Tuesday, December 10

not school

I really wanted to home-educate my child. I am a born teacher-type, I have an insatiable hunger for learning, and I just didn't gel with the institution called school. I did so much research and collected many resources, while she grew in my belly.

Yet theories and wishes need to become reality. Reality was that my child slept badly, I slept badly, she was amazingly clingy. I gave her my all, grasped to retain my Self, and at the end of 3 years I was beat. I was zapped of vitality and the thought of staying home all day every day and playing with little figurines made me want to run screaming for the mountains.

Yet ordinary school was never an option... and so I came across Steiner, we moved back to England (after almost 4 yrs in Montenegro), and down to Devon, all for the best (in my eyes) school I had ever laid eyes on. It was not an easy start for either of us, but we settled in eventually and the whole Kindergarten set up is magic.

But.

They don't begin academics until age 7, in line with some European countries. Which, in theory, I agree with - cognitively, the child is ready for words and numbers and the learning sticks. Ordinary schools push too much, too soon. We rob children of their number 1 job - to play.

In practice though, I had a girl who was bright and curious and wilful and logical..... she adored letters from an early age and learnt reading skills following the words as I read her books.



Summary - she reads for age 8, knows basic maths, knows a ton about the human body, tons about nature and animals, she writes a little. This is 85% self-directed and self-taught. What would she learn with more support and instruction?! Basically, not a Steiner student. In trying not to accelerate her learning and thereby leave her with little to do in Class 1, I discouraged her from stronger academic concepts.

It never felt right but we were there for the long haul - leaving wasn't on the table. Yet in saying no, I was moulding my child to fit the school. This wasn't simply a bright child, this was a child hungry for learning.

So when anyone asks, why did you leave? The simplest answer is; I got tired of saying no.

The 2+ weeks of chesty-cough illness and spending more time together, and with lots of Stuff I've recently released.... I was in a clear space to think and feel. And it was just the most natural response when she asked to learn more addition. I said, yes. And I knew even then the full extent of what that simple word meant.

So we have left the school.

We are learning organically. Which to me means being led my our interests, enthusiasm, intuition, learning style, and mood, as well as by ordinary daily living.

....

"Mama, I want to learn aaaaall day!"

And so you shall my sunshine girl.

13 comments:

  1. Learning organically, I love it! How wonderful of you to really tune into who she is and what she wants. This is beautiful and while I am sure there will be many hurdles in the road ahead, you will get over them together. Enjoy every moment of your new journey.

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    1. what would life be without those fun hurdles anyway, right? lol

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  2. Beautiful! How wonderful that you are willing and able to meet your child's individual needs in such a way! We plan on home-schooling too, and I'm excited to see where this journey will lead us : ) I love how you describe it as "learning organically", because that's what we hope to do!

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    1. thanks Lyssa, it really is a journey!

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  3. How wonderful for you both that you have been able to identify and meet your daughters needs, wishing you well on your new journey :)

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  4. Seems there are few schools that really follow the child's lead on what they want to pursue. I had heard of a Steiner/Montessori hybrid school, and it sounds like a dream, but doesn't exist here, and even if it did, I'm sure we couldn't afford it. I am not satisfied with M's school, but it will have to do for now. I'm excited for you and so look forward to reading more about your new adventure.

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    1. In later years there is a great emphasis on encouraging personal interests. And overall, this Steiner school encourages independence and self-confidence. But ultimately, a school setting needs to support the whole class and everyone doing what they liked just wouldn't work.

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    2. True. I honestly can't even imagine an ideal school. The closest to my ideal that I've come across is the homeschool charter, where it is part homeschool, part classroom, where kids attend classes according to skill and readiness, rather than age. But even that one isn't perfect (and we can't get in because it's the next school district over). Sigh.

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  5. She's been gifted a beautiful chance, I wish you all the organic luck and cosy of the world.

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  6. How wonderful you are attuned to all this. I totally get why you didn't like the one size fits all solution - and anything that holds them back or pushes too hard can't be good. You both sound so positive about this - any I can see why! Best of luck - through the good times and the challenges.

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  7. No school can truly fit all children as all children are so very different. Good luck on your journey, there is no greater educational gift than the opportunity to truly follow your heart Xx

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