This is the year our daughter officially starts Kindergarten! We've given our schooling options lots of thought: public, private, and homeschool - even as recently as last week! None of the choices seem perfect for us, but we've decided on the best choice for us this year. In a couple weeks, Anna will be starting Kindergarten at our local public school. She's extremely social and very excited about going to school.

We feel like this decision will work well for us, but as parents, we do have some concerns. We recently had (another) school levy fail for our district, resulting in additional cuts of teachers, staff, and services. One big component of these cuts at the elementary level is that there will be no art, music, or gym classes by the "specials" teachers. The classroom teacher is responsible for teaching these subjects in addition to reading, math, science, social studies, etc.

My husband and I want to be as involved as possible in Anna's education, so I will be looking for opportunities to volunteer in her classroom and for special events at her school. In addition, after reading some information at Simple Mom and other places about "afterschooling", we are in the process of putting together some plans to supplement and enrich the education she will be receiving. We don't want her to have hours of school at home after her school day ends, but we want to be purposeful about some of the activities and books that we will be doing after school. To be honest, I love teaching and I especially love teaching my daughter, so I know I want to continue in some capacity!

Here are a few of our thoughts so far:

Bible/Character: This is an important area for us that will not be a part of her public school education. We're hoping to try:
Reading/Math: When I taught Kindergarten and First Grade, these two subjects got the most daily time, so we are planning mostly to supplement and enrich in these areas. We'll read whatever books she brings home and continue to get lots of books from the library, too. For math, we'll work on whatever math homework they have and do extra practice as needed. We have Singapore Math A and B for Kindergarten from last year that has lots of work remaining, so we can use that, too.

We also really enjoy reading chapter books aloud, and her favorites right now have been the American Girl books. We've read through Kit, Caroline, and McKenna and are reading Samantha right now. I thought we could do some fun activities (crafts, recipes, etc.) that connect to the different time periods in the books.

Science/Social Studies: These are some of my favorite subjects for fun thematic studies! We're thinking of using Magic School Bus DVDs and books to be the foundation for exploring various science themes. We're going to start out with caterpillars, butterflies, and insects and are hoping to visit a local butterfly tagging event when they begin to migrate to Mexico. We can add in some some field trips like to the aquarium, apple picking, concerts, etc.

Art/Music: We're thinking of trying to study great artists and composers for art and music. We might visit the art museum or go to local concerts, too. Piano lessons are also an option. We tried once before and she wasn't ready and we're not sure if she will let my husband teach her or not. He's been playing for many years and is more than qualified...

Dance/Sports: We're gearing up for year 4(!) of dance. Ballet and tumble are the weekly classes and this year we're trying the performance team at our studio. This is not a competitive dance group, so no expensive costumes, entry fees, or travel. The group will learn various dance routines to comprise a show and then perform at local festivals, nursing homes, etc. We're also going to do recreational soccer again.

I know this is a lot, but we won't do everything all at once. We might focus on a composer for awhile, then switch to a science topic and so on. We plan to continue reading aloud and doing devotions daily. I bought a fun journal from Dollar Tree that allows her to draw and write, so we might use that to record various things from our learning.

I know this is a long post and not what I typically write about, but it has been a huge part of our decision-making and thought process this summer, so I wanted to share for myself as well as anyone that might be interested!

What kind of school do your kids attend? Do you consider your schooling options each year, or do you plan to stick to one option throughout your child(ren)'s school career? If your kids are not school-age yet, have you given any thought to school options for them?

I'm linking up!


still being [molly]


Sewing Mom said…
Sounds like you've been very committed to this process...and looks like you have some nice choices lined up for your daughter.

We have gone private school in the past and homeschooled for the first time last year. We are continuing homeschool again this year, but it is a choice that we weighed again this year.

I found that my children were far less stressed out homeschooling, while learning the same things. We met with groups of children for activities, so they were not isolated at all socially. In fact, we had more field trips as homeschoolers than they ever had in private school. There was obviously a lot of work for me, but I felt it was worth it. One thing I wanted to get away from was the stress of being in school working all day and then coming home with hours of homework. Some work is just busy work and I felt that the stress it created in our household was unnecessary. We can focus on weaknesses at home and move on when we have mastered a subject. There are definitely pros/cons with every choice, but my children said they didn't want to go back, so that was a big pro! =)

Have a great year!
Lindsay said…
My kids go to public school, although it does have its downsides. I am not impressed with the private school options around here. I also know that am not disciplined enough myself to homeschool, but I could do it if I felt that is what they needed. Some of my kids need the social interaction and are too bored here at home (my soon-to-be-Kindergartener especially!) One of them needs to be held accountable to someone besides me for his schoolwork and school sports helped build character immensely last year. So, it is something that I do think about, but at this point we are sticking to public school. That is too bad about your specials. Our school still offers them, but many in the area do not.