I feel the need defend myself for the title of this message simply because it can come across as selfish to my own personal needs as a Black woman. However, I attempt to let my communication to the world be one for ALL, and one that compliments Dr. Montessori's quote: "The whole of mankind is one and only one, one race, one class, and one society." So if this is the first time you're reading one of my pieces, know there were and will be many more like this to acknowledge all races of the global community. Black History [Month] is no more important than Hispanic Heritage, Pacific Islander/Asian-American, or any other celebratory month. However, our origin story (and therefore need to highlight the whole celebration) is different from others. Whereas other folks (excluding Native Americans, who were forcibly removed) immigrated here, Black folks migrated... and by that, I'm referring to our capture from Africa, bondage (which started on foot for miles on end before being packaged worse than Amazon boxes into the cargo ships--that now waver for days on end in international waters due to Covid--to endure inhuman conditions where many perished), and finally, enslavement. The harsh reality, and one that has more recently been banned by our nation's school systems, is that though we celebrate, we do so while still fighting off the lasting effects that weren't 400 years ago. They're still happening today. Maybe you were looking for a message that highlights Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, [Dr.] Martin Luther King, Jr., or the other famous individuals we bring up this time of year. If so, this message will leave you disappointed. Before you move on to easily clickable, printable, and dispersible content—which I have use for the majority of my teaching career, please hear me out for a few moments as I explain why the annual celebration begs for more than a date on a calendar.
"Slavery happened SO LONG AGO!" People who often say this are exactly right! BUT right now, in 2022, Black folks and allies are fighting against our governmental institutions of education, who defend the dominating (meaning most accessible, most published, most taught) white- perspective. These soften the blow of enslavement, give narratives of justification, and neglect the perspective of its victims. There exists a multitude of resources from the voice of the enslaved that tells a very different story, fighting to be shared. Yes, these sources villainize the white people who partook in enslavement (and benefited from its products) ... and it should! BUT the modern day, educated reader can deduce that the underlying narrative is "This disgusting act of inhumanity and those who instituted/perpetuated it do not represent liberty and justice for all" NOT (and use your best robot voice) "All white people are bad." Blacks persist to argue about the accuracy and effects of its harmful and lasting existence.
Speaking about slavery is honoring the horrific origin of the Black American. Surely our ancestry is rooted from the Mother Land, but most of it was lost, so a new species was formed over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We have adapted AND many never forgotten that part of our history. Black History must include the patchwork of our Blackness: enslavement.
Read with your children:
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water (yep, this book has been banned in many areas)
Honest Abe and Emancipation: Fact: Abraham Lincoln fathered the Emancipation Proclamation. Fact: The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 “thenceforward, and forever [did not] free… all persons held as slaves…” Word did not make it to Texas until June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth) when the last slaves were emancipated. Fact: The emancipated practiced freedom within limits… sharecropping, voting restrictions, Jim Crow, segregation, restrictions from interracial marriage, victims of hate crimes, Civil Rights, police brutality, victims of hate crimes, police brutality, voter suppression, anti-Critical Race Theory… O look! Here we are to the present! (Yes, I’m using sarcasm to make a point: our freedom has heavy restrictions; if you connect the dots, you’ll see what I see… systemic oppression)
BHM 2022: Mark your calendars for February 1-March 1! I mentioned the countless resources out there to support the celebration of our past, present, and hopeful future! Where there are many prideful Black voices, still remain those of us questioning the pride. Until recently, I was too embarrassed to teach/celebrate BHM. I was tired of the watered-down content that made everybody feel good when I didn’t. How can you feel good when you don’t feel like you are far from your ambiguous ancestry? I respect the folks who are stuck in this position. I empathize and offer you a word of hope from my dear friend Sam [Cooke]: “… a change is gonna come.” For those who are ready to take on the true meaning of Christmas, I mean Black History Month… (wrong month), I give you these musts:
NMAAHC Reading Resources
Teaching Black History Month
10 Ideas for Teaching Black History Month
Black History Month: Teaching the Complete History
Teaching Students a New Black History
Black History Month Resource Guide for Educators and Families
Black History Month Teaching Resources
Teaching History Beyond Slavery and Black History Month
Teaching Black History in Culturally Responsive Ways
With Love, Equity and Montessori for ALL!
