I un-enrolled Dagne from school today and kept her home.
Dagne’s been saying she’s ready to come home for a few weeks now. I made her wait to make sure her seven-year old changeable mind wasn’t going to change. I promised her that she could stop after Spring break if she still wanted to. I thought maybe the break from school would make her miss it.
Sunday arrived. She didn’t want to go anymore.
Nothing bad happened at school. The little school she was going to is a great school. She just wanted to come home. Finally, I felt ready for her. I realized that chaos is just going to be a part of our lives for awhile longer and I can’t keep putting off things I believe in just because it’s not yet convenient.
First, she showed up yawning at the breakfast table while everyone else was hustling out the door. She sat complacently at the table, eating sausages and raisin toast, with mussed hair and bad breath, sitting on her knees in her underwear.
When I waved everyone off at the door, we made all the beds together. Then, I printed off a few math pages to keep her busy while I ordered her a new book.
She wore one of her crazy outfits and I didn’t have to fight her about it. I refused to let her look like a vagabond when entering the cruel schoolyard, but at home, she’s safe. Let her express herself all she wants.
We read a Bible story. She wrote a verse in cursive. She loved it. There’s no need to wait until second grade at home. She can write cursive when she wants. I changed her grip and re-taught the formation of letters — she was gaining several bad handwriting habits at school.
We worked on phonics and spelling. Then, she read three books — all delicious fairytales and poetic nature pieces. I don’t make her read that many, she just wanted to.
Then, I read aloud to her about the ancient Greeks. We marked the birth and death of Socrates in her Book of Time. She thought the part about him drinking poison pretty fascinating. We learned about democracy and where we get the word “ostracise.” It comes from the Greek Ostraka — pieces of broken pottery that people would write a politician’s name — if a name were written enough times, the politician would be banned from the city.
Then, we read about George Muller — it wasn’t a very well-written book but it’ll do ’til I figure what we’re going to do next. This staying home thing wasn’t decided upon until last night.
Finally, we memorized the defining aspects of the Common Loon and the Western Grebe and she colored an incredibly accurate impression of both.
We ate a lunch together of waffles and blackberries and milk.
She played with the dogs and sat in the pale sunshine on the hammock.
It was a good, first day at home.
If I work tomorrow she’s going with Daddy to build a fort at the job-site he’s at and ride bikes. He’ll probably find time to do a nature hike with her. They’ll identify some new spring flowers perhaps and draw some if he remembers the materials.
Perhaps you’ll think this is a rather lax type of school but it’s the way we’ve always done it. By the time they’re Elsa’s age, we found the superior results of excellent academics, enjoyment and interest in all subjects, an independent soul not influenced by her peers but accepted and liked by them.
Moreover, they’re settled. Happy. Mature.
Less is more. Do a few things. Only the best. Do them with excellence.
It’s good to have a kid back home.