Well, not really the last day. Arielle and Liana won't be finished totally until June. But the 24 weeks at our co-op is over. I believe we ended well. I can't believe I really did all that teaching--considering how fearful I was last summer when I was anticipating all I had to do.
The girls have flourished at their school. They are more outgoing and confident. I attribute this to the kind, loving kids here. These kids are not clique-ish and are welcoming to everyone. My daughters were fully loved and accepted, just as all the students are, no matter how quirky they are or how different they might be perceived by the world outside of school. Arielle made a comment at the beginning of the year that all students here "could just be themselves."
I found out Arielle and Liana have an inner drive to succeed in school. They studied hard to complete what was expected of them. Arielle gave a required speech and I was witness to her poise and assertiveness. (So unlike me!) The girls' attitudes toward their teachers were sometimes quite different from their attitude toward me as their teacher! But that is good. They are also somewhat competitive. Little did I know. I feel we have the best of both worlds right now. They have this "school" experience in a safe environment, but they are also being homeschooled the way Fred and I long ago determined was best for them.
I also discovered this year that I love teaching. My students are vibrant, energetic kids who get excited about science and learning. What really surprised me most was that many times other students would join our class unexpectedly during their free time. We have laughed a lot in class this year and we've done some fun projects. In physical science it was our cornstarch experiment that was the best. It was supposed to simulate plastic rock, the proposed theory that a layer of our earth is made of a material like this. The kids created quite a mess, but they were amazed by the special properties of this mixture and continued to play with it long after class was over. When we studied electricity, I brought in a gadget Fred made when he was in school to become an electrician. One boy was so interested in it that Fred let him keep it.
In biology, the awe-factor came from our microscopic study of pond life. All the kids, including me, were fascinated by the unbelievably complex creatures that live unseen by our eyes. We also dissected some larger animals, and I was surprised to see there wasn't the ick-factor I'd anticipated. The kids had a sense of wonder about what lies beneath the skin.
For the first time I was the recipient of all those end-of-the-year teacher gifts--a handwritten card, miniature roses, homemade truffles. But the laughter and joy in the classroom were the best gifts and I had that all year.
I've been asked to teach biology again and also anatomy and physiology. My girls will likely take more classes next year at the school, and they are excited about that. Seeing friends on a regular basis makes all the work worthwhile.
For now we need to finish up here at home--the grammar, the algebra--those tedious subjects. And then, I want to clean my house! Can you imagine what it looks like after 9 months when cleaning is often neglected because other things take top priority? Well, yes, many of you have seen it.
Back to work...