Sad realization

Yes, I have to come to some sad realizations…

X has been going to Montessori school since he was little.  The first Montessori school he went to was God send to him.  It helped him to focus, to be disciplined, to love learning.  I was thrilled with the progress he had made, and so we decided to extend his experience in a Montessori school by signing him to the local elementary Montessori school.

After a few months of him attending, I started to realize that, while it is an AMAZING school, like no other around here, it is not really a Montessori school, but rather a Montessori inspired school (with the Montessori name).  He didn’t do as much Montessori as I and he was hoping for.  This combined with some learning issues that caused trouble to the point of getting him out of school, he didn’t have the year I was hoping he would have.  Far less.  And unfortunately, months later I realize that his experience was even worst then what I thought.

During this year, I saw my very curious and questioning 6 yo ask less question, and wonder less about things in general, the questions were dropping in numbers and meaning too.  I, maybe a bit naively, thought that he was getting his needs met by school and what we were doing around here.  I couldn’t have made a more false assumption.  At some point, we finally understood that X was having difficulties learning, and I was seeing that he was not happy with what was going on.  Again, I never thought his love of learning had been bruised, I thought we had managed to keeo this intact, regardless of what had happened to him in school.

We have started back school unofficially for almost 2 weeks now.  And now I see it more then ever.  He has lost this amazement in his eyes.  Nothing amazes him anymore. Nothing grabs him like it used to.  I am not able to reach him anymore and make him want to dig deeper.  He is not thrilled by anything.  He lost this love of learning that he has inside him, the very thing that I had promise myself that I would protect.

This was not something I thought I would be faced with.  All the planning that I have done is pretty much useless.  The mere thought of requiring something (narration, reading even!) from him is just pushing him further away.  I have to try to help him reconnect with learning, and this is not something was I anticipating, not something I thought I would have to do – I am SO not ready for that.

I am not even sure I know what to do at this point.  Suggestions anyone?

In the mean time, I have M and E who would want to take more then I can offer them, I was not expecting such a demand from them.

Wow, what a start at homeschooling!  Not the start I thought, exciting nonetheless…I guess.

If you have any info that would help me out, I’d love to hear it, books, websites, or just a simple 2 cents.  I don’t know where to turn to, or how to start.  THis is a WAY bigger challenge then I thought, and MUCH more important too.

Sad realization

15 thoughts on “Sad realization

  1. Cyber hugs!😦 Your post makes me sad.Have you considered deschooling for a little while? A wonderful thing about homeschooling is the flexibility. I'm in the US, so maybe there are different regulations. Do a Google search on it, it looks different in every family, depending on the child. I'm so sorry the school wasn't a fit! Maybe deschool/unschool for a while until that spark comes back and slowly reintroduce structured learning.

  2. Can X stay home too? It saddens me to hear this. I find that trips to the library, lots of outdoor time gardening at the beach, forest preserve help to foster the learning. Can he explain to you what is going on? Have you asked. Maybe simply pulling him aside, taking him out for a milkshake and having a one on one conversation with him and saying to him what you wrote. "I feel like you are not happy at school" or something along those lines. Get him to talk to you and see what he says. Please keep us posted! I hope it all turns around positively soon!!!

  3. I do not remember the ages of your children exactly, but maybe some of my experiences in homeschooling can help. I have four boys and one girl. All of my boys (well, the youngest is a babe) have not been able to do much sit down academic work until they were about 8 years old. My oldest started reading before that time, but the younger two boys not so much. One of them is now an avid reader (and as long as I don't pick the book for him) reads quite challenging things. The other is just 8 now, and is really starting to buckle down and choose to study. With all of them, except my oldest, it is still a struggle to keep them on task, but we work at it. Ultimately, it is up to them. My daughter, who is just 6, is already a reader, pretty good at math, and if it is on her terms, will sit down and work. I do not believe I have all the answers, but from my experience, you just keep going, and do your best to let them know what they need to accomplish to be successful in life, and let them know it takes hard work, and they can do it. I do think homeschooling mothers can feel an awful sense of failure a lot of the time. It is like a big grand experiment, and it can be really hard to trust that it will all work out in the end. We are not failing, we just keep going. We make changes all the time (the glory of homeschooling!), we back off, we push, we do things we never thought we would do. Best of all we become better people because of it. Sometimes kids need a detox period when they come out of school. I think the best place to start is just reading out loud. Pick great books and read as much as you can. It is a journey, and a process, and it is never perfect like we think it will be (that is still hard for me to swallow). It will get better!!

