Thursday, September 17, 2009

How I got started on Homeschool

...and homeschool blogging.

When my first born was 15 months old we were at the pediatrician's office for her regular check-up. We had brought along her favorite picture book DK My First Word: Touch and Feel. She was sitting on the exam table looking through it as the Dr. reviewed her files. She rapped her little knuckles on the photo of a door said, "nowk, nowk", pretended to pick up the telephone receiver (from the photo) and said "ello" as she went on naming and "interacting" with the photos, the Dr. said something like, "That's cute. Did you teach her that?" "No," I replied, "she did it on her own" His eyes widened and so I knew, before he even proclaimed it, "That's a very big step in cognition for one so little". For my Dad's birthday, when she was 23 months, we made a card out of a scribbled on page and a traced hand. She took it from him and returned moments later. She had adorned it with the letters N, T and A. Pointing out each clearly formed letter as she told us what it was. Which were also things I had not "taught" her. (sometimes I think she wrote better then than she does now!) I didn't assume my child was a genius, but I could clearly see that she learned things just by observing. That hidden behind her quiet, but talkative, nature was a quickly turning mind. That is when I started to look into Montessori schools. That was when I discovered the least expensive schools, which were run out of church basements and doubled as Sunday school rooms so they weren't exactly set up right, still would cost $500 a month for 3hrs a day 3days a week. (I totally get regular preschools run out of church basements in the Sunday school rooms, sent my kids to one, it's just not appropriate for Montessori unless it's a Montessori room) Anyway, I didn't have $500 extra and I wasn't going to drive my child to school in a sketchy part of town and I didn't have $660 extra to keep her close by. So, I just worked with her at home, reading books, discussing things, drawing, attempting to get her to trace and write letters (she still dislikes all that stuff). We started math with things like "How many cheese cubes did I give you?" "Yes, one. Is that enough? Do you want me to ADD to it? I ADDED 2, now how many do you have?" Nothing monumental, started small and worked our way up. But the more I did those things and watched how she learned, the more determined I became to get her a Montessori style education. But it just wasn't going to happen people so I had to take matters into my own hands. I got some books, read some websites, joined some Yahoo groups. But I was still feeling lost. I hadn't found any one's tale of how EXACTLY they got started. What was their first purchase, why, etc. etc. I was too nervous, sometimes I still am, to be able to effectively use my own brain power (and sleep deprived, I had 2 more children during this time - not twins).
So, still not knowing anything about blogging, I started Montessori From Scratch about 13 months ago. I intended, and still do, to make it a place to learn how to, well, do what the title says. I'd hoped to find the materials, time and voice to make it a worthwhile place to visit. But, I've lost my voice somewhere. The poetry that used to flow in my head all day vanished years ago, the witty remarks that I formed in an instant became more and more rare. I'd found exhaustion, brain fog, depression and antipathy. I was too overwhelmed with the 3 kids and all the attention each one needed to make a cohesive lesson plan, to make the materials, do the projects, teach the lessons. I know many people do those things just fine, or even excellently, but not me, at least not the me I had become. It wasn't just the kids, you can read some of my cranky side and marriage tribulations if you're interested. But the plan wasn't working and neither was the blogging. I "gave up" for a while and went back to my natural form of teaching which I'd describe as "casual unschooling." I learned more about my children's learning styles and watched as my eldest grew beyond some of the early Montessori work. I realized that I was firmly on the eclectic side of schooling, which really was no surprise, I'm eclectic in many ways. And I started another blog. Another attempt to give guidance that I had not found - or not easily found anyway. But I'm still lacking time, clarity and voice. I'm not sure if I'll fulfill my vision for this blog but I like doing it anyway.
If any of you would like to guest post the whys and hows of starting your homeschool journey, I'd love to hear it and to share it. And, if I have reached anybody who is where I found myself 2 years ago, feel free to ask me a question. There is so much more to what I've done than what I've blogged about and I'd be happy to answer you / direct you to where I found my answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment