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Great Moments in Parenting February 23, 2008

Posted by cjescribano in Education, Parenting.

The First Pinnacle of Parenting
When my daughter was 3, I thought I had achieved the Pinnacle of Parenting when she would BEG me to take her downtown to the Natural History Museum. She was really into dinosaurs at the time, and I naively thought that she couldn’t wait to see the huge skeletons again and learn more about them. Then she started bypassing the museum and heading straight to the gift shop. I realized that this was NOT a learning experience for her. It was a SHOPPING experience. (Well, OK, so the toys she wanted were educational.)

The Second Pinnacle of Parenting
Anyway, yesterday, I was once again thrown off the Pinnacle of Parenting. Two weeks ago on a Snow Day, I had devised a “homeschooling” program to keep Caitlin productively occupied while I got some work done. I was determined that she not spend the day in front of the computer and the TV. She loves lists, so together we made a list of all the subjects she studies at school, including art and PE. Then for each subject, we identified a few activities she could do. For example:

Language Arts

  • Play a language arts game online
  • Read for 1/2 hour and fill in her Reading at Home worksheet
  • Do her Wednesday word work (school homework)
  • Write a one-page story


  • Do 2 pages in a study guide
  • Do math on Study Island
  • Play Monopoly with me
  • Make up a Math Facts game


  • Watch Mythbusters and write down 3 science facts
  • Make crystals with a kit we have
  • Look for electricity experiments online

Social Studies

  • Draw a comic strip that illustrates the early struggles leading up to the Revolutionary War


  • Bed baseball (don’t ask)
  • Dancing


  • Basket weaving


  • Do her French homework

Some of the activities we did together. And when I had to take a teleconference, I would have her circle 4 activities that she was going to do on her own. Then I would check them when I got off the phone.

I thought she had a GREAT day!
She seemed to enjoy the activities. (She’s not shy about telling me when she doesn’t want to do something). I had asked her to categorize the activities as Fun and Not Fun, and only a few were considered Not Fun. I was so proud of all that she accomplished: She wrote a wonderful story. And she made up a really cool Monopoly game based on Math Facts. She won the Bed Baseball game. And she had┬ácompleted all the school homework that she would have had if there had been school. Even better–she hadn’t spent the day watching TV.

I thought I had found a winning formula.
I drafted a blog post to share my great discoveries with other parents struggling to keep their kids productively busy on a snow day.

And then the e-mails began to arrive.
They came to my daughter, but she read them to me. Apparently, she had e-mailed all her friends to let them know that her mother had “homeschooled” her. They were all appalled! “OMG! How did you stand it?” “I would kill my mom if she tried to homeschool me.” Even worse, she begged me not to “homeschool” her on the next snow day. Suddenly, she was more than capable of finding things to occupy her time, besides watching TV and playing on Webkinz.

So, I deleted that “Productive Activities for a Snow Day” post, and wrote this one instead.