The ball is rolling. I notified Lilah’s current school of her pending disenrollment, enrolled her with a charter school that will provide support and materials, and this morning met with the Education Specialist assigned to us by the charter school to discuss the path we want to take and choose and order materials accordingly. There are just so many options! The term “individualized learning” is what keeps flashing in my head like Vegas lights. That is what is totally lacking in public education today. Especially now with Common Core, and with classrooms crammed with 30+ students, individualized learning is a pipe dream. I’ve been told by too many teachers, as well as a principal and a Superintendent that “the reality is … teachers can’t be expected to know where each student is at any given time and offer them instruction accordingly.” Where does that leave students? Kind of screwed, if you ask me. And parents are just supposed to accept that.
Anyway. I am so psyched after meeting with our Educational Specialist this morning. It’s funny – I truly used to think that homeschooling meant that parents just taught their kids what they knew – however much or little that might be. A teacher friend and I used to snicker about parents who were “just going to homeschool.” As if it was something anyone who wasn’t an actual credentialed teacher could hope to do, or do well. I had no idea that homeschooling does not mean going it alone, it does not mean winging it with no game plan, no support, no real resources.
Our ES is a credentialed teacher. She’s my go-to person for help, support, questions, etc. I will meet with her regularly, and she will keep me accountable. That said, I will have a ton of freedom and flexibility to offer Lilah instruction according to how she learns best (which, of course, I will have to figure out through some trial and error), playing on her strengths and interests. I’m super excited.
That said, I know it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be all fun and games. I have no doubt that there will be frustration and tears – probably from both of us. I’m excited, but also intimidated. And Lilah is excited, but also scared. This will be a whole new ballgame for her, staying home while her siblings all go off to school. I know she is feeling most ambivalent about leaving the social structure of school, and although I’m not worried about her missing out on socializing since she and her sisters run around the neighborhood like feral cats with their friends during non-school hours anyway, I do worry about her feeling isolated during school hours. It’s going to be an adjustment for everyone. I’m going to have to figure out how to manage schooling Lilah and keeping Scarlett happy and occupied, how to get the bulk of schooling done while Finn is in school (half-day kindergarten), and how to maintain patience, stamina, organization, and good humor without resorting to lacing my coffee with vodka. Annabelle is pissed that Lilah is going to be homeschooled because she thinks that all it means is that Lilah doesn’t have to go to school anymore and will get to sit around watching TV every day. So, yes, everyone is going to have to adjust to this new arrangement.
I’m also very conscious of how fortunate we are to have the option to do this. I mean, families that depend on two incomes, or single-parent households – how could they ever swing something like this?
And yes, there is even guilt. There is a part of me that believes that we citizens should support public education by utilizing it and trying to change flawed policies from within. At the same time, it’s really hard to fight for change and hear your voice be drowned out by policymakers and district admin, while watching your kid get the shaft, educationally speaking.
Anyway, Lilah’s last day of school at school will be next Friday, October 17 (her choice; I’m trying to allow her some say where appropriate so that she doesn’t feel like this is being foisted on her), and our first day of homeschooling will be Monday, October 20. Stay tuned!