What’s New? A [Home]School!
I’ve been pretty lousy about the update posts as of late and, while I know you all don’t mind, I’m always bummed when I fall behind on documenting the latest with the littles. I think I’m going to stop adding the What’s New linky. Link-ups can be wonderful if you put in the time and energy required to promote them, but it’s not enough of a priority for me, so I may as well drop the paid subscription to linky tools. Of course I’ll still read the updates on your wonderful families.
I’ve been dying to tell you all about my top priority (next to the family, of course) right now, and the reason behind my belated updates, and I can finally spill the beans. You may remember that I got together with some other families in my town last year and started a Community Montessori Program. It was wonderful in so many ways, but it was not exactly what the families in our group needed. Since we chose to operate in a way that prevented us from falling under licensing laws, the parents in our group were unable to simply drop their children off at class and go do their thing, and many of them were finding this to be a challenge, especially with
their preschooler’s younger siblings in tow. Toward the end of last year, we all discussed our options and it was decided that I would seek licensure so that we could become a full drop-off program.
It was (much) harder than I expected to jump through all of the oddly shaped and sometimes difficult-to-find hoops required, and it took quite awhile, too, but we made it! Our home classroom is now fully licensed and my business entity is officially registered with all appropriate parties. I am so grateful for the wonderful families who have taken this adventure with me, and who were totally cool about starting school a full month later than planned when licensing took longer than I ever imagined. This has been our first full week of class, and it was wonderful. I cannot wait to see what this new school year brings! I love how enthusiastically involved Annabelle has been, too. When I told her we could finally go to pick up our license, she said, “I’m going to carry it!” — and she did, telling me, “I’m so glad you got your license, mom!” Such a sweet, supportive kid.
Speaking of Annabelle, parenting was a little tough with her as we started the transition to something like our school schedule over the past few weeks, but we made it through together, and she seems fairly settled in now. The biggest challenge for a bit was with big feelings being taken out on Elliot, but just when I was nearing the end of my rope with that particular issue, serendipity brought me the book Peace, Baby. Its rhymes encouraged the playful attitude I needed to deal with things gently, and I was able to borrow a little language from its pages, too.
Annabelle and I agreed that when she was upset and feeling like she might need help to choose peaceful behavior with her brother, she would call for help. We even developed a code word: “blueberry,” which she could use when she needed help right away. As soon as she said blueberry, or I noticed she was on the verge and said it myself, I would run right to her side saying, “When you want to scream and shout, hugs will help you work it out!” Hugging followed, of course, and soon all sibling tensions would dissolve, if only temporarily. Silly, yes, but it seemed to make a big difference for both of us and for that I am grateful.
School seems to have been a big help to Annabelle in making peace with what seemed to me like a bit of three-and-a-half-year-old disequilibrium. The routine appears to be serving her well – she has always thrived on consistency – and she’s thrilled to see her friends every day. Last year, school seemed to breed a bit of jealousy as Annabelle got used to seeing me give attention to other children for the first time. This year, however, I’m finding her to be one of the best sources of support in the classroom I’ve ever had. She welcomes everyone who comes in with enthusiasm, shares her things openly with the children who join us (most of the time), and loves to show others around the space. She frequently tells strangers that she goes to Montessori school (and that she three-and-a-half, and named Annabelle), too, serving as the best advertising I didn’t even ask for.
Elliot’s favorite pastimes of late are knocking over chairs and placing objects inside of containers. He’s a dancing machine, too, and a bit of a chatterbox, even if we can only understand a few of the words he uses. He thinks head butting people, or poking them and then running away is hilarious. He loves to sweep with the child-sized broom, and can often be found in the kitchen spinning around in circles as he does so. He is in a pretty serious phase of stranger anxiety, and screams when anyone he’s not
familiar with so much as looks at him, but he warms up fairly quickly. I adore waking up with him, because he’ll go from appearing to be completely serene and mostly asleep, to babbling loudly and cheerfully, and crawling as fast as he can all over the bed.
It is so funny to have him in the classroom. He has his own space that is separate from the primary materials, but with as much time as we’ve been spending in the room lately, I’ve tried not to confine him to such a small area all of the time. When he’s free to roam, he either sweeps with the carpet sweeper, bangs on the bathroom door asking to be let in so he can splash in the sink, or runs to the pink tower stand and cracks up. He’ll stop there and look at it for awhile, then either pull the top two cubes off and put them in his mouth, or blow on the top so that the tiniest cube falls off. His next step, if I don’t get there to intervene right away, is to knock the entire thing over. He runs in place as he does it, and makes the most enthusiastic noises.
So now you know why I have practically disappeared from blog-land. Starting a business has been no small task, but I am so incredibly happy with the way things are going. I can’t express enough how amazing it feels to be able to do meaningful work that extends outside the confines of our home, while still having the flexibility to be here with both children when they need care. I never would have seen myself doing this, but it could hardly be more perfect. I don’t think I’ll actually end up adding any money to our family funds this way, but I now have funds I can use to buy all the high quality materials my Montessori heart desires, without running the decision by anyone else, and that is payment enough in itself ;p
A classroom tour is coming soon, and I have the last giveaway in my Back to [Home]School Giveaway Series coming up tomorrow. For now, I’d love to know what’s happening in your world!