We’ve been away again—literally and figuratively—and once again I have some catching up to do. I began writing this two weeks ago, now, after Asher’s first week of “little Kindergarten”…so it’s mostly out of date now, but still something I want to share.
Asher’s first week of school deserves some attention, don’t you think?
Julia’s firsts always seem to arrive with a great deal of fanfare because…well, they come first. But this was a big week for Asher, who finally—in his estimation—has joined his big sister at schooling.
We are again using Kelly’s sweet Lavender’s Blue Kindergarten. Julia loved it last year, and I did, too: full of stories and craft ideas but not so structured that it feels like something we are imposing on our regular routine. We’ve incorporated the stories—one for each week, usually closely tied to the part of the season we’re in at the moment—into our mornings, reading the same story each day. (By Friday both of them—although Julia sometimes remembers from last year—are telling much of the story with me, which is part of the point of reading it every day, isn’t it?)
Asher’s “little Kindergarten” is happening much more reliably than Julia’s did. I’m not very good with a schedule, and at heart I am more of an unschooler than anything else; the things I remember from my own education are the interests I spent hours in the library researching, checking out every book on volcanoes, the space program, the exploration of the western frontier…
But George (rightly, I think) points out that this is my learning style, not necessarily my children’s. And right now they are both interested in “doing school.” So we do.
Each morning we read a poem and Asher’s story, and then—this is a new experiment we’ve begun this week—a bit from a book: science & nature on Monday (right now, a re-reading of some of our favorite Thornton W. Burgess stories), geography on Tuesday, math on Wednesday, history on Thursday (we’ve been reading about the American Revolution, since we spent time in Boston earlier this month), and health on Friday. It’s a work in progress, this morning routine of ours, and we’re changing it as we go along. Julia does a little focused work in (pre)reading and math, and then we’re done, with plenty of free time for them to explore whatever calls them.
They spent an hour yesterday morning (this was yesterday morning about two weeks ago, now) using modeling wax to make beards and eyebrows and noses, sticking them to their faces and talking in funny accents. Then they made fingernails and dragon eyebrows (I guess dragons have different eyebrows than people do) and played at being a witch and a dragon. I sat rocking the baby—no, we don’t have another baby; our little friend Maya stays with us a few days a week while her mama works—and watching while trying not to look like I was watching. The whole tone of their play changes when they know I am looking, like they are performing for me rather than working out of their own imaginations, so I try to seem like I am paying attention to something else, and so far I am still convincing to them.
I watched and wondered, as I do many times every day, how it is that I was lucky enough to have the privilege of watching these two grow and guiding them as they learn. It is, unquestionably, the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced.
And just like that, my boy has left his baby days behind—although he still doesn’t mind when I call him my baby and tells me he will still be my baby even when he is my age and is a papa—and joined his sister with both feet firmly planted in childhood.