fun, home life, school, working

Taking It Slow

This was the first week of school with students, and I was worried I would be stressed out and overwhelmed and rethinking my life choices.

Instead, I’m zen.

Ok, not completely. There were several nights where I wanted to fall into bed at 8 o’clock but couldn’t, because: kid, dishes, bath time, bedtime stories, prep for the next day, reading to relax, having time to breathe, etc. The essentials.

But I managed. And I don’t feel confused or uncertain right now. I know I made the right choice in taking this job (not that I could have ever said no, it’s pretty custom-built!) and putting my kid in this school and refocusing my priorities – for now, anyway.

I did get a little frustrated on Tuesday night. I had so much to do – prep for work, housework, work for my volunteer duties with YALSA, a podcast to record… not to mention the major project I’ve conveniently been putting out of my mind or else my body would seize up in stress. It was too much. I couldn’t do it. I was overwhelmed. I started writing a list of things I could cut out of my life to simplify and give myself more time for… anything.

I was going to delete Twitter, because I only use it for promo/re-tweeting and rarely interact there anymore. I used to have great friends on Twitter, and our morning back-and-forths were better than that first cup of coffee. But Twitter has changed, and my relationship with it has changed. Same with blogging, actually – so I could delete my blog, too. This one, and We Are Storytellers, and if I was deleting that blog I could delete its Instagram, too. That would definitely simplify things. No more creative blog posts or pictures to post. No more podcasts to record. The only Instagram account I’d have would be #bookstagram, and there was no way I’d have trouble posting there!

Wednesday, someone emailed a piece they wanted featured on We Are Storytellers. A great piece. And I thought… hm, this is becoming the community I wanted. It won’t be all on me forever. And I love podcasting – just because I don’t want to do it this week or don’t feel inspired doesn’t mean I should shut it down, because once I do – I’ll miss it. It’s happened before, hence my podcasting “career” stopping and restarting.

This one email, one shared Google Doc, helped me put it all in perspective. So I recorded the podcast – short and sweet, but I did it. I’m sticking with it. I do these things – these blogs, podcasts, Instagrams – because I enjoy them. Just because my time is crunched now and I’m too exhausted to have passion doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. I have ideas for all of those outlets, and I don’t want to stop them completely just because of a mood.

Since then, I’ve been taking things slowly. Not stressing about the extras on top of my job and home life. I am trying to pause more during the day – at work and home – and take notice of all I have. Take it slow. Enjoy what I have. Appreciate it all.

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.