“The whole of mankind is one and only one, one race, one class, and one society.” -Dr. Maria Montessori
Montessorians live by our heroic founder’s words. I once observed a legit, Montessori turf war occur at a school I worked at. Instead of the Bloods and the Crips, it was the AMIs and the AMSs. We rep our “colors” but can always find common ground with the life-giving words of Maria Montessori. Her words can diffuse any conflict, settling the souls of any Montessori groups in opposition, leading us to that peaceful stream of reconciliation. More than 100 years later, Montessori continues to be a system of education defined by its pedagogy of peace while elevating the whole child. We hear it all the time; we boast it in our Montessori professions. Although Dr. Montessori’s jewel of education continues to inspire educators and families across all color lines, it remains exclusive, for the most part, to a specific demographic of white, upper class citizens. And as it maintains its identity of peace, peace is not sufficient in the 21st century. I’d argue that the 20th century created countless moments of peace (in contrast to the continuous moments of unrest carried over from the same century and those before), but peace creates a false sense of personal accomplishment and inevitably slams the door on the growth and development of mankind. To honor our matriarch’s movement, we have a responsibility to help it evolve, reaching the ends of the earth while creating Montessori disciples of ALL children (and families), shifting our focus from peace to equity.
Entering this second decade of the 21st century requires a countercultural lens. Media–especially social media–has polarized our thought processes, conditioning us to carry an “us VS them” mentality. Either you agree with me 100% or you’re the scum of the earth, don’t exist, canceled or whatever other term you’d like to throw in the pot. While some find solace in refusing to engage in the toxic culture we call society, the crippled majority (myself included at times) has no hope for the middle ground needed to rescue us. Why? Because we are microscopic (minded, that is)– to ourselves, our home, our family, our school, our community–rather than telescopic to the whole global community: “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one unity.” … her words, not mine.
We Montessorians pride ourselves in being the exception to the rule! Our iconic (only to us) triad of the symbiotic relationship among the child, the adult and the environment sets us apart from traditional education right out the gate. Our equilateral, even-balanced, 60-60-60 degree triangle has lost its shape, shifting to a right triangle. That’s 30 degrees for the adult, carrying our excellent teacher education preparation but lacking a wider, perspective of the global child (and family); 60 degrees for an environment that often looks pristine and checks all the boxes but, again misses the mark of representation of and for all students and families; and most discouragingly, 90 degrees for the child, struggling to find equitable resources to meet her whole interests and developmental needs. She’s not learning how to be a member of a world community. Rather, she has to choose and/or fit into the dominant community, who is in it for itself as the superior race, superior class, and superior society. We’re doing the child a disservice… but we don’t have to.
It would be negligent to avoid mentioning 2020. Two years later, as I reference the pivotal year, I’m more often than not met with an eye roll that says, “Oh no! Now she’s going to dig up the racial or political past.” For me, this year, teetering with joys and anguishing heartbreaks, was a catalyst to my personal and professional (or cosmic) evolution. Working as a Montessori educator in predominantly white, upper class communities, I felt immune to the perpetuating racial disease that was swiftly worsening. I continued to climb a ladder that I blindly thought would lead me to “the top.” I couldn’t wait to absorb some of the children’s tuitions that were slowly approaching the $2K/month mark–that’s literally more expensive than some state university tuitions. I was well on my way to the next wrung, and blindly my last–though nowhere close to the top–so long as I didn’t speak about the elephant in the room: [my] race. As a light-skinned, fair-haired, soft-eyed, Black woman, I kept the peace when I avoided talks about race (be it mine or any other minority). The occasional heroes and holidays were acceptable, each group getting 1-2 days of recognition a year. My increasing years in Montessori education created a blinding cruise control that came to a screeching halt that summer. Yet another loss of life at the hands of those who were supposed to protect it. I had had enough! What followed was a painful evaluation of my racial identity which led to fear, disgust, pride, confusion, and essentially every emotion in the book. Surely, I could carry this awakening to my Montessori community, walking together to elevate mankind. No, I couldn’t. The more I spoke, the more uncomfortable my Montessori family became. As I leaned on my Microscopic Minority Montessorians (trademark pending) for support, it became apparent to me that the same oppression that exists in the outside world is just as strong in the system of education that I foolishly thought stood apart. WWMD (What Would Maria Do?)–horrible 90s reference to obnoxious bracelets worn by Christians like myself (What Would Jesus Do?). Lest we forget who the Casa dei Bambini served: underprivileged, lower class, forgotten children of the slums.