  4. Unschooling might be just the trick. From what I hear it takes an alarming period of vegetation (TV watching or other listless behavior) before the child rediscovers their own power, thus their confidence and desire to explore. Look it up. As a homeschooler, you've got enough flexibility and nothing to lose. :)Another thing- and I don't know if this applies to your situation or not, I'm just throwing it out as an anecdote: many of the books and things I read on providing kids with creative/learning spaces have veered more toward artistic expression and writing. I ordered my 4yo beeswax crayons, modeling wax, glitter glue, puff balls, craft sticks, etc etc, plus a set of magnifying glasses and binoculars. He grabbed the binoculars and headed out the door. He's just not keen on anything that requires him to sit still in order to focus- he wants to run hard and have adventures! This has been a turning point in my understanding. He's learning about bugs, plants, seasons, light, shadows, water, dirt, and the million things he can do with his body. It's all educational. I hope your little guy discovers his passions very soon. Best of luck to you, and you're a wonderful mother for being so attuned and so very caring.🙂

  5. Hi – first, thankyou so much for your blog. I have been following it for a few months since deciding to homeschool our 3 chn (aged 5 and 2yr twins). We live in New Zealand. Like you I have done a heapof research and settled on montessori and reggio way. THEN I discovered Lori Pickerts website. She homeschools her boys the reggio way. Her blog is camp creek blog. She has just written a book which I bought called Project Based Homeschooling. For me it is one of those books that I read front to back with a pencil and highlighter.So exciting to read! Her blog also has a forum which is amazingly helpful. Lori herself is ridiculously helpful (she taught in a reggio school before homeschooling her boys). Seriously, if you havent already you will find her blog to be a GOLDMINE. Like you I love montessori but also love simplicity and all the stuff needed didnt sit so well with me. At this stage my intention is to do numicon for maths and montessori language. And project-based learning for the rest. I may eventually morph completely into pbl. We'll see. I will begin our homeschooling journey beginning next year. Hang in there I am sure you will find a way to relight that spark for your son. And seriously, you can even email Lori. She is so helpful. All the best, Rebekah.

  6. Your post made me think of Asha from ParentHacks.com post -see the answer to topic #4, her son first started homeschool and needed a "recovery" period of just hanging out, going on family outings and not focusing on academics http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/2011/05/homeschool-mom-interviews-asha-dornfestI can relate to your son too. I've found that I fall in and out of my drives and passions during emotionally tough times it can take time to feel up to feeling normal. My husband is a musician and has dedicated his life to music, but when he was having an especially rough time in (music) college he would express that he hated playing music and had no passion or interest in it – years later this and he loves playing, but had to take a break and ease back into it at his own pace.

  7. Your post made me think of Asha from ParentHacks.com post -see the answer to topic #4, her son first started homeschool and needed a "recovery" period of just hanging out, going on family outings and not focusing on academics http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/2011/05/homeschool-mom-interviews-asha-dornfestI can relate to your son too. I've found that I fall in and out of my drives and passions during emotionally tough times it can take time to feel up to feeling normal. My husband is a musician and has dedicated his life to music, but when he was having an especially rough time in (music) college he would express that he hated playing music and had no passion or interest in it – years later this and he loves playing, but had to take a break and ease back into it at his own pace.

  8. Sending prayer for your family. This is such a hard thing to work with, especially with other little ones who need you too. I really love the idea of trying to unschool for a bit. You have a chance to do that, then it will be better in the long run. Once he gets his fire back, his learning will explode! I wish you all the luck in the world and I am sure you will do great!

  9. Children learn differently to each other, some are easy to teach, some must learn lessons for themselves and they will go through phases, whether it is just normal development or in response to an experience. A reset period where you find the fun together and perhaps a new approach could be the key. I have always tried to engage my son academically and creatively, particularly through art but there is something wrong in my approach and honestly I am still trying to find the key to unlocking his engagement but he is happy and he is learning, just not always what I am focused on teaching him at the time. Don't give up, don't be too hard on yourself.

