I'm closing Montgomery Academy.
This is a big deal. I started Montgomery Academy way, way back in January of 2003. I started it because I didn't have enough money to send Flower (3 at the time) to preschool and I decided to teach her at home, but I was afraid if it was just here that I wouldn't do it. Or at least not consistently. So I
And the first year was great. I figured out so much about how to be a preschool teacher, what seemed to work, what didn't, what I needed to buy, what I didn't, etc. And during that first year, word spread like wildfire.
By the time we opened in the fall of 2003, I had to offer two sessions, a MWF session and a Tues/Thursday session. And so that the kids could get real practice with their practical life skills, I started offering lunch too. I had 11 kids that I was teaching that year, including Flower. We had so much fun that year. We had the "Jelly Bean" schedule that year too where the moms would rotate who got to watch Jelly Bean (she was almost 2 by this point) during preschool time so that I would be able to devote my attention to the preschool kids. And Jelly Bean has always been, uh, a little busy, so it worked out well to have her have her own thing and for me to be able to concentrate on teaching. We had our first set of siblings this year (a pair of sisters that were 18 months apart, but one year apart in school - they were also our next door neighbors, so this was extra fun!) I also started offering Summer "camps" that year where we would spend a week talking about a certain topic.
The third year (fall of 2004) I took off during the fall because Super had just been born. We spent the fall just hanging out with just the 3 of us - Flower was newly 5 (but missed the school deadline), Jelly Bean was almost 3, and Super was of course, newborn. But we started up again in the January of 2005. Jelly Bean was joining us by this time too.
Fall of 2005, Flower was off to Kindergarten at public school, and Jelly Bean was at Montgomery Academy in earnest. That year was a little smaller, and I just offered a MWF class. But it was a fun class, and we had a sibling that year of one of the original group.
Oh, just as an aside, in the history of Montgomery Academy, we have had a very small percentage of boys. I don't know if there were just less boys in my circle of friends and to those that I was referred to, but out of the 50 plus children that I taught over the years, less than 10 were boys. And often times, there would be just one boy a year.
Anyway, we were up to Fall of 2006 by now. Super was a little less busy than Jelly Bean and I was getting better at managing a toddler with preschoolers, so he usually hung out with us too. I was starting to feel like I really knew what I was doing now. We also had another set of (girl!) siblings this year. We were back to a MWF and a Tues/Thurs group.
Fall of 2007, Jelly Bean joined Flower at public school (Flower was now in 2nd grade and Jelly Bean started kindergarten) This was a great year. Most of the kids in this class knew each other from church and other contacts and it was a really close group. And I'm a sucker for preschoolers singing anyway, but oh my goodness, this group was especially cute. And then, this year, I added daycare. At first it was just one 3 year old student. But it was the beginninng of a transition for Montgomery Academy.
In July 2008, I had someone else ask me about daycare - this time for a newborn. And another person ask about their 3 year old. And I said yes. So by Fall of 2008, I had 3 full-time daycare children along with one of the girl siblings (her sister went to Kindergarten) that stayed sometimes in the afternoon too. The newborn usually slept during preschool time and otherwise just hung out with us, so it wasn't as hard. Plus I'd often had a newborn of my own that I was managing while doing Montgomery Academy, so it wasn't that hard. But now I was working really full time. I had 3, sometimes 4 children (in addition to Super) that I was watching in the afternoons, plus preschool only children in the morning, some MWF and some Tues/Thursday. If it sounds confusing, it was! Oh, I also started homeschooling Flower that year!
Then Fall of 2009 brought the most change of all. We started homeschooling - in a serious way. We had Montgomery Academy Elementary - for Flower (who was in 4th grade) and Jelly Bean (in 2nd) as well as my sister's children (in 5th and 3rd). Thankfully, my sister also came over LOL and she would teach the homeschoolers in the morning and entertained the toddlers (the now 1 year old full time daycare child plus she had a one year old herself) while I taught the preschool age kids. Then the toddlers/preschool kids would nap in the afternoon while I taught the homeschoolers in the afternoon. I started watching another sibling! - this time the sibling of the original daycare child and it was another newborn. It was a crazy busy year, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It was really wonderful to have the opportunity to teach both preschool and elementary and I got to know my sister and her children even better.
Fall of 2010 was another big year of change - but in an opposite direction. Flower went back to public school for 5th grade and Super went to Kindergarten. I also still had the original newborn, but he was now a big 2 year old! I had two 2 year olds start that year too - both full time. I was homeschooling just Jelly Bean that year. And I had the newborn too, although she was now 1. And I had no preschool only children that year. In the spring, I had another set of (girl! 3 and 1 years old) siblings start. I was, after all these years, still using the Montessori method, but we really started using the Waldorf method much more this year too. And after blogging regularly at the Montgomery Academy blog for a couple years, I basically stopped blogging over there. I had our routines and things that we did almost every day/every month and it just wasn't that interesting anymore to blog when so little changed.
And now Fall of 2011. Just a few months ago. All of my children went to public school. It was the first since I'd had children (and stopped working outside the home) that I hadn't had at least one child at home. I started to think about Montgomery Academy. A lot. I had started it, really, to enable me to be with my children. And now, all my children were in public school. I had one preschool only child again,, The girl siblings (now 4 and 2) were full-time, but just on MWF. And the original newborn that was 3, and the second newborn who was 2. But Mr. Simple had lost his job in June. I decided to keep Montgomery Academy going, at least for one more year.
And then Mr. Simple started his own business. And then I started Simply Living In The City. And then my friend asked me to do some freelance training. And then someone else asked me to do some freelance writing. And then I started to plan to do even more with Simply Living In The City. All the while, I was still trying to do Montgomery Academy. Oh yea, and be a mother to my children. And I was failing pretty bad at that one. I was so busy with Montgomery Academy or with my businesses that I couldn't volunteer at their schools, I often couldn't take them to their activities, heck, I often wasn't getting dinner on the table.
It was a mess. So I decided to take a week off at the end of January and do a lot of thinking/meditating/praying, etc. But I already knew the answer. It was time to close Montgomery Academy.
So Friday March 2nd will be my last day as a teacher/daycare provider at Montgomery Academy. It is with a lot of sadness, but quite a bit of excitement as I start on this new path.
Thank you to all those who entrusted your children in my care over the years - either as a teacher or daycare provider or both. I have truly loved the experience and loved being with your children. I wish you and your families nothing but the best in the future.
And who knows, maybe you'll be able to say "You know that famous author/presenter/teacher who does Simply Living In The City? My child went to her house and did preschool!" Just kidding.