An interview with Cotton Ridge Homeschool’s newest sponsor, Maria of Mama D’s Closet!
Maria Dispenza is a stay-at-home mom to two little boys, and runs the Etsy shop Mama D’s Closet. She is most inspired by Montessori theory, attachment parenting, and low-impact living, and all of her shop’s items reflect those philosophies.
CRH: Do you have any Homeschooling tips and advice?
MD: I was actually homeschooled myself all twelve years,and loved it! My little nugget of advice is, don’t be afraid to depart from the conventional Monday-Friday, 8-3 schooling schedule if it works better for your family. All through high school, I did schoolwork on a Tuesday-Saturday schedule so that I could pursue an extracurricular activity that I was passionate about on Mondays; and I also had to accommodate for helping the family business some mornings. I did a lot of real-life activities in high school and scheduled the schoolwork around that, instead of the other way around. I got lots of valuable experiences because of it!
CRH: Do you have any ideas for fun and/or educational activities for kids?
MD: Well, I could shamelessly promote the Montessori-inspired toys in my store, but I won’t. I am huge fan of putting together a sensory basket for babies and toddlers. You can put anything in it- small wooden toys, a ring of metal keys, wool yarn balls, seashells, sachets, pinecones – just as long as it provides a wide variety of textures, sounds, and smells. Most baby toys are plastic, which don’t provide much sensorial diversity, so a sensory basket is a fun way to counteract that.
CRH: What led you to start your Etsy shop?
MD: Initially, I started Mama D’s Closet for two reasons: 1) to help me use up my giant flannel stash while 2) simultaneously providing a low-cost alternative reusable menstrual pad for women who were wanting to try cloth pads but were hung up on the initial starting cost. A couple months into my Etsy, adventure, I was hooked. I loved interacting with customers and kept coming up with fun toys for my kids that friends wanted to buy for themselves. I’ve been in business for almost two years and have tons of plans for the future!
Connect with Maria
Text and Images Copyright 2013 Maria Dispenza, used by permission.