Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What have we been up to?

Hi everyone! It has been a while since I posted. Life has changed a lot for us and it has not left as much time for blogging. I would like to take a moment to update you on what we have been up to lately.

T is nearly 9 now. He has been enrolled in a local Montessori school in the lower elementary program for 8 months. In this particular school they have a large enrollment and have split the elementary program into two parts, lower 6-9 and upper 9-12. This is a fairly common practice in schools with large enrollment. The year prior to T attending they had fewer students and the group was combined. They had several students move up from primary (3-6) and new students enroll making the group too large for just one classroom/teacher. I really like the way they have arranged things at his school because while they did split the group, they have several activities together.

T absolutely LOVES his school. I am happy to report that our decision to stop homeschooling and put him back into a regular Montessori school was a huge success. He is a super social person and he really needed that collaboration time with his peers. No matter how many groups or outside activities I planned for him with other children while homeschooling, it just wasn't enough for him. He is a strong extrovert. I had a bit of trouble understanding this because I am a strong introvert and the idea of homeschooling over any school would have thrilled me, but it was not the same situation for him. He is thriving in his new school.

We have noticed several improvements in his acedemics while attending his new school as well. He has struggled with handwriting but it has greatly improved this year. It is still far from perfect but it is easier to read and he is not using as many uppercase letters in the wrong places like he used to. He has recently started practicing more cursive writing too. His school has a weekly spelling "test" which I think has really helped him. While they do test the child's knowledge of the spelling of words, it is not a standard test where all children learn the same words, study everyday and pass or fail the test. Each child works through the word cards at their own pace. They do several exercises during the week that incorporate the words so they can learn them through usage rather than studying. If they misspell a word on the "test," they simply repeat the same words the next week and only move on when they have mastered that list of words. I was worried at first because he was always a phonetic speller, but he has really done well with his spelling. He has also improved greatly on his self direction. While homeschooling he would often not know what to work on or he didn't have interest in working on any of the works we had. I think a big part of his motivation is linked to seeing other children use the works in the classroom setting. Also, his Montessori trained teacher has a better handle on keeping plenty of new work rotating in the classroom for when children need motivation.

We have not found much of a downside to sending him to his new school. I feel like it is a good fit for our family. The costs of private school are substantial which is a downside but we are willing to make the sacrifices to make it happen. Some things I miss about homeschooling include the lack of commute, our own schedule, field trips, and more family time. The commute is not that bad but I do often feel like I am always running the kids somewhere. T is in school each day, B does a small preschool program for a couple of hours a few days a week, then there is karate three times a week. It can be hectic, I miss the easy schedule of homeschooling. I also liked the fact that we could make our own schedule day to day and holidays/breaks. His new school mostly follows the public school schedule which is  ok, but that means we have to have breaks during busy times. I personally, really miss the field trips. We loved going to all of the places nearby like museums, zoos, etc. Now we can only go on weekends and breaks when they are crowded. I don't enjoy crowds so we do not visit these places nearly as often anymore. Still, the positives for our current situation far out number the negatives so we plan on sending T back to his current school next year.

B turned 3 years old a couple of months ago. She has been working on some tot school at home with me and she has also been attending a preschool program. We had some issues with her before starting preschool where she did not want to be separated from me at all. I, growing up as an extremely shy child, wanted to work on this right away. I have always felt that being shy made it much harder to make friends and I just do not want that for my children. I never had a problem with shyness with T, but I feel like B needed to work on it a bit. I am happy to report that she got over being shy very quickly. She is very happy going to preschool and has several friends in her class. When we first started her she was going for 2 days a week for 2.5hrs, after she turned 3 we increased to 3 days a week. We have decided that she will be enrolling in the same school as T next year and joining the primary class. While I thought about homeschooling her, she loves school so much that I feel like it will be a similar situation as her brother. Both children love going to school so much. I think it will be a fun year when they are both in the same school.

Thank you for reading my long update. I'm sorry it has been so long since my last post. I will try to keep up with posting to this blog more often. We have been doing quite a few fun things on weekends and after school that I would like to share with you all.

If you haven't liked my page on Facebook please click here. I have noticed several new likes on my page recently which I love. I try to share there when I find something Montessori or homeschool related.

Oh.... and we got a new puppy this year! He has grown a bit from this picture, but I had to share.

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