Wednesday, March 23, 2011

on homeschooling, part 2

You'll have to excuse us while we play board games over our dinner; dinner of green smoothie and string cheese, no less. Paul is out of town for a few days, and well, you know what they say about the cat being away... I know, I know, 95% of the time our dinner hour is candlelit with lovely presentation and full of sharing about our day, but once in a while, it's ok to have a family game time smack in the middle of dinner, right?

So where was I? On homeschooling, yes.

I know it's only been a month since I previously shared my feelings on homeschooling, ambivalent as they were. Not really much has changed since then except this...I turned in Finn's notice of intent for next school year with an X next to the line that said "will NOT return next school year."

We really had such a wonderful week of "practice homeschooling" during February and he's always so eager to share projects, stories and work with me, that it really seems like a good fit at this point in his life. Oh, I'm nervous to be sure that I might be making a mistake in choosing to remove him from a school where he's thriving, from a method where he's learning faster than I acknowledge and from friendships that he truly enjoys.

I only hope that every day experiential learning in the kitchen, in storytime, in the grass and mud outside, even in the laundry room and farmer's market might spark a gem or nugget he might not have otherwise been fortunate enough to capture in a classroom, even one as great as Montessori.

My problem now that I've taken the leap is that I have to figure out where we fit in the giant rat maze of homeschooling styles available in this day and age. My first inclination is Waldorf, of course, and I'm sure we'll draw heavily on that method. I think Waldorf would probably be the absolutely perfect style for Elizabeth, with her head always in the clouds and a constant fairytale tucked in the corner of her brain. She's my dreamer, and she thrives on the creative, the beautiful, the breathing in and out of the natural world around her.

Finn certainly loves those things as well, but he doesn't seem to need them. In fact, he needs a concrete operational objective more often than not. A beginning and an ending. A challenge. Montessori has been wonderful for him in this way. But he's still only 4, and he loves a pretty picture book, which is why I think a blending of the two might be a good compromise for him. I guess to summarize my exact plan at this point: I intend to use the Little Acorn Learning childcare lesson plans with as many Montessori works as Finn is interested in mastering thrown in between our specific activities.

So to accomodate the burgeoning collection of books that we'll be using together, we acquired a new shelf to sit beside the art shelf to give a bit more room to keep Finn's puzzles, poetry books, his song and poetry journal and a few other things he might need close at hand. His current favorite on the shelf is actually missing in this picture because he was in the process of looking at each picture and tracing each letter with his finger. He really is eager to learn!

(Here he's actually writing a few letters on the windows with his window crayons. Eager, I'm tellin' ya!)

But most of all, I really hope he just enjoys his time at home, being a kid and playing his heart out. So many kids get so little of that these days.


  1. I can't wait to see your beautiful school year unfold.

  2. I wish you a lot of luck and happiness with this-- you will be good at it!

  3. You are awesome for thinking so deeply about all of this. That's part of the fun, I know. But also know it's ok to have no plan at all for a day/ week/ even month. It's ok to have a style so all your own that none of the conventional labels fit. It's ok just to spend a year getting to know each other even better. It's all good.

  4. Yay! For you and Finn! You are so creative, I know that it will be a lovely journey for the two of you and I can't wait to see it progress!

  5. oh yes. i think 'methods' are for the birds. do what suits you and the rest will follow--including the kids. They learn from your doing and that's the key, i've noticed, to homeschooling. The rest is whipped cream...& I can say that, because I have it down pat ;)wink;)

  6. I am so happy for you Joy!
    Linda xo

  7. Good for you! I think our daughters are very similar in personality. Whenever you mention Elizabeth, I think about how she sounds so much like my Grace. I think that Waldorf and Montessori can be blended beautifully. With homeschooling, I think flexibility is key...and you're on the right track!

  8. I love so many different approaches. It is all such a challenge. You will find your sride..

  9. Yay! I'm so excited to see what you'll be doing this year. And you can totally blend Montessori and Waldorf; we do it here and love it. My boys love their Montessori work time, but I think Waldorf is important for that magical element that littles so need. :)

  10. Joy, you are amazing! You and Finn are going to have a great time. You're putting so much thinking into it and your heart is so into it that I can only see success! Good luck! ...this is a late comment, I'm catching up on blog reading...


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