Monday, June 28, 2010

A Postive First Step

Today was a MOST WONDERFUL day!

Since A was in first grade, we were less than pleased with public school.  We looked into Catholic school, but around here it seems that the Catholic schools are behind the public schools academically and my fear was that the girls would be unprepared for high school and college.  Also, in our area, they are CONSTANTLY closing Catholic schools and I have friends who have dealt with the dreaded "hearing your school is closing in, oh, say August!?!!"  We briefly considered private school but at $26,000 to $28,000 per pupil, it is out of our financial reach.  We considered moving.  We looked at houses, we looked at school systems.  There are some wonderful sites like and and YahooNeighborhoods that have parent reviews of school systems.  Many, many school systems also have on-line forums and in researching neighborhoods and schools we found that basically, what we objected to was rampant.  We could not get away from it.

The summer between second and third grade, I worked with A and she excelled several reading levels.  She excelled MORE in those 2 months than in the following TEN months of school. We don't necessarily want our kids to be on a fast track to Harvard, but we feel that there is something to be said for learning at your own pace, having time to master topics and NOT just preparing ALL YEAR long for a standardized test.

We have one neighbor that homeschools and the girls have played with her girls and enjoy them very much.

But today we started on our journey of really deciding if homeschooling is something we want to try come September.  We drove an hour from our home, to the town where we used to live and to park where we used to meet friends all the time.

We were all a little nervous when we walked up.  But the moms could not have been more friendly.  Without even asking, they all told me their stories, why they had made this choice.  They asked why we were considering it. They asked if we had questions.  They told us about all kinds of opportunities from field trips to classes to eCube to online classes to college classes to informal gathering and more formal conferences.  We talked about curriculum.  We talked about scheduling.  We talking about educational styles.

The girls took a little while to come out of their shell, but luckily one family had brought their King Charles Cavalier pup and the girls started petting it and talking to the other kids and before I knew it they were wandering down nature trails and skipping stones into the water and giggling their heads off.

On the way home, I asked what they thought.  A said that she wants to be homeschooled.  P just complained that she was tired.

On the way home, I thought, Could this really be my life?  Going places and doing things with my kids, sharing adventures with them all the time?

When I got to work, I approached my boss and she was open and receptive, agreeable to a flexible schedule SHOULD we decide to do this.

Then, not fifteen minutes later, who should walk in but my homeschooling neighbor and one of her girls.  I told her where we had been today and how we were feeling.  She was delighted and we started talking more in depth.  I've always enjoyed her company, but we had never really discussed homeschooling.  I recently emailed her to tell her that we were considering it and we said we would get together, but we just haven't made the time.  Now we will.