Kumon Blogger of the Month – Teach Mama
October 20, 2011 ~ Teach Mama — October Blogger of the Month Each month for the rest of the year, Kumon will feature one blog that we feel is a valuable and interesting resource for parents. This month, we are excited to recognize Teach Mama as our October Kumon Blogger of the Month. Amy Mascott is the brain behind Teach Mama, a fun, informative blog that provides parents with interactive activities that promote “learning in the every day.” From colorful sorting activities to improve fine motor skills to tips for reading aloud (and many more fun activities in between), Amy has become a resource for parents eager to make learning a 24/7 experience. Amy took some time to talk to us about Teach Mama. Check out her responses below, and be inspired. Tell me about yourself — family, interests, etc. My name is Amy Mascott, and I’m the mother of three crazy-cool kids: Maddy, 7, Owen, 6, and Cora, 4. I am a Reading Specialist, literacy consultant and freelance writer who walks our dog every morning, loves to read, tries to cook and enjoys Pilates. I’m married to an amazing man who is currently an elementary school administrator; we met on a blind date set up by his mother, who at the time was a colleague of mine when I taught high school English. Why did you start the blog? I started blogging in 2008 to share ideas with my friends. When our kids were really young, my pals started calling me more and more, asking me what they should do with their kids to help teach them their ABCs and 123s, what books to buy and what were the best games for kids. Finally, rather than spending my kids’ entire naptime each day repeating myself on the phone, I thought I’d start a blog and share the information there. What’s your inspiration to continue blogging? Whether or not I continue blogging, I’d still do the same activities each day with my own kids, but it’s not easy to maintain a blog. It’s a labor of love, for sure, but I continue blogging because I know I’m helping many parents step up their game a bit. And in the end, it’s creating stronger families, empowering parents and building a solid educational foundation for children. What has been the reception to Teach Mama? The reception to teachmama.com has been really positive. Many, many people have taken the time to write to me and tell me that our blog has inspired them to change the way they interact with their children, which is incredible to me. What do you hope to communicate through the blog? My focus is to help parents create a “lifestyle of learning” with their families. I want all parents to know that they are teachers for their children, whether or not they have a degree in education, and that they can, and should, incorporate learning into their family’s every day. @ What’s your favorite part of fall? Do you have any family fall traditions? My favorite part of fall is the changing of the seasons — moving our summer flip-flops out and our cozy slippers in! Every year a friend of ours holds a Pumpkin Carving Party, which we all look forward to attending, and we trick or treat with neighborhood friends for Halloween. Our traditional Halloween night dinner is “Dinner in a Pumpkin,” which my kids absolutely love. Halloween’s around the corner. Any tips for parents trying to costume and party-plan on a budget? Yes! I think it’s very easy for parents to celebrate Halloween on a budget! Silly holiday snacks can be made with items most families have on hand: carrot fingers, pretzels and ‘booger’ dip (sounds gross but kids love it!) and donut hole eyeballs. As far as costumes are concerned, holding costume swaps with other families is a great idea; we all have so many costumes from years past, it makes sense to trade rather than buy each year! It is National Reading Month. What was your favorite childhood book and what do you love to read to your children? My favorite childhood books were ones written and illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa — I loved his illustrations and the simplicity of his stories. My kids love Gyo Fujikawa, but we also love the Bear series by Karma Wilson and Sandra Boynton books for the fabulous rhythm and language, and the Puppy Place series for the dog-focus and fun. We’re also huge fans of Loren Long, Jarrett Krosoczka, Jane O’Connor, Bob McLeod and David Kirk. If someone only looked at Teach Mama once, what would you want his or her first impression to be? I would want a person’s first impression of teachmama.com to be inspiring, comfortable and safe. I want the site to be easy to navigate and easy to read. I want people to feel like when they read my posts that they’ve found a friend — a peer — who is not a perfect parent but is willing to share her struggles and successes and who is willing to try new things in order to be a better parent. What would you want them to take away from your blog? I want people to take away simple tips, ideas and activities that they can use that very day with little effort or stress. I want them to feel excited about stepping into the role of a teacher for their children, and I want them to know that if I can do it, they can definitely do it too!