Friday, November 15, 2013

My biggest struggle

I wrote this post when we were first starting the homeschool year. Since that time things have changed, and I'll post about that next, but I wanted to post this in case this could help other homeschooling parents to realize they are not alone in some of the frustrating days.

Patience. And letting go of my own agenda. I struggle with them daily. I start out thinking I will let go and allow Sean to just move through his day on his own, working at his own pace. But I inevitably cave in to my fears and start directing him to do work.

I'm typically a take-charge person when taking charge is needed. If someone else is already in the position of leading, I gladly follow.

I've been a Montessori mom for eight years now, and I've loved learning about the philosophy and how to present materials.

We have a shelf devoted to our materials, and I lovingly gaze at them and long for the days when Sean would excitedly use them.

Those days are gone, and I realize that as children approach Upper El they are more interested in abstract learning. I get that.

I also know that as a Montessorian I am to trust the child, follow the child, and prepare the environment. Since there are few materials being used now with our Upper El homeschool, that part is reduced somewhat. I try to prepare myself, and guide him to prepare for his day.

But when he wanders around aimlessly, not working on anything, I'm not sure if I can really hold it together. Can I follow (metaphorically, not physically) him wandering around aimlessly? Am I supposed to nag and cajole and threaten to take away privileges if he doesn't complete a work plan? Am I supposed to trust that he is learning in spite of not doing what I consider "school" work?

Some days I'm totally on board with following. I feel in my heart that he will naturally take off on learning and ask me for information and trips to the library.

But on days like today I fear he will just be a bum, wandering around aimlessly, not completing work, and ultimately not succeeding in life.

And really, it all comes down to fear. Fear that I will be judged if he doesn't learn what we have on our curriculum plan; that he will be "behind" if I have to put him back in school. (But may I just say that he is "behind" according to the testing that was administered last year, and he has been in a school setting for the past three years.)

This child is an opposite of me. I am a list person. I make a list and I check things off. Chuck is also that way. So we struggle because we don't understand his way of doing things: haphazard, no plan in place, things strewn around and out of order. This child who has only ever been in a Montessori setting is so NOT Montessori in some ways that I can hardly believe it.

He will quickly organize things if I ask him to do it, but he is not naturally that way.

So I argue with myself. Should I direct him, or should I allow him to wander around and come to it on his own? Some days I can allow him to wander. Some days I start to get anxious and find myself directing. We're still finding our way here in this homeschooling Montessori journey.

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