First, thank you for the DMs and the private messages on my Facebook and Instagram. I really appreciate it when you take the time to connect with me. I spend a lot of time creating content to share with all of you and sometimes it feels like I am shooting it into a great black hole! Questions and feedback are always appreciated. Getting to know you guys is a special experience that I value.
Do you homeschool?
I do not homeschool my kids. I have so much respect for the parents and caregivers who are able to do this. I am not one of them. To be completely honest, I value the time that my children are off at school! I use that time to work, take care of our home and family responsibilities, volunteer and get the occasional haircut or pedicure!
What kind of school do your children attend?
My youngest is in nursery school at a wonderful reggio-inspired co-op. It is a one-room schoolhouse in the center of a beautiful park. My big kids went there too and it is a second home to all of us.
My middle daughter attends second grade in our local public school in an inclusion classroom. While she is typically developing, I believe in the inclusion model and I always request to have my children placed within in that setting.
My oldest child is in fifth grade at public school. Next year he’s off to middle school, eeek!
The big two are in public school and the little one will be there next year. I value their school experience in a myriad of ways. Are there things I would change if I could? Of course. Do I agree with everything there? No way.
When my oldest was entering Kindergarten, I really struggled. I was still a new parent and it was hard for me to send him off into the unknown. He was learning in a way that wasn’t mom-approved and his world became much less child-centered than he (I) was used to. My husband believed strongly in sending the children to public school with their neighborhood friends. Plus, there was no way we could afford private school. So, off he went to public Kindergarten. At the time, it was hard for me, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20 and I am SO happy we decided to send the children off to school with their friends. They (and I) have become flexible, made many friends and we all have learned a ton along the way. I am so grateful to the teachers, speciality staff, administration and support staff that work their butts off every day to give my children a safe, happy school experience.
What do their afternoons look like?
I attempt to unschedule our afternoons to the best of my ability. Unstructured playtime is a core family value. Ideally, I want my children to come home from school and chill. We love to explore in the woods, play at home, make and create, and ride bikes. Reality, however, is another story.
Nate (10) loves unstructured time to ride his bike. It is his passion and he would do it all day if he could. He's never bored and has always been really good at occupying himself either alone or with friends. He insists on keeping his afternoons clear and I support it! He has religious school one afternoon per week. He aslo plays the piano and takes a lesson in our home one 45 minute period per week.
Ruby (age 7) plays soccer at an elementary level. I was not enthused when she asked to play. We’ve never really been a sporty family and the thought of lugging children to and from practices multiple times a week did not appeal to me. I envisioned fighting with her to get ready and then watching her be unenthusiastic in the game…Boy was I wrong! She LOVES soccer, is eager to head to practice, and we are in a carpool which frees me up from the constant driving. My heart swells to watch her play. She is strong and confident and willing to take risks. Above all, she is a gracious and kind teammate.
Sloane (age 4) goes to nursery school five mornings per week. She does not participate in any scheduled after school activities. She has an occasional playdate, but mostly it's just independent play time while she eagerly awaits her siblings arrival home. Sloane receives speech and language therapy one hour per week in our home.
We lean towards early bedtimes and we eat dinner around 5:30 most evenings. I am an early to bed, early to rise person and my children have always been quite similar to me in that regard.
Do you do activities in the afternoon with your children?
Yes and no.... let me explain. We have an open-ended art cabinet and plenty of open-ended toys to work with. Because we spend a lot of time playing, my kids are good at it. They don’t need me to carve out an activity for them. They have learned to be industrious, self-starters.
On the flip side, making and creating with my children is my passion. It is my joy to set up an invitation to create and watch them go to it. Creating together as a family is joyful. So, yes, I do set up activities a few times a week.
That's it! That is what our school and after school looks like. Did I answer your questions? Do you have more? What do you hope to see more of here and on my Instagram? It is an honor for me to use this platform to help other moms and families in their journeys of figuring out what works for their tribe. Please reach out to me in the comments. I love to hear from you.
Thanks for following along,