Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Crazy Idea

It all started at the end of last year, when Ben and I met with Zosia's kindergarten teacher.  All year we had this little pesky voice in the back of our minds that was saying we should homeschool Zosia.  And yet it seemed like sort of a crazy thing to do, you know?  And so we were going into school to have some sense talked into us by the person who knows Zosia "the student" best.  

As we settled into the meeting and started chatting, it was actually Zosia's teacher who brought up homeschooling.  And rather than give us a pep talk about keeping her in school, she talked about how wonderful it would be for Zosia to have the individualized attention, the ability to go ahead at her own pace, and how easy it is these days to find a homeschooling community.  Honestly, we were a little stunned, and went home re-evaluating our plans for the coming year.

Then enter the twins.  When we found out we were having not one, but two babies, we backed off of our plans.  After all, I had always imagined homeschooling as the opportunity to go out and take full advantage of the resources all over the city: the zoo, the museums, the Kennedy center.  That wouldn't be possible with newborns, let alone with a very pregnant body.  

But it was Zosia who continued to press us on the topic.  She loved school, don't get me wrong.  And we live in one of the very best school districts in the country.  Kindergarten was a great experience, and Zosia made many good friends.  But Zosia missed seeing her family.  She wanted more time to do free writing, to read.  She is an incredibly self-motivated learner, this one, and a very fluid reader.  And all through the first year, she was utterly exhausted at the end of the day.  We loved the idea of giving her opportunities to learn and play without the exhaustion.

So after much lobbying on the part of Zosia, and much careful consideration on our part, we're embarking on something that feels just a little bit crazy!  We will be homeschooling our first grader this coming year, really thinking of it as "just one year."  It will be a very home based homeschool, and that is fine with both us and her.  That means for Hugo, I will probably be organizing a few montessori-style activities to keep him occupied for an hour or two while I do some schoolwork with Zosia.  Lily will be in preschool a few mornings a week, which will help with the plan.  All of the grandparents are very excited to help (all four of them have experience as educators), and we have friends and family members experienced in this homeschooling thing, whose advice we will absolutely draw from.  When the twins come, we will take time off, and she will continue to do her own thing at her own pace, and probably be a huge help with the babies.  We don't know exactly what things will look like, but we will figure it out together, and we are very much looking forward to that.  I'll keep you posted, and share what this homeschooling thing looks like as we figure it out.

In the mean time, do any of you have experience or advice?  Or great montessori ideas for 2-year olds?


Stephanie said...

Adele - Congrats on making the decision to homeschool Zosia! I've always admired families who homeschool, and I'll be excited to follow your experiences with it this fall. If you haven't come across it yet, one of my favorite Montessori blogs is How We Montessori - Lots of resources and ideas for Hugo's age!

Rosie said...

How wonderful for you all and Zosia! I think it's awesome that this is so motivated by her desire - I think the fact that she wants it so much will really help things keep going even when your hands are tied up with the twins. And I imagine you can do a fair amount of teaching while tandem nursing in the early months!

Melissa said...

It really looks as if God is pointing you toward homeschooling, all right! I bet you and Zosia will have a terrific time with it!

Adele said...

Stephanie, thanks for the website! It looks great.

Adele said...

Rosie, I'm hoping that is how it will work! I am already brainstorming teaching activities that will work from a sitting position (and do not involve hands :-)

Adele said...

We certainly feel that is true, Melissa! Two days in and we are loving it.

Melissa said...

I know I already commented, but I had an idea. Rosie and her siblings all went to Montessori school starting at 2.5 or 3. She has already been doing some Montessori-type stuff with John Paul (mostly) and Cecilia (who must do everything John Paul does). One of the things she has done is having the kids pour rice on a special tray that they use only for projects like this. And she colors the rice in advance so that they can mix the colors and see what happens. I wonder if you could go to Rosie's sometime while you're still relatively mobile and have her show you and Hugo some of her tricks. You're going to want to go there anyway to see the twins again, right?