I took my kids today to do some placement testing for a home-schooling co-op we are considering for the fall. While they were taking their tests, I was chatting with a mom at the coffee shop upstairs.

She was telling me all about her son, so I asked her the natural question: “What grade is he in?”

What was I thinking? You would think I would have learned by now the inherent danger of posing this question to another home-school parent.

“Well…” she began. “In math, he would be in third grade. But in reading, he is probably in fourth or fifth. Of course, that’s his reading level, but he doesn’t exactly fit into a classroom with that age group because he doesn’t always pick up the subtleties of books at that level. Oh, he’s 7.”

I’m still hoping that my eye roll was only in my mind and not visible to her. I mean, I get it.

Just 15 minutes earlier when I was checking my 6-year-old in for her testing, I found myself rambling to someone about: “Well, she would be in kindergarten, but she’s in second grade math, although she’s only on lesson 17, and she’s doing Saxon, which is kind of difficult, but it’s not nearly as hard as Singapore, which they do here, but they do Singapore at one grade level behind and since she is doing Saxon one grade level ahead, I think she’ll be OK.” (If I were better at math, I might be able to figure that one out.)

This is what drives me crazy about home schoolers. Now, I want to clarify that I am not ACTUALLY a home-school mom. You have to home school for at least THREE years to actually BE a home-school mom. Since I have only home-schooled for TWO years, I am officially still a mom who pulled her kids out of private school for a couple of years. We’re on our way back. Oh, yes, we are. JUST as soon as all of those other schools can get everything adjusted, scheduled and lined up to perfectly to fit all of our needs.

When we were eating breakfast this morning, I think my 8-year-old summed it up best. None of the kids wanted to go to this unknown, suspicious co-op situation where they would have to (heaven forbid) take a TEST to get in and (Oh, me, oh, MY!) arrive at a certain time ONE DAY A WEEK!

“I’m not sure I’m going to like the curricu-um,” the second grader said with what is left of his speech problem.

No problem, then! You can just go to public school five days a week from 9 to 3 and you can do whatever the heck curricu-um the state of Illinois and the wonderful administrators of our school district tell you to do!

“Hmmm….” he pondered.

So, here we are. My kids are officially so wise about curricu-um that they are making their own decisions about whether they prefer Shurley English or Rod and Staff. Should we really consider a home-school co-op where they are going to (gasp!) read “Island of the Blue Dolphins” and “In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson” INSTEAD of “The Hobbit” and “The Horse and His Boy”?

HOW will we survive if we have to do Spelling Workout instead of Spelling Power? Or Answers in Genesis science instead of Apologia?!?

AND the next thing we know they are going to tell us that we can’t eat breakfast four times a morning. You mean we are going to have to sit in a classroom for two hours straight with nothing but a water bottle?

Oh, I do actually love the home-schooling lifestyle, as much as I hate it. I love how we have complete flexibility to do school anytime of the day we would like and because of that flexibility we sit down at our dining room table for almost the exact same five to six hours everyday with our heads buried in books.

I love how we can pick and choose our curricu-um based on the strengths and weaknesses of every child in the family and because of that we can switch curricu-um twice a year to make sure no one has to (deep breath!) be restrained by someone else’s standard of how or what we should learn.

Yeah, I will admit that it gets a little irritating that my kids think the second they are done with any given subject I should rush immediately to their side and check their work. They hold this belief so dear that they think it’s perfectly acceptable to yell at their teacher through the bathroom door to let her know their precious writing assignment is waiting to be carefully read and admired.

And so now you all know WHY if it’s too expensive to send my kids to private school and I’m not perfectly happy with public school, at least I am considering a co-op where I can drop them off and walk away in freedom for several hours a week.

Except…

What time do we have to be there again?

dec2010emily

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