Selby's class (3rd-5th) began the day with a "Biome Play" in the woods behind the school. As attendees walked along the trail, we encountered all kinds of animals found in a tropical/subtropical forest. From birds, to snakes, to big cats, to sloths, a variety of creatures visited with us and shared their stories. We learned of their habitats, scientific classifications, diets, behaviors, and more. Each child had researched an animal, created a costume, written and memorized a script, and then presented themself before a group. Impressive and wildly entertaining!
Last week, each family had been asked to create individual self portraits as a family homework assignment. These had been artfully incorporated into a wall of "family trees"... here's ours:
Some Thoughts on Schooling...At this time last year, I was in the throws of making a very important choice to change the direction of my children's schooling. The decision was to take my eldest out of traditional public school after her second grade year, and to move my youngest from an all-play-based preschool we absolutely loved. Both girls were to transition to a small Montessori charter school in the fall. Yikes! Would we like it? Would it be the right learning environment for my "dreamer"? Would it be too regimented for my preschooler? So much was unknown, but I'd done my research and we were prepared to give it a whirl. I'm so glad we did...
My decision to change course has been reinforced again and again throughout the school year. I've measured the success of our choice not through grades or academic achievements (although progress in this area has been rewarding). But instead, through smiling faces, a strong love of learning, a growing sense of community, and the holistic development and celebration of my girls' unique selves. They not only love learning, they love belonging to a community where they are recognized for who they are. Despite the discomfort of the initial change of course, I now have complete confidence that our ship is sailing in the right direction.
It seems choosing schooling for our precious littles is harder than it should be, and more complicated than it once was. Homeschool, unschool, public, private, charter, Montessori, Waldorf... there are so many paths to explore. I believe no single choice is the "right" one... but one is the right choice for your family. If the schooling path your following isn't working, I encourage you to change directions and try something new until you find one that does. You'll know when you get it right... it will show in their shining, happy faces.