Friday, January 26, 2007

Obsessing Over Educational Choices

I've spent far too much time over the last three years agonizing/obsessing over what we are going to do about schooling for M: homeschool, public school, part time private school (only one option for this in our area and it's expensive). I tell myself I don't need to worry so much about it but I feel like it's such an important decision and I truly enjoying checking out curricula and reading about educational theories so I doubt I'll listen to the voice telling me to slow down.

Our local public schools have a magnet school system where you decide your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice schools and students are chosen my a lottery. There are also two charter schools that get good reviews from both parents and students. So we are fortunate to have some good choices school wise, but I'm just not sure I want to send M to school full time.

I first became attracted to homeschooling over ten years ago when I had the opportunity to meet a few wonderful homeschooling families whose kids I admired. Since then I've done oodles of research on the subject and while my daughter is currently in preschool we are also doing some homeschooling activities as well. For me, two of the biggest attractions of homeschooling are the freedom to make our own schedule, allowing more time for enrichment activities without sacrificing playtime and the opportunity to tailor a curriculum to fit a student who may be at different levels in different subjects and who may benefit from a wide variety of educational approaches.

The downside is that to stay sane I'm fairly sure I would have to reduce the hours I work or stop working altogether. I'd planned to be a full time stay-at-home mom but when I got the chance to write professionally, I didn't want to turn it down. My work is something that fulfills me, and I don't want to give it up. I'm also someone who needs a lot of time alone to be happy, and while I would certainly involve our family in activities with other homeschoolers, I'm not sure I could get enough of this if we were homeschooling full time.

For now, I'm planning to look at schools when the time comes next year and to also continue to investigate the opportunities in our area for homeschoolers. I'm also experimenting with some homeschool activities now. My daughter loves doing workbook pages, and she's very interested in learning to read and learning more about numbers. So I got Modern Curriculum Press's K Level Phonics book and the first year of Singapore Math's 2 year kindergarten program. We spend about 10 minutes a day on each on the days when she's interested and so far we having a lot of fun. We also do a lot of informal art and science activities together and as you can see from the last post we read a lot.

As I explore more and learn more about our choices, I'll keep sharing my thoughts.

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