Friday, November 12, 2010

School fret

Two months into school, K is lukewarm at best. Somedays, it's not too hard to get her out the door, others, there's a lot of crying and attempts to claim she's sick. I know part of it is that she's not a morning person, but it also happens on mornings when she's been up a while. She's usually happy when I pick her up, but she's going home, so of course she's happy.

Socially, she seems to be doing fine. She has complaints about a boy who sits next to her, but she has a best friend and a boyfriend, and I've seen several other kids hug her goodbye. Sometimes, when she doesn't want to go to school, I can get her on board by reminding her that she'll be able to go play with her friends. Other days, it doesn't help.

Part of the problem, I think, is that she's an introvert, and being around that many people for so long is just plain tiring and stressful for her. I know that she's going to have to learn how to cope with being an introvert in a crowded world, but surely there are better places she can learn than in a class of 30 kids in an urban school. She's also very shy about showing what she knows until she's absolutely sure she knows the answer. She often would rather say she doesn't know something at all than make a guess on something that she knows the answer to, but not confidently. This doesn't mix well with school. But I also got another big clue tonight when she said that she doesn't like school because she gets punished for not paying attention in class. To two parents who spent our primary school careers bored out of minds because class always moved to slowly, that's a big red flag.

So what to do? We're going to an open house for a local Friends school next week, but I have big doubts about our ability to afford it, and doubts about whether it's really the best decision to spend our limited money that way now instead of saving it for college and retirement. That leaves homeschooling, which I'm actually starting to warm up to a bit. Ironically, as much as I dislike homework, it's convincing me that done in the morning when everyone isn't tired and ready to go to bed, doing school work with her could be a lot of fun. There are online charter schools available here, so we wouldn't have to have the responsibility of planning a curriculum, but we could still go at our own speed.

The drawbacks, of course, is that K would be home all day. It feels like missing the point to say that I feel like I could homeschool as long as I had someplace to send her every day, but that about covers it. Even if I tried a lot harder than I have in the past, doing the things that would get her well socialized are profoundly uncomfortable for me, and I've more or less counted on having places to send her where she could get her socialization and I could get a break. Would it be totally weird to send her to an afterschool program?

This is the short short version of everything I've been thinking about the school situation lately. Sometimes I think we really need to find a new situation for her, other times I think I'm overreacting and probably projecting a bit too much and it would be bad to take her away from her friends. Sometimes I think it would be a lot of fun to have her at home, other times I think it would drive me around the bend, especially when I factor in trying to do schoolwork with an active toddler "helping." It all adds up to a big ball of inconclusiveness.

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