Friday, February 15, 2008

The Decisions We Make

Time for Haiku Friday!

We all want the best
When it comes to our children
But how do we know?

The decisions we make for our children can affect them for the rest of their lives. At times, this can feel like too much pressure, and you may doubt yourself and second guess. In the end I think the very fact that we want what is best for our children counts for something. Counts for a lot, actually. We're all going to make mistakes, and sometimes there is no right and wrong, sometimes there's just too much grey.

Right now I'm having an inner battle with myself over my daughter's education. Here's a little background, and please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to brag.

Maya has always been extremely bright. She knew her alphabet and was speaking in complete sentances at around 18 months old, has been reading fluently since before kindergarten, soaks up information like a sponge. She has a photographic memory. She can read a whole chapter out of a book and then recite it back to you, word for word.

I never "pushed" her, but she always asked questions and just loved learning, so of course I went with it. Last year in Kindergarten, her teacher could not get over how bright she was. She got perfect scores on standardized tests, and was going to be in that schools gifted program starting in first grade. We moved to an area that has a much better school district, one of the best in our state. After she started first grade I asked to have her tested for this schools gifted program and she didn't make it. Her teacher was shocked, and so was I. I fought with the school over so many things already... I fought so that she would be allowed to check out chapter books from the library, instead of the easy readers they're suppose to get in first grade, for example.

Now I am running into a major issue... she is bored and losing interest in school altogether. I am going to speak with everyone I can, her guidance counselor, the head of the gifted program, etc. I've been in close with her teacher for some time now already.

I'm just so afraid... I would love for her to go to a private school, but I can't afford it. I feel like... she is being held back. Her potential stretches so much farther beyond what they will let her do in school, school is in essence holding her back. I work with her at home on things she wants to learn that they don't teach her in school this young, like Spanish.

I have toyed with the idea of homeschooling. I love the concept and I have so much respect for those brave parents who do homeschool. It scares me to death, though. I don't trust myself to be able to give her what she needs, I'm afraid of her missing out on the social aspect of school, I'm afraid she will miss her friends and she will feel she's missing out on "normal" life, I don't know. I don't really know any homeschoolers personally, so maybe that's why I'm afraid.

I have been looking into Agora Cyber Charter School and I have to admit, I love the sound of this. But still, the fear is there. It's a huge decision. I do work off and on as needed, and due to financial circumstances will most likely have to work a lot more, so then how would I go about doing this? There's so many issues, so many questions.

For now, I will continue to fight for the education she deserves, do my best to work with her at home, and see what happens. If the situation escalates I will have some major thinking to do, and one of the hardest decisions of my daughter's life to make.


Juliana RW said...

Hi Mandy,

I have tag for you, Pass it to the Front tag

It's up to you if you do it or not. have a nice weekend

Wonders said...

I totally understand, both my girls complain that school is boring...and I long for them to learn in a better way, but I live in an area where that's just not available...For some reason I'm OK with it because I know school just gets harder and harder and that what they learn in school is a small percentage of what they really need to know. You may find homeschooling the perfect solution, there are so many great groups out there and you could connect with them...homeschool really cuts through the boredom by allowing your child to really sink their teeth into what they learn...sounds like it may be a possibility for you!

janet said...

oh i feel for you on this one.

i actually pushed the drama king into kindergarten ahead, and lived to regret it (emotionally). on the other hand, roo is doing exceptionally well in regular classes and i've been encouraged to push HER ahead. answer: no. i prefer success at the lower level to the struggles at the higher.

you just have to do what your gut tells you to do. and hope for the best.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I think you gave a strong argument for why you need to investigate options.

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

Have you thought about one of the homeschool "schools" like Seton? They are taught by you but all of the work is sent to the school. If we can't afford parochial school, this will be the avenue we take.

Joyce said...

Hi, Mandy,
This is my first time checking out your blog, via your Friday Haiku link. Yesterday I did a Thursday 13 about homeschooling:

BUT . . . One reason home school worked for us is that we have a big, active family. The children made up their own role-playing games together, for example, which wouldn't happen in a one-student home school. There are home school co-ops, however. Maybe something like that would work for you?

