Learning is Living


I have been full of thoughts of what to do with my dear first grader who doesnt read well and who seems to get very upset easily during lessons. The other day, I pulled out a program to help the reading. It is one i have seen used with great success and I thought that if I adapted it, it would work well. The first step that is recommended for the teacher to do is give a spelling test with words that grow in complexity so that you can accurately gauge what the child knows and where to start. I knew without a doubt that would be too much for her. So I thought I would do a sounds test. Easy right. So I said each letter sound from the Montessori sandpaper letters (double letters too). Then I did what every teacher in the world has done, corrected the work with a red pencil. Let’s just say Bunny now hates red pencils! I told her that she did really well. In fact she remembered more then I thought she would! She did wonderful job and I told her, but it wasnt enough. There were tears. So what should I do? Talk to her of course! I asked her what was up and why she was crying alot and she told me that she just thought that she should be able to just do things right the first time. So when things arent perfect, she feels like crying and like she couldnt do it. Hmmm….this is interesting. I always knew that she was a bit of perfectionist, but this was the first time I have herd her verbalize it. This is something that really we need to think about. I need to be extremely careful about how I talk to her about her work and how I bring attention to her mistakes. I am going to admit here that I tend to just say, “No. That’s wrong. We need to fix it.” I know that this is not the most Montessori way of doing things, but it is what I do. If she really has issues with feeling like she cant do it, I have been making it worse. This is a horrible thought for me, but one I need to face and change. So what do I? I have read about alot of people who have tried to unschool, or to let go of all the school expectations and it is really hard to do, and I was homeschooled! So obviously we have a few things to work on. *Sigh*. I really love the Montessori method, and I love that everything is child led, but is hard to trust the method! I feel like Bunny should be reading, like she should be doing math each day, like we need a plan. But it is not what child led is all about. So when I talked to Bunny I asked her what she wanted to do and how I could help her, and she told me she just wants to write. She said that she wants to write about things, to write stories, to just write. So I am thinking that we keep researching and learn with that. Maybe I have her write some copywork type things to help with spelling and handwriting. Maybe I have story problems to help with math. We will write. And I will prepare the environment. Make sure that there is pretty writing materials, to have enough things available for her to research when she wants to, to have little booklets for her to write in. But other then that, I am at a bit of a loss. I mean how do I make this work? Do any of you know? How to do you remain true to the method when the child isnt where she “should” be? I mean who are we kidding, this method is hard. Not in theory. In theory its simple, follow the child. But following the child when they arent reading when you think they should be, to follow when all they want to do is write, to follow when all the math that gets done is a few problems that are yelled out in the car on the way to somewhere else. I suppose that this is real learning. Learning is Living. It isnt supposed to be a static it is supposed to be fluid, all inclusive, Cosmic! I want to do this, but it requires I let go of what I think should happen. I need to follow, not lead. I apologize for my random thoughts and insecurities! 🙂 I just need to spill them out sometimes and this is where they land! It seems so easy to do with other people’s kids, but it is hard with my own kids because I dont want to leave something out and fail them. Thanks so much for reading this LONG post! If you have thoughts, I would love to hear them! Happy Schooling Everyone!