Heather Shumaker

179621404Heather Shumaker’s unconventional parenting book, It’s OK Not to Share…And Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids, has prompted parents and preschool teachers to throw away their timers and buy wrestling mats instead.  Families call it “life changing.”  Parents magazine book reviewer calls it “Brilliant…An enlightening book that will make you take a second look at everything you believe” and named it one of the Best Parenting Books of 2012.

The “rules” from It’s OK Not to Share… were inspired by the philosophy of an unorthodox preschool in Heather’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio.  They include: Kids don’t have to say ‘sorry,’ All feelings are OK; all behavior isn’t, Kids need conflict, Boys can wear tutus.

Heather’s unconventional rules for parenting have one thing in common.  They allow kids to be kids.  They teach kids important life skills, such as how author portrait Heather Shumakerto play, conflict resolution, resilience and flexibility.  They allow kids to roughhouse–but not hurt others, to be creative and express emotions, even negative ones, and ultimately to thrive.

Heather has written professionally since 1996 for radio, print and online magazines.  Her publications include Huffington Post, New York Post, Parenting, Pregnancy, Organic Gardening, and she’s been featured on USA Weekend, Fox news, and multiple NPR affiliate stations. She’s a frequent speaker and advocate for free play and no homework for young children.

Heather once worked as a milkmaid, sailor and fire crew, as well as a garbage worker in Antarctica, at the U.S. South Pole station. She holds a BA in sociology / anthropology from Swarthmore College and an MS in land resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She now makes her home in northern Michigan with her husband, four chickens and two young children, where she also blogs about early childhood and writing at Starlighting Mama.


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