Saturday, December 29, 2012

The New Year Is Almost Here

Just taking some time this Saturday morning to think about this fall, my kids' schooling, what went well, what needs to be tweaked and what might need to be thrown out all together with 2013 starting. ;) But, let's face it, my mind is more on starting off 2013.

As we sort out my daughter's health issues, I do believe that will help get things on track better with her. She has already decided that she will resume math next week, with the aim of getting the second-last unit done the first or second day officially back. She has until the end of January to get the math done--the unit work, a project she needs to do and the final exam--but it's the only subject she has with these sort of requirements, so it should be okay. I think we do need to sit down and go subject-by-subject with things and figure out a plan for January in terms of what to get done. Her novel study for English ought to be one thing--if she gets that done, she will be on track for a full-year course. But art is getting neglected, her phys. ed. hours haven't been tallied and sent in, German... who knows where that is. She has science and social studies starting second semester and they will likely take up a good amount of her time.

As I write all this, my mind goes back to her health. We can have all the plans we want, but if she's not feeling well, then it's very hard to push things through. At the same time, my mind is going we need some sort of routine. Routines help. They can be hard to start, but they help in the long run. I'll need to think about this more.

When it comes to my son, I reread what I last wrote. I do definitely want more "real life" work with him. Some ideas off the top of my head:

*menu planning
*inside gardening: what kinds of things could we grow in the house? what would we need?
*household care--his laundry, dealing with stains, fixing things in his room, cleaning his room... ;) ; he already has been using the snowblower this winter and shovelling the driveway and walks, largely because my husband broke his big toe and developped an infection in it and really had to stop doing as much
*pet care--he keeps saying he'd like this pet or that pet, which are all impractical at this point (like a rabbit), imho, but if he can participate more in the animal care around here, and we can get his room clean (only possible place for a caged animal), then it might be a possibility
*building things--um, what could he build?

He's gone grocery shopping with me a couple of times recently. I had been in the habit of going alone for years--it was faster and we bought less. (lol) I do think bringing him along more often will be good and can be tied in with things like the menu planning: "How much does it cost to buy everything we need for that meal? Etc." He did get a lesson in looking at the price tags and comparing prices based on volume and started using it right away with other things.

He does still love doing science things so I do need to resume that. He loves working with the chemistry sets and experiments and all that.

One thing that definitely is not working is allowing him to go off into his room each morning under the guise of reading. I've realized lately that he's actually laying down for most of it, just reading his comics. Hm. There's more to life than laying in bed reading comics! It's my job to show him that. I'll really need to do more reading and research and get a plan and perhaps schedule in place. Schedule--that has me thinking...

As I face the next part of our school year and current schedule, I know in my heart I don't want this schedule next year. It is good income with the French classes and is fun, but the schedule makes it hard on us: Monday afternoons I'm unavailable, all day Thursday, busy. There's something about it that affects our flow. Granted, dd is in a program on Thursdays which will be starting on Jan. 10, so there's that upheaval anyhow, but... As much as I am loving teaching the French class kids, my heart is yearning for something different, for it to be just us. Income-wise, this means I'm going to have to figure something out, but I've got some time for that. Online classes through Learn It Live, perhaps, or writing or some online business I can work on early in the morning or in the evening or get more earnings from Stampin' Up or a combination thereof or... Something. I'll put this desire out there with the faith and hope that the answer will come to me. :)

For right now, that's enough thinking. It's no longer Saturday morning, but 12 noon and I'm hungry. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Some thoughts this Monday evening

I'm at my daughter's dance studio, trying to work out a plan for my son for the week. There has been some attempt on my part to work on the inner preparation that is so vital to implementing Montessori... well... anywhere. There is "Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful" that I started rereading and I'm trying to absorb what I need to. Then tonight, some research on the Erdkinder approach.

It's hit me that I've fallen into just trying to get him to cover some work. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I've lost the vision, I've lost sight of what I'm working towards. If I just want work for him, I could just get the school texts and hand them over and say, "Here, read this and this and that." Or I could use the Ambleside curriculum and just "get him educated' and develop work habits.

But here's the thing: I love Montessori. I may not have known how to make it work with the schooling situation we had in the house the past several years, but I love Montessori. I believe it is better for my son to learn to explore and question and think and have the freedom (within limits) that the Montessori method offers. When I get into "gotta get work done" mode, I lose the essence of Montessori. Am I making any sense? I'm tired; it's probably showing.

I was just reading this article from the Montessori for Everyone site, as well as checking out the Hershey Montessori school site. I love what these two sites have to say. Is my son still at the 6-12 level, I don't know. But surely it can't do any harm to pick an element or two to start incorporating into our days? Just today, he asked specifically for spaghetti for supper. I said we could, it changed my plans, and I wanted him to help me. He was quite happy to! Wouldn't this be a wonderful thing, for him to develop skill and confidence in the kitchen at the age of 12? He can make some things on his own, but this idea of really working on kids being self-sufficient at this age, rather than a focus of more academics, is really catching me. (He also told me that he didn't have anymore clean underwear. I told him to bring his laundry down to the washing machine. There wasn't any grumbling or anything, he was quite happy to sort his clothes into the washer, fill the cup, get it going...)

He does enjoy the books I find from the library, and he's amenable to doing math and handwriting practice (when I have him do it), but there's been a core element missing. That vision of where we're going or something. Maybe it is that I'm sensing a change in him. He's no longer seeking out things to do like he used to not long ago; if not given something to do, he will just spend his time reading comics. There's been a change and I somehow didn't see it until right now that the change was a signal to a developmental change going on. He likes to be included, he likes to be able to do things that make him independent. I'm going to have to keep this in mind as I plan things from now on!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Resistant Child Has Fun

I was going to post earlier this week about my resistant child and his resistance to going to a play today, but it's been a crazy week. He's never been to a play and this was supposed to be a good one, A Christmas Carol. Instead of giving him a choice, I decided to make the decision for him: he was going. He had some attitude--or expression of his discomfort of going--earlier this week and even this morning before we left. I didn't make a big deal of it, but when his attitude was starting to be directed at others, I told him he needed to change it. I didn't hear another complaint.

The play was FANTASTIC! He even complimented certain parts of it when we were done. I have not asked him how he liked it, simply shared with both of my kids what I liked about it. He has not said he didn't like it and given his interest during the play and comments after it, I know he enjoyed it. *sigh* All the fuss from him for 2.5 hours he enjoyed.

I'm trying hard to keep in mind Maria Montessori's idea of not leaving a child to himself, of the adult's responsibility to remove blocks. For whatever reason--genetic or not--he's got this resistance to new places, new people, new things. He invariably ends up enjoying himself, but the level of discomfort he feels before hand would have him not do anything new. He's always been like this. I still remember him not wanting to get into our new van when he was 3. After a week or so, he asked when we were going to get the red van, the old van, back. lol. Definite attachment to what he knows and sometimes, mama's just got to say, "I know what's better for you," and do it.

Do you have a resistant child? Any stories you care to share?