Friday, August 24, 2012
Unfortunately this atmosphere of constant collaboration is one element of the Montessori method that cannot be entirely replicated at home. While that may be an argument for choosing a traditional Montessori school over a Montessori homeschool, it often comes off as an argument against using the Montessori method to homeschool, leading families to chose another method for their homeschools when that is not the intent. (This plays out all the time. An excited family finds a Montessori community online and says "we plan to homeschool and are so excited about Montessori." The Montessor teacher says "The group element is an important part of Montessori so I wouldn't consider it at home." The family says "Oh, Okay!" and homeschools using a different method. The teacher was trying to encourage them to consider a traditional Montessori school, not chase them away from Montessori altogether. I think they forget that sometimes the decision to homeschool can be stronger than the decision to use Montessori.) I happen to believe there are enough positives that result from homeschooling that I am interested in educating the boys at home despite missing out on that one element of the method. "Cherry-picking" different aspects of the Montessori method is always discouraged because the many principles of the method work together to educate the child. However, the fact remains that we are still only talking about one piece of the puzzle here, and I don't think its necessary to stand so firmly on principle that one has to throw out the whole casserole. Since I get to choose how to educate the boys, I am going to stick with my favorite....Montessori. I'll try not to act all surprised and disgruntled when I run into the consequences :)
This means that one of my jobs IS still to find outlets for Kal-El's new "pack instinct." Interpreted quite literally, one of the things he will be participating in this year is boy scouts. I think it will be a perfect fit for my nature-obsessed, vest wearing, patch-wearing 6 yo.
Also, because we have chosen the pack that is associated with the relatively small neighborhood school that services our neighborhood, we hope that this will be a good way to connect with the other little boys in our immediate area.
Another exciting addition this year is the homeschool coop that we have joined through our church. We have chosen a church with a large homeschooling community. Twice monthly we meet on Friday mornings and the children have art class, physical education, and one other subject that changes annually. This year the third subject is "American Presidents." Once a month there is a field trip. Once a month they do a service project "out in the world." The coop also puts on things like an annual music program, play, and graduation ceremony because that's the type of thing public schools do that homeschooling families are actually a little sad about missing. It is great that this is through our church because the kids in the coop are then the same kids the boys see at Sunday school, church picnics, etc.,
As last year, the boys are studying Suzuki violin. Suzuki violin traditionally involves a weekly group class in addition to individual lessons. We are still waiting to hear about that for this year (we've changed teachers) but I anticipate that we will be able to do that. The boys really love seeing other kids playing the violin too and like to play in a group like that.
Lastly, the boys are very VERY interested in some kinds of martial arts class.
As valuable as I'm sure it is, we can NOT be one of those families that reports to karate classes twice a week. The violin is already a time-consuming, expensive hobby with similar benefits. Sometimes you just can't do everything. However, one of our local Karate studios offers a package that lets you buy your uniform and a pack of 8 drop-in classes that you can use as you wish. It will take us a long time to use up eight classes and I am hoping that they might be convinced to let us buy another pack after we use up the first one.
My next post will get into all the nitty gritty of math, language, spelling and the like for the next year. I apologize for my slow posting lately. We've had house guests (again) and it gets really hard to get a turn on the computer with extra adults standing in line. It's extra tricky to write a homeschooling blog during your turn if your house guests don't believe in homeschooling, don't believe in blogs, and don't believe in putting the kids pictures on the internet. Our family is back on its own again. I am really excited about the new year. The kids are charged up. Materials are pouring in. I have sooo much to blog about I'm ready to explode, so I hope this period of "dragging you along" is over. Thanks for reading!