Monday, February 25, 2008

don't fence me in

It must be in the air. B is tiring of her homeschooling routine, and I am once again straddling the homeschool/public school fence, and let me tell you, the fence post is, well, right up my arse. (Sorry Gail)

I go through this approximately 85 times a day, but every so often I start to lend serious thought to the notion of sending my kids to school. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that I spend an equal amount of days unschooling as I do teaching, and I am fundamentally NOT an unschooler. I too am bored with our lessons, and I am easily swayed off course by factors such as rainy days, sunny days, and windy days. And the first sign of sniffles entitles us to at least five days off. But there are other reasons too. My kids desire to be around other kids. We have a little co-op, and those nine kids are pretty tight, but (insert reason here), and we don't see them as often as we used to. Also, I think the structure might be good for them. I think my unpredictability renders them somewhat frazzled, and never knowing what to expect. I make up for this with Ambitious Mondays, whereupon I announce that we will be completing 105 pages of math, to compensate for my complete and utter failure.

I assuage my guilt and shame by reassuring myself that my kids are bright, and learning a vast array of things even when we're not slaving away at formal lessons. But come on. Even I know it's a cop-out.

The school my kids would go to if we went that route, is Pratum, a tiny two-room country schoolhouse with two teachers per grade, and three grades per room. So, six teachers in each room. A dear and trusted friend, whose son has attended Pratum since kindergarten, and who is also a teacher there, was just telling Todd how the kids are very close-knit, welcoming of newcomers, not prone to bullying or other loathsome public school behavior, and that she thinks Quinn and Reilly would do very well there if we opted to try it.

The post up the arse is really starting to ache now.

And, in what is both a blessing and a curse, this decision is mine alone. Todd has always entrusted me with the choice of where and how to school the kids. And while I appreciate the privilege, I am drowning in indecision and doubt. B, my most revered and trusted advisor on the subject, says to make a decision and stick with it boldly and with confidence. Sometimes I wonder if she's ever met me. It's very difficult to act with such resolve when everyone in my life, and their grandmothers, are telling me what I ought to do, and all the input is conflicting. Todd's a libra, and even though he doesn't believe in being a libra, his position is at a solid 50/50. My mom, libra. Sam, libra who knows this internal tug-of-war better than anyone. My mother-in-law never fails to espouse the virtues of public school, and wonders when, if ever, I will outgrow this phase she no doubt attributes to my wacky hippie upbringing. My beloved homeschool friends insist that we're doing fine and should stay the course (in the non-President Bush sense). And I remain adrift in the midst of all these opinions, with little hope of relief from this fence post. I just keep weighing every option, every factor, every outcome, every everything, hoping and praying that one scenario will emerge clearly enough to persuade me.

Hmmm...I must have libra rising...


gail said...

why the 'sorry gail'? 85 and 105 - divisible by 5 :)
i'm a libra and don't beleive in that horoscope bull****. so here is a definite answer from me:
you have considered this school before. why not give it a try and see how it goes? maybe they'll love it, maybe not. you can always go back to hsing....or you may love it too. you won't know unless you try. GO FOR IT! or not....there's some libra creeping in :)

Chey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chey said...

i didn't forget you, libra friend, i just KNEW you were 100% in favor of me homeschooling, lol.

guess i stand corrected!

and might i add, but...but...but...

gail said...

i'm not always sure that i'm 100% in favor of homeschooling. i'm in favor of doing what's best for your family. like i said, you can try it and go back to homeschooling if necessary. it's not like you're considering the neighborhood ps, this school sounds interesting, and a good balance between being with kids and getting the kind of education you want for them.

Sam said...

OMG. You wrote that post for me didn't you?!?!

I just bought a new math curriculum, because the spiral approach is not working for V (or me). So now I feel like I have to give it another go. But I DREAM about putting them in ps.

Am I awful? Yes. I've decided that I really don't *like* homeschooling. That's so awful to admit. But, I also hate to think of all that ps would entail.

ARGH!!!! Gail... the libra thing is NOT bs. Believe me. You just escaped. LUCKY!

mamakendra said...

I am a Libra too, and very often I feel like with my depressive nature, sometimes running with a little rage too, wonder if my 4 boys would be better off with a bunch of other bullies other than their own mother.

I have even looked online for the cutest little alternative charter co-opertive school where I could volunteer, do bake sales, run the fundraising program...(oh yeah, this isn't about ME), and where they can be with other kids all day and learn what I am not teaching them currently. Painting, running, laughing, reading, learning stuff they aren't attempting to learn now.

I have this vision of homeschooling that I am not doing. Unschooling has never been my philosophy, eclectic school has, but we went from nothing to ORCA then to nothing again. And I thought my house would be cleaner after ORCA!

Today I saw a mother of 2 I know who's youngest just started Kindergarten and she just started real estate, and her first commission check is...well, let's just say almost more than Mark makes in 2 months. Tempting. Would I be a better mother if I went back to work if they were in school? Probably not.

I know what you are going through. Now why aren't we going through this together? Take em all to McDs and let them run rampant and cry in our iced coffees (except I stopped drinking coffee, today).

Oh btw, Pratum co-op is next to a gas station, are you sure you want them breathing that air or drinking the water their? There, there's you out of the ps deal!

I think I am a great Mama, and ideally love homeschooling, but this has been a low day for me too (or week, or month...).

Thanks for reading my book o' comment.

Kendra :o)

Brandy Kinch said...

The thing is, they are your kids, so try parenting from the gut for once, instead of thinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking and rethinking everything. Screw the input. Mother knows best. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Ouch... fencepost up the ass.... ouch!

I'm sorry, you were saying?


Sam said...

This was just posted on SASH today:

Written by Anne Sullivan, about her time with Helen Keller:

"I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of streps of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flowerpots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences."

Whew. We can do this. I think.

Brandy Kinch said...

I also give astrology zero creedence. It's all based on some configuration of stars on the horizon when you were born. This is silly in and of itself, because the stars that make the signs are millions of light years apart etc etc etc. Also, because of the precession of the equinoxes, the zodiac signs no longer reflect what constellations are actually in the sky each month-and haven't for hundreds of years. That said, I'm a classic Sagittarius. I've sometimes wondered if it had to do with something else...people born a the same time of year having shared personality traits for other reasons. Bah! Humbug! But see for yourself-Saggitarius is

Positive Traits

* charismatic • extroverted • friendly
* free-spirited • idealistic • open-minded
* intelligent • intellectual • knowledgeable • philosophical • creative
* happy • joyful • fun-loving • optimistic
* funny • good sense of humor
* honest • truth-seeking • sincere
* just • benevolent

Negative Traits

* arrogant • know-it-all
* clumsy • overly-curious
* rebel • disregard for boundaries • restless • wanderlustful • Peter Pan Syndrome
* quick-tempered • aggressive
* hyper-sensitive • drama queen
* over the top • loud • annoying

Chey said...

b--you're not clumsy, you're just tripping over all the blasted libras--they're EVERYWHERE!

thanks everyone, for your support. i have no f-ing idea what we're doing, but i'm sure i'll write a self-pitying post once i decide.

meanwhile, as a leo, i'm loving all the attention!