Thursday, November 3, 2011

I've Gone to the Dark Side

At least, that is how it feels.  I just completed registration for my daughter to take a class at the local high school.
In Michigan, homeschoolers can register for electives at the local school.  In fact, many schools want homeschoolers to do so, as it means extra funding for them. However, I usually don't recommend homeschoolers do this, because most often the hassle outweighs any gain.  Sure, a free art class would be nice, but there is no guarantee of the quality and the daily schedule isn't very favorable either (as opposed to a once-a-week extended art time taught by an exceptional teacher hand-picked by me). That is still my position - in most cases, at least.

However, my daughter is now signed up for 2nd hour choir, starting second semester. For us, it really isn't about the choir class, nor any other class she might have taken. I have other reasons, and I believe they are very good ones, with some unique circumstances.  I'll share my reasons another time, because this situation required special permission with benefits beyond a choir class, and I want to be sure everything goes as it should first.  While I'm not looking forward to the required strict morning routine that it will impose every day (bleh!), I think it will be worth it in the end.

To be clear, I'm not exactly the type that goes around spouting that public school is evil and bad and homeschooling is pure and good.  Public school hasn't been the choice for my kids up until this point, but each family needs to make that decision on what is right for them. It isn't us vs. them or one perfect education decision. Everyone has a choice in the matter, and should have one without criticism.

The problem is, my choice for the last 9 1/2 years has been homeschooling. It has not gone without sacrifices and determination, and there is a lot of identity that goes with that.  Granted, we are still considered homeschoolers in our state and it *is* just one class. And if it doesn't work as intended, we'll just go back to how things were.  I still have complete control over my daughter's education, and that is my goal in my homeschooling decision. However, it still feels a bit...strange...and like I've gone to the "other side".

I'd love to hear from my readers...if you came across an "ideal" school situation/opportunity (whether part-time or full-time), would you take it? By "ideal" I mean one where your student would enjoy and thrive, was financially and/or academically beneficial, and left you with all the control cards?  Would you give a try? Or, would you pass it by regardless because of your homeschooling principles or ideas? 

I think this will make for an interesting discussion! However, I don't want a debate. Please share your thoughts and opinions respectfully.


Debbie S. said...

When my oldest son was in 2nd grade and my youngest was 2 years old, I felt like I was losing my mind (I had 2 year old-itis), I put my son in the local elem. school for 5 long weeks. I felt so guilty and as if I was betraying everything within me as a mom.
It turned out ok in the way that my son got rave reviews and the teacher said she wished she had an entire room full of "Teds", but in the 5 weeks we were there, the things we saw and heard from the mouths of 2nd graders was appalling. Not to mention, every day that we dropped him off, my husband would feel this conviction that we shouldn't be doing this. I realized later (many years later), that I should have just taken a break while I got my toddler under control and my "winter blues" under control, and stuck with what I knew.

I tell you that to relate to what you're feeling, not to say you're doing the wrong thing.

As a homeschooler we have numerous resources at our fingertips and if God leads you to use one of them, go for it! If HE tells you not to, then obey:)

Hope it all works out for you:)


Heidi said...

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for sharing! I completely understand.

I actually feel quite settled about the decision, it just feels odd and uncomfortable in other ways.

We aren't in a situation where we feel like we have to do this, and I wouldn't hesitate to pull her if things started going in the wrong direction or it simply wasn't worth it.

My daughter has a very strong personality and is a great self-advocate. So, I'm less worried about atmosphere and more concerned about hassle and schedules.

We'll see. If it works out, it has the potential to be a very nice situation for us. If it doesn't, we'll go back to our already nice situation!

Either way, dropping my kid off at the local school is just going to feel weird.

Giggly Girls said...

I look forward to hearing how it all goes. Very exciting!

I guess if it were the right situation I'd consider it and see where God directed us.

Loving learning at Home said...

Oh, Heidi. I just love you! ;) Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for your daughter. I'm not sure what I would do. Our local schools are totally homeschool UN-friendly. The principal tells me every time I see him I am ruining my children. So, with our current school system, definitely not. If it was ideal like you said, I may consider it. Although I'm about 99.9% certain my kids wouldn't ever want to. They are really too attached to me. But, I guess at the age they are it's okay. I love being with them (most of the time). Hope you have a great week!

Erika@RaisingLeafs said...

We're planning to homeschool to the end (my oldest is only 5), but I'm not completely against a "traditional" school or class if that would work better. It's great you have that option. :)

P.S. We're in Michigan too. :)

Diane Allen said...

As we say down south, "bless your heart!" I understand that whole identify crisis that comes with this decision. One point of homeschooling is that we do retain control over our children's education; you are not losing anything there. I think there is a great deal of latitude in the delivery of said education. I did have one friend here in NC whose special needs daughter attended school part-time and it worked quite well for them for a year or two.

Actually, I was jealous of my military friend when they were in Germany. DOD schools let homeschoolers take classes (academic or elective) at base schools as well as play on the sports teams. It seemed the perfect world to me - other than being tied to the daily schedule.

Jennifer said...

When you put it that way, I would consider another option if everything worked out. We tried private school, but were not completely happy with that decision. Our plan now is to homeschool through high school, but to follow God's lead. If he has other plans, we will adjust.

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

I hope she enjoys her class and all goes well!

Heidi said...

We'll see if this situation is the "ideal" I described. Hopefully!

Lori, our district was incredibly accommodating and no comments about ruining my kid (though they did suggest she might want to take *more* classes later). They have to allow her to take the class, but they approved some major things they did not have to (even for their regular students). I can't elaborate now, but will later in the year after I see how it goes. She doesn't start until the end of January.

I'm glad we have so many options here that we can take or leave. If it doesn't work out, I know we can leave!

(Erika - another MI Crewbie! I'm aware of one other. Maybe we can have a Crew meet-up!)