read it. :(

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  8. Another thing you can teach them is how important an education-any education-is. From vocal to business, it shows that you took the time and effort to learn and improve.

    I was an American Studies major---and I specifically love revolutionary history. I have a feeling I might be the only one teaching my children about that by the time I have kids in school. That history will be ignored and/or changed by that time.

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  9. It's funny you should post this: Peter has a penchant for math and music, so just yesterday I made him a shirt that has the waveform equations for do, mi, so. It's funny. I made one for Lily that says I <3 solfege.

    I think my experience is quite similar to yours, especially since we're both musicians with husbands who are musicians. I try to expose the kids to Bach while M. plays Schoenberg and Cage for them. I guess they'll be well-rounded. Well, except for romantic music; neither M. nor I is a big fan of romantic music. :)

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  10. Funny, funny! Yet another way that you and I are alike...

    Although really, I find that more of my mothering and teaching these days is coming from the training I've done after college, specifically Suzuki training, and observing other teachers. It's not going to be too long before my daughter will be a better violinist than I ever was!


    And my kids are very well educated in the ins ond outs of pregnancy and childbirth, and will become more so with this pregnancy. Living with a mom who is a doula and used to apprentice with a midwife will do that to you!

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  11. As you know, I use my degree to earn a living at home, which I think has been a great blessing to my kids.

    I also use my education (particularly all those "useless" general ed classes) to introduce my kids to the broader world, or to help them through it when life or school does the same thing.

    I think it has been a blessing to my kids to grow up in a home where that was just what grownups did: Guys went on missions and moms and dads both graduated from college. This is in no way intended to be a criticism of those whose lives didn't work out this way; rather, I'm simply saying that it has helped that these things were just "assumed" by my kids.

    And finally, I think one of the greatest things a SAHM - or really, any parent - can do for their kids is to continue to "self-educate". I have spent a lifetime as a student and now teacher of the scriptures and doctrines of the gospel. My kids know that if they ask me a question, they'll likely receive a well-informed, thoughtful answer. They also know that "education" doesn't require college tuition. It requires a love and respect for learning, and a willingness to invest time, energy, and even sacrifice to acquire it.

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  12. Hmmm, I had never thought about it. I taught my kids how to count in French, and we listen to French music and I purchased some children's books in French and read them to them. But besides that, I'm just proud of myself for having earned a degree and to encourage my children to do the same.

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  13. Such great examples ... I definitely use my studies in raising my kids. I was a Science major, and education and then a math and journalism minor ... so I can really cover some territory with those kids. And although I wasn't a geography major - we are playing with maps all of the time.

    AND ... just today I found a great little chemistry kit (real stuff, not the cheap kid kits) at the DI - and am totally giddy because of it!

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  14. I debated whether I would comment or just click past.

    I feel pathetic.... : )

    Okay not really, but seriously, didn't go to college. BARELY scraped through high school - not beause I was stupid, I just didn't care.

    What have I taught my kids?
    1. They know how to have a REALLY good time.

    2. What not to be. Uneducated.

    Now, off to display some more examples of partying to the offspring.

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  15. Oh good question!

    I was a Psychology major. I learned so much about what makes people tick, how the brain works, development, etc. I've thought about it often in motherhood. I DO use my college degree. Thank you for reminding me :)

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  16. I majored in physics education and spend a lot of my time helping my kids learn to ask questions and search the answers out. Plus, so far, they're all whizzes in math.

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  17. I worry about what I can teach my kids. I hope I can do what you have done and what these other mommies have done. What a great post, Lara.

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  18. I agree with some of the other commenters. Just "being educated" makes a big difference to your children. I remember being so proud of my mother. Not only did she graduate college, but she had a double major in music and math, and had excellent grades. I knew that my mother was intellegent. I believe that anything we accomplish can set a standard for our children. They believe that they can do it too--and probably even better. I feel very strongly about the example of temple marriage too.

    I don't see how my education is helping my children too much at this point, but I know that I will. I will be able to help them with any homework they bring home. Someday they will be convinced that I'm as smart as their teachers at school :) For now Everett is just in awe of his kindergarten teacher.

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  19. You're certainly right about the ASU magazine. I got ours the same day as my Martha Stewart Living Magazine. I felt rather discouraged, because in ASU's magazine, they did the story on that older lady who chose NOT to have a family because it would interefere with her "life's work". The other magazine featured all kinds of "successfull" people, none of whom had children.
    What a refreshing thing to have a magazine that actually highlights the accomplishments of motherhood!--Amanda B.