  10. I am in the same boat as you. This summer we have realised how much school has changed our 5yr old for the worse….how much its knocked out of him. My husband and I have been discussing how much longer we allow it to continue before we pull him out (in theory, we wanted him to go to school for another year or 2 before homeschooling – he's autistic and leaving school means losing a lot of support which wouldn't be great for our family at the moment.) For what its worth, I'm with the others – deschool for a bit (I think I've read somewhere that its approx 1 month for every year the kid has been at school). In the meantime, I'd try to involve him in what you're doing anyway – encourage him to sit with you and listen when you're reading to the others, bake/cook with you, take walks, play games – all with no pressure to join in. My DS has been 'coming back' gradually over the summer. I am not looking forward to him going back next week. :o( Good luck. x

  11. I wear many hats…One of my hats is tutoring kids using Montessori materials (not the Method! Just the Materials) to help them overcome learning difficulties and delays that are keeping them behind their peers in their traditional schools. There is one commitment that every parent needs to make to me when we start out…they need to read to their child every day, for at least half an hour, a book of their child's choosing, no strings attached. They cannot influence their child's choice, even if they hate the book they must be as convincing as they can in their enthusiasm for it. They cannot ask their child to read any part of the book at any point. They cannot use the reading as a bribe to get other things done. This does several things: it helps them to reconnect with their child and gives them one on one time, it gives the child control over something, it gives the parent insight into what makes their kid tick, it makes reading stop being something boring and compulsory and brings it back to life. After years of doing this work with kids – this is one thing that always works. Always. It has never failed. In one of my other hats, I was a Montessori guide in a 9-12 classroom. I was the founding teacher of the class meaning that I was responsible for preparing all the materials from scratch. One of the kids in my group was a 10 year old who had come from a local public school and had no Montessori background. Her parents were desperate, we were their last hope. One of my requirements in exchange for accepting her into my class was that her parents would never require me to force their child to do anything – that everything would be her choice. This was hard – she spent a whole term (three months) doing nothing. She would walk into the classroom in the morning, sit on a beanbag and do nothing all day. After three months even I wondered whether I had made the right call – after all I was technically responsible for her progress and she was making none! I was starting to sweat it and her parents were also starting to doubt. We had a meeting and decided that since this really was their last option we had to go all or nothing. We decided that we could help and support each other as adults, to let go of our need to control this little girl, That we could trust that her innate love of learning had not died, but was just hibernating…really deeply…One day…the magic words…"I am ready for a lesson now". We never looked back.Have faith that your boys natural love of learning is still alive. It's just gone into hiding. He needs time to find his mojo. He needs you to give him space. Don't step back and abandon him in his confusion though…use this time of inactivity to prepare a home environment that calls to him like no other. For every book that he chooses, use that insight into his heart to create a place that he knows is made with love for him. Your activity will make up for his need to do nothing for a while.And have faith…this is hard. Even harder when it's your own child…When you feel yourself beginning to doubt then ask for help as you have just done, from the community of mothers and teachers who know what it means to grow a child's learning, and we will help you to remain strong in your resolve to let him come back to you, and to himself, in his own time. Have faith…

  12. You wrote: " He has lost this amazement in his eyes. Nothing amazes him anymore. Nothing grabs him like it used to. I am not able to reach him anymore and make him want to dig deeper. He is not thrilled by anything. He lost this love of learning that he has inside him, the very thing that I had promise myself that I would protect."Well, I must say it is a sad realization. My situation is a little bit simmilar, but my boy is autistic and he has never had this love of learning. I am starting homeschooling because I want to find the thrill in him. I want him to love learning stuff and digging more. What I do is just simply letting him learn as much as he wants, but from time to time coming back to the subject and trying again. Also including his interests in making materials is helpful (for example: he wanted to write himself when I gave him pictures with spiderman to practice). What I suggest to You: maybe less sitting on the desk (for me unschooling is to hard to try;-)) more experiments and qestions/problems to solve? Maybe he could find answers wit his dad (boys just love spedning time with dads). And if you have such possibility: spending time in nature – as much as you can (that would be great for M and E, too).Please, let us know when you find your way – maybe it will be helpfull for us.Hugs for youP.S. and sorry for my mistakes in English…

  13. This made me really sad to read. Sorry I personally don’t have suggestions as my children are only toddler and infant at this stage. But the above suggestion of letting the child recover for a while sound good. I would also really like to know what the school did that dampened his spark? Am sorry if this sounds impertinent to ask. Whether it is something you might even have learned/know of? I’ve been talking to a lot of parents about Montessori and I would be sad if they went somewhere not realizing that it is not the real thing and harming their child!

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