She is so excited to be in first grade - and the first week, as I expected was full of fun and we got a note home from her teacher asking us to talk to her about talking too much, and paying attention to what the teachers ask her to do. So we did, and it seemed she was doing better for a few days... I know T.A. has her own challenges - and I made sure to talk with the teacher about these issues and tell her the way we managed or worked with them last year... but it doesn't seem like it matters much. As I understand it, in first grade, the school has to adhere more closely with the public school curriculum, and there is less actual Montessori-ness to the classroom. I think this is a major problem... the children aren't able to move around the classroom much without getting in trouble this year... that's a big change from last year where the teacher had been teaching in Montessori schools for her career, and was completely devoted to the pedagogy.
T.A.'s teachers seem like really great teachers - and she likes them a lot. The problem is (I think) neither one of them are 'Montessori' teachers. The assistant teacher has gotten started on her training in Montessori, and is working with the children every once in a while to give them a lesson, but for the most part, the kids are sitting at their desks doing what seems like more traditional school work. This is the part that doesn't work for my daughter, and the part we wanted to avoid by having her attend this school. She's having trouble sitting still in her seat, talking to her table-mates, responding (when she should ignore) when her table-mates talk to her, and getting up to do things around the classroom. The School has come up with a "Behavior Point Sheet" that I detailed in the previous post "Hello Blogland!" (click to check it out). We've been using this system for several weeks now, and it's been pretty good so far... except for this past week or so... and I'm wondering what's going on. It could be a couple of things... her ADHD-ness could be getting more intense in general which would be why she could be having a hard time with the structure of the classroom (not so much freedom to move around)
It might have something to do with her being bumped up to 2nd grade curriculum (could be too much stress for her...) Oh - I don't know if I posted about this yet, but they've 'assessed' her and moved her to the second grade spelling list, reading workbooks and groups, and math workbooks. She seems to be having no trouble with any of the work - she's able to complete her homework easily, and her spelling words are still pretty simple for her, plus she's been reading like crazy (on her own, sitting on the floor in her room!)... so I don't feel like that's too much for her... but I'm still frustrated! Today she was crying over her homework because she was so worked up about how long it was going to take her - when in fact she gets it done really quickly, if she is having a 'green or yellow' day... (today was red)
You may be thinking - "why not try the local public elementary school that's 4 blocks from your house? or Didn't you go to public schools and turn out fine?" Yes, I went to public schools... and I turned out 'fine'... but I did struggle... and I was frequently frustrated... and I was on Ritalin for 1st-9th grades... I would like to avoid or help reduce some of those things for my daughter. The things that are frustrating me aren't going to be something that's fixed by moving her to the public school... I think that her issues would just be compounded, and then they'd tell me to put her on some medication so she could function "normally". (WHAT IS NORMAL???)
I've been thinking about homeschooling, and doing a little bit of research into what curricula are out there (and what's available here). And I'm trying to have conversations about it with Mike, but so far we haven't gotten anywhere with that conversation. I'm not sure it's the right thing for her, but I do wonder if homeschooling would offer less distractions, more freedom, more field trips, more science projects, and more interesting and hands-on work for her that she can work on at her own pace. I'm leaning toward homeschooling as a good option for her, and I think I could handle it, but there is the possibility of many familial obstacles to overcome. I refuse to medicate her, I have read too many horror stories about the side-effects and I don't want her to be a kid who has to pop pills every day.
So... I'm frustrated and looking for options.