Monday, February 1, 2010

School Days

My house is quiet and I should be cleaning since John has the kids out and about and Evany is sleeping peacefully for once.

But how can I clean when the house is quiet, the kids are out, and Evany is sleeping?

Yeah, I pretty much can't, because as much as I want clean floors, I want to sit on my couch more. Much more. I'm tired.

Homeschooling was tough today. With a capital T.

I've had several questions about the type of school my kids go to, and I've never really addressed it, mostly because I always forget. Ava attends something called a community school. It goes from Pre-K through 8th grade, and the students attend class on campus three days a week and are taught by their parents at home two days a week. (Well, our family actually does our "home" schooling on campus with a few other families as well due to a scholarship we receive, but the concept remains the same.) Our school is a Christian school that operates with a biblical world view, but not all the community schools I've heard of are.

I pretty much love the concept. They get all the socialization of school, while still benefiting from the high level of parental involvement homeschooling brings. Plus, there are lesson plans for the home school days, so I don't have to worry about writing plans or choosing curriculum, etc. Ava homeschools on Monday and Wednesday and attends academic classes Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday they have enrichment days, when they kids get their fill of art, P.E., band, and foreign languages.

Our school goes out of their way to remain affordable, and costs about half as much as traditional private schools. To offest that, we put on two big fundraisers a year, a golf tournament in the fall and a Gala and silent auction in the spring. By the way, if anyone wants to donate for the silent auction, let me know!

Ava's school has 70 students. She is one of 12 in her kindergarten class. We're a small school but a big family, and you'd better believe there isn't a family in our school that wouldn't bend over backwards for someone else at a moment's notice. There have been times I've needed a favor and I've literally pulled out our school directory and flipped through it randomly. Every family in our school shares similar beliefs and parenting ideals, and because of that, I don't have to worry if Ava wants to have a playdate with so and so after school. There will be a time when my kids will have to brave the big world and not be sheltered, but as a parent I feel strongly that sheltering is exactly what young kids need to thrive. There is all the time in the world to learn about all the confusing, crazy, bad things out there, but right now, I want my kids growing up in a familiar, comfortable environment where I know I could trust every other family there with my children's safety without a second thought.

I've had people ask me if I would put the kids in public school because of my divorce or because there are so many of them or because I'm so busy, but I'm very committed to our school. Public school can work when parents are very involved, but I am just in love with every family at Ava's school. Our school has committed to stand by and support our family every step of the way when they didn't have to, and that means everything to me. Families from the school have been there for us through Seth's diagnosis and surgery, through the summer when I thought I would literally die from some version of a broken heart, through my pregnancy with Evany and her birth. And you never feel obligated to make it up to anyone. They show up with meals or offering to do yard work or just to hang out with the kids or go out for coffee, and it has been amazing. Even when we have nothing in common personally (which is rare!), we share a love of Christ and a very strong motivation to raise our children up in Him and prepare them well for life.

In many ways, even though the academics of our school are very good, the reason we're there is the people. The people are amazing, and with their help Ava (and Jace and Seth and Evany eventually) are growing up with lots of knowledge about math and science and history and reading and, also, their faith and the bible and how to be a strong Christian. It's amazing to me to see the older elementary and middle school age girls treat Ava with so much kindness and really take her under their wing...they have no idea that it makes her day every time they look in her direction, but it totally does. With such a small school, the relationships between the kids are so strong and so awesome to watch as they develop.

See, now that I've written down all the things I love about it I feel much better about the fact that the kids were hooligans for home school today. It happens, and it's totally worth it because on the good days, watching your child learn something you taught them is just the coolest thing. Of course, it's only slightly cooler than getting to send my kids off to be taught by other people the next day. It's a nice balance!

And, Vivi's nap is over, so I'm off. At least she gave me time to post!
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