First, I was a mom of an only child (then became a single mom) who taught middle and high school students history during the day while my child went first to a babysitter, then to a daycare, on to preschool, and then public school. Now a teen, my first-born is an honor student who enjoys playing soccer and writing (for fun).
As I approached my 40s, I wed & had two back-to-back pregnancies w/c-sections and have two extremely active, happy kiddos on my hands. Our middle child is Kindergarten-ready, but somewhat introverted and already enjoys examining specimens under a microscope, is reading, and plays creatively and freely from sun-up to sun-down. That kiddo is most likely on the path to unschooling. but has decided to give kindergarten a try. Our youngest is non-verbal and autistic, loves animals and outdoor play, and is heading to an exceptional, private preschool. If there is one thing I learned while obtaining my Masters in education, it is that every child is unique and what makes them "tick" is not the same for all.
We have raised our children with Montessori-method in mind and with a combination of both RIE and Reggio Emilia philosophies. Our home is filled with things to do and creative, self-directed fun; we have a room dedicated to the preschool-aged kiddos that includes a climbing dome, rainbow tent, bead maze, wooden train-tracks set, and wooden and basic toys galore. Out back we have a digging area complete with tools, trees to climb, slides and swings, etc. And in winter, we are outdoors several times a week. Our rule is as long as it is above zero and there is no chilling wind gusts, we enjoy playing in the snow under the sun. And vintage, "Made in the USA" REI suits, Patagonia undergarments, and Scandinavian balaclavas make it all possible.
We are a secular household and pretty much naturalists, so while we celebrate the fall equinox, winter solstice, spring equinox, and summer solstice, we don't do Santa, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy. Our kids are raised to appreciate fictional characters and are exposed to mythological stories, but we strive to avoid indoctrinating our children because we firmly believe in evidence-based theories, beliefs, and science. We love to teach our children through hands-on learning and break up our year with lots of opportunities where we explore and travel. Whether the city parks, state forests and beaches, Adirondack mountains, or riding horses in Saratoga's countryside, we keep minimalism in mind & enjoy the same trips year after year. We are a proud Fresh Air Fund host family.
As for me, if all kiddos are school-bound, I hope to return to substitute teaching and possibly become a full-time teacher again. Or pursue the administrative path.