I’m taking a break from the Gold Rushing series to write a bit about our homeschool. Moving to California afforded us the opportunity to try a whole new life. With the girls still so young, it was not so risky to pull them out of their traditional school experience and see how home education would serve us.
Now that we’re a whole month in and some of the first hiccups are past, I’d say that we’re doing quite well. Just like with every kind of lifestyle choices, I’m never squarely into one philosophy or another. So our school techniques are reflective of that eclectic dynamic. We’re using a montessori-based math curriculum called Shiller Math. We’re reading aloud as a family every afternoon. And using the Common Core to keep track of what skills/concepts they’re expected to know in Science for their grades and doing the work with books from the library and websites. For Spanish we’re going to work through Rosetta Stone together, and for History we’re using The Story of the World.
Is this the best plan? I have no clue. But it’s the plan for now. It took me this long to get our weekly routine in order. But the daily ebb and flow was worked out very quickly. Daily we start before 9 and school-at-home our way through the morning seat work. Then in the afternoons we do a more un-school, screen-free education method. By 2pm we’re pretty much done with “school” and head out for errands or to the park. We enjoy hiking, biking around town as a family, or watching a show to two together.
We have park days two or three days a week with other families who are either homeschooling, or live in our town and have preschoolers Cressida’s age. On Thursday we have swim lesson. And I plan to add a couple more activities for the girls as our schedule settles in a bit more.
So that’s the quick and to-the-point update on what’s going on with The Brazier Academy. Stay tuned for more as we get some photos of our work, and have some fun projects to share… like the sun model we’re making out of paper machè.
Maybe one of these days I will finally stop doing the opposite of what my “better mother” planned to do (i.e. the one who hasn’t been here before and still somehow knew exactly what I would do in this situation). I confess that when I saw people with their kids, sitting at the YMCA for a sibling’s gymnastics practice, the kid listening to their iPod lost in their own world I judged them. They should be talking to their kid. That kid should be paying attention to their sibling, being encouraging. Being in the real world.
I was wrong. I sat on my high horse and felt sure our family would be different until that high horse marched me right into reality and dropped me in a puddle. I have spent every day in the car home from school with Elise, a very crabby 6 year old who takes it all out on everyone within earshot. I have tried letting her pick the music. I have tried being sure to bring a snack. I have tried bringing books for her. I have tried engaging her in one-on-one talks. None of this has had the power to stop her from melting down after school. She is just can’t keep it together.
Finally, I asked her why she was finding it so hard to be calm in the car. Finally meaning in April, the second to last month of the school year (I’m a slow learner). She was so clear in her response, “I’m so tired after being good all day at school I forget that my words hurt people.”
So I got her an iPod shuffle and she listens to it whenever we’re driving. She’s around people all day. She’s going here and there with me all day. She has to be engaged with others all day, whether she’s in the mood or not. So, reality has once again shown me how parenting really is, instead of how I thought it should be. I was wrong again, but at least this time I’m not surprised. And now our car is full of peace. No one screaming at anyone, everyone enjoying their own down time after school. And Elise is recharged enough after a car ride to hop out and enjoy a day at the park with her family, engaged and participating with the real world.
I stand corrected.
I always forget that just because you are my oldest kid, you are still a very young kid. I’m sorry I always expect you to get it right the first time, and always try to get you to do things on your own when you aren’t yet ready. I will try to remember to let you be little. Because, well, you’re little.