By now, I think most of you are aware that one of our children is home schooled. The other one technically is out-of-home schooled, a.k.a. goes to public school. In the end this makes both of our kids ‘schooled’. However, the schooling each receives is not the same.
The difference? The goal of each.
This fact has become more obvious over the past year, and is something I have begun to feel guilty about.
Public schools have various goals, some official, others not. In the end, their focus on academic measurements shows they are more worried about imparting facts and “knowledge” upon students. Yes, they would also like them to become good people (hence anti-bullying campaigns, food drives, etc.), but the diploma at the end has everything to do with whether you could recite back what they told you.
Our home school focuses not only on the academics, but also the person. That last part (the person) is something I would argue is even more important than the academics.
How we work on that aspect of the kids’ education takes on different looks at different times and ages. Some of it is so subtle, even I did not pick up on it at first.
Moving has afforded us a welcome change, a small thing that most would have brushed off, but which I was so happy about – George rides the bus to and from school.
This means I no longer have to get George ready for school and:
- gather up all I need to drive to school
- warm up the car
- wake up Jack
- try to get him dressed, or carried to the car half awake in pajamas, kicking the whole way while he is abruptly shocked out of Dream Land (he is one of those slow to wake sort of kids lately)
- drive to a building with lots of kids around, reminding Jack of all he is missing
- a quick “Goodbye” while I try to get my social, talkative ADD kid into a building on time, while sitting in my car (his theory – Time? What is time? Life is too short to be constrained by something as pointless as a clock!)
- back to the house
- then both Jack and I inside, where we both are so out of sorts it takes us another 30 minutes to transition back to being at the house and ready to move on with out morning.
Then we repeat it all for the afternoon.
We only lived a mile from school. So it was not even the transportation time that was the issue; it was the disruption of routines, the emotional reminders.
We could have paid $50 a month and cost George 2 hours of his time each day to ride the bus. The mile to our house. With a bus driver I did not impart full confidence in being able to keep the older kids from harassing the smaller ones.
It did not take much to see that the cost to George (40 hours of his time each month and potentially bullying) was greater than the discomfort to me.
- Jack gets to sleep till he wakes up naturally – 6:30 or 8:10, it does not matter, and he can take 2 minutes or 20 to wake up
- George rides at most 20 minutes on his bus each way
- The bus ride is just enough to help George begin his mental transition from school to home
- For the most part, our routines at home are not disrupted by the brief minutes needed to collect George from the bus stop
- I am very confident in the bus driver, as all the kids are sitting two to a seat, fairly in order, and disembarking in a very regulated state every day
- Jack no longer has be presented daily with a reminder of what he could be missing out on
There are days when we still have to pick George up or drop him off, but those days are very limited.
Then came the issue of what to do once George was at home.
to be continued…