Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back to school, sorta

Um, is it just me, or is "Back-to-School" in a competition with NFL Football to see which one can start earlier?

Both of these events used to be associated with autumn, but now in the middle of summer you are hearing about what to expect in pre-season, and spiral notebooks are on sale for 10 cents.

Well, I pretty much never get excited about pro football, but I can't wait to hit Target and stock up on cheap school supplies.

We won't need much, though. At our house, "back to school" translates to "back to some sort of quasi-routine." It's our second year of homeschooling through a public charter school, and so far this arrangement has been a great fit for our family. We meet with our supervising teacher every two weeks. She provides us with guidance, materials and ideas, and makes sure we are keeping the state of California happy by meeting all the requirements. Meanwhile, we have a ton of freedom and flexibility when it comes to what we do, when we do it and how we do it. In addition, the charter school has a variety of optional workshops, so my son can learn Spanish, do arts and crafts, or enjoy science experiments in a classroom setting.

Over the summer, we joined a local group of homeschoolers who, among other things, meet at a park every Thursday. It's the craziest thing watching how these (supposedly socially deprived) children all immediately begin playing together and having fun. They all easily accept and include each other, and get along amazingly well. This meetup group has been a big boon for my kids, who actually were a bit socially deprived during our first year, since we had just moved and didn't know anyone. And it's been great for me as well, giving me the chance to hang out with other grownups.

I certainly never thought I would be doing this homeschooling gig. In fact, I'm sure that at least once I said, "I could never homeschool." (I have also said I would never give birth three times, would never live in California, and would never want a sand and water table.* Gradually I am learning to quit using the word "never.")

It seems to me that homeschooling is becoming much more mainstream and widely accepted as an educational choice. And I feel fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose the option that best suits our children.

*Technically we use it as a water and water table. It was the sand I was opposed to, and as soon as it all fell through the holes in our deck/got tracked through the house/spilled out of the kids' shoes in the car, I never replaced it.


Angela said...

why don't you say you'll never move back to colorado... :) maybe it will happen sooner, if you do!

Firefly mom said...

Oh, I swear my heart palpitates when I find good "back to school" deals! Spiral notebooks, mechanical pencils, index cards...oh, how I love thee ;)

I once said in a conversation with another mother that I could N-E-V-E-R homeschool. 3 months later I was sitting in my living room (in California ;) surrounded by every homeschooling book that the library had.

Then I said that I would *only* homeschool until he was in third grade.

That was 8 years ago... ;D

Meaghan said...

This sounds like the perfect arrangement. I've never heard of homeschooling with a supervising teacher.

I wonder if it's too late to get a refund on my little one's preschool tuition...?