For our first attempt we felt it best to allow Ellery to continue to spend some time at school, but not the entire day. In the words of Reed Benson:
"Once a child starts school the home becomes school centered not family centered. The hour before school getting ready, the six hours of school, the hour or two unwinding afterwards, and the hour or more of homework later in the evening leave little time for parents and children to communicate and involve themselves jointly in activities not related to school."
While you can still spend worthwhile time with your children in those few precious hours, in this day and age, I need and want more time than what the public school system allows me with my children. While I do not feel it is crucial for Ellerys social development (that is best modeled and developed with positive role models in the home), she does enjoy being there for a couple hours each day.
It is my understanding that public schools are required to accommodate parents in their homeschooling pursuits. I don't think they are allowed to tell you "No". But, they can make it very difficult. I know others who have met with quite a bit of resistance from their principal. This has not been the case at our school.
I am meeting with her principal to discuss further legalities this week. I know when you withdraw totally, parents must fill out a waiver from the district and submit it to the state. It is unclear to me still exactly how she enrolled. I am not certain if they are counting her full time? I will let you know on that point when it is clarified this week.
These are our "dinosaur eggs" from the first week of school. We put little plastic dinosaurs in balloons, made some paper mach e glue (1 part water 2 parts flour) and covered the balloons. After they dried we sponge and "leaf" painted them.
We then watched them until we were ready for them to "hatch" the next week. Oh what cute baby dinosaurs!
Communication is Key
I approached the principal around January of last year to meet him and present my ideas and intentions concerning homeschooling. Using non-threatening language I tried to help him understand it was a personal decision for our family, not a negative reflection on the school. He asked that we keep the communication very open. I asked that Ellery be assigned to an understanding teacher, with whom it would be easy to coordinate with.
Immediately in the Spring, when we were notified of Ellery's teacher for this fall, I called her teacher. I explained to her my intentions. She has been extremely supportive. In fact, she shared with me how ideal she felt the situation was. She said educators can only dream of spending so much one-on-one time with each child and incorporating the type of enrichment I am providing.
The positive progression thus far, I think can be attributed to my diligence in keeping all interested parties informed of our schedules and intentions.
As we learned about tool making we "carved" these arrowheads to make simple spears.
As the potatoes dried over the course of a few days they got black and tough. Perfect spear heads! Do you think they have time to do this with 28 children?
How we work our Schedule
We homeschool from 8:00 am until 11:30. On Mondays, Ellery packs a lunch and eats lunch with her class and plays at lunch recess. These days she is at school from 11:10 until 1:15 (early out day). The remainder of the week she goes to school a few minutes before lunch recess ends at 11:50. Her day ends at 2:15.
I choose to keep Ellery for our schooling in the mornings. We all seem to be at our best before 1 pm :) Most of their core classes occur in the morning at her elementary school. Ellery enjoys choir, library, math and some spelling and writing and recess.
Fiercely displaying their "spears" these girls made the chickens flee for refuge under the deck!
I have no intention of changing the format, as of yet. I think the partial-day homeschooling will be most complicated during elementary school. This is a product of having a single teacher and certain activities may carry over from morning to lunch. So far no problems. And, as we live within eye-sight of the school we have clear advantages. Access to the school is simple. No driving or waking up babies from naps! During Junior High and High School it should be very simple, as they will be able to just choose 2 or 3 classes to attend.