Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A homeschool/public school split?

Public school has its many woes, but I always assumed that my girls would be fine. They'd learn what they needed (academically and socially) to become intelligent, participatory members of society. But having been in five different school districts, I am starting to doubt that my girls are getting what I believe they need in a comprehensive and well-rounded education.

Only one out of those five districts have/had spelling programs. Sure, there are still district standards for words kids need to know how to spell, but those words are so basic it's pathetic. My friend, Kelly, just sent me her son's 6th grade spelling words from last week. Here are a few...

a lot any friend beautiful because school quiet

Tell me, are you as shocked as I am? Both my girls knew these words in first grade! So what do I do to compensate? I give my girls spelling tests at home with words that I deem appropriate. I supplement their lacking education.

I don't think either one of my girls is learning as much as they should be. There's just not time in the school day. Homework for both of them is minimal, at best. I seem to hear an awful lot about movies watched at school. And there are minimum days all the time! Field trips have been severely minimized because of budget cuts. The only art program is the parent run, once monthly "Art Discovery". (I have to say, though, that the music program in this district is phenomenal.)

As with the spelling I do with them each week, I would love to supplement their learning even more. But, honestly, there is just no time. Hayley is gone from 7:15 to 2:45. Emma is gone from 8:50 to 4:00. By the time they snack, do what homework they have and practice instruments, they're ready to relax for a little bit! I truly believe kids shouldn't be overscheduled because they need time to be kids! Dinner and bedtime come before we know it and another day is gone.

I would love to homeschool my girls. They would learn so much more; I could tailor their learning to what I, as an active member of society, deem important. I could teach them at their levels -- not allow them to be held back by others who are behind academically.

But the social aspect of school is almost as important as the academic, so I have trouble whole-heartedly embracing homeschool.

So here's what I propose... The district should offer a homeschool/public school split. Kids could attend two or three classes at public school -- math, science and history, for example. Then parents could teach the kids the other mandatory subjects, plus electives.

Kids would then have the advantages of public school, but still have an academic standard more tailored to their individual needs. They'd get the best of both worlds. The district still gets paid for their attendance. (Plus, homeschooled students generally score better on standardized tests then their public school counterparts.) Parents would then be satisfied that they are doing everything possible to prepare their children for a successful adulthood.

What do you think? Would this work? Obviously, it's not a choice everyone would want to make. Many parents work outside the home and don't have the time. Still others don't have the desire or the resources. That's why it would be a choice! What would you choose?

1 comment:

Mandajuice said...

I've definitely heard of hybrid homeschooling, where the students go to public for at least one full day each week and then stay home with mom the rest of the week. I would love to home school my kids, but going back to work is more important for me. And I dunno, I think kids learn A LOT more than academics at school, so I'm not sure I'd be willing to give that up permanently, even if I didn't want to work. The hybrid idea would be ideal, though!