There’s hope…for us all. I watched more evidence of the injustices of this world paralyze some while igniting others. I was ignited! I see Dr. Montessori’s original work fading into the homogenous-ness of a system of traditional education that is one-size-fits all. That’s not what Maria Montessori would do. So eloquently spoken, we can gather her melodical quotations of peace, resurrecting our prized jewel of Montessori education by delivering a global curriculum for and by ALL. Our first step begins with ourselves. Remember that grace and courtesy we model to the children? A double dose is prescribed to the adult. The difference between the paralyzed and ignited individual is shame. The paralyzed are held captive to their shame, nurturing fear, anger and ultimately self-destruction. On the other hand, the ignited recognize the fallacy of all humanity, offering forgiveness while seeking avenues to uplift humankind. Do you see the difference? As a proud, Black Montessorian, surrounded by countless other oppressed voices in education, I caution you to see the injustices of this world. Feel the feels associated with them. But clear those obstacles of shame (as there will be many). Knowing that our past sins (and those of our ancestors) don’t have to define our present and future is a gateway to our journey from peace to equity.
Now that our youngest is in toddlerhood, I find myself quantifying his development. Of course, I'm an educator, but I'm a Montessorian and, more importantly, his mother--at the very least, I should be qualifying his vast development. His older brother and sister were in school at his age, so each time they came home, their developmental strides were noticeable (due to the 8-10 hour hiatus from home). Number three is a stay-at-home-bro with two remotely, working parents, so we have more contact time with him. What a tremendous blessing it is to have this time--especially while I write this, and he is sprinkling the floor with his rice and beans :) The dark side to this venture has manifested as impatience.
I know, I know... I'm breaking the Montessori-creed: Thou shalt recognize that each child (even your own) is different! It's hard though! He's 18 months old, said to be completely healthy and thriving but not walking--#1 and #2 we're almost sprinting by 15 months old, and that was "late." As always, I suddenly changed my tune as I was graced by the Montessori Angels of Wisdom--that don't exist. Here's the rundown:
Monday, November 8, 2021:
Three kids and eight years in the making an epiphany occurred this weekend: get up earlier in the morning. Before you immediately turn the other way, hear me out.
Our mornings, like so many other families, are a whirlwind. We wake up to middle brother climbing over us in the bed, ready for his snuggles and his latest broadcast of the previous night's dreams. After 20 minutes or so, we send him off to do his morning routine, wake up #1 and #3, meet downstairs for breakfast (and by that, I mean the kids sitting down to a full meal while Jeremy and I get everything else ready to get out the door), do the kids' hair, and sprint out the door with my bowl of oatmeal and banana in hand. It's crazy! Some mornings are woven with shouts of frustration from both #teamkiddo and #teamparents.
For whatever reason, "falling back" an hour has gifted our family with a mindset shift. My internal clock is still in Daylight Savings Land, so I'm stuck in what I used to think of as purgatory for 2-3 weeks. However, something strange happened. In going to bed at a decent time and waking up at 4:50 a.m., I have started to take time for myself to spiritually prepare for the day. Then, by 5:30, I wake up Jeremy to join me in this time. By 5:50, we're up, brushing the yaws, as my mom calls them--morning breath, that is--away, and ready to receive the slipper-footed dinosaur stomps down the hall by #2! When we put ourselves in the child's shoes, eager to get out of bed to snuggle with Mom and Dad and start the day, it's easier to want to prepare ourselves for this, instead of shooing him away to selfishly squeeze in more sleep that won't come. In the embarrassingly countless times that we have done the latter, he repeatedly came back every five minutes, destroyed his room, woke up #1 (which is just asking for a kick in the face), and ended up frustrated and defeated by the time my feet hit the floor, 20 minutes later. We're two days into this, so I'm hopeful this maintains consistency. But here's the win-win: Jeremy and I both start the day together (as opposed to looking at each other for the first time once the kids go to sleep), we are present to help the kids get ready without the stressors of forgetting to deodorize, the kids get more attention to their needs, we ALL eat breakfast before leaving, and we walk out of the door--dare I say--5 minutes before time to leave. I know obstacles are pressing on the horizon, but I also am more prepared to face them.
... Now it's your turn*
*(In the Montessori classroom, at the end of showing a child a lesson, we look at him/her and say, "Now it's your turn." This invitation allows the child to independently repeat what you modeled).
