Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two things to ponder:

First, I took Nina to the lab the other day to get her heel pricked for her PKU test (newborn screening). The lab tech is a woman we've had many times when we've gone there for bloodwork. She's a nice lady, but phrases things a bit differently (and more directly) than I might choose to.

I took Nina in and she said, "Oh, she'd adorable!" I said Thanks and she asked, "Is she from India?"

"No," I answered. "She's from Ethiopia."

"Oh. Did you meet her mother?"

"Her birthmother? Yes," I responded.

"Did she cry?"

By this point, I realized this conversation was going in an interesting direction.

"Who?" I asked, "The birthmother or Nina?"

"The mother."

"Um, well, it was a difficult meeting."

"Well," she continued, "Why'd she give her up?"

At this point, I was looking to channel Laurie Hausam from her recent grocery store experience. I was looking for Laurie's wit. Do you think I found it? Here was my reply.

"Oh, I don't know. I guess she was having a bad day."

The tech looked at me as though I was serious. And I looked at her as though I wanted her to shut up. And she did.

Second, all you homeschooling folks out there, I need help (and yes, Laurie, I mean you). For the 18th time, I'm considering this option. My mother is having palpitations and hyperventilating as she reads this. But seriously, I have two main issues at the kids' school right now. One, they are being forced to the "average." So Grace is bored to PIECES and Jack is really struggling to keep up. Henry, who knows --- the other day he announced again that he'd been excused from homework (and all in-school work) until he was 16.

The other issue is that the homework and etc. is KILLING me. The kids come home with 1 1/2 hours of homework per night that, for the boys, is WAY over their heads and merely busy work (in my opinion). Grace is making up extra credit work because she's trying to challenge herself, a trait that I KNOW will disappear when she's in about 6th grade because she'll replace her boredom with boys and the oft-proposed idea that school is dumb and being smart is overrated.

Now, homeschooling from scratch is not something I'm capable of, trust me. My kids would end up living with us until they are 50 because all I'd come up with to teach them is how to calculate a good sale at Target.

But I've come across this interesting online academy which is technically an AZ public charter school (so it's free). This school exists in multiple states, actually, including California. They provide the textbooks, etc. and guidance from a teacher assigned to you. But you control the content your kids are learning. So if, say, you have a 4th grader ready for 6th grade science, you can do that. Or if you have a 1st grader needing kindergarten reading drills, you can do that too. You don't waste 7 HOURS at school doing work that is either too hard for you to understand or so easy you are dreaming about Joe Jonas all the live long day. It just seems inefficient. And the arguments at home over homework that no one wants to do (and no one understands) while trying to have some nice family time or do an extracurricular activity are getting me insane.

But pulling them out of public school is a HUGE decision and not one I take lightly. At all. I'm nervous for them, and I'm nervous for me. The social component doesn't concern me as they all have plenty of friends who they would continue to do things with. I just don't know how it would all work --- or IF it would all work. And it seems insane to pull them out only to put them back in.

I know people do this all the time - try homeschooling, or move, or somehow otherwise disrupt the status quo. But what if it COULD work? I ran into one of Grace's previous teachers this morning and she's considering the exact same thing for the exact same reasons.

So I'm looking for some honest feedback here. Let me have it! (Laurie - again - I mean you!)


Hauswife said...

First of all, can I just say Nina is so DARLING! What a cherub! Awesome photos.

Secondly, you are such a sketch! I love how you handled that lady. I'm sure she didn't realize how her words came across, and was probably surprised at your funny (and place putting) response. :)

#3 -- I promise I'll get back to you later about the homeschooling issue, but I'm just running out the door to have dinner with Karen! I'll give her a smooch for you, and comment on this part of your post and all your thoughts soon. Hang tight.


Michael and Michelle said...

I have been feeling the same way! Homeschool or not????? That is the BIG question at our house.
Can you please tell me more about the academy that you found online?
I haven't watched your video yet...I'm going to do that now!
Saving the best for last:)

Michael and Michelle said...

Does her hair thing say her name?? No way! That is stinking CUTE!!
Love the slide show!


Sunny said...

I think you should give it a try. I teach third grade in the public school system and I'm wondering if I should homeschool. Of course, I'm not really scared that I wouldn't be able to teach them (given my background...wink wink). I just feel that state tests and standards push our children to learn how to take "the test" instead of becoming critical thinkers and problem solvers. I'm on the fence though too. =)

Good luck.

Dawn said...

Lovely!! She is just the cutest little thing!