So we’re wrapping up our first “easing in” week, and I have to say that overall, things have been going better than I expected. Alli has been a willing and enthusiastic partner in this effort, and I’m reminded of how wonderful it is to be teaching and learning again. It’s been a slightly challenging week for finding personal time for me, especially since Andrew’s been in crisis/long hours mode at work (to the extent that he hasn’t been home since YESTERDAY morning!!), and I have to say I look forward to doing this without feeling like a single parent when the workday is over.
Alli told me yesterday, unsolicited, that “she was learning a lot more than she thought she would be at school.” I asked her to elaborate, and she shared that she really liked having someone who was always willing to answer her questions and who didn’t ignore her, and that she really liked having everything “at her level”. She also said that she has a hard time focusing when there are lots of people around her and kids making lots of noise. She’s been fortunate to have pretty small classes for her school years to date (13-17 kids), and while she’s learned to manage it, I know she has still really struggled with auditory sensitivity in that size group – I can only imagine what that would feel like for her in the more typical class size range.
I was glad for both park day yesterday and our math games group starting up this morning – and continue to look forward to more classes with others kicking in. I do love our 1:1 time, but we both really need to be with others on a regular basis in order to not feel isolated. We are so fortunate to have connected early on with one family that has a 10-yr-old homeschooling this year, and we continue to develop relationships that I’m hopeful will also be consistent presences in our world. I’m also realizing that I need to get back on the horse in arranging playdates with Alli’s friends who are in school – hoping they are reaching a routine level where we can do some of that soon so that Alli remains connected.
Schedule-wise, I can’t say we’ve really followed things all that precisely (not that I expected to) this week, but I have used it to guide our work. I already find myself sometimes wishing there were more hours in the day; I think I need to relax a little more and realize that we have all year! Alli is most receptive to having a few goal projects in the first morning hours, then I think we have sort of worked with her mood and energy levels and what she’s most interested in as a driving force for some of the rest of the day. I’m seeing that she could happily do math for most of the day, so I’ve had to provide some direction to give us some balance (although I have indulged her enthusiasm by allowing us to go heavier on the math on occasion). Even if we veer “off schedule”, and I can’t say that we’ve had a day yet where we’ve really been “on schedule”, I refer back to it as a touchstone to guide us in eventually covering most of the bases. Things we’ve stumbled into this week have presented a lot of wonderful opportunities for integrated learning, and I’ve been delighted at how easily we’ve been able to already start weaving across traditional ‘subjects’. This is something I have struggled with feeling free to do as a teacher in today’s public school system.
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