Friday, February 19, 2010

Taking Suzi to school... well, sort of

As I've said before, I plan to homeschool. It's a little overwhelming though, especially as everyone else's kids seem to be starting preschool. Suzi is my first child so I honestly haven't a clue (yet) what I am doing. This is why I was so happy to read this on Julie's blog. A mom in our area, teaching a small group of children between one and 3.5 years and their mamas at the same time. Exactly what I needed! We've been to two meetings so far. It's totally worth the somewhat long (~45 min) drive.

The day begins with a short nature walk and the children are encouraged to pick up things to place on the nature table in the classroom. Picking up rocks and things while on a walk is Suzi's specialty. Then we go in to have circle time and sing songs. The first time, Suzi was enchanted by the lambskin rug and lay in the floor rolling in it during most of circle time. The second time she participated a bit more. Ashley is cool with kids electing not to participate, but encourages the moms to take part because at this age, it's the best way to teach our kids.

My favorite part is the (adult) craft time. She teaches us to make things that will benefit our children in learning and creative play. Last week we did a finger-knitting project. The end product was a long, soft rope which can be used as play horse reins or any number of other things. I finished it at home and Suzi wanted to be a horse when I was done. She galloped around the house for at least 20 minutes, with Jordan following behind her. Then she let Daddy be the horse. I need to get pictures of this!

This past Tuesday I was so excited because we got to make gnomes and I am in love. They are adorable and honestly I just want to make one for everybody I know. I am a sucker for anything cute and colorful! My gnome is finished and I'll share a picture later.

Ashley serves a healthy snack for the kids (and us, too) and the children help us with set-up and clean-up. It's a good reminder for me that Suzi is capable of much more than I realize or give her credit for. If you let your two-year-old do something, it probably won't be done perfectly. However, it will give the child a sense of accomplishment and help in skill-building that will be valuable for years to come.

We are sent home with songs and crafts to share and articles for parents to read. I am learning far more than I could from simply reading a stack of books.

Watching Suzi in this environment interacting with other children makes me glad I'm there. I'm not quite ready for her to be out in the world (even a little preschool world) without me. I'm glad to be there to guide her and to experience what she's experiencing. It helps me know her better. Our little "school" has also put homeschooling a preschooler into context for me. Suzi doesn't need a bunch of drilling and forced exercises on letters and counting right now. She needs stories, a good example, meaningful activities, and someone to nurture her creativity and enthusiasm: Me!