Saturday, September 09, 2006

The New First Grade

I am constantly surprised by how people react to the concept of homeschooling. A new one for me recently was that one mother was saddened for her child that one of her friends was "taken away" from her at school, to be homeschooled. The mother was also irritated that another kindergarten homeschooler was allowed to return to class for the final weeks, ostensibly because the kid wanted to have all the cool parties, this information granted to her through the kindergarten grapevine.

I wish there were another word for what we do. It's very cool, but there are some irresponsible homeschoolers out there who do play with the concept, maybe abuse it a little. I am not talking about the people who unschool, or the conservative Christians who are attempting to isolate their children, but the ones who may indeed be just toying with the rules a bit to convenience themselves. Clearly, especially given G's current status as an ancillary student, I do believe in making use of the tax dollars we have spent. Possibly, the K student in question had been done for quite some time with his own curriculum (HS usually seem to be ahead of the game when left to their own pace) and did want to hang with his buddies. I don't know.

The thing that startled me was the concept postulated by the public school mother that the homeschool mother didn't give any thought to how the children in the class would react when the first grader didn't come to class.

Well, DUH!

With all the considerations you have to weigh, all the concessions you have to make, the studying and the explaining you have to do, the curriculums you have to research / purchase / write / reject altogether, it would never, ever enter my mind to think about G's possible, future classmates and how they might react to knowing there was a homeschooled child in their social circle... or not. I have to wrap my brain around this one some more before I can fully articulate how odd, and how bothersome, this stance struck me. That another person can be so immersed in the mainstream culture to the point of thinking that homeschoolers have to explain ourselves even to their children... it floors me.

I have linked to an article on the New First Grade, and how first grade has changed all over the country. I know from my experience in SC that this is happening there, but as the article alludes, Washington state seems to have held its ground in protecting its kidlets. I had considered (for about 15 minutes) allowing G to go to kindy, because it is supposed to be all fun and games. I scrapped that idea because I knew I wouldn't allow her to go back for 1st, and I didn't want her to have that memory in her head as a guide for what the rest of it would be like.


  1. Just remember where the comments came from. Deep breath.

    I do sort of understand where she's coming from. I'm trying not to be blunt here to save feelings. ;) Anyway, tap tap tap.

    I know that when MM hits fourth grade his best friend will probably pulled out and home schooled, because his mom feels that 4th grade is a throw away year in all schools, not just public. MM will be crushed not to have BF-C not at school. Yes, he'll see him at Cub Scouts and so on, but not in the classroom, not at recess. And with MM special brain I'm not looking forward to having a talk about why BF-C isn't in school that year.

    But I take such an active roll in classroom and at home with the kids education, that I wonder why I'm not just homeschooling. But it comes down to that the kids love school, being with their friends that they don't have to share with siblings and so on.

    And I do agree with the original poster that if it's true HS mom put her kid back in school for all the party stuff when the child hasn't been seen from for months, that's kind of weird. Neither one of us is over there to know the full extent of either side, so it's hard to tell what the whole dealio is. :P

    Now if it was like G where the child was going to the other class so was still part of the class in some way, then there's no big deal. If the class that G has music and PE with has a class party at the end of the year, I think she should go and have fun with them. Because after all they're just kids. Shit, it's not like some exclusive hoity toity club, it's freaking 1st grade.

    Again, considering the original poster, don't think twice about it. *snort*

    WV = bawkjzld

  2. I posted on the wrong day - see the next post for my thoughts

  3. and I agree with Angie - we know that the orginal poster did not mean to bash homeschool - but to comment on the way that some parents handle homeschool

    I am 99.9% sure she did not intended whatsoever to diss a thoughtfully run homeschool program

  4. I am not upset with that person, and I am absolutely certain it was in no way directed towards us. The issue for me was not the specific "this kid went back for parties," because if that's true then I also think it's well, lame.

    The concept that threw me was that we as homeschooling parents have to somehow justify the idea to the other kids and parents, that our children won't be attending "regular" school; That as a public school parent, one has to perform "damage control." That one, after years of being on homeschooling forums, is a brand new one for me. If she thinks it / says it, you can be sure that she's not alone in that opinion, however misguided I think it is.

    Homeschool, parochial school, moving away, more than one class per grade level per school, mono, whatever: there are so many reasons a child may not get the mix of kids she assumes might be there. Our job as parents is to prepare our kids for whatever they might face, and counsel them through disappointments, true. But it's soooooooo not up to me to even consider G's placement as an "issue" for other children.

    G was confused last year when her two closest homeschooling friends both ended up going to Kindy anyway, one to private and one to public. Never in the odds of a planetary collision would I have expected one of my friends (the mothers) to explain to my child why they changed their minds. G may have asked them, but her feelings, and any tentative, joint plans, should not have entered in to them doing what was best for their families at that time.

    A simple explanation--which I am sure ~A~ has already prepared for Muffin-- would suffice. "Carter is going to school at home. He'll still do fun things, play outside, and go on outings. He'll still be your friend." If the parents in the class choose to make it into a big deal, then their children will follow suit.

    ~A~, I think if you chose to homeschool you would surprise both yourself and the county homeschooling communtiy with how effective you are (and how happy you would be). You do work as hard as I do, and I'd love to see you revel in some more free time.

  5. I'm way out of this loop, but could the person have meant that breaking up a tight group of kids would be difficult to go through--independent of homeschooling (ie it would have been the same if a child moved out of state)?

    It is hard on everyone when groups lack consistancy. It's hard on the kid coming in and out and the kids left behind. I don't think that has anything to do with homeschooling, though.

    It may not even be what you meant.


  6. I am just sick about that article. I read it and OH MY GOSH! I am just so happy that our schools aren't like that.

    A quote that floored me "Last year nine children started kindergarten at Clemmons reading chapter books—including one who had already tackled "Little House on the Prairie."

    SERIOUSLY? Justin is just working on sight words going into 1st. That quote actually makes me sick and sad.

    It looks like we will have lots of kids who can sit in a lab and be successful and smart, but won't be able to function with others. Just SAD.

  7. L, thanks for not taking my comments personally. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with you and how you do things. I honestly was just totally aggrivated with the mom from last year that kept pulling her daughter out (from time to time) and couldn't make up her mind. I think she should have picked a street and followed it.

    What you're doing with G is totally different. I think what you do with your children is absolutely awesome. Sending G to school for PE and Music is very cool. I don't think it's up to you to have to explain to the children in the class what you're doing at home either.

    It's not that that we are having trouble with. Last she knew the boy was planning to be there (we spoke with the mom only a week prior). I have explained to her that the children are still learning, just in a little different way. That they are still having fun and doing activities etc. She gets that part of it. She is just sad that they were once a part of her little "world" and now are no longer. And to be honest with you, I wouldn't doubt for a second if the little boy ends up back in school either sometime this year, or back in 2nd grade.

    The biggest thing is... I wish they'd make a decision and stick with it, and changing their mind is ok... but don't go back and forth and back and forth.

  8. If I was to homeschool you can count on the fact that I would have less free time.

    For some reason I have a knack of filling up my free moments with something.

    What was I called on earlier, Oh yeah I had said that "I will run the popcorn numbers as if they were cookies."

    Did you catch that? I didn't till MM's friend called me on it.

    I'm so screwed.

  9. You have a very good concept of how things should run, trust yourself. The mom that did that with her ~K~ child letting them go back did not justice to them. I hate sending kids mixed signals, especially on big stuff like that. You are a special person and I love seeing your adventures w/ G and homeschooling. Hang in there and don't let those "others" ;) ruffle your feathers to much. Hugs!