Friday, June 8, 2012

The Education Dilemma

It's taken a bit of work, paper-chasing, and some nail-biting but we've gotten G all set for school next year.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, education has been a hot topic of conversation around our house for a while.

When G started kindergarten we chose to send her to a private, christian school.  Not because we didn't think that public school was good enough but because they had a 1/2 day kindergarten program.  And for several other reasons:  we had just gotten home with K, and R and I both felt that it would be better for our family for G to have as much time as possible at home to bond with K.  That was topped off by the fact that G was (and still is) an anxious child--this is my kid who cried everyday when I left her at preschool---for three years!  So at the time, it was definitely the right decision.

Fast forward to now and one more adoption under our belt.  G loves school and is doing very well.  We certainly can't complain about the academics.  She is an honor roll student--all A's with a B in handwriting.  She has loved all her teachers and at the end of each year is always sad to go--"I wish I didn't have to leave 2nd grade!"

But, something has been missing for R and I.  I have felt particularly detached this past school year.  Thinking that maybe it was because we were now a family of five and I was a bit preoccupied with the newest addition.  Realizing by mid-year that classroom communication wasn't what it should have been--weekly bulletins that weren't updated, also noting that daily work included a lot of worksheets or seatwork as G called it. And then there were the "social situations".  When one child convinces a second child to tell the teacher that a third child was cheating--all because the third child wouldn't hand over a juicebox the day before--that's a problem.  We also realized that G had been involved in a similar situation with this same child earlier in the year--it wasn't until the cheating incident came up that full disclosure came out on her incident.  I have to say that I was livid when I realized what had happened.  I punished G for disobeying me but in truth she was coerced into the situation. The situation hadn't caught the teacher's attention but in hindsight I certainly wish I had of brought it up.  In these two situations there was definitely an undertone of bullying.

At the beginning of the school year all families sign a pledge against bullying but the commitment to that pledge stops there.  I know we'd all like to believe that our kids wouldn't be involved in such a thing because that only happens to other people's children, but let me tell you, it happens all the time and it crosses all barriers:  private school, public school, christian school, and all ethnicity's.  It's unfortunate that there is a need to discuss bullying, and especially in a christian school, but it happens and unlike the public schools in our area where there are posters/signs in the halls and classrooms and the teachers talk about it, at our school it's more like a dust bunny that gets swept under the rug.

So R and I started talking about the possibility of homeschooling for next year. I spoke with lots of people, drew on the experiences of some of my Facebook friends, read and researched a ton of websites.  If you've ever looked into homeschooling, you know that there is an overwhelming amount of information out there.  By chance, I mentioned our dilemma to our favorite Toddlin' Time instructor and she mentioned a school that one of her friends sent her children too--Grace Prep.

I started looking into it and it is a university model school--a hybrid of a private, christian school and a homeschool coop.  Elementary students go to school on Tuesday and Thursday and then on the other days of the week, they work at home with you, the parent, as their instructor.  What makes this model work is the one-on-one communication between the parents and the teacher.  R and I have talked extensively about this--it's going to be a big change for our family.  There are definitely pros and cons to attending this type of school but we agree that the pros far outweigh the cons--less time shuttling kids back and forth to school, less disruption to the little girl's schedules because of the shuttling back and forth to school, a direct hands-on approach to our children's education, and most importantly--more time to spend with our kids, and in the end, isn't that what having a family is all about? :-)

Enjoy these pics of the girls because some little person in our house is about to have a milestone birthday next week and then the blog will be overtaken with birthday festivities!

Love this pic of G and Baby M.

A girl, her Uncle, and a bottle :-)

Love this ball popper from our Aunt Linda and Uncle John.

"Look Ma, no hands!"

"Care for a ball?"

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