Angelo will be 4 in about a month and a half!! So, the great school debate is in the forefront of my mind. Public school is just not for us, despite living in an area that has a reputation for having really great schools. I believe change starts at home and the way public schools focus more on test scores and managing children rather than truly educating them just won't work for us (this is a really great speech by a Valedictorian who feels like she wasn't truly educated, just was great at doing what she was told). I really like the Montessori philosophy and have an appointment tomorrow morning with the Mt. Lebanon Montessori school to see if it is a good fit for us. Being an Occupational Therapist, especially one who's worked in the school system, I really appreciate the focus Montessori puts on learning through the senses. As a Mom and artist who admires and appreciates individuality, the Montessori method of allowing each child to go from activity to activity at their own pace and showing profound respect for each child really speaks to me. Of course, budget is always something to consider, especially here.
I'm also still considering Unschooling, especially since there are such wonderful resources here, like PALS, a group that organizes outings, classes once a week and has a resource library for home schoolers without a religious focus or those who are open minded toward those who are not religious. There is also the Children's Museum, which we've been frequenting (and have a membership for) and is completely amazing, the Carnagie Museums, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (which we also have a membership to thanks to a great Groupon) and more, which all have programs for home schoolers. With all these great resources, most of which we will take advantage of regardless of whether he goes to the Montessori school, I'm wondering just how impressive this school will have to be ...
In "practicing" for home schooling (we really already do Unschooling and have semi-structured activities, but I wanted to add some more in preparation for ... the "real" thing), I've added some "Lunch Time Lessons". They have been fun and have kept him engaged enough to get through lunch a little more quickly. We'll do a step or two of the activity and then he takes a bite and repeat until he's finished. We've had some physics/grammer lessons involving Thomas the Train, and the pictures below are of some sorting activities we've done. These pom poms have really gone far. First, he scooped them from one bowl to another (for dexterity and coordination, spacial relations; this one he did all on his own), another time, we sorted by size and in these pictures, we sorted by color. If you can't tell, he really enjoyed it. :)
This picture shows Angelo in his "portable safe place". He found this hamper I used to transport laundry and it has become a really fun toy for him. He walks around, bounces around and sits around in it. I think it's especially cute since I used to clear out the lower cabinets and hang out in them at his age. :)
Oh, and I found this Flicker group (via Http://www.syko.typepad.com ) all on hand made crafts for boys and it is just adorable! Very inspiring, especially since I have a ton of sewing to do for Angelo's birthday and my sewing space isn't set up. I at least brought the serger down and have thread for it now! I'll keep looking at all this cute stuff to help me brave the cold in the attic and get the material and things already cut out. :)
I'll keep you posted on the great school debate! Please comment below if you have thoughts to share! :)