Sigh of relief.

I got a ton of hits on my homeschool/public school post and I thank everyone for all the feedback. I really appreciate the different viewpoints.

BigBoy had his official registration day and Open House. I met the principal (and guess what? He was totally every one's pal!) They had a cool lizard in the office (BB was in love instantly.) Open Mind....Open Mind...Open Mind.

In a nutshell the school has 5 K classes, around 16 kids per class, max would be 20 (they aren't sure what enrollment will be due to the economy). Day starts at 8:30 until...oops, forgot to ask. Lunch is around 12:30, recess afterward. check. bring on the classrooms!

First was Rm. 1. I was pleasantly surprised. Lots of cool nooks, group table stations, circle time rug, dress up area, LOTS of wooden blocks and legos and a TON of artwork. okay, good. I started talking with Teacher 1 and turns out her son goes to the preschool that the Babe is going to next year. She said this school was very similar to the format of that preschool: play-based (seriously??), fluid, lots of work stations, with a daily "special": p.e., art, music, scheduled library visits (and they could also go other times if they feel the need) math & literacy is taught though a variety of ways including puzzles, games, etc. They are NOT sitting at a desk most of the day doing worksheets. She also mentioned they rely on parent volunteers and loved that I wanted to be involved. Throughout this conversation BB and The Babe had said excuse me and asked to play with some of the toys, thank yous were said and they were totally getting along. Thank God for BB's nap earlier in the day!

I explained to her I was really concerned about the curriculum and was relieved at what she was telling me. She also said this school was actually not the norm in the district. They are a firm believer in exploration in learning. At this point I became the Lame Mom at Open House. I look over at BigDaddy and he gave me The Look...see? it will all be okay! I became overwhelmed. The manners. the playing nicely with each other. hearing what I wanted to hear from who seemed to be a really cool teacher. the relief. I started to cry. yah, really. How lame am I?? I already cried to my son's might-not-be-teacher at Open House at his future school.

I'm a crier. I get upset, I cry. I get really frustrated, I cry. I'm happy, I cry. You get it. It's my pressure valve.

Now I feel like a fool, but she didn't make me feel like a dork. She has a 3 y.o. and said, I can't laugh at you because I know I'll be worse in a year 1/2- and I'm a teacher! She grabbed some tissue for me and I had to do that uncomfortable I-know-I'm-being-totally-lame-right-now-laugh. But she got it. She understood. I also said he's not allowed to be in her class now that I've cried. Did I mention I also get red when I get emotional. Yes, I've got a GREAT look going on now. So much for my semi-cool SAHM look. The make-up and earrings barely made up for the blotchiness.

Teachers 2-5 were all very nice, I didn't speak to them as much as it was getting more crowded and Teacher 1 answered most of my questions and I still looked a bit tomatoey. All of them seemed to have the same type of day. All the kids break for lunch and recess at the same time. All the rooms were pretty similar: big, bright and looked fun. Not many tables, but tons of "work areas" We also got sent home with a personality profile for our kids (input form) to help place students with teachers. I have no idea if other schools do this or not since this is my first kid and my first time registering for K.

  • Describe your child's primary strengths as a learner.
  • Describe your child's primary weaknesses/areas of need or any concerns you have.
  • Describe what you would consider to be your child's ideal kind of classroom environment (Do NOT request a teacher by name)

In trying to mix abilities in the room they also wanted to know:
  • How many letters your child can identify All Upper and lower- to few letters
  • From my perspective, my child is: well behaved and follows directions most of the time, pretty well behaved and follows directions some of the time, or I have concerns about my child's ability to follow directions and behave in a group.
  • Note any preschool and/or daycare attendance.

The bonus for the night was we met a family who lives, get this, just down the street. We have seen them a ton, but apparently they have a girl BB's age and a boy The Babe's age (but a year behind her in school due to the cut-off) and a newborn. And they live live two seconds from us kinda near TBW's house and on the way to BigDaddy's office. Score! And they seem really cool. yeah us!! She also heard that this school was particularly "great" because the principal was fantastic.

So we are moving forward with public school...for now. Part of me is sad I won't be homeschooling because I think it would be a really amazing experience. We have a great group of homeschoolers in the area and lots of things to do. But a bigger part of me is totally relieved. A huge weight is lifted and I feel really good about our decision. It's not set in stone, but this is our direction for now. I think Homeschooling will always be on the back burner for me. My plan B, my safety blanket in my back pocket. Maybe someday I will totally let go of my JIC-ness.


Steve Hancock said...

So glad to hear it went so well. The one thing i agreed on most was the comment about the Principal being so good which made the rest of the school so good. I think that is so key. I have spent a bunch of time with the Principal at Austins school through the site council stuff and volunteering for other stuff and she is amazing. The kids absolutely love her. It is easy to see her passing "her ways" down to the teachers. His last school I went rounds with the principal which proved why I went rounds with the teacher.

Now stop your crying..at least until his first day when you drop him off at school. :)

Nikki said...

I wanted to hug you as I read about you crying to the teacher. Can totally picture it. And I have been there too....many times! And seriously...you just wait til that first day of school. I cried like a baby as the other kids on the bus watched me waving goodbye. Then I followed the bus to school just to make sure they got off OK. And keep in mind..I had homeschooled for the first few grades so this wasn't for a K. Then when I loved our public schools and started them all in on it..I did the same thing with all the kids. I think I have followed every first bus trip and cried the whole way. Then watched to make sure they got into the class. Sometimes I even do it for the second day....then of course cry at assemblies when they are just too cute to control myself. And last week I found myself holding back tears at an open house for future Middle School parents. Emily wasn't even with me..and she doesn't even start 7th grade there til the fall...and tears were alread wanting to flow. I can't imagine what I will be like on her first day there..or 8th grade graduation..or HS...seriously you get the picture. I am an emotional train wreck when it comes to my little kids growing up on me. So happy about their progress but also so emotional. And back to the school thing. I think you are set. Surely you will have issues. I mean every parent has moments with knowing their kids aren't getting the full attention or help they could with one on one at home. But they are getting the ability to adapt and experiences of life at public school. And since you know you will stay on top of things and be your childs advocate- he will be fine. Mainly also because it sounds like the teachers are good ones and that means everything. And the principal is huge in terms of effect on the atmosphere there. WE are in love with our school principle and our school district. It really is fantastic and has made our experience here amazing. Let me know how things go but I really think you will be happy with your choice!

Lisa Spector said...

nikki, you crack me up!

It really wasn't the whole "oh, my baby is going to Kindergarten" sob. Though I'm not going to say it won't happen one Day 1. It was more "Oh, Thank God, this is a good program and I can stop freaking out about my child's education" sob. I've been so anxious about the whole thing that it finally all came out. The stress was gone all at once.


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