June 19, 2013

7 more days of circle time

(disclosure: this is one of those posts that might be more for me than you. I'm halfway down the page and realize I'm processing and rambling, so read at your own risk!)

We have a paper chain counting down the last days of school and we're down to 7.

It's possible I'm more excited than Guthrie and Laithe are although they're pretty excited- I just really feel like I'm the one that has to keep reminding her about the countdown . . . haha!

Things have been pretty hectic in the last few weeks, since my last post. I'm looking forward the supposed relaxation of our 7 weeks of summer break. I know those days will be hectic too, but a different kind of hectic - a hurry up and get the money before the ice cream man gets too far down the street. An, if you don't see mom in the kitchen when you wake up it's because she's working in the yard before it gets too hot kind of hectic.

As for school these last few weeks. T.S. Eliot might have had it right - not with a bang but a whimper? I'm a tad burned out. I had grand plans to finish out the year with all kinds of awesome things, but I find that the kids (and I) are happiest spending our time outside. Spending lesson time just finishing up. Guthrie is more excited than I would have guessed about finishing her Explode the Code workbook and the set of BOB books we got her for practice. She's got 6 pages of workbook left and she got out the last BOB book yesterday. At the beginning of the year I wasn't sure how either of those things would go although she had been doing the EtC at preschool and moderately enjoyed it. They have both really served a purpose, for both Guthrie and I. The BOB books, though seriously lacking in plot, have boosted her confidence and she enjoys going back to earlier books to see how easy they are for her. They have been my gateway drug to letting go of expectations. Initially I asked her to get through one new book a week. And then we took like 3 months off of reading practice! Now she gets a new one out when she wants to and I'm better about letting her little brain guide me. And, funny thing, she's gone through them much faster since I stepped back. The EtC workbook I think makes her feel like a grown up - you know, with "paperwork" to do. But just yesterday she told me she was glad her EtC book had helped her with her letter friends (phonograms) because it made reading her books easier. She's a good one for connections - at least when I let her make her own! So, we're spending these last days just closing up shop. I'm doing some mild "testing" to see if we did indeed get through the list I made at the beginning of the year. I'd been having a little stress about math, but when I created a worksheet yesterday she flew through it, so I just need to settle down a bit. It's all good. Kindergarten was a success. If she had to attend public school next year she would be somewhere in the middle with the core subjects. And I'm really, really good with that. Kindergarten is no time to overachieve. It's a place to cultivate and enjoy.

All the websites say that the first year of homeschooling is the hardest. I wasn't entirely sold on that, and I'm still not, but man I am tired; my brain hurts. When the weather turned nice finally and the public school kids had their final days of school, I think it was then that I realized how much in need of a break and recharge I am. In the Waldorf tradition they frequently introduce a new concept late in the school day via a story or experiment. After the story no questions are asked, no conclusions are drawn out loud by either the teacher or the students. The belief (a correct one I think) is that the brain needs time. Time to process and file and incorporate new information with old in order to draw any well thought out conclusion. The next day discussion and hypotheses are cracked open. But always after some sleep.

I feel like that's where I am. For sure we will be continuing this journey next year. Guthrie for First Grade (can you believe it?!) And Laithe a slow start to preschool (also shocking!).  But for these last 7 days of circle time I am spending my extra time doing some reading for next year, but then I am putting my books away and enjoying a much needed few weeks off before I really start planning for next year. My brain needs some time to sleep!

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