Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have a quandary, a good one this time, that I'd like to get out from inside me through blogging. Yesterday (and both had to happen on the same day), I attended a meeting about an excellent classical high school homeschool co-op which is coming together beautifully and approval of acceptance letter into a wonderful new public high school academy opening in another county. Peace, my oldest son, enters high school next year, so I've been stewing over these possibilities for a good long while. Both top choices became reality on the same day.

Classical co-op option
-Has the most rigorous course of study ensuring a willing child's path to college and scholarship.
-Matches the heart of my educational philosophy.
-Instructors of the highest caliber. One is a personal friend whom I admire greatly.
-My favorite course mixes history, English, and Bible in an Omnibus type setting. This is not offered anywhere else in this region.

-Costs several thousand dollars.
-Only two days a week in class instruction. I'd have to teach the other three days.
-VERY long academic days as son adjusts to intensive study

Public Academy Option
-FREE, all courses, all books, no mandatory hours of volunteering for momma
-Outstanding principal with innovative and progressive ideas. I've known her top notch work and incredible reputation for years as she was previously principal in the zone in which I used to live. No nonsense tolerated.
-College prep, advanced, and honors courses recommended.
-Fine arts.
-Brand new school building.
-Best teachers from all over are applying to teach there.
-Five days of instruction from people who know and hopefully enjoy what they are teaching.
-Keyboarding course.
-Clubs, sports.
-Even starting ground for all. No cliques already developed. Everyone new to the layout of the building. Culture to be developed with a high academic standard from the start.
-No upper grades until next year.
-I know some great families sending their children next year.

-Need for a cellphone.
-Need for something more than just the second hand clothing our son has always worn.
-May not accept transfers after this first year.
-End of homeschool read alouds and Bible study.

I have a concern that Peace needs to learn more of the bigger world than the co-op will offer. Doesn't that sound outrageous? I don't worry he'll fall into anything negative, because he stays clear of "goof offs and trouble makers" in all the academic classes and activities outside our home. In fact, I excitedly mentioned seeing a boy from last year's co-op at the Public Academy, and Peace responded, "Mom, that kid is not someone I'd want to hang out with. He was disrespectful and disruptive in class."

Some of my homeschooling friends may not understand why I would consider public school. High school is not something I want or like to teach. It would completely consume me, because my boys are not naturally self-directed learners. Could be bad parenting and homeschooling on my part, but I've had to stay on top of my children to keep them studying from the beginning. Could be that I have a slew of boys who would prefer to catch frogs to composition. Probably a little of both. As much as I love the idea of "delight directed learning" I haven't had the chutzpa to pull it off. My answer to all things challenging is putting on discipline, so that's how my family has accomplished homeschooling thus far.

Some of my other friends and family members have never understood why we have homeschooled. All I can say to that is my children have begged me to do so, and Buck has agreed. Homeschooling is neither easy or especially fun for me, but it's been worth it for the children. I intend to homeschool the other three children next year. We'll see what comes of these two options for Peace.


unquenchableworshipper said...

of course the public school wont be cheap either..driving round trip twice 60 miles with gas at $3.20 a gallon, but still will fall well below the $3000 mark I'm sure.
But also time spent in the transportation is a factor.
Perhaps we should say we will be "van-schooling" the other 3 next year. =-)

Someday.. our children will look back over the archives of this blog and appreciate the time and love poured out for their well being by a mother, though imperfect at times, who put their development as purpose filled decent human beings over any acclaim or reward. (talk about a run on sentence!)

I know that God will make it clear to us what we need to do. I have a peace about it.


almostgotit said...

My child is the most honorable, sweet kid around, and he's about to graduate from a public high school. No one can, or should, make this decision for you, but I can tell you that it has worked very well for us, and hasn't destroyed my kid's soul or his faith. He's enjoyed talking honors and AP classes... but also being in a very diverse setting where he's friends with kids of several races, religions, and political affiliations. As parents, we've still been very involved in shepherding him through these years: I love talking over all sorts of new ideas with him and hearing how thoughtful and purposeful he is about finding his way through them. You can be sure I VERY MUCH get my own opinion in there too, but am very respectful of his own right (and need) to form opinions of his own. Which are mostly like mine :) but not ENTIRELY!!

He is so cool. And someday, he and his generation are going to be in charge and everyone, including me, will be learning from THEM!

We started a tradition many years ago of going around the dinner table and telling our "highlights," which for both kids has come to include a retelling of their school day. This has been a wonderful way to stay involved and to keep tabs on stuff.

He wears old clothes all the time! (or do you mean you would have to buy uniforms? In the end, since you need only a couple, that's a pretty cheap option too!)

Keyboarding is the only thing on your list that I'd say is entirely STUPID about the public schools. Sorry to break the bad news!!

truevyne said...

Dear Almost,
I agree from what I know of your son being a leader I look forward to having in the future. Thanks for the dinner tip. No uniforms required at the public academy, but truly my kids only have about 3 pairs of jeans and a handful of shirts, so I'll have to increase that for Peace.
Diversity (race, politics, religion) is something we like in this family- that part of public school I'll enjoy with him. For us, it's never been so much about sheltering, but request of children.

truevyne said...

And about KEYBOARDING. I severely limited my children on all media, and my son NEEDS typing skills in a major way. Does that scare you that my children aren't computer savvy? It's just that I wanted to redirect my non- scholarly boys toward physical activity instead of screen time.

almostgoitit said...

Hurray for limiting screen time!

I didn't mean that keyboarding is useless, but that the classes the kids take (for NINETY MINUTES PER DAY!!) do not, in fact, teach keyboarding.

This is where the teacher lets the kids do their homework from other classes, or learn (on out-of-date computers) how to type letters 1980's style so they can apply for 1980's style secretarial jobs that no longer exist.

When not doing any of these things (90 minutes is a LOOONG time!) they discuss who is going out with whom, which kids the other kids think are jerks, etc...

In other words, a class that serves no good purpose whatsoever!
(and my kid still types hunt and peck after taking it!)

BTW: For school my son has: 1 pair of torn cargo shorts, one pair of khakis, and one pair of jeans he won't wear. He seems to have two or three shirts he'll wear with them, but hates all the rest. I give up! :)

Kat said...

A few pairs of jeans and a handful of t-shirts somehow equals an infinite number of wardrobe combinations for my high school junior. She has other clothes, yes. Does she wear them? no. :)

truevyne said...

kat and almost,
Goodwill it is for school clothes then~~!

Hope said...

Of my three now adult children I would have sent one of them to high school for sure given the choice all over again. One of my kids is now in college doing high school upgrading and the diversity of people has been so very good for him. But then I homeschooled out of fear and control so take my advice with a grain of salt. I think the fear and control were far more damaging than much of what public school could have handed them. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Friend! I can so relate to this quandry! I've heard some great tings about both options. I'll be praying that you get clear direction for Peace next year. We are going to keeep on with what we've been doing...Home and MM. URG! It is hard! I just don't feel released to make a change now.
Keep me posted!
Love to you!
Deb C