Friday, September 04, 2015

Doing School Differently

We have been very involved at our local public elementary school since the oldest started Kindergarten five years ago. By very involved,  I mean that my kids attended every day they weren't sick, and that I volunteered as much as fourteen hours a week (thats one full day per kid each week).

They had wonderful teachers, made good friends, and learned lots of new things. It was a good experience, but for various reasons that I don't want to go into here, it just wasn't a fit that felt right to me. Among all of the good things about their education, there were others that didn't sit well. And so, starting four years ago, I began researching and looking into other options.

None of the other avenues for school seemed any better or more feasable that I found along the way, so we kept the status quo, giving all of our best effort while there, but I kept my antennae in the air.

Enter Summit Learning Charter, a public/homeschool hybrid that expanded into a former elementary school campus the next district over. Just an additional four miles of driving, and along an even more scenic backroad route than our former school. I had heard about the school for awhile, but their programs were somewhat limited. Along with the move to the larger campus, they expanded their two-days-a-week classes, offering some very tempting programs for both kids.

We submitted applications and waited for what seemed like an eternity, but finally got our letters of acceptance. We were in, and with very little looking back, moved on to a very different way of doing school.
I like to call it "Parent-Guided Education" rather than homeschooling, because I'm choosing their courses and helping to coach them as they learn, but I'm really not their teacher per se. We use various online classes for their main subjects, with just two that I'm directing out of a physical curriculum set. Two days a week, they go to campus, where they are taking enrichment classes such as PE, Science, Computer Literacy, Music, Art, Computer Coding, and most exciting of all, Lego Robotics.

We have so much more time in our days than before, and don't have to worry about the busy work sent home under the title "homework". They have time to be kids, to take music lessons, to go visit our friend who is in hospice care, and so many other things that fell to the wayside before. And I feel like I have my kids back; no more stressed out evenings trying to get everything done.

In all honesty, this system of doing things wouldn't work if my kids weren't so good-natured and best of friends. I fully realize that we are an exception in that regard, and completely get all of my friends and you out there that are very happy with public education.

Here they are on our official first day of school, entering second and fourth grades. Just after this photo shoot, we turned back around and went to the dining room table where school-provided laptops awaited, and hot coffee was ready to be sipped.
And on their second official day of school, they proudly wore their new colors, all ready to skip (her) and walk like a grown up (him) down the halls to a new adventure.
The biggest adjustment is finding enough "me" time to focus on my business. I'm home more than I was before, but the kids are almost always here too, so I have to very carefully plan the hours when they're away to best maximize the quiet hours for doing things like blogging and designing and any on the side study of my own, which I always like to do.

Our life is full, very full, and ever so cozy and blessed. My good health seems to be back, I feel like being creative in the kitchen again, and with Fall here and birthdays and the holidays around the corner, there is so much to look forward to.

1 comment:

Vickie said...

GOOD FOR YOU! Awesome, great decision!