OK, so I have been avoiding writing this post for several months now. But it seems the previous post regarding our education choices struck a chord. I heard from homeschoolers and public schoolers alike...all of us just trying to make the best decisions for our kiddos. And I am encouraged to be a part of the conversation. It seems like there are many of us in the same boat. Weighing options. Praying we don't make the wrong decisions. Praying we don't screw our little ones up. Its tough.
I wrote part one back in oh...November?
I left off with "So, I started contacting my resources".
I left shortly after that post for Texas to visit family for two weeks. There I talked to my parents quite a bit about my feelings. I talked to my Aunt who is an amazing teacher and runs a special reading program that uses volunteers in the community to read one on one with students. I to my Grammer who worked in the public school system for years about her experiences.
When I got back to Virginia I threw myself into researching online every night.
- Are there different school options that I am not aware of?
Are public and private our only options?
What would homeschooling in Virginia look like?
How hard is it?
How would we go about it?
Am I nuts for even entertaining the idea.
I emailed and chatted with Lori, who is a wealth of knowledge. She was able to answer many of my questions that honestly came down to confidence. I need to trust my instincts and know that I know my kids better than anyone else in the world. Stefani offered some insight as always *smile*. I know a few homeschoolinging mamas at church and talked to them. I have a few "go to" moms in my community that did not home school, but I have admired their parenting styles and solicited their opinions.
I made a list of "action steps" that included:
- get more involved in the boys classrooms...check...two days a week in Zane's class and one day a week in Ian's class
- speak to the principal
- continue to educate myself
The direct classroom involvement was invaluable. INVALUABLE! I found two amazing teachers doing a bang up job with the resources they were given. One was a brand new teacher right out of college who was thrown a curve ball just before the school year began and was just beginning to learn the ins and outs of discipline in the classroom. Saying she had her hands full is an understatement. But she had an amazing heart for her students and a never give up attitude that was contagious. The other teacher was in her second year...a seasoned parent and wonderful at pulling the resources that the public schools offered. Watching her teach was a joy.
The conversation with the principal was worthless. He thought that since I have the unique experience of having two, same age, boys in seperate classrooms, that I was just comparing them. He enouraged me to see them as individuals and not as a whole...which is a bunch of twin mom crap. I have always seen my boys as individuals and have always known each's strengths and weaknesses. However, I do think that having two in seperate classrooms does provide an interesting twist and one that has been a challenge for me this year. He sent me away with a pat on the shoulder and a back handed compliment about him knowing what a great mom I am. Which only frustrated me further.
However, this did not solve my problem. But it did help me nail down where exactly the problem lies. It lies in teachers having to teach to the SOLs. It lies in teachers having to teach to too many children to realize right off the bat where each of their students strengths and weaknesses are. it lies in a principal who is part of the good ol' boy network of educators happy he has tenure and riding his time out to retirement. The problem lies in an old school system that still teaches for a 1950s world.
So, then it was time to wait for S to come home and have a heart to heart about how everything I had learned, and how we want the boys to be educated. It was a long wait. Let me tell you.
But while on this little day trip, we were able to have a long chat about it all.
Unfortunately, we were on different sides of the fence. And we couldn't find middle ground on this one. It was frustrating to say the least, but I know from experience (and from the advice of others) that when it comes to big decisions like this, there HAS to be agreement.
Private school is out for financial reasons.
I did discover this part time school (thanks Alicia!) and I was thrilled to find it. We went to visit and found that even this "tuition" was a bit out of our reach.
Which leaves us with some form of homeschooling and public school. And no final answers.
So I sat. With the boys still in the public school. And me trying to fill in with whatever I can in the few extra minutes before baths and on weekends.
I continued to read. And read. And read.
I have to admit, the more I read the more frustrated I became in my own head. I trudged forward, holding on to my belief that knowledge is power. It almost hurt to be stuck in that place of being lead one way, but holding tight for the time being in an educational system of which I am not fully supportive.
I am slowly learning to be ok in that place. Lord knows I have been there enough in the past several years.
We finally decided to leave the boys where they are for the rest of this school year. Incorporate some unschooling into our summer, like we always do. Unschooling summer school! Sounds fun doesn't it?And revisit this whole concept before the beginning of the next school year.
And I was ok with it all for the time being.
That is until a three page stapled document came home in the boys' school folders last week...
(sorry to keep dragging you all along...I just can't seem to get it all into one post)