Friday, April 16, 2010

School Update

I'm madly typing this post when I'm supposed to be getting us ready to get on a plane, so forgive me if it's a little disjointed, but I wanted to write a followup to the school issue I posted about. Before I do that, I wanted to say a big thank you to those that responded! That was kind of what I was hoping to get when I posted, and it gave me a lot to think about. It is very frustrating to not have people to talk to about this sort of thing out here. How did people get by before the internet?!

Yesterday, I went over to the school after Oliver came home for lunch. I had a talk with both the principal and Wyatt's teacher. The principal did try to convince me that staying the full day would be better for him, and that maybe this was more my issue than his, but she was willing to consider my proposal. She said that what they do in the afternoons for the kindergarteners is mostly downtime - things like art, and other quiet, non-academic projects because they are so young and adjusting to school. She said she'd ask the people over her because it's never been done and she wanted to be sure it was all right. That seemed a little odd to me, but I really don't know how this school works, so that's fine.

It was the teacher, though, who really made me decide to pick up the registration packet and cross my fingers. She is fantastic. Before I even told her I wanted to keep him home in the afternoons, she suggested it as a way to help him adjust. She said she wished more parents would do something like that as it is a really rough transition for most of the kindergarteners. I really felt like she was on my side. She's going to have a talk with the principal, so I hope that will be the final push to get official approval for it.

Although, as Oliver pointed out, what can they do if we just don't send him back every day? We're not too up on what schools do to tardy, etc. kids. Flunk them? Kick them out? Igonore it? I have no idea.

To clarify some of what I wrote eariler, I do recognize that homeschooling isn't really the social void people make it out to be. I also know I don't have to send him to kindergarten if I don't want to. However, I want to for several reasons, most of them related to where we live right now. Wyatt is an extremely social kid. He can make friends no matter where he is, and seems to crave that kind of contact. He plays very well with his little brother, but I know he wants to do things that aren't quite on a two year old's level. I want to give him that opportunity, but here, school is the only place he's going to get it consistently. Most parents work, as I said before, so the kids are never out playing during the day. We've managed to get our boys some time with the boys who live down the street that are their age, but it's only a couple of times a week and I know it doesn't satisfy Wyatt.

If I homeschool him, we are going to continue the somewhat isolating experience we've had so far. We've found it very hard to make friends because of the way life is here. As adults, we seem to be the odd ones because we don't drink and every social activity centers around alcohol. There's no church for us to go to, and not nearly enough events that we can take the boys to. We moved here for more family time, which we are getting, so this isn't a total tragedy, but I feel like I need to grab whatever I can to find a way to help Wyatt get what he needs in terms of social contact.

If we were in the States, I wouldn't have even had that conversation with the school. We'd just be homeschooling, and that would be it. I'd get him into sports, we'd have church, and hopefully a homeschoolers group to get involved in. We don't have any of those options here.

The thing is, I was homeschooled from third grade to college. My parents didn't do it to help us, they did it so they wouldn't get in trouble. While I know my mother made some efforts to do it right in the beginning, she gave up fairly quickly and left it up to us to educate ourselves. I have six siblings, so I had plenty of social contact, and I know my problems with people in later years are more related to the poor parenting I had than a lack of sociality because of homeschooling. I had no trouble adjusting to college life and graduated with honors.

There were things I feel I missed out on, however, and I don't want that for Wyatt. I wanted friends, and I wanted to do a lot of the things like sports that I loved but had no outlet for. Homeschooling right now is going to end up mimicing in some ways my own experience, so I'd much rather he be in school. When we move, we'll be revisiting this situation, and who knows where we will go with it then, but it will be a totally different situation.

I do love the school here. It's so tiny, it has the feel of a small private school. The people also are very friendly, and since there will only be four kids in Wyatt's class, he'll get a lot of one on one attention. The teacher also told me she tries to teach to their level, which is something she can do because there are so few of them. Right now, she has a kindergartener doing first grade math, and she's going to be giving him 2nd grade math in the fall. Wyatt wil be able to scream through what he's good at, yet keep working at what he's not. I really want this experience for him, but I want it to not be too much, too.

Right now, I'm hopeful this is going to work out. I'm crossing my fingers and we will see. Thanks again for responding!

4 sonar pings:

Carrie Stuart said...

That's great news, Ana. And you are absolutely right. What are they going to do if you just bring him home at lunch and don't send him back? They can't kick him out because they are required by law to educate him...at the same time they can't make you leave him because not only is Kindergarten not mandatory, home-schooling (for any portion of your children's education) is absolutely legal in every state, regardless of what those with other interests would have you believe. You really do have the power here.

I also understand the reasons you want him to have the experience of school there. It sounds like a great school...and what an unbelievable ratio! You are right, what other social options are there? This sounds like the best one.

I think it was a little weird that the principal said she had to talk to her superiors, though. What for? Oh well, hopefully she's just truly ignorant of the law and is not being manipulative.

Good luck!

sues2u2 said...

Sounds like you've done everything right. I totally understand your reasoning & think you're on the right track. What a great teacher the kindergarten teacher sounds like. How awesome that she really gets the whole 5 yr old mentality.

OH & does this mean you're on your way to get your new computer? *fingers crossed*!

tressays said...

Very good! I am so glad that you had a good conversation with the teacher. It does seem like a nice, little school.

I didn't mean to come off to harsh on the socialization thing. You are in a different environment and it would be very difficult to even have support for you if there aren't opportunities. I think that I am over sensitive sometimes because it gets tiring explaining to people that my kids are not going to be social outcasts. :) Thanks for sharing your experience too. It is always good to hear from adult graduates that turned out just fine.

Emily Snow said...

I think if you can keep him at home after lunch, he really will have the best of both worlds. My son went to full-day kindergarten...it was really tiresome the first few months. He eventually got used to it, and certainly by the first grade he was ready for full-day.