My emotions are rising like the tide, and the moon in Pisces adds and extra swell to my Piscean existence. Resistance is futile, and as I realize the strangeness and tension of the day has been because of that resistance, I vow to surrender to the flow, surrender to the water as it rushes forth, waves drowning out the unnecessary and gathering what it may to take with it on the way out. The cup overflows with liquid sentience and my vessel is stretching to contain the emotion. I must let go, move with the river, feel with the moon, and breathe.
If there is a body of water near by, find it and sink into it. It will embrace you as
Blue Luna shines down upon us.
We had our first day of homeschool today for my kindergartener. The days leading up to this morning were ripe with indecision and fear, wide swings of the emotional pendulum, and a whole lot of neurotic worrying. Do I believe that group education is what is right for Jetta? Yes, I do. Do I believe that being dropped into a classroom with 26 (yes, that's right, 26) other kids is the way to do it? Absolutely not. My ideas of the right kind of group education are far from that.
I can't, however, guarentee that we will not decide to enroll her in public education in the near or longterm future. We're just not that family that has the luxury of not taking advantage of free babysitting so that I can work and possibly double our income. Survival comes first, and there may be a time when our options are more limited. For now, my focus will be to prepare Jetta for the possibility of enrolling her, building her independence and getting her ahead of the curve academically. Were I confident that I would keep her at home indefinitely, Waldorf methods would suit us and delaying reading while working on more organic experiences with language would sustain us. Instead, we will follow along with standard kindergarten curriculum where she needs it, and advanced work where she is ready.
Our first day was simple, and my rule for homeschooling is but one: do something every day for body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Move the body. Feed the emotions. Stimulate the mind. And exalt the spirit. If we accomplish one task for each, then we'll have succeeded. If we do more, then kudos for us.
My first few weeks are loosely planned:
This week is "All about me". I pulled books from our stash that had to do with "me" and could validate the process of exploring Jetta and who she is. After having read three or four with both girls, we came to the table and printed out pictures of Jetta, Jetta and Jade, and both Rob and me. We're putting the following in her main lesson book:
My name is _______. (picture of Jetta)
I am homeschooled.
My teachers are my mom and my dad. (pictures of my husband and me)
My classmate is my sister. (picture of Jetta with sister)
My favorite color is _______.
I like to _________.
I am happy when _________.
Words for the week, (sight words)
I, me, my, am
Since Jetta is familiar with the alphabet and sounds, I am having her actually write the sentences out. One of the things she is weak in is keeping letters between the lines, so this is practice for that, as well as for her learning what a sentence is, beginning punctuation, and working with the sight words. We'll form new sentences, pointing out where the sight words are, look for them in books that we read, and do a couple worksheets on them. I have a workbook for sight words that we'll use.
We finished with the first two sentences this morning (lots of interruptions from little sister) and called it quits for today. She got to color the cover of her lesson book, which is just a thick sketch book from Hobby Lobby, and she drew a picture on the inside of it. After lunch, we got out wooden beads and made a "first day of homeschool" necklace. It spelled her name, we counted the beads and how many more she needed (this is math and addition) and sorted colors of beads.
Science didn't really get any attention today, other than noticing that it was sunny and hot (weather), but each day we'll go over the year, month, day, day of the week, season and weather. I'm hoping to find a calendar that pleases me, but so far we don't have one. We'll also address the senses as we move through this week and talk more about Jetta, what she likes, how she feels, and what her dreams are.
Next week will depend on how far we have gotten this week. It may become the "Big Dreams" week, in which we stretch our minds into the future and explore different ideas that are in her mind and heart.
After that, the themes in September are (for each week):
apples, fall and the Autumn Equinox, the Calendar (seasons, months, days, etc), and pumpkins.
October will be witches, Samhain/ancestor alter, Halloween and magic, family tree and family history.
Beginning in November, we'll do leaves, deciduous trees,, take a break for Thanksgiving, and finish November with evergreens.
December themes will be winter holidays around the world, snow stories and snowflakes, giving and gratitude, and then three weeks break.
It's not fancy or all that organized, but for our first day, I feel pretty good about it.
If you're a homeschooler, I'd love to hear about how your school year is starting!
There are some exciting things going on over at Creativity Tribe. A goddess of art and change, Rachel will be your lunar guide to some potentially incredible journeys inward and amazing leaps and bounds forward along your personal path.
She is hosting Touch the Moon: an e-course and art-ivity gathering about connecting with your creative, intuitive spirit. "Touch the Moon explores lunar rhythms, folklore, and mythology while encouraging you to slow down and go within." And I am one of the Moon Guides that will be chipping in! This course starts on August 27, so head on over to check it out and register if this feels like something for you. It promises to be a really valuable time, and just in time for back to school (or homeschool!)-- what a great treat for all us moms (or dads) who need to remember how to reconnect with ourselves!
I am asking important questions this week about homeschooling, and as a mother of daughters, one of the most significant questions has become, "Do I want my children to homeschool their children?" I googled whether or not homeschooled kids are homeschooling their kids and found a few evasive and defensive responses that challenged the cause for asking the question in the first place.
Well, here is why I am asking it. If homeschooled kids don't grow up to homeschool their kids, it doesn't entirely support the ideal of homeschooling. And if they do, which gender does it? Are homeschooled boys growing up and skipping a potential career that makes millions so they can homeschool their children? Or are they growing up and expecting their wives to skip that career so they can homeschool their children? Or are our daughters skipping their careers so they can also be home with their children?
I have to admit that the possible answers to those questions make me feel really, really uncomfortable. And when I ask the question to myself "Do I want my daughters to grow up and homeschool their daughters, foregoing whatever possible full time or part-time career they might explore for the sake of being home with their kids?" I feel even more uncomfortable.
I am not invalidating the need for a loving and present set of parents, and it is often a surprise to me what I am willing to sacrifice for myself in order to be there for the girls. I also know there are families making it work, splitting the effort, and juggling slivers of professions as they can, but these questions and potential answers lead to places of discomfort for me, and visions of limited opportunity.
I am not sure where we are going with homeschooling, but these topics are are really relevant to us and I am glad to be letting these thoughts roll around, glad to have the opportunity to discover how we respond to them.
UPDATE: We continue to shift in our emotions and thoughts about the issues. The first day of school is 10 days away, and our indecision is looming, but I'll make sure to update when that day comes and share what we have decided. The clock is ticking . . .