Many of you know that Bryan and I have been considering our academic options for Cadey for her Kindergarten year for several months now.
It first began when I realized Cadey would be moving up from the great school the kids were attending for preschool. A friend and I hatched the idea that I could teach Kindergarten at the preschool (she would be my assistant.) I was aware that the preschool had plans to grow, however wasn't sure where they were in that plan. Let me digress for a minute and tell you more about the preschool. It's AWESOME: loving but firm teachers, great academics, small class size, half days, bible stories, chapel time, etc. etc. etc. So, I proposed opening a K class for the 2008-2009 school year with me being the teacher, and following the same type of curriculum already offered. They considered it. They met and voted on it. All looked good. Except one thing: space. It all came down to space. There wasn't any. Therefore, no Kindergarten there this year.
So then we started thinking homeschool. I looked into curriculum. I talked to a few people. I didn't do a whole lot of research, but before I could research more, I began to doubt my ability to teach my own child. What if I screwed her up? What if I did more damage than good? What if she turned out to be a HUGE geek who couldn't relate to her peers? What if we hated spending that much time together? What if, what if, what if...
So, I moved on. I called all private schools, both religious private schools and just plain private schools. None thrilled me. I even considered driving Cadey to a school on Hilton Head Island, which would have made our car time about 4 hours per day. The more I researched, the more disenchanted I became about all private school options. None of them seemed to have exactly what I wanted for Cadey. One local school wanted close to $13,000 a year for her to go to half day Kindergarten!! I subbed at the school when we first moved here and there wasn't anything I saw there that made me think spending that kind of money on a 5 year old's education was a smart thing to do. (Pun intended!)
So, with August fast approaching, we sent her to the public school where we're districted. I've heard lots of good things from other parents. It's supposedly the best public elementary school in town. However, our experiences have been less than stellar. (Go back to August and Septembers blogs to see how hard the beginning of school was for all of us.) My experience (and Cadey's) at the school has left me more concerned each day. Disrespectful adults yelling and condescending to students while parents are looking on, loooooooong day (over 8 hours), poor academics for average and above average students, many behavior issues, teachers with bad attitudes, and on and on and on.
Let me just say one thing. I think my daughter is smart. Not Albert Einstein smart, but smart. I don't think she should be penalized for that, nor should she have to be bored all day because the teacher is too busy with behavior problems or with working with the kids who can't even hold a pencil yet.
Yes, I've spoken to the teacher -- at length. I'm THAT mom. I used to dread moms like me when I was a teacher. But now the student is MY child -- and I will do anything to make sure she receives an above-average education and that she continues to be challenged to do her best. The teacher has stopped responding to me. When I asked for a more challeging reading group for Cadey, she said she'd talked to the first grade teacher and since they didn't do reading at the same time that it just wouldn't work. That's it. No more looking for ways to keep Cadey challenged. I even offered to come in and work with some of the kids (high, low, average, I don't care) so that all children can be challenged. No response. And now the teacher has ignored some issues I have with the way the assistant talks to the children, and not responded to any academic issues I have.
So, I'm back to homeschooling. Bryan and I have talked about this a lot. Those of you that know us, know that we don't make this decision lightly. It's not because I want to keep my child in a bubble. We've decided that the best teacher for our child right now is me. That may change over time and depending on our locale. However, for now, it's me.
I'm assembling materials, checking the law, dotting my i's and crossing my t's. And praying. For guidance, wisdom, and patience. For a lack of selfishness that I know will pervade my spirit when all I want is some Mom-ME time. Please pray with me.
She is my child. I am her advocate, her teacher. I will fight for what is best for her. She is my child. I am her teacher...