With Summer in full swing, we have been busy non-stop. Spending a lot of time at the beach and pool, and enjoying some family time. Since this was my first year of home schooling, I wasn’t sure how our summer would look. Would we still do our mini lessons? Would we just continue adventuring? Would we just take a break from it all? Obviously, when summer first began, I was feeling super motivated to continue working on reading and adding in some math to our mom school. Then I started reading this book, “Free to Learn” by Peter Gray. It reminded me of the power and importance of just playing. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the worry of academics that we forget our goal is to nurture and encourage a tiny human being, not just put checks in boxes. So, I’ve been way more laid back and honestly it has been a nice break for me as well. Not feeling like I needed to set the table, or make it to the library every week. We are still doing our read aloud time at night, and doing lots of crafts and coloring, spending lots of time playing in the yard, and going on adventures.
Now that it’s already July, I am starting to think about what next year will look like. It’s first grade and my daughter wants to continue on with her Waldorf enrichment program. So, I am planning on continuing with the “Waldorf inspired” education. I say “inspired” because we aren’t following along exactly. Like I have said before, there are some things I love about Waldorf and some things I’d rather do differently. That, after all, is the beauty in home schooling. I can honestly say that I’d prefer to just do all home schooling and no enrichment program. It’s not that I don’t like the program, we love the people and my daughter loves the social interaction, but it would be nice to have even less running around and more flexibility in our schedule. I feel like I have more confidence in the process this year and I don’t feel the need to have an enrichment program as a crutch.
GOALS FOR FIRST GRADE-
Encourage Khloe to read. (She can read a little bit, but it’s mostly memorization at this point.) I’m not going to be pushy here, just encouraging.
Add in some simple math
Continue on with our “Adventure Learning”
Have fun and be a kid
I am not over planning, I am not spending $500 on curriculum. I am not adding pressure. I truly believe Khloe learns just fine with no worksheets, no “assignments”, and no requirements. She has a hunger for learning every single day, which is the goal of this more laid back approach. To kindle and a fire, not extinguish it.
My son, Asher will be four in September, most kids his age will be in pre-school. Khloe did a pre-k program at his age and she loved it however, I am not a firm believer in pre-school. I feel like most parents, like me, do it because everyone else is doing it and no one wants their child to be behind. With my new found courage to go against the grain, Asher won’t be in pre-k. He will be included in our “mom school” lessons, and offered an abundance of time to just play and be a four year old. He is a lot different that Khloe, they have totally opposite personalities. Khloe is a hands on learner, busy, overwhelmed by too much instruction. Her brain just shuts off when she feels pushed. Asher can sit for a long time, he’s very tidy, and type A personality. He’s very observant, and also learned a lot this year, but he’s four. He still calls every bird an owl or a hawk, and would rather play motorcycles than learn to write his name. So, my plan is to include him, offer him a spot at our table, and if he chooses to play motorcycles, or climb a tree, that is fine too. There is a lot of pressure on our children to be forced to learn earlier and earlier and there’s little to no actual proof that it is beneficial in any way. So just trust your gut!
My youngest daughter Sawyer will be two in December. She is like our little stick of dynamite. When Sawyer wakes up from a nap and the older two are playing so nicely, I give them a warning, “I am about to let her loose,” and they all move quickly knowing what is about to come out of that room. A little chubby thighed ball of destruction. She wants so badly to just be “part of the club.” You know, that often unspoken “older kids club.” So, I will also be including Sawyer. Unless by fall she has given up her nap, I plan on doing the stuff that requires more concentration, like math or reading, during her nap time. When she is awake, I’m planning on just providing her with coloring or free play opportunities and hoping for the best.
I am not going to over plan this year, because what I have learned ever so quickly is, NOTHING GOES AS PLANNED. It’s a big step for me because I am a list making, plan having, organized, orderly person. Plans for kids, make pressure and obligations, being more open allows for things to flow freely. It allows for a happier home, and a happier child who is eager to learn and a happier me!