I was recently shopping for my children's school supplies, and it dawned on me... it's as simple as a box of colored pencils! What is "it" you ask? IT is the thing some people fear and/or avoid like the plague. IT is what some people, like myself, are dying to talk more about. IT has been inescapable for the past year (unless you live under a rock). IT=RACE. Beyond the word race, I am speaking about racial equity. I'll spare you a multi-page blog about why racial equity is vital to ALL humans. At the same time, there are simple, very basic things we can do to actively take strides towards it, and it starts with a box of pencils.
Remember the good ol' box of Crayola Multicultural colored pencils/markers/crayons? I blew the dust off of these at the beginning of each year to do self-portraits with my students, and tucked them away to be used for the next year. Of course, 2020 brought a more respectful change to the product, renaming them Colors of the World! Whether you agree with the name change or not, the point is simple: the standard brown and peach crayon is just not enough. Sure, you have to buy these separately from the classic and bold colors--baby steps, y'all, but they do exist, and you should have them... we all should.
As a child, I remember the joys of coloring with markers! There was nothing like it... until it came time to color in skin tones. The peach marker always allowed you to see all features while the brown one covered up even the darkest lines. So, I chucked my brown, saving it for animals and such, replacing any person of color with my peach marker. Conspiracy? Maybe. Substituting any skin tone for peach was quite a statement I never realized I was forced to make. Fast forward to 2021. There are millions of children (and adults) who are trying to embrace their identity in a world that continues to stifle it, and a variety of media that represents the different, beautiful skin tones of the world should be standard in every household, classroom, art studio, etc. A child should not have to substitute one color for another because it doesn't represent who they are or what they are trying to create. Providing these (and any other appropriate form of representation) creates the norm, communicating to the child that s/he is the norm (and doesn't have to change who s/he is because a box of crayons says so). As so many of us move forward to face this giant of racism, we often get overwhelmed by the whole war rather than the small battles. Giants have fallen to a stone! Go forth and fight the battle, equipping your child with whatever "colors of the world" weapon, I mean drawing utensil, is desired.
*I have no affiliation with Crayola or the Colors of the World line*
This morning, I sat at breakfast with one of my children's old teachers and dear friends, Ms. Kristine. We caught up, discussing life and got on the subject of family. Kristine and I often exchange various stories about our similar-in-age girls. Something was different today... unfamiliar. As we chatted about the new challenges we see our oldest girls face, we realized that we are out of our elements. Both of us know child development 0-6 like the back of our hands, but now that our girls are 7 and 8 years old, we are in uncharted territories--and to be honest, we're scared. The good thing is that there are plenty of resources + great conversations that will help us down this next leg of the journey. More to come on this in the future.
As I drove home from my double Belgian Waffle, egg whites, chicken sausage and fruit (I thought I only ate the double waffle when I was pregnant... but I'm not and it was delicious!), I started to think more deeply about family. I thought about my own upbringing and how I used to watch tv with my parents at night: Family Matters, The Cosby Show (yikes, I know... it was still a great show), Doogie Howser, M.D., Full House, etc. I remember learning about many "older subjects" while watching these shows, feeling safe and having the support of my parents to explain, shield my ears, turn off, or do anything that needed to follow a scene. I compared this to how we watch tv with our children: they have their shows on their apps and we have ours. They watch their shows while we do our things around the house (sometimes sitting with them), and we watch our shows when they are asleep or not in the room. I thought this was the right thing to do because I can limit and monitor what they watch, deciding what would keep them innocent and protected from the things I didn't want them exposed to--#modernparenting. A few weeks ago, while watching my favorite show, Blackish, I thought to myself, "I wish I could watch this with my daughter! There are some great values that are reinforced... But no, there's bad language, and I don't want her to think she can dress like the older kids on the show, and I'm not ready for her to learn about _______..." As I drove home from breakfast with Kristine, I started to contemplate watching family shows with my husband and kids. Here's why: 1) I cannot control everything my children see and hear when they are out of the house. If I am with them in a "controlled" environment, allowing them to be exposed to more than Mighty Express and Sidney to the Max, I can do my job as a parent to navigate through the array of themes together. 2) I can help them understand that though so-and-so said a bad word, it's because s/he was mad. However, we know lots of other words that are appropriate to use when we're upset. Or, so-and-so has a cell phone (my daughter is obsessed) because their parents allow them to have one. You will get a cell phone when it is the right time for you to need one because you'll be out of the house more and need to have a way to reach us/be reached. 3) I don't want the world outside of our house to be the main source of street-smarts for my children. Open dialogs will hopefully create a space of trust and respect between our children and us (the parents). Of course, I don't want my children to partake in poor choices, but they're going to. My desire, which is something I couldn't do with my parents, is that they will have the confidence to come to my husband and me to talk about things.
