Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog. I very much appreciate you stopping by to get a glimpse in to our world!

I wanted to start this blog because my family is in a very unique situation in terms of how we are educating our daughters. My older daughter Iris is being homeschooled this year for second grade after being in a private school for two years. My younger daughter Eloise is in public school for kindergarten.

In my time spent perusing the blogs of homeschool families I have yet to run across one that embraces other forms on schooling, either philosophically or in reality-- not that they aren't out there, just that I haven't found one. It's been a bit, well, annoying to me to mostly face a homeschooling attitude of superiority over other forms of schooling. Of course, homeschooling may be a superior choice for one child in particular, but not as an overall philosophy for every child or every family. At least not in my opinion. I decided to write about bridging the gap between two opposing schooling worlds.

My husband and I came to our decision to school our daughters in two very different ways over many, many discussions, an insane amount of thought and research, and by just asking the girls themselves.

Our school journey started when Iris was just over a year old. I enrolled her in a preschool co-op that she and I attended one day per week for a couple of hours. The next year her co-op was two days a week, but I didn't last too long as I had an infant to care for and co-op was too much to juggle. Iris began a very small Reggio Emilia style preschool when she turned three. She stayed at that school until she turned five, when I went insane with worry over where to send her for kindergarten. At the time that Iris was going to start kindy the Seattle Public School system was offering parents a "choice" of where to send their children. No child was guaranteed a spot at their neighborhood school and all parents had to submit a school choice form and then cross their fingers. I toured many schools and my husband and I decided our favorite was a school with an arts focus, which she got assigned to.

The summer before kindy began, however, we bought our first house and our family relocated to the other side of the city. I set to work trying to get Iris transferred to a public school in our new area and was told by SPS that we were on a waiting list for a local school, but that Iris would stay assigned to the school with the arts focus. It was easily a thirty minute drive each way, in good traffic, to the school, so we decided we needed another option. A small private school in our new neighborhood had an opening for Eloise in their preschool as well as an opening in their elementary grades classroom for Iris. We were thrilled to have found such a perfect solution to our school issue!

Iris's kindergarten year was extremely traumatic for her as well as me. Every single day of drop off Iris screamed and clung to me and most days did not want to go to school while complaining of stomach aches. It took a lot of work, but by her first grade year (in the same classroom with the same teacher) she was less anxious overall about school. Unfortunately, her anxiety shifted and began manifesting itself in behavioral issues and poor social skills.

In those two years Eloise completely flourished in her preschool classroom. We had some behavior problems with her, but they were more the "run of the mill" kind and improved with some firm and kind direction from her teachers. Eloise was social and happy and LOVED school.

By the time Spring was rolling around in Iris's first grade year I decided that we needed to pull Iris out of school and give her a break from the constant anxiety. Since her school ran year-round, she ended up leaving three months before the scheduled end of the year. At that time my husband and I decided that Iris would be homeschooled for second grade in hopes of getting a handle on her anxiety and working on her social skills.

In the Spring we also enrolled Eloise in the Seattle Public School system for her kindergarten year. The rules had changed since Iris was originally enrolled and now all children had a guaranteed spot at their neighborhood school. Since I did not like our neighborhood school (it is a good school, but not my cup of tea) I requested that she be enrolled at our area's "option school". It was a long, nerve-wracking wait to find out where Eloise would be assigned. I decided that if she didn't get in to the school I wanted her to that she would go to the private school that she had been to preschool at (in the same classroom Iris had been in). Eloise repeatedly reported that she did not want to be homeschooled and also did want to go to the private school. She wanted to go to a BIG school (her words). My husband and I thought, you know, what the heck. We will send her to a public school if she gets in to the one we want her to. And she did.

We spent the summer doing a huge amount of relaxing, playing and traveling and come the beginning of September, we dove head first in to our new routine.

My daughters are as different as could be. One is anxious, introverted, artistic and enjoys being absorbed in imaginative play on her own. The other is extroverted, extremely physical, loves playing with other kids and has not a fear in the world. I love that we could find a school solution that fits each of their very unique needs. There is no one situation that would have fit both of their needs as perfectly as what we have have chosen for each of them separately.

1 comment:

  1. You are truly an inspiration. I believe that every child is an individual, and honestly explored Homeschooling for Cooper. He's changed a lot in the last year, and I am so grateful he's at our choice school. I'm not sure our "home" school assignment would have fit.

    I can only imagine what it took to get Iris to school every day. Super cool that you're willing and eager to Homeschool.

    There definitely seems to be a divide for each option in schooling: Private, Public and Homeschool - each one thinking their the best way. I personally attended each type: Homeschool through 5th Grade, Private for 6 & 7th, skipped 8th and did Public High School. I graduated with honors. I didn't really have a choice about which option I wanted, but can honestly say there's no right way.

    That's all to say, I am cheering for you!

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