I mentioned school projects in a previous blog. I thought I’d share.
I’m a parent who loves to be involved with her children’s lives. It’s why I spent 15 years as a stay at home mom; just as many homeschooling. I’m not putting down mom’s who choose or have to work full-time as parents. I am currently a full-time, working mom. It’s just that I was blessed enough to be able to stay home and have those moments with my children that only come once in a life time.
I witnessed their first smiles, steps, etc. When Daddy worked split shifts, we were able to spend quality time with him in the mornings and school to our heart’s content in the afternoons. When his days off fell on Sundays and Mondays, ours did, too! We were able to grab our books and take long trips with the grandparents while schooling on the road. There were days when our school uniforms were our pajamas and cuddling on the couch or laying around the living room floor was our school room. We spent holidays baking together, making crafts and gifts for others, and spending time with certain, older generation friends.
I remember being nervous the first time my oldest went to *real school.* Had I done it right? Was I going to find out he’d missed out or been harmed by our choosing to homeschool? How were things going to change? And then, I was greatly relieved when he not only succeeded at school, but managed to graduate with high honors in three years, instead of four. He was comfortable coming home and asking me to help with his homework and still wanted help with projects he had to do in school. He still wanted me involved with his education. And so, I gained the confidence to continue.
We schooled through good times and bad times; when some were healthy and some not so much. And it worked; and we are blessed.
This year, big changes happened in our family. Mom went to work full-time. I am blessed to work at a local charter school. I get to work with one of my dearest friends, and my two youngest get to attend an awesome school! One where relationships are important and it doesn’t matter what age you are. One where you don’t get bullied and people don’t care what social group you are from. One where you get to know your teacher year after year, and not just for one hour a day with 40 other kids in the room. One where, if you need help, you can ask. And one where the parent has to be involved.
This week that was hard for me; I admit it. But I do enjoy it. I love helping the Drama Queen with a project on space and listening to her practice her presentation so that she can get it right in class. I love that Daddy can go in and help her present a dry ice experiment and that making peach cobbler and sharing it with her classmates still allows her to have her parents involved in what she is doing. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all easy. How many 5th graders do you know that can research, write an outline, make note cards, know how to make a bibliography, a power point, and write a research paper, and then, present it in front of her classmates; on a regular basis.
I love that the Smart One, who recently transferred to the school, actually looks forward to going to school again! Although the projects, and presentations, haven’t been easy for him, he’s hanging in there and getting the hang of it. He’s becoming more actively involved instead of filling out worksheet after worksheet and getting straight A’s.
Actively involved in their education; working as partners with their advisors. That’s what I love about my job. My office is right outside of the library, so I have the honor of listening in to many presentations. It’s so neat to see the visuals and hear the students share what they’ve learned as they’ve worked on their projects. It’s so neat to see them bring in visitor after visitor to come in as guests and help them with their presentations through interviews, etc. And wonderful to see the parents come in to support their children as they present.
My three oldest have gone to traditional high school. I understand that. Bboo will continue on next year so she can continue to be part of the dance team. I understand that, too. While I’d love to have her join us, she needs to know that she gets to have a choice where she receives her education. I still help her with her homework. I’ll admit it, I get frustrated with the *busy work* that she sometimes receives and am frustrated with the large classrooms and lack of interest in her personally.
I’m not saying that traditional schooling is wrong. I personally know some amazing teacher’s who are asked to somehow teach these numerous students in a small amount of time under very strict guidelines with very little pay. And these budget cuts aren’t helping. Let’s cut the budget, cut the programs and just give the already crowded classrooms even more students. I honestly don’t know how traditional teachers do it. Personally, it seems that the school systems sets the teachers and students up for failure from the beginning.
And that is where charter schools come in. It gives parents and students an opportunity to choose how they want to be educated. We still deal with budget cuts and low salaries, don’t get me wrong. But we work hard to make it a place where administration, advisors, parents, and yes…students, all work together to create leaders for the future.