So our school year started the week before Labor Day, and it started very differently than it is playing out now. We began the year with a fresh school room, fresh school supplies and fresh can-do attitudes. Our first day could only be described as ideal, refreshing, and fun. Our word for the year was perseverance. Seems ironic now. The kids were loving school, loving each other, and loving life. Fast forward a couple of weeks. Where did the kids go that were here just a few short days ago? Someone had traded them out for whining, complaining, and self-described bored kids.
I yelled, I pleaded, and there were tears...not all of them mine :) And then I sat down and reflected on our experiences and what the kids were telling me. Boy did I reflect. Our school year started off with lots of sitting down. Lots of traditional stuff. We weren’t embracing the moment on a regular basis. But the biggest issue proved to be I was dictating instead of participating in the education process. In my reflecting, the thing I’ve come away with is that my kids want me to be an active part of their learning. When I learn with them, when I take the time to sit down and study a math problem, take a turn reading, catch a toad, wade in the creek, or do any other thing with them rather than watching them, they eat it up. They want me to be in on the discoveries, too. Wow! My answer is “heck yeah!” (most of the time). Of course, there are times when I’m holding the baby and can’t take a turn sketching or holding a grasshopper, but when I say “yes” to being an active part of their learning, they want to do it all! Much less grumbling and complaining, and almost no pencils flying across the school room. True story.
So, we have made a point of keeping the teacher-led curriculum to a minimum, and we are focusing on learning together. We still haven’t figured it all out, but we have fallen into more of a daily rhythm, and we are the better for it. I still have moments, when my voice gets loud and reflects my frustration. Thank goodness my kids are full of grace. I could really learn a thing or two from them :)