How Children Fail by John Holt
I like that quote because it reinforces what we "do" for school. Right now, there is no artificial curriculum and so "school time" set aside each day. In the Fall, when I made our first school schedule for this year, I had set learning times & even a curriculum. It took about a week to figure out that was sooooo not working & Reese was completely uninterested in tracing lines on a paper or circling red objects on a workbook page. So, following his lead and ignoring my Teacher habits, we set aside the curriculum and workbook pages and what-not, and just started "doing." If he's interested in painting one day, I might pull out, say, the red paint & maybe throw in some white with it and talk about mixing colors. Or instead of tracing lines on a piece of paper to form letters, Reese will pick up sticks or spaghetti noodles or pipe cleaners and start making his own letters. It's not quite the fine motor skills needed for writing letters, but his goal was to make letters, not practice writing. I was thrilled he could form the letters!
As far as our "school time", it's pretty much our entire waking moments of the day. I'm not claiming to be some Super Mommy with learning opportunities constantly happening, but there are plenty of opportunities every day and I do my best to take advantage of them. Some days are better than others, but that's life! I'm know Reese has days where he wants to discover all sorts of stuff, and other days (just like any adult I know) where he would rather just sit and watch TV for hours. Why not let him? First, the shows he prefers are educational (Sesame Street, Dora, Blues Clues, Backyardigans, etc), and second, a few hours in front of the TV snuggled on the couch means his little body must need some down time! Reese is about as far from being a couch potato as you can get, so if he wants to relax, again, why not let him?
Last week, it was almost 90 degrees, then two days later it snowed. Go figure, Texas weather. Reese and I had picked out all the plants for the backyard but had not put them in pots/ground. Lucky for us, because with the cold weather, we had to bring them all back inside! Reese loved to make sure his tomato plant stayed watered.
We visited Grammie, GGMa, and Pottsie the beinning of the week. The freedom from a school schedule is such a nice thing, because we're able to go to Grammie's anytime! Above, Reese is getting in some creative play with GGMa and his new army men from Great Grandma Carlin.
Helping Grammie set the table. He loves, loves, loves to help!
Grammie makes the best french toast in the world, and Reese always asks her to make it for breakfast. He's helping scramble the egg here.
Of course, when you're in Central Texas in April, you just have to take pictures in the bluebonnets! Our friends Seth & Melanie suggested this field tucked behind a church & WOW! It was huge, and dense, and Reese loved it! He's never seen so many flowers before, and to be able to touch them, lay in them, smell them...such a sensory explosion.
Helping Mommy pot some plants. Here, he wanted to fill the blue pot with the potting soil all by himself. Half of each shovel-full went on the ground, and only a very small amount went in the pot each time. It was REALLY hard for me not to take over & fill the pot in 15 seconds. But Reese really wanted to do it himself. So I asked myself, which is more important? Letting Reese do this all by himself like he wants, spilled dirt and all, and walk away with a sense of accomplishment and pride in his work? Or just take over so we can move onto the next pot? He finished his filling job in about 5 minutes and we swept up the spilled dirt, and he was very, very proud to have done it himself. Fighting that urge to take over was really hard, but I'm glad I did. What would that have said to him if I just took over? You're not fast enough, or big enough, or good enough to do it yourself?