Thursday, September 19, 2013

Liliana's Schooling

Back in February we got the disappointing news that Liliana's name was not drawn for the lottery school we were hoping to have her attend. We knew chances were slim, as there were more than 300 kindergarteners in the drawing pool, and less than 40 open slots. So a few days later when kindergarten registration began at our neighborhood school,I headed over to fill out the paperwork. Our consolation was that the school was only 2 streets away and that several kids from our church congregation would also be in her class. Well, it turns out that our school board redrew the boundaries for the schools in our area this summer, and although we are in the walking zone for our neighborhood school, we are on the wrong side of the street and Liliana was to be bussed to another school some miles from our house. I went to tour the other school, which was nice, but was nearly 15 minutes from my house by car.I discovered that Liliana was the farthest out and would be first pickup and last drop, meaning an over 30 minute bus ride, which I felt unacceptable for a five year old in half-day kindergarten. Transporting Liliana back and forth myself didn't seem like a great option, as I would have to load the boys up twice a day to do that, and we'd spend nearly an hour cumulatively driving back and forth. Also, I had sat in on the kindergarten class and was surprised to see they were still discussing letter sounds, colors, and shapes, and at this time it was mid-March. I asked both the teacher and the principal what supplementation they had to offer for kids who already know how to read, and they told me they let reading-ready kids use a reading program on the computer. That sealed the deal for me to find another option. I felt it was not worth the transportation debacle just to have Liliana placed in front of a computer screen. Luckily our school district has an "umbrella school" with a program that allows parents to check out curriculum and materials for home learning, as well as offers classes in all subject areas that kids can attend, if desired. Parents can do as much home schooling or as much in-school learning as wanted. Liliana is two weeks into the program I created for her and we are loving it. I selected two classes for Liliana to take on campus (sewing and 1st/2nd grade writing) and am teaching all other subjects at home - supplementing her p.e. with a ballet /tap class. When I went to check out the curriculum, we realized that the kindergarten math curriculum was too easy, so Lilian jumped straight into a first grade math program. We only have to trek the 20 minutes in to the school once a week, and the boys love the preschool room and indoor and outdoor play grounds that they get to enjoy while Liliana is in class. We'll continue to press forward and see if this is the right course for us, but so far, it is looking very promising.

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