home life, money, school, working

Montessori School

I have a lot of thoughts on the public school system, from my memories as a student (skewed, I know), to being a teacher, to being a prospective parent. I’ll try to not get too… opinionated here, because I know every school system is different and the more specific I get to my district, the less helpful my insights will be to others.

I worked in an elementary school in a middle class area; the school had high ratings and incredibly high enrollment – there were over 860 kids there when I was there. We were understaffed, even if no one would admit it or no one could fix it. Classrooms pushed 30 kids, and that was way too much. I worked as a librarian so I saw all of these kids on a rotating schedule, and I always dreaded the 30-kid classes. It’s too much.

My son went to an inclusive preschool three days a week, mostly for socialization. They learn a lot there, but the pace is different since there are so many kids with different abilities. He used to go to a different school 5 days a week, full days, when I worked full time. He fit in there and learned a lot, including Spanish. But it seemed like he was on the road to behavior problems, because he always acted out with one friend. Those behaviors disappeared once he was in a classroom with kids ranging from 3-6, and with drastically different abilities. I loved this preschool because he saw so many differently-abled kids and worked with them on their levels. He has told me about some of his friends and it makes me happy that he has this understanding and compassion from a young age.

Now he is going to a Montessori school. Well, right now it is the school’s summer camp. I got a dream job at the school so I am prepping my classroom this summer while he attends camp. I think Montessori is perfect for him because he loves to learn, and has specific interests, and wants to be able to learn at his pace and on his level. Again, he will be in a class with 3-5/6 year olds. I think this is great because he will see older kids as role models, and can strive to be a good role model for those younger than him.

I was so anxious about putting him in public school. I detest our system as it is, and while I know he would adapt and socialize and fit in, I didn’t want that. I don’t want him to become a cookie cutter kid when he is so smart and curious. I want him to move around and pick his tasks and learn practical life skills from school, instead of being pushed to read and write and do worksheets in kindergarten.

I really wanted to homeschool him, but couldn’t find a way to make it work. When I was working from home, I was working 15 hours a week while he was in childcare. If needed, I worked some at night after he was asleep. And I loved working from home, and wanted to continue to do it for the flexible schedule. But now, I will be working in the same place as him. I will know what he’s learning and how. I’m still learning about the Montessori method, but I know some from a previous job at a learning center and really agree with the approach. I think this is the best compromise to homeschooling – being near enough him (no worries with drop off and pick up times at school coinciding with my work schedule!) and knowing he is learning in a method that will encourage his growth and individuality. Plus, as I said it’s a dream job for me, and teaching there means a discount on tuition. I was looking forward to public school being free, but if that’s the only perk to an education, it’s not a perk at all!

I’m eager to keep learning about Montessori as it applies to me as a teacher and parent, and I’m eager to see how he reacts to it. I’ll definitely be sharing more as I build my classroom and curriculum.

 

home life, money, working, writing

Freelancing

Part of the reason I wanted to leave my “typical” job was because I wanted to spend time with my son. When he was born, I was getting my Masters, so I was lucky to stay home with him for 2 years. I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mom, but something in my makeup pushed me to work outside the home. I was healthy, smart, able, and had worked nonstop since I was 16; I felt there was no reason for me to not work. Which is kind of messed up because there was also no one pushing me to work. I had just always done it, so I felt like I always had to.

Of course, now I have to work to an extent. But I am trying to find exactly what I want instead of settling for jobs that sound good on paper. I am tired of picking a job because of the title, or because the salary sounds so good (though I will admit that is a HARD temptation to push past!). I know I want to work from home, and not just because I prefer being as hermit-like as possible. I like not having a commute. I like the flexibility. I like being there for my kid when he needs me, instead of not being able to leave the office for a reason.

I am lucky to have a background conducive to freelancing – I have a degree in graphic design; a degree in English; a lot of years of experience writing, blogging, and managing my time efficiently. I had a photography business for a few years, long ago, and am starting that back up again.

I am also lucky that doing one thing all the time bores me. I admire people who can find their calling and stick with it and be passionate about it, and I know so many people like that. But I have always found myself getting restless after doing anything for a period of time, ranging from 3 months to one year. So I like the idea of cobbling together a living of writing, photography, working on different projects, doing different things for different people. Who knows if it will be a long-term venture, but it’s important to me, and I tend to push really hard (past the 3 month-1 year expiration date!) for things that matter.