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  20. LUV your title of your post~sounds like a book title!?!?! hubby & I were staring blankly at each other last night. we are both science majors & couldn't remember something about species/classifications that our 7th grader is working on! just happy that we have each other & of course the internet "just to double check".

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  21. The older I get, the more "I DON"T KNOW"!

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  22. I loved this. Loved this. I keep getting these surveys from BYU-I that say "what have you done with your degree?"

    yeah. I'm a mom. I don't have a problem with that, but still. What do you want from me? So, validating my momness (I did indeed just make that up) is awesome.

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  23. Awesome post! And I love what you are able to teach your kids.

    Um, I studied early childhood education so that hasn't come in handy at all. :)

    I absolutely love seeing my older kids interact with the younger ones and hearing them use the right methods to teach things, not getting frustrated with them, just generally understanding how to deal with and teach the little ones, with a general understanding of where they are coming from. Some of that I have actually sat down and explained to them (and it just stuck right away) and some of it just comes naturally to them. It's exciting and reminds me to be a better mom (less emotion and more actual teaching and loving).

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  24. I'm so glad you decided to write about this! I've been feeling kind of down - now and again - like my degree has been a waste. Maybe it's because we've faced some tremendous financial difficulties these past couple of years, and I haven't done ANYTHING to contribute to the family finances. I know my 1st obligation is to raise my children, and I'm really content filling that role. But, it's so hard to watch Jason work so hard, and wish that there was more I could do to help in that regard. We left our piano in AZ because at it's age it would not have made a journey that far! (so, piano lessons are out) We've had NOTHING extra to invest for me to start up my own business. I've considered an etsy jewelry business. Mary Kay takes meeting new people, which we've certainly done, but after one major mishap in AZ, I refuse to talk to ward members about it. And, Jason just hasn't been around much for me to get out on my own to meet new people elsewhere. Sigh.

    Yep. I needed this post! Now my wheels are turning...

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  25. I've rubbed off on my kids quite a bit--and after reading this, it makes me proud!

    All 4 love to write. All 4 love to read. All of them love analyzing stories and can explain WHY something in a movie or book works and why it doesn't. It's not at all uncommon for them to know more about writing, grammar, etc. than their school teachers.

    Just yesterday, my 7th grader told me that a friend remembered several grammar conversation they'd had together--and my daughter didn't remember one. The Word Nerd-dom has apparently continued to the next generation. :D

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  26. I AM a school counselor, my poor kids are doomed.... Doomed I tell ya.

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  27. I use a lot of the positive behavior support that is used in my sp ed classroom. And I love to figure out the best ways my kids learn and go at it that way!

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  28. I have the exact same problem with 4th grade math but I'm a pro at improvising melodies to Mother Goose rhymes! Go U of Mich. music dept!

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  29. We homeschool our kids, so every bit of education we have ever gotten (and are still getting) is used on a daily basis. But you already knew that about us :) The greatest thing with homeschooling is that we can continue to learn right along with out kids as we help them to research topics and learn the basics. As far as math goes I am just thrilled that Brice is getting a teaching certification for high school math. I am pretty good at math, but he knows inside and out!

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  30. I'm not a mom, but I have loved using my education with my kids. When our kids were young, we did a lot of driving. Whenever we went anywhere, I'd put in my soundtracks of Broadway musicals, tell them the plot, talk about the way the music advanced the story, portrayed character, etc. Those are such happy memories.

    One of my greatest parenting moments came when I heard my ten year old son telling his friend about the plot for Pirates of Penzance with great relish.

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  31. Maybe I need to start reading the BYU magazine. I usually just recycle Ry's as soon as it comes.

    Hmm... I haven't finished my education yet. I keep going back, but having to quit with the birth of each new baby until we get back into the swing of things. However, the education I do have has allowed me to teach my kids to read, help with their homework and examine what their interests are.

    Aside from my formal education, there are the things I've learned just from being a wife and mother. Through those I teach my kids the necessary skills they will need to succeed, such as budgeting, cleaning, cooking, anger management, etc.

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  32. From what I've read in your blog, sounds like you are doing an amazing job at sharing you gift and love of music with your children. Way to go, mom!

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  33. I love BYU Magazine, and usually read it cover to cover. I haven't read the latest issue yet, but intend to, esp after reading this post!

    I have a BA in English Lit & a Masters in Library & Information Science (MLIS). I use my college education on a daily basis with my kids. I feel lucky and blessed in have a profession I love nearly as much as my children.

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