It started at 4.45 in the morning. I heard the thunk of two size five toddler feet hitting the ground, a muffed 'Morning, Saurus' as she cuddled her favourite toy, then the undeniable creek of her bedroom door opening. I shuffled further down the bed and pulled my blankets over my head, because at 4.45am you are tired enough to actually believe that if the child can't see you, they'll leave you alone. Ha! The just woken, and surprisingly coordinated Audrey, catapulted herself on top of me, pulled back the covers, tucked her toy 'Saurus' under my blankets and jumped in next to me, I feigned sleep to no avail (surprise…) as I was poked in the face and asked repeatedly for breakfast.
In my parenting haze, a Dinosaur Train DVD was put on the tv, a bowl of cereal appeared before Audrey, she ate and tv watched while I passed out on the couch for a whole blissful 10 minutes. After the breakfast dishes where expertly dumped in the sink to deal with when I didn't feel like death, I put a scrap of fabric on our dining table, my old work notebook, a few paints and told Audrey to go to town.
I drank two double shot lattes while Audrey played and painted, and as I started to properly wake up I started to really watch her play. A large part of Montessori is following the child, their interests, and letting them learn through the things that interest them. I was fascinated at how naturally this came to Audrey as she darted outside to grab various bits of nature to paint on and with, then the experimenting turned to Dinosaurs. We painted them together, then painted their feet to see which ones made the best paint footprints. This kept Audrey occupied for a whole 2 hours. 2 hours! I felt like I'd hit a jackpot.
The cuteness of her self-led learning made me feel so grateful that I was open to this slightly alternative approach to living and education, some days I feel like the lack of structure is ruining her and I'm a terrible mother, but days like this make me see our lives in a whole new light.
Does anybody else go the way of self-led learning? Audrey's father was un-schooled with his 6 brothers and sisters, and although that isn't an option with Audrey, I feel like we found an amazing middle ground.