Monday, February 11, 2013
I'm so happy with Michael's progress in home school. His reading is really progressing. We're practicing during lesson times as well as at night before I read a chapter book. He just finished reading his second Little Bear book and is so proud. We're still sounding out most words but now he's remembering some of the words as well and when he comes to them he reads them out proudly. Those moments always give me a little thrill.
Math has been fun! This is still surprising to me as I always loathed Math and had to jump through some mental hurdles to get to this point. At first, I wasn't sure how to extend the Math gnome stories. Now, I find they just seem to come up as we explore numbers. We've been playing with our gnomes and jewels and number cards. I make up stories on the spot and we just have fun with them.
I like our home school so much better when I loosely follow our plans, when I let spontaneity thrive. However... Michael wants to go to school!!!
There is a charter school in our area that his best buddy goes to. It's a very small, project based school. They have only one class in each grade. They wear uniforms & take walks everyday. A chef prepares their whole food lunches daily. The kids eat in their classroom and parents and young siblings are welcome to come and have lunch at the school. Also snacks are prepared by parents and served mid morning. It's a lovely school, very relaxed about learning styles and levels and they do not teach to the tests. All the parents are required to put in a certain amount of volunteer time in their child's class or helping to prepare lunch. All of this sounds fabulous to me and to Michael too! So we've put Michael's name in the lottery to attend school next year (It's a year round school and so begins in July!). Being a lottery, he may or may not get in, we will see. We're excited though at the possibility.
Of course for Mommy there's a little flip side to that excitement. Have I prepared him well enough? Is his reading at grade level? Math? Right now, in addition to our Waldorf lessons we are also doing workbooks in math & reading! (gasp!) I figure he needs to learn how to do those worksheets if he's to be in school. That's a joke really, I don't know how often this school uses worksheets. But I really want to make sure he's up to grade level and feels confident in his skills and traditional book work. So far it's going well and he's found the workbooks really fun. Where I feel appropriate we add in our Waldorf sensibilities. For instance in the math workbook there was a little cartoon activity to count by 2's. We count by 2's in circle time. We wrote out counting by 2's on the board and we counted out our glass jewels by 2's. In the above photo we were looking at counting by tens. I was showing him how we can add ten to get to the next number or we can use multiply who is a bit more efficient in adding bigger amounts. The hands on Waldorf methods and the workbooks have been really fun for him. If he doesn't get into the charter this year then we will continue with home school next year and apply again.
I'm a bit nervous about this new direction and a little emotional as I write this. I'm trying to have faith and simply follow where we feel divinely led. If it's right for Michael, I feel sure he'll get in. And if not, and another year of home school would be best for him than I think we will be led in that direction. Either way, I know Michael will be well cared for.
Would we be giving up on Waldorf? That question had crossed my mind, but followed by a most emphatic "no"! I LOVE Waldorf and we will still have a Waldorf home. We'll still be doing our Waldorf crafts, perhaps after school or on weekends and vacations. Our rhythm will continue, our nature table, our creative play. And then there's little Owen, not so little anymore. He will be four years old in June. He will get the benefit of one on one time with Mommy, we'll do storytelling, circle time, baking, painting, etc. If Michael goes to school we will most definitely be reading his 3rd grade Old Testament stories at bed time. Waldorf will still thrive in our home.
And honestly, the idea of having this "village" to help raise our kids sounds really good to me right now.
Until next time...