What a huge change! Last school year my 8-year-old son was constantly getting into mischief at school. We had him a Montessori elementary program so he could learn at his own pace, but they really have a lot of structure as to when you have to finish this, what you have to do in order to move on to another kind of math, etc. And the math always looked wonderful when you went to see him working at school, but it didn’t translate into the real world at all.
We had several conferences about him floating around the class and not working, and I challenged the teachers to engage him – after all, that’s the job of a Montessori teacher! It never happened, so when he visited another school and asked to stay, we agreed.
Yesterday we met with three of his teachers at Riley to hear how he is doing. It was so nice to hear total emphasis on the positive! Mostly it was a report on what he was working on, his very positive attitude, and his strong motivation to work. A lot of these self-paced schools aren’t a good fit if a child isn’t self-motivated, but luckily we have a child who enjoys learning. He has some frustration with math, but mostly because he is a perfectionist and really likes to be correct. We discussed that some of this was the adjustment from one school’s methods to another, but already we see his math applying to the real world so much better.
Riley is rather like a little college campus for kids 4-14. They get to move between buildings, study science outdoors, each building has a big deck outside for having lunch or doing classes outdoors. It’s a very peaceful setting and the kids always look like they are having fun. We were welcomed to come by any time and visit, no planning necessary. I offered to drive for the Friday afternoon activities program, so hopefully I will get to know some more of the kids – other than my afternoon carload of boys!