Saturday, February 25

Education Decisions

We had about eight kids over for our Valentine exchange party. It was a lot smaller than the ones we went to in Ohio, but that kind of made it more fun.

It was the last meet-up I hosted for my homeschooling group. I decided it was too expensive to keep the site up, and there weren't enough regular participants to divide the cost up. One friend who did come regularly told me about some other groups we can join. She's the one holding Kael...which was an amazing relief- he usually won't let anyone hold him but me!

It has been really interesting these last few years. I'm not homeschooling for the exact same reasons as a lot of parents, but I definitely see where they're coming from. Mia is still enjoying K12. I've felt like we should work toward getting her all on one grade level- and we'll probably acheive that goal by the beginning of next year.

I've been really torn about whether or not to put Anya and Bree into the schools here. The reason I started K12 with Mia in the first place wasn't just because of her academic level, but because of the awful things I heard about the schools that were available nearby, and I wasn't ready to put a four-year-old on a bus and send her across Columbus in the hopes that some magnet or charter might be better, (even if we were lucky enough to win the lottery it took to get in in the first place.) I keep hearing that schools aren't very good here, either. The highly recommended charter school that IS by us (half our ward's kids go there,) is full for the next two years, and they, like the rest of Nevada schools, don't let kids work ahead of grade level. At least not in elementary, I'm understanding.

So we're sticking with K12. I have an idea what I'm in for. The whole time I've been working with Mia, I've been working with the twins, with the K12 Kindergarten books we never used with Mia- ha. They won't be as advanced as Mia, but they'll be at about a first-grade level in reading and math.

So I figure, why not. We're lucky- we've got a wonderful man at the head of our family who is providing for us, so that I'll be able to spend the time it takes.

The only myth I was ever worried about was that homeschooled kids aren't as socially adept. But I haven't noticed any problems yet with these guys. They have a bunch of friends from church and extra-curricular activities at the rec center. I'm sure Mia will make more when she starts soccer. They are all so outgoing. When we go anywhere, they talk about all the friends they are going to meet and have a grand old time with everyone until they have to say goodbye.

My main real concern was that it does take a chunk of my time- about twenty to thirty hours a week that a lot of moms spend doing other things to help their families. Is this time I'm spending with them more beneficial than anything else I could be doing? When there is some other person somewhere being paid to spend this time with my kids whether or not I'm taking advantage of it?

I think the benefit of a one-on-one education is worth it for us. At least in these early years. When Mia doesn't understand a math concept, she doesn't have to wait until after class for it to be explained to her a different way. And if she does get it immediately, she doesn't have to do ten worksheets on it for no reason... we just move on.
When we do science projects, we DO them. When we learned about plants last week, I cut open the withering tulips Zach bought me for Valentine's Day and we examined the xylem with our magnifying glass. We're watching some beans sprout that we starting germinating a couple days ago.
We've been on more field trips in the last year and a half than I ever went on in my entire schooling career. Ever.
Speaking of which- I'm actually enjoying the review, and in some cases learning completely new things. Do you think I would have remembered anything about xylem, or Horatius the hero of ancient Rome if I didn't go over it with my kid? Ah- no. It's even been practical... I'm brushing up on my measurement conversions and even some spelling and grammar has caught me off-guard. ;)
When they're old enough to appreciate it, I plan to GO to these places we're learning about in Mia's history class. And if we're still homeschooling, we won't have to wait until June to go.

So we're sticking with it. For now.