Friday, August 15, 2008

The Big School Decision

Yesterday the kids and I met with two "family advocates" from the Head Start program. Both women were very kind and LOVED the children, but I can't say I'm convinced yet that we're doing the right thing. The decision to send my kids to public school or to homeschool has been weighing on my mind for years, and there just hasn't seemed to be one of those moments yet where I feel that yes-THIS-is-the-way-things-are-supposed-to-be feeling. There were a lot of factors that went into me finally signing the kids up for the Head Start program:

1. This isn't really school yet. It's preschool. It'll give me a chance to feel out how the kids develop with other kids around, other authority figures, and more structure than they'd get at home (well, maybe not. I'm a diehard fan of the schedule.). Are they really learning more than they do at home?

2. My kids (and I) are very socially isolated. Our closest family members are at least an hour away, and the only friends we have in the neighborhood are our next door neighbors whom we love, but... In fact, the only little boy Airius knows that is his own age is his cousin whom we see only at family functions. I've looked at the homeschool groups in our area, and all of them are, well, Christian. I have a deep respect for Christianity, but our religion doesn't fall into that category. I'd feel like a bit of a fraud.

3. Annie has shown a keen interest in going to school. I've told her that she could stay at home and learn as a family, but the idea kind of bums her out. That bums me out, but this isn't about me. I won't even hope for her to change her mind, promise. Yesterday after our meeting, Annie grabbed the hands of one of the women and said, "can I go to school with you now?" lol Airius was asking the same thing but wasn't quite bold enough to grab their hands. He serenaded them for awhile though. ;)

4. I'm not convinced that a child's success in school or life is dependent upon how or where they were schooled. Maybe I've read Freakonomics one too many times, but I think that if we encourage and support our children through their education, the returns will be great regardless of their schooling.

5. I'm really not at all confident that I could do homeschooling successfully. There I said it. Happy?

Anyway, the book isn't closed on this topic yet, and I plan to do a lot more research throughout this school year, but I wholeheartedly welcome respectful opinions on this subject. Do you homeschool your kids? Why or why not? Any book/website recommendations on the subject?

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