The love of learning runs deeply in me and has been one of the most constant longings throughout my life. Continually seeking greater and deeper knowledge colors the way I interact with the world and even with others. I’m constantly searching for answers to problems I don’t understand. My oldest daughter shares this desire for knowledge with me, and I find myself challenged by her questions. And yet, I cannot imagine anyone else answering these questions for her and guiding her learning.
When I was pregnant with her I fell in love with the simple and child affirming Montessori philosophy. Last year V attended Montessori preschool 4 days a week for half of the day. I was confident we would love it.
Can I be honest with you? It was a tough year. Although she enjoyed going to school, I suspect it was more the social interactions than the actual methodology. She was often anxious and reluctant to go to school and would wonder why she couldn’t play at her school with the other kids. This troubled me. As is typical of Montessori, the focus is on work rather than imaginative play. Although I still love the Montessori method, I’m not sure it’s right for us. Moving to Indiana gave us the chance to reconsider schooling and perhaps plan a different direction.
She will be staying home with me this year, and my hope is that I can direct her curiosity in a natural way toward purposeful learning. Lately, I’ve been inspired by some (although not all) aspects of the Waldorf method, however, I’m hoping to avoid strict methods this time around. We will keep it simple–lots of time exploring nature, good children’s literature, practical math (cooking, counting objects, etc.), and character building. We have connected with another homeschooling family, and I hope to meet others. Soon I hope to share a general outline for the year with you; however my intent is not to be a stickler to a schedule, but rather use it to guide our days.
This year is the experiment to see if homeschooling is right for our family. After years of teaching other people’s children, I am so looking forward to the challenge and joy of teaching my own. And if it doesn’t work like I think it will? I have my eye on a local homeschool “school” that is based on the Sudbury model of education and allows students to attend 1-4 days per week. V will be old enough to attend next year, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.