So, break out all of the prime time shows! We're going to get through them all! No... We will pick and choose which shows, episodes, or parts to help our children make sense of their world, AND we will view them together. Sheltering children from real life themes, especially the scary ones, is an obstacle to their full development.
I can already tell this will be a multi-part series, so just get ready! After being in various schools for over a decade, I am now a stay-at-home mom. Talk about foreign territory! For a short period, I homeschooled my pre-schooler, only to conclude that since he was, from birth, supported by a his school social setting, he benefited more from that environment consistency (not at home with Mommy and Baby Bro). Fortunately, he now shares a school with his big sister. So, I'm left at home with the baby. Asides from maternity leave, in which I was barely coherent and more sleep deprived (than I am now), I have never spent long periods of time at home with any of my children. Oh, and my education is all weighted in 3 year-olds and up! So what do I do with an infant at home!?! The results have been pleasantly surprising.
I, unlike most stay-at-home moms, have a wealth of knowledge about Montessori infants and toddlers, having trained many teachers, set up environments, and studied countless resources. When I assumed my new at-home role, Caleb was 8 months old. He was rocking and kinda humping the floor (as babies do when they are trying to crawl but can't--I apologize for the graphic description, but you now can visualize what I mean… You're welcome). I knew he was attempting to move. Check off the sensitive period for movement box! I knew I needed to support this development by offering him space and activities encourage it. I spent hours on Amazon, looking at and finding inexpensive ideas for a bridge, incline, and other structures. Then it hit me. I was not happy with the fact that he can now move, though only in the flat tummy army crawl. I needed to give him more to encourage more movement! Hold that thought; there's more.
Caleb finally started to sit still without grabbing and eating books I read to him. Score! Check off the sensitive period language box! My older two children have enough books in our house to start a library, and I blame my husband, who always has a book in his hand! I re-organized Caleb's spaces to include books so we could enjoy them throughout our days at home. Unfortunately, many times, he lost interest or just wanted to grab the books for himself. Why weren't my attempts achieving success? He should've been able to sit through at least one reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Just wait one more second... I'm not done.
Order! I had this sensitive period in the bag-check! I knew so much about what babies need by setting up environments after observing them. I was in our own space and knew it would be easy to replicate this at home. I purchased a cheap floor mirror, collected baskets and trays from around the house, ordered a few essentials for his range of development, and off we went! Well, not really. He explored the works here and there as I did my thing of housework and projects. A few moments later, he would whine and cry due to what I had interpreted as boredom. I was honestly offended. Was my infant unappreciative and unamused by my awesome attempts to meet his needs? Was there too much or not enough stimulation? What was I doing wrong?
There was nothing personal about his response, though me taking it personally revealed a lot! I had forgotten him... Caleb, in the process. I had forgotten about one of the most important parts of the environment: the people in it. Though I created some top-notch Montessori spaces in my home (don't mean to toot my own horn but beep-beep), I was not there. I'd show him how to do it or lay it in front of him to explore and walk away, leaving him feeling insecure. AND my absence prevented another vital component to Montessori: observation. I wasn't there to see how he responded to his environment. What likes/dislikes were present? How did he respond to the works that were there? What other things caught his interest? I was neglecting my role in our adult-child relationship. Now what?
I have started to take more time to be fully present with Caleb. When he wants to be near to me, he comes close by. When he is focused on something, I move away slightly so he can independently enjoy the experience, engaging with him when he calls for it. I'm learning how to carve intentional, focused time (out of my busy at-home schedule... eye roll) with him. During these moments, my phone is silenced and out of the room. The television is set to Spotify on some calming, instrumental playlist. He directly has my attention while I indirectly have his. As we've been practicing this, I have made some discoveries:
I knew of someone-let's be real, several people in my lifetime-who have politely responded to me saying, "Sarah, I'm not in your shoes. I have no idea how you feel." One instance, this response followed palpable (like snot running down the face, hyperventilating sobs, a few moments of gasping for air, etc.), agonizing pain of the racial injustice I was beginning to recognize whilst watching others like me continuously endure. Following her blank stares, silence and discomfort (now from both parties), I scooped up my dignity and walked away, shattered. Here's the thing, y'all; it is no longer (nor has it really ever been) acceptable to tell someone who is suffering in anyway, whether you have experienced it or not, that you don't know how they feel, leaving them to manage on their own. No! You should be walking in my shoes (and others' of humanity). When we stick to our own shoes, we slam the door shut to others. I had to ignore the style and brand of shoes I like for so long to be accepted. But I'm being more selective these days. As I wear the shoes I choose, I have full, realistic experience: painful blisters, walking on a cloud, receiving compliments for their fashion or finding a look of disgust. To me, it doesn't matter. My goal is to love and share the wisdom that has been given to me with as many people as I can-one style does not fit all!
