It only took about a month of having my daughter in public school to come to the conclusion that I wanted something different for her. My husband and I were desperate to find something better. We toured a private school that we knew we couldn’t afford, we put her on a wait list for a local charter school, and then one phone call from my husbands co-worker changed it all. He gave us all the information about a charter school/home school program. I had a great informative conversation with his wife and that’s when I knew this was the answer we had been searching for. The whole process was a bit of a blur. Enrolling in the charter school, filling out paper work to withdrawal her from public school, letting the teacher know, figuring out curriculum and enrichment programs. It was all exciting and so terrifying at the same time.
My daughter is very creative and definitely one of those kids who might not thrive in a traditional classroom setting. She’s busy, and energetic, gets bored easily and needs to have an open-ended creative outlet. She needs to be outside, dirty, barefoot, and learning with her hands. In her short time in public school I saw so many changes in her. Some of them broke my heart. I remember telling my husband, “they are dimming her light.” How sad for a five year old to be made feel that they aren’t good enough. Your pencil grip isn’t good, study your sight words, count and write these numbers over and over again. Only use the water fountain for four seconds, and you can’t play on the playground after school, its dangerous. So.many. weird.rules. Obviously I know the teachers mean well and are stretched so thin and burnt out and under paid. I feel bad for them. All the more reason for me to take this into my own two hands. We decided to do a Waldorf inspired enrichment program two days a week. Some of you may already know but in Waldorf schools they don’t teach academics in Kindergarten. Kindergarten is about playing, working, and learning useful real life skills. Since I don’t follow a curriculum, we adventure! I do still put together little lessons, but they are laid back and interest based. Our latest outing was such a pretty display of the miracles nature is capable of.
For years I’ve been wanting to witness the beauty of the wild poppy fields here in California. It happens every spring and the pictures I’ve seen look breath-taking. The poppy reserve is about two and a half hours away from our house, but since I was flying solo this weekend, I was looking for an adventure just a tad bit closer. I am a brave woman, but I’ve learned that everyone is happier when I don’t bite off more than I can chew. Having three very volatile variables (V3’s) in my back seat, tends to be a bit intimidating when we venture too far from home without any backup. I started researching and found the flower fields in Carlsbad. A much closer trip for us and oh so beautiful.
I like to make these trips as fun and educational as possible, so I bought a few disposable cameras so the kids could take pictures of all the different colors they saw. I thought they would have fun getting them developed and getting to actually HOLD the pictures they took. My oldest was so into this idea, and had so many questions about how we get pictures if we can’t see them right away! She’s six so obviously her whole life she has only seen digital cameras. I will never forget sitting around my Grandma’s dining room table looking through bins of old pictures and laughing at all the fun memories. This is something I hope my grand kids are doing at my dining room table someday.
So armed with a few disposable cameras, sunscreen and enough snacks for a small army we headed out.
The Flower fields are 50 acres of giant ranunculus growing on a hillside overlooking the ocean. Rows and rows of beautiful vibrant colors. We got some great pictures and had a fun time wandering the fields and playing on the really cool playground. If you decide to venture down to the flowers fields, I’d warn you. Its expensive! $16 for an adult, $8 for kids over 3. Then if you decide to ride the tractor it’s another $3-5 per person. Now you throw in warm temperatures, hot, thirsty kids, and cute little stands with extremely over priced ice cream cones and lemonade, you are looking at quite a chunk of change. Especially for a family of 5.
To everyone curious or on the fence about home school,public schools, charter schools, etc. Trust your gut! If you feel something isn’t right for your child have courage and trust that you know whats best for them. No one loves your children more than you do.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”-Aristotle