The subject of school has been a difficult one for my household this summer. Our son, who is 10, has been attending a charter school since kindergarten. We initially made the decision for him to attend based on their accelerated curriculum. We have put up with their lack of amenities (lunchroom, gym, etc.) as a sacrifice for the excellent education. We also happened to be lucky that the school was just as close to us as the public school for which we were districted. That changed when we moved this spring. We are now nearly 30 minutes away, and with gas prices as they are, we have somewhat of a dilemma.
I have always had a problem with public schools. I feel like the curriculum is based on making sure enough students get good marks on 'The Test' that is given every couple of years so that the schools will continue to receive adequate funding. I don't feel like enough time is spent on subjects beyond the basics for kids to come out at the end with a true appreciation for the world and a desire for lifelong learning.
Supposedly, the school district that we have moved into has a reputation for being 'good.' I'm not sure, though, what that is supposed to mean. Do they hire better teachers? Do they have more money in the district for cooler equipment? Or do they actually go above and beyond the call of duty? We recently visited the local intermediate school that he would go to, should we so choose. It certainly looks nice, and the people seem nice. We talked extensively with the principal about the gifted/talented program, to see if that could somehow make up for the difference between what the charter school offers and what public school has. I have my doubts. While we were there, I looked through the 5th grade math textbook. I saw everything that he had learned LAST year. And he had begun complaining that he was bored, as he had done some math self-study at home.
This has led us to some radical and dangerous thinking. Some background information may be necessary before I go any further... I am the full-time worker of my household. My husband is the stay-at-home dad who does some work here and there to help supplement. We moved this spring in order to shift everything around so that we could change our situation in life and hopefully get 'ahead.' We puchased a large house with my in-laws, moved in together (but fairly well separated), and I started working only four days a week. The idea is that I can keep our health insurance in place while we start our own business (an online metaphysical shop.) The business has been in the works for a while, but I'll post more on that at another time. Back to the radical ideas. As may have been surmised from the title of this post, the subject of homeschooling came up. Now I know that the Christians have pretty much cornered the market on this idea, but I have seen some things here and there about a pagan homeschooling movement. My husband and I figured that I have the best 'teaching' rapport since we already do other kinds of 'lessons' (see previous post), and would therefore be the main instructor, but would I have enough time to work, start a business, and teach school? I could feasibly drop another day in my workweek and still receive our health insurance, and we would probably be able to scrape by financially.
The main concern, I think, for any homeschooled child, is socialization. I've met many a homeschooled graduate who did not know how to function in the real world. I guess that's a problem here in the bible belt. It's possible that if we did homeschool, we would only do so for a couple of years. But, in the meantime, would karate class and Spiral Scouts be enough? One other factor, my son's best friend from the charter school just happens to be transferring to public school this year so he can participate in sports. You only get one guess which school he's going to. That's right, the same one we would go to. Now, I do need to mention that my son has been begging to be homeschooled for many years. Much the same way I begged to go to private school when I was a kid (no, I never got to go.) I just wanted a better eduaction than what I felt I was getting. I was bored - just like he is now. So, the question now is, do we try this? We are running out of time to make a decision. School is starting at the charter school week after next, and at the public school one week later. We don't even know whether to buy regular clothes (public), uniforms (charter), or nothing (home)!