Tuesday was the last day of school for my big girls. My oldest graduated from Upper Elementary (4th, 5th and 6th grade) and will move on to the Adolescent Community (7th and 8th grade). There was a really nice graduation ceremony. The children gave heartfelt speeches saying goodbye to this age and stage of life. I didn’t expect something like this but it was really wonderful. The teachers collected comments, complements and jokes from all the students about each 6th grader and read them out loud. It was individualized, meaningful and so much more impactful than a certificate or award. The day before the ceremony my daughter brought home ALL her binders of work from three years in Upper Elementary. One day soon, we’ll sit down and read through them when we have some quality time to focus on these achievements and how much she has learned. At the celebration there was food afterwards for the students and parents. A lot of thought and effort went into the event by all the community. I felt blessed to have these amazing teachers help shape, support and teach my children. Sometimes they even teach me how to parent as I enter new challenges with each new phase of development. For our family this is the best way to do middle school. We absolutely made the right choice for our girls.
Twice a year the students do Expert Journals, write a report on a topic and present what they learned. This time my oldest daughter did hers on Broadway. She spent countless hours working on a Powerpoint presentation, to the point I really just wanted her to go to bed the night before but she wanted to get it perfect. She did this because she cared, she took pride in her work and since it was presented to her peers she wanted them to enjoy her presentation. This is the motivation that Montessori education implants in children without grades…. to learn because it’s important to them, and do a good job because it’s purposeful. My older middle daughter did her report on U.S. Women’s Soccer. She worked really hard too and every bit of it payed off.
The girls took ownership of teacher gifts for the last day of school. I’m not a Pinterest mom any more. Sadly I don’t have time for detailed crafts since becoming a mom of four. But they wanted to show their love and appreciation to their teachers. My oldest girl made goats milk soaps using supplies they received for Christmas. I bought gift cards from a new local coffee shop. But my older middle girl wanted to give something just from her. Without much time left since it was the night before, I came up with the idea to print some pictures of her doing work with or for each teacher, or an experience they shared together. Each girl put time and their own touch on things. I went into the evening thinking it would be quick and easy. But they all wanted something to present to each of the teachers. This is what we pulled off. I’m including it here because they took the ideas, the supplies and made sure they had something they were proud to give their teachers.
And for fun, here is the last day of school photos compared to the first day of school. Every year I feel like we barely make it about across the finish line of lunch packing, routines, driving to school, homework…. all that jazz. Somehow this year I feel like we did okay. Or maybe I’ve just lowered my standards. But I’m ready for summer!!! I love spending time with these girls and baby girl will love having them home even more.
Somehow the same shoes still fit (or maybe they don’t fit?) my middle little and she wore them the last day of school and the first day of school. I promise I do buy them new shoes. Sometimes. She always hates when I ask her to take a picture. I have lots of grumpy pictures from her lifetime to remind of this fact. Such is life I guess. They have minds of there own for good and for bad. Over the year my oldest girl graduated to riding in the front seat when things got too squished back there. I still don’t like it. Then again she is as tall as some grown women, wears the same size shoe as me and is heavy enough not to alert the air bag light to go off as if she were a sack of groceries sitting on the front seat. I’m rambling. Welcome summer!