Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Months, how?

Time flies when you're having fun. And life with this girl is all about fun! She is really starting to show her personality: lots of real and fake laughing, growling when her siblings take something from her, trying out things because she knows they're silly, and dancing, dancing, dancing!

She's cutting 3 teeth on top and loves pretty much any food you put in front of her (except bananas). The kid can eat, often more than her brother at a given meal. She's sleeping more consistently during the day with a big morning nap, a mini afternoon nap, and mostly through the night. Anyway, she just pretty much rocks.

Here's some photos from the past week. I've been practicing using my camera in manual mode and I'm pretty impressed with the results, if I do say so myself. Having this model sure does help though!

Friday, September 21, 2012

A week in pictures

Reading furiously for bookclub next week, the national blue ribbon award at Montessori school, a picnic dinner at the park, m's check-up.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Settling & School

With week 1 of a new school and new school schedules under our belt, it seems things may be starting to get into a daily routine. A busy daily routine, but routine nonetheless. With A's new school, she starts an hour and a half after H (and gets out an hour and a half later), which I thought was going to be a real pain but I've found I really enjoy it. This gives me some time with each of them individually and stops that afternoon bickering we've been having. The only downside is that A doesn't get much time at home before the dinner, books, bed routine, but it's actually working out.
H is thriving in his Kindergarten class but after attending parent night at the Montessori school last night, I am sad he's not able to be in Montessori yet. Starting next year will be a good transition for him though, and already he's starting to read and write phonetically so I can only imagine how his reading skills are going to grow in the next few months. He's gotten back into reading picture books at night which I of course love! He's pulled out some old favorites this week: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The mixed-up Chamaleon, If you give a Pig and Party, and many more. Ones he's really familiar with he wants to read himself (fill in the words as I read most of the sentence) and I'm so excited his interest is growing!

At A's parent night, we were very impressed with her teacher who is "old-school" Montessori and it was fun for J to hear her telling parents the same thing he used to say to parents. Things like, "don't bring them their backpack, if they forget it, that's their responsibility!" and "I don't even know what their spelling words are, that's for me to find out when they take their test at the end of the week". It was so GOOD to hear these seemingly harsh but totally normal Montessori approaches! I can't imagine what parents who aren't familiar with the child-led approach would be thinking, but we loved it! We peeked in her journal to see what she's been writing this week and found an amazingly long story the day they were supposed to write a fable. It was 2 full pages front and back, single spaced! I have NEVER seen her write so much. She told me today she wasn't finished and was going to work on it some more, and that's the great thing because they will actually let her do that!! I'm planning to go work in her classroom garden and have lunch with her today. It will be fun to see her with her new friends, apparently she's thriving socially, which we knew wouldn't be a problem!
Here's our big girl on her first day with Maria Montessori, love.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Beginnings

Tomorrow our eldest heads back to Montessori school. The last time she was in a Montessori classroom she was 3, we lived in Georgia, her father wasn't a priest, and she had one less sibling. Times were very different back then but our love for the Montessori philosophy has remained the same.

It's funny how not having the option of something makes you forget how important it was to you. When we moved to TN, I was so broken-hearted our children wouldn't have the option of attending a Montessori school. Luckily they still had a few years left of preschool and I ran the preschool program they attended so I made it as Montessori-influenced as I could, but I knew once A started attending "real" school, we were stuck with the local public school as our only option. I knew we wouldn't be able to afford anything else and could only hope the places we lived in the future would have great public school option. Or I considered homeschooling, often.

In TN I wasn't thrilled with the local elementary school's policies (corporal punishment is just not for me), but I did like that the school was so small and so much a neighborhood school, it was Sewanee after all! I hoped the small class sizes and population of university families would help the bad reputation of Middle TN schools. But, even though it was just Kindergarten, it just didn't measure up and her reading skills were lacking.

When we found out we were coming to Charlotte, I researched schools and was amazed to discover Charlotte had 3(!) public Montessori schools! But they were only accessible by lottery and we had missed the cut-off. Luckily we moved into an area with an amazing school and we were very happy with our situation. I wanted to just be able to put our name in for the lottery though, just in case, and ended up going on an interview last year knowing our chances were slim entering as a 2nd grader. We never heard back though, and started school happily as now a Kindergartner and 2nd grader.

Then, on Thursday, they called to say they had a spot for A, and they needed an answer by the end of the day. This was amid a pretty crazy day that included J getting stung by 10 yellow jackets and going uptown during the DNC for a taping of the Daily Show (awesome, btw). That night we told A she got in and we thought it was a great thing and how excited we were. She was sad to leave her school but I could tell she was trying hard to be brave. She said goodbye to her old school Friday and took it all so maturely. I am so proud of her. We are beyond excited to be back in the Montessori mode and can't wait until they have an opening for H (but he'll be able to go next year, and M can start when she's 4!). It's the start of something new but also a remembering of something old, but not forgotten. A philosophy if life, education, and parenting. So happy to be there again with our amazing girl to lead the way!