We had the exact same thoughts that you are having. How can a parent best facilitate his/her child(ren)'s learning?

I wish you well. It's a BIG decision.

Kathryn said...

Charter schools are supposed to be amazing. I don't know much about them. My oldest goes to a parochial school and it is fabulous!

Susan said...

I totally hear you on this one. We visit the homeschooling topic fairly regularly because I, too, LOVE the concept, but, as you said, I don't trust myself to be the sole provider of my children's educational needs.

Only you can know what is truly best for your child. I know it is difficult (and frustrating) to fight the system, but Maya has a terrific advocate in you, and it sounds like you are on the right path to figuring out how she will best succeed.

Susan said...

I totally hear you on this one. We visit the homeschooling topic fairly regularly because I, too, LOVE the concept, but, as you said, I don't trust myself to be the sole provider of my children's educational needs.

Only you can know what is truly best for your child. I know it is difficult (and frustrating) to fight the system, but Maya has a terrific advocate in you, and it sounds like you are on the right path to figuring out how she will best succeed.

Scylla said...

That is a toughy! I couldn't home school because I lack the requisite patience, but I am in Jersey, and here there are a lot of homeschoolers.

I know one group who manage by sharing the burden/responsibility/fun through a coop. The parents coop their kids together to provide a challenging homeschool environment that is social.

This allows parents with strong suits in differing subjects to rely on each other for the best education for their kids, and allows the kids to go to school with other kids, even though they are home schooled.

It seems to be very successful. I would suggest trying to see if such a coop exists in your area.

You are already doing so much for her just by fighting to see her educational needs are met.

MamaNeena said...

I finally read your comment. You are welcome to link me. Can I link you too?

Kelly said...

Trust your instincts. I'm a teacher and I can say that public education does not work for every child.

angel said...

oh what a blessing to have so smart a kidlet! i am lucky enough to pay next to nothing in rent for my apartment so i can afford a private school for my damien- but i couldn't always afford it even though i wanted to.
hang in there with the school. there must be something they can do for her!

chelebel13 said...

hi mandy,
you should talk to my mom. she teaches 1st grade at a parochial school, and would probably have some insight she could share with you. give me a call sometime <3

secret agent mama said...

We home school. We can chat, but today I'm just not right in the head (sickies, did I say that here already?).

suzie said...

i'll be watching this discussion closely- i'm not quite there but i know i'll be deciding soon. and oh yeah, hi again!

Cheryl :) said...

What school district did you move to? We are in the Norwin District. Alot of people we know are very please with the cyber-school. I don't know anything about Agora itself. I was not disaplined enough to even think about homeschooling. Now he is in fifth grade and I wish I could go back and have a do over on the schooling thing. Cyberschooling was not an option when he started. Having two teachers in the family, it would have been a battle to start with. My brother (who is a 5th grade teacher and has been for 35 years) says he can educate a child better than any home/cyber school can. Well, that's him. The teacher my son had in 4th grade destroyed any love for school he had, any tolerance he had. The entire year was a battle. Thankfully he's doing a little better in 5th grade this year. We put him in preschool because of his ONLY child status --now when I look back I wish I would have waited. Good luck on your decision making. She may be smart but don't push advanced unless she is truly interested.

Anonymous said...

I am both a mother and a teacher, please take this in the spirit that it is intended...many people misunderstand the difference between gifted and bright..gifted is an exception...about 2% of the population is actually gifted, in 13 years of teaching an academic elective i have had maybe 3 students who were truly intellectually gifted...but lots of bright kids. Some people just arrive at milestones more quickly than others, but they are still at a normal place. A gifted mind is not just a precocious is expansive and profound. All students complain that school is boring, because it is not entertaining, sometimes learning is tedious, but that does not mean it is not worthwhile, and all teachers are not created equally..there sre great ones, and good ones and poor ones. If your child's teacher is incompetent then definately move your daughter. If you are dissatisfied with the school system..the truth is , they really don't care...they will tell you they do, but they don't ...honestly they have way bigger problems than a bright little girl who needs more challenge. You are her mother, you care about her way more than anyone, you do what you think is best, but in the eyes of her teachers and the system at large , you are really not unique, and this is your problem, not theirs.x