Friday, August 16, 2013
New School Plan
I was very excited shortly after arriving in our new neighborhood to learn about a public charter school that is homeschool-based. Once per week, students and parents meet with teachers and receive the curriculum to be taught at home by the parents. Also during the week, children attend elective classes at school with their peers. My excitement was short-lived when I found out that the children must be working at age-grade level to enroll in this school. Thus started a GRAND SEARCH to find something similar. It's time for my girls to be with others their own age in a positive, goal-oriented, fun setting -- separately -- but still do academics at home.
Ever since exploring our new neighborhood, I was aware of a private school affiliated with a church I don't belong to, but admire for their quality schools and medical centers. A lot of their religion is similar to my own beliefs, such as the heavy value and focus on Christ and family. Every time I saw this school, I had a great compulsion to turn into the parking lot and find out more about it. After going in circles for 45 minutes trying to find another charter school on my list, I finally couldn't resist and entered the school grounds.
The first person I encountered was a well-groomed, warm, open olderish woman who is the second grade teacher there. She looked like a teacher should, friendly and inviting and loving. I was immediately drawn to her. She walked with me to the office and introduced me to other staff members.
Long story, short, I spoke with the principal about our unique situation and he offered me a customized education for my children at drastically reduced tuition rates. I will be given the curriculum of the level my girls are currently working at and I will teach them at home. They will go to the school at age-appropriate levels for elective classes and extra-curricular activities! They also have other world-class programs that will benefit my girls and they are only about 2 miles from my home! This particular private school is very college-prep with an extremely high success rate, small class sizes, a large campus and more. It's a better education than I could have hoped for my children to be exposed to, meeting their individual needs and the needs of the entire family as we will need to travel for medical appointments, surgeries, etc. often. However, the tuition was still a little steep for me.
The next day, I found the charter school I'd been looking for and the women there were also helpful and accepting of us. It's a public school, so it's free, and they were willing to put my girls in an ESL program, but it was strictly a guided home-school, no interaction with other students, and I just felt that they didn't quite grasp the main learning issues my girls have. Language is not our main problem. Lack of life experience is our main problem, so the examples and pictures in textbooks are mostly incomprehensible to my girls at their age-grade levels. They were willing to test them and tweak things, but I had a feeling deep in my soul that this wasn't the right situation for us for many reasons. The biggest issue is that my girls should not be taught an ESL program at their level of English proficiency. All the educators on adoption that I encountered stressed that ESL programs are for children whose families speak their native language in the home and not English. Our primary language at home is English, despite the fact that it's a new language to my girls.
I phoned the private school back with the thought that my two oldest girls could enroll, thus bringing the tuition closer within a doable rate. He then said, "You can pay for your two older girls to come and your youngest is also welcome." There is no way I could turn that down, so I will come up with the money each month and I'm super excited for my girls to begin on Monday. I'm scrambling to get our school room ready. We can't wait for the new carpet and I really need lighting, because it's a cave in there, but it's so much more than our old home had so I'm eager to get going with our new school year!