Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The homeschool update

A couple of weekends ago, we received a letter addressed to Monkey about some area magnet schools in our town.  At first, I was more curious about how we landed on the list to get their open house mailer, but after talking to friends, I found that it's sent out to all the children registered in our county (that's a LOT of paper, friends).  So I started looking at one of them online - an honors academy for elementary children. Children had to test in the 85% or better to attend and they seemed to have a very creative program for kids.  The problem was, it was about a 20 minute drive in a questionable part of town.
 
But because I like to give the benefit of the doubt, I still planned to go to the open house.  I thought that maybe we could enroll Monkey in the honors program instead of me trying to piece together my own honors curriculum.  I arranged for Little Man to go hang out with his buddy and hit the road.  It was an easy drive - interstate the whole way - and it took just over 20 minutes.  But because of the location and the interchanges between the highways, the potential for early morning traffic issues was definitely there.
 
When I arrived, however, I didn't even get out of the car.  First impressions are quite often the only impression and my first impression of the school and the neighborhood were not good.  Yes, I was willing to give the school the benefit of the doubt, but not risk the safety of my child.  While I'm sure the school administration takes steps to take care of it's children, there are just some situations that given the choice (and we're blessed to have a choice) I would rather not be a part of.  I know that I'm being judgmental and I'm not quite happy with myself on that note, but unfortunately that's how things are.  I have to do what I think is best for my family and the long drive twice a day and a questionable neighborhood is not on the list.
 
So, even though I wasn't really off the homeschool train, I'm now much more confident about it.  I've been researching different curriculums, trying to find something that will suit and challenge Monkey and still be fun for both of us.  Little Man was registered for preschool for the fall and he'll be at his school M/W/F and the enrichment program for Monkey will be on M/W so I'll still have some time off for myself to get things done during the day that I don't want to have to do at night or the off days that Trey is home. 
 
There is an unbelievable amount of information out there on different homeschool curriculums.  Now what I have to do is start to narrow it down.  Thankfully, I have good friends who have done this before, so while I'm doing some research on my own, I'm not reinventing the wheel.  My dear friend, we'll call her Lori, is homeschooling her 2nd grader now and will be teaching both of her daughters in the fall.  At this time last year, she was buried in curriculums and programs and books and thankfully, because of all her hard work, I'm able to just follow the links she gave me.  Lori's daughter also attends the enrichment program that Monkey will be going to, so I've been able to get a lot of information about that as well.
 
So now I'm hoping that the curriculum I piece together will be the right one - fun, challenging and easy for me to teach.  If any of you are homeschooling your child/children, I'd love to get your feedback on the curriculum you use and why you chose it. 
 

2 comments:

grits404 said...

one of my running partners sends her children to this school and is pleased. not to talk you out of homeschooling but maybe if you talked with someone in the particular program you'd feel better?

Kool Aid said...

I know I shortchanged the school just because of its location and I'm not really proud of that, but there were other considerations for us, too. That was just one of the two big ones (distance being the other big one). If we were closer to that area, I might have had a different attitude about it, but really, I'm looking forward to teaching at home and having that flexibility.

If our situation changes in the near future or homeschooling doesn't work out, I'll keep that school in mind and would be willing to talk to teachers and parents there. I really did like their program.