Let me drop the metaphor and be brutally honest with you... as a human race, we cannot stick to and only fight for our own kind. It's a battle that has vexed us since the beginning of time. To see true change is to get uncomfortable with, lower ourselves to, get next to and on the same level of those who are different than us. Comfort is a farce that will inhibit any possibility of harmony. So, I beg of you to join me by walking in someone else's shoes. You can start by borrowing a pair of mine (they're a modest size 12). I'll trade you for a pair of yours.
In all honesty, it was one of the first things I learned when taking my Montessori teaching courses: follow the child, follow the child, follow the child. It's drilled into our brains. For the most part, I did a good job observing and following the needs of my students. As an administrator, I did even better, helping teachers have a third-party perspective on how to guide the child. As a mommy... let's just say, I am back to the introduction mode. You see, when you learn how to observe a child and take scientific notes, one of the easiest things to do is create a triangle to represent the child's level of mastery. One line of the triangle represents that a concept or lesson has just been introduced to the child. Two connecting lines represent that the child is independently practicing the concept. A completed triangle equals mastery! My one, lonely line of the triangle right now tells me I have so much more to understand and practice before moving towards the mastery, which I will NEVER reach-none of us will with our own children.
The problem we face as adults, and especially parents, is that we view children through our lens. We think that, because we have traveled a certain path with the experiences we have acquired, children close to us should experience the same things and avoid our mistakes. We have good intentions, but we are dead wrong! A child's wholeness should not be a reflection of who we are-as I type this, I reread it to sink into my soul! I'll say it again: A child's wholeness should not be a reflection of who we are. Children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled as so many traditional educators and adults believe. Don't get me wrong, we have an obligation to model and teach them essential skills BUT under the premise that the child is unlike you or anyone else. I recently started to homeschool my 3 year old-trust me, the choice to do this was out of my control. The night before we started "school," I gathered all kinds of materials for things I knew he was capable of doing. I spent more than $200 on Montessori math and language materials that I couldn't wait to give him. As I Montessori-ized the playroom, his eyes grew huge in excitement. He couldn't wait to start his lessons. For two days, I modeled how to use the works. He was so attentive and repeated everything to a T. But, the nostalgia wore off. By the end of the week, I was pulling teeth, trying to get him to do a few minutes of "school." So, I went on Amazon (how I hate to love you) to purchase more items. Surely, he just needed more variety of things. I know he needed to develop certain skills: identifying and counting to 1000 using the decimal system, mastering his letter sounds with the sandpaper letters, tracing lines and working on his pencil grip. He wouldn't go back to these works. Why!?!
We see amazing potential in children, don't we? When the child is our own, this is amplified. I know my son is well on his way to reading and may even do it before his 4th birthday. He loves to color his own creations while gripping his instrument incorrectly with a whole fist. As I try to correct him and introduce him to concepts that will push him, I completely ignore what is right in front of me: a content and thriving 3 year old who wants to explore his world and be creative. After watching my, I mean his, beautiful new materials collect dust on the shelves, I sat back to observe what he likes. He LOVES dinosaurs, water pouring, using eye droppers, building with LEGOS, and coloring! I have had to tell myself that this is fine. My experience as a Montessorian has allowed me to support the future for his education while at home, but it must be through his lens, not mine. So, now, I have throttled back some to let him drive his learning. Instead of filling his shelves with challenging work, I have started to keep it stocked with a variety of things he enjoys: coloring, cutting, and gluing materials; 3 different water works; scooping work; and one challenging math and language work that we do together. I do not know how long we will do homeschool-again, I believe it is not optimal for a child his age who has been in school since he was a baby. I will, however, make the best out of this experience, following the beat of his drum rather than my own. Maybe by the end of this, I will be able to have two lines for my triangle instead of one.