“So Louise,” you say, “What have you been up to lately?”
Funny you should ask!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here before our plan to teach our littles at home. Our main reason for this is that both Carl and I feel that a classical education, or some form thereof, is going to give them the best tools for learning and growing their entire life. And that is not something that one can find in any public schools, or even most private. I love the holistic way classical education works, showing how everything is interconnected, I love that it teaches how to learn, instead of just imparting facts, I love, love, love that it gives them Latin at a young age so that they have a good solid base for almost any other language they want to learn in later years.
So. Yesterday I started preschool with Joy. It wasn’t in our original plan to do preschool at all – I have a rather Montessori approach to schooling for really little kids, in theory at least, that they learn best through unstructured play and exploring their world.
But Joy? She gets bored with unstructured play. And she really loves doing projects, or sitting down and practicing letters, or anything of that sort. So last year I bought a few workbooks just to see if she would like them, and she ate them up. So this year I firmly put my child’s individual preference ahead of my ideals and theories, and we are doing preschool. I ordered more workbooks from the same company (Kumon, in case anyone is curious – I know they don’t work for everyone, but they seem practically made for Joy), bought some flashcards (which she likes almost as much as the workbooks), and typed up a weekly schedule for her. We haven’t dived right into the new schedule yet, still using some of our other books (Hooked on Phonics, which she likes but doesn’t find anywhere near as challenging and satisfying as the Kumon books) because I’m still missing one workbook which I thought I had but ended up having to order …
But this isn’t about my absent-mindedness, although I suspect we’ll possibly have an episode like that every year. Joy is so happy to be “doing school” every day, and although I am emphatically not a natural teacher, I love seeing her blossom almost overnight with this new schedule.
I even wrote out a goal list of things I want to see Joy accomplish this year – both academic and personal, because for me, school is about so much more than just training the mind, but about developing healthy lifestyle habits as well. Which is why “explore new ideas” is one item on the list, as well as “learn to write name,” “learn to count to 100,” and “learn to control temper” (I suspect that one will go on the goal list Every Single Year); and “skate forward and backward” (figure skating is our PE!) is right next to “learn music” (yes, that one is vague, but I’m still not sure what we’ll be doing for music. Joy insists she wants to learn banjo, but I’m thinking we might need to start with something more basic, first). Education! It’s so much more than readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic.
Grace, I suspect, will be my Montessori kid, which also ought to be fun, especially once I’ve gotten used to Joy’s learning style and have to retrain myself all over again to figure out what works best for Gracie, but I am adapting as I need, and the reward of my kid’s beaming face as she finishes up the last of last year’s workbooks before starting the new is enough for me.