Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ancillary Services

That's what they call it when a homeschooler takes PE, art, music or whatever at the public school. We decided to pursue this because we chose not to enroll in WAVA, and HALL, which would have been my ideal, closed last spring because the PSD had to make those participants take the WASL, causing the parents to flee in droves. These classes are a potential convenience, but getting it all to come into focus is a pain in my butt, and it doesn't help me find local, secular, homeschooling contemporaries for my kids. This has been the larger goal for me for a year.

We have been pleasantly (ok *I* because I am the one doing all the contact and legwork with this) surprised with how cordial and accomodating out local PSD has been. I did my homework first, showed up with all the proper forms filled out, armed with the knowledge of what I did not have to provide. I had my declaration of intent, my ancillary services form in triplicate, and the emergency contact form. That thing is loooooooong, btw.

The first woman at the elementary school, nice as she could be, had no clue and tried to get me to first leave my file with her (uh, no, there are forms in there for you, me and the PSD), so she could call me back (no...I am standing here and this is easy), then she said "oh I get it!" and handed me an enrollment form to fill out while she went back to doing something else.

Please keep in mind, I showed up on the first day of school. They were harried, and she wasn't being dismissive. But I wasn't enrolling my daughter, either. I waited patiently while the kids went bonkers in the waiting area. We talked to the lunch lady*, the gym teacher, all while waiting. When she came back I said, "this isn't the form I need, because I am not enrolling her. " She looked befuddled but then got the go-to girl who knew exactly how things go down.

Ah, mental note: Jill is The One Who Knows.

Jill retrieved and tried to get me to fill out the ancillary services form, so I handed her the one we already had. She was surprised, but pleased. Then I handed her the other two, and she gave me the schedule of when the first graders had their classes as well as the name of the One Who Knows at the PSD office. She was VERY cool, and took a lot of time out of a crunch day to speak with us. I was impressed.

Even with how relatively smooth it went getting her hooked up, I have been struggling since Thursday with which classes to actually put her in with regards to meshing our schedule with theirs. All the first grade classes are lumped in the same hour space for their specialty classes (that's their term), so if I want her to take advantage of them and keep her with the same group, I have to send her every day. Um, no. Fine, so I break it up into two days a week. I can commit to that. That makes me pick and choose and here's where I am struggling. I wanted her to go into the music program there. They have an excellent instructor, one who is very involved in the community and who actively seeks grants to fund her own school programs. With rainy season coming though, phys ed would be something I'd like to give her as well. I am dizzy and ready to scrap the whole thing because it makes my stomach clench.

On the home front, Paul and I have been focused on changing the school room setup again so that it can reasonably accomodate the three ages we've got going. N's strength's and interests vary somewhat from G's so there is that, and we have a toddler again, which wreaks havoc on the entire system if we do it wrong.

Beyond that, I once again am having fun with it, and it's remarkable how well the kids behave when they have actively engaged homeschool projects. I have been focussed on developing the theme units we love so much, which is always rewarding for the whole family, and we purchased some k12 curriculum in math and language so that we can keep some continuity with Nikirj's girl, also homeschooled in the same grade level.

Once I get past this hump, I think I'm going to be really invested and excited about this.

Transient Temptations:

*PSD has been peanut free for this and last year. They don't allow the cafeterias to serve it, but I don't think the children are constrained from bringing it. Further, this elementary school has the children file through, pick up their (egads expensive!) lunch, then return to their classrooms to eat it. Hence NO PEANUT TABLE! NO OSTRACIZATION!

*As I was leaving, the UPS guy was unloading box after box of curriculum materials, which I recognized and liked from my own plans here, including handwriting without tears.


  1. Hi! Don't you just love the crisp new smell of new homeschool textbooks ready to be dived into. We don't have ancillary services, we "dual-enroll" for extra-curricular activities.

    My son Matthew would love your homeschool, he's a lord of the rings kinda guy to. I just posted on my blog a bit about the renassiance faire coming near us. We will be making a costume for him soon and posting a picture when we get it done (We're planning on working on it this weekend.)

    I went beta blogger so I have topost as anonymous.


  2. What's a peanut free table?

    Seriously, I've never had to deal with lunch rooms as a kid or as a parent, they've always ate in classrooms. And you know about my school and PAs. There's never been a problem, a crossed eyed, or weird word from any parent, even with a peanut free classroom.

    I think you have some sort of transplant PTSD from your home state. ;)


  3. Most states use lunchrooms, so the kids who have PA can often be stuck at the peanut free table. That's fortunately not PTSD for me, since it never had the chance to happen. Anyway, you can either be the cool kid and people want to sit with you (and parents bitch because their kids get left out! I shit you not!) or you get to be the weird kid, and eat alone.

    Yes, I have been amazed and happy with this state's attitude about the peanut. It's a deified object where I am from.

    --not a fan of the peanut free table