Thursday, May 04, 2006

Petty Me, but thank goodness for homeschooling

Much to my son's dismay, today I have stolen bits and pieces of time on the good computer. I've been reading blogs and enjoying my selfish desire to keep caught up.

For some reason on this latest "stolen internet moment" I decided to hit our local school district's website. I do this from time to time for many reasons: 1) To see what they're doing and compare it to what we're doing 2) To reaffirm my choice in homeschooling 3) To see if any photos of kids I (we) know are on the site. I did see some great pictures of some of my son's former and a couple of current friends.

While looking at the website today, I just had a sick visceral feeling. I cannot fathom sending my son back to public school. Looking at the photos made me smile to see kids I'd forgotten, but made me ill to see the desks in weird configurations -- not conducive to learning. Really, who can do work when you don't even have a personal space zone of at least two feet?? What if you hate the kid sitting next to you? What if that kid doesn't bathe? What if that kid is a bully? What if that kid sneezes in your direction? I know that PS teachers change the classrooms around a lot for interest, but sitting on top of each other just doesn't work for all kids. What if the kid next to you had ADHD or is a chatterbox or taps his pencil constantly? Ugh.

I looked at the walls which were plastered with so much junk that it made my head spin. Don't they realize less is more? That is a big issue to me, the amount of clutter on classroom walls.
It makes my mind dizzy because it is so cluttered. When we were touring the school the spring before DS started kindergarten, we walked into one kindergarten classroom and I promptly stated to my husband: Thomas would not survive with this teacher. There wasn't any wall space between all the posters and room decorations. She had stacks of crap (I normally would have used the word stuff, but trust me, crap is the preferred word here) everywhere. Her desk had not one single bare spot. Every single surface in that classroom was covered. She even had stuff taped to the floors!!!

As a side note, guess who my son's kindergarten teacher was? Yup, the crap-filled-room teacher. And halfway through the year we were in the principal's office demanding a new teacher, which we got. That is a blog entry for another day.

As I continued looking at the photos posted on the school's website I just kept thinking: Why do people send their kids there? WHY? It is so foreign, fake and unreal. A small majority of the kids were actually smiling in the photos. Why? I couldn't do it again ... ever.

When I finished looking at the 4th grade class sites, I took a peak at the 5th grades'. None of those teachers put up photos or do anything to share what goes on in their classroom -- except two published their schedules.

Class one:

8:00-8:15 Morning greeting/Question of the day
8:15-9:15 Math
9:15-10:05 Art/Music/PE
10:15-11:10 Reading
11:15-11:45 Science/Spelling
11:55-12:35 Lunch/Recess
12:45-1:00 Planner Check and Read Aloud
1:00-2:00 Language/Social Studies
2:10-2:55 Choir/Orchestra/Band/Study Hall
2:55-3:01 Announcements and dismissal

Class two:

8:00-8:15 Welcome/Morning Announcements
8:15-8:20 Question for the day
8:20-9:15 Math
9:15-9:30 snack break
9:30-10:05 Science
10:05-10:55 Phy.Ed/Music
11:00-11:45 Social Studies
11:45-11:55 Planner check
11:55 -12:45 Lunch
12:45-2:10 Language Arts (spelling, reading, grammar, writing)
2:10-2:55 Respect Mondays, Band, Choir, Study Hall
2:55-3:01 Announcements and Dismissal

I think I've blogged about schedules before, but just taking a look at these classroom schedules and comparing it to what we accomplish on an OFF day at home is laughable. It eases my mind that we are not doing enough.

I'm not typically a big public school basher. My son had two really good teachers, one good teacher, and one that had no business around kids, but it was an okay education. Public school doesn't even compare to the education he's getting at home.

And the best thing is, he can sit wherever he wants. Added to that best list, he can wear pajamas if he wants to, he can and does have his Tamaguchi's at the table every day, he can snack when he's hungry, he can break when he needs it, he can go to the bathroom without asking or announcing it to the world, he can play with the cat as he's doing his work. He can choose books he wants to read and they don't have to be from a list (even though I do have a required reading list, he gets input and freedom), he can do art projects the way he wants, he can sing, hum, make hideous noises while working (he does and it drives me crazy). He has a say in how our classroom is decorated. He chose the theme and did the decorating. He can choose the class pets. He can choose their names. He can finish his work early and not have to waste time waiting for others. Or, he can take his sweet time (driving his mom nuts) and finish when he finishes -- learning in a more relaxed style.

He can stay up later, start school later, and accomplish more in a few hours than his peers do at school -- even while taking his sweet time.

He can choose whatever type of pencil, pen, maker, etc., he wants to write with. He can choose folders, notebooks of his liking rathern than from an assigned list. He doesn't need a separate pair of tennis shoes for gym class. We can buy the forbidden "Pentech, Sanford or foil-wrapped penciles" and use them. He can use the pencil sharpener whenever he needs to. He can use fluorescent glue if he wants. He can use glitter glue. He no longer needs to worry about his snacks being stolen (unless his mom gets into the Hostess muffins) as they were in public school. He does not have to put his name on everything he owns.

I need to stop. I've had a big chuckle this afternoon. Thank goodness for homeschooling.

(p.s. please forgive any and all spelling errors, I can't get my spellchecker to pop up and I'm too lazy to proofread this.)

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