A lot of people have been asking us how our new school situation is going this year. We are six weeks into the year, and we are finally getting into a routine and figuring out how to get everything done.
I definitely created some confusion back in August when I wrote that six-part series on what we were doing for school this fall. BlogHer even featured one of my posts on its web site with an introductory paragraph, explaining that “EverydayMOM has decided to send her kids back to school.” I was too exhausted at the time to try to even explain they should have continued reading. Another friend e-mailed me a few weeks ago asking how we were doing at public school.
So, here’s the scoop on what we are REALLY doing!
The best way to describe our schooling situation is that it’s a mix of private school and home school.
On Mondays, the kids go to an academic program at a co-op. They take classes in all of their subjects: science, math, literature, grammar and writing, history and art. Their teachers give them instruction in what they will learn for the week. They also do activities, like science experiments, peer review of writing assignments, hands-on activities and games. In addition, the teachers give them tests, grades and report cards.
I drop off the kids at 8 a.m. and they are there until 2 p.m. The kids have between 10 and 16 students in most of their classes, so the classes are a perfect size, in my opinion.
On Monday afternoons, the teachers use an electronic system to post all of our assignments for the week. I print everything out and organize it on a spreadsheet for each of my three big kids.
Tuesdays through Thursdays are intense school days at home. We definitely need to do school from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day to complete all of the assignments, and sometimes they have homework.
On Fridays, we go back to co-op for enrichment classes. They take fun classes like team building gym, cooking and book club. Because the co-op has more than 200 kids enrolled on Fridays, moms with kids younger than 8 need to stay in the building. At first, I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t have free time on Fridays. However, I have lots of friends whose kids are in the program so it’s become a highlight of my week to hang out and chat with friends all morning.
I’m really glad we decided to do this this year. It puts a healthy pressure on us to complete all of our assignments each day. It also takes the pressure off of me to figure out what we are going to do each week. The kids also see their assignments differently since they are coming from their teachers, not their mom.
I’m glad the kids have the “peer pressure” you get from presenting their projects to classmates. Last week, my 5th grader had to do his first “project” for a class. His history class read a book called, “A Gathering of Days,” which is a diary of a girl growing up in New England in the 1800s. My son decided to make a movie with some of his friends and act out a few key scenes from the book.
This was a fun project and one we never would have done if we were home schooling on our own! He got to present the movie to his class on Friday. Here’s a link to his movie on YouTube:
Hopefully, he won’t be graded down for his mother’s horrible acting!!