Monday, May 21, 2007

How We Got Here, Part 497!

Not really. But this story has gone on for a while. Sorry, but it's hard to cover 3 years in one post! Now where did we leave off?

Oh yes. The memo. That did it for me. So we checked into the private school at our church. I was working at the church by this time so I could get a discount on tuition---great. We signed her up. She started just after Valentine's Day in 1st grade. She was super excited about the change. I couldn't believe it. She never looked back as we walked out of the door of her old school.
Well, it turns out switching curriculum more than half way through the year is a big challenge. It soon became apparent to us that she would not be able to keep up or catch up before school was out. They had just covered different things in math than her old school, spent a lot of time on a completely different phonics program, and there were just too many gaps. It was hard on me to realize that my daughter would be repeating 1st grade. I had been a teacher, for heaven's sake!!! Why couldn't I fix this? In the end it just didn't matter how hard I tried, or how much effort she or we put out, it just wasn't going to happen.
Of course, I had a lot of regret. Why did we start her in Kindergarten at all? Etc. Etc. My husband sat her down and told her that Mommy and Daddy didn't care what grades she made, just to try her best. She said, "OK." Then, "You don't?" She relaxed, we relaxed and we had a great spring. I enjoyed private school because they planted a garden! And did art! And went on cool field trips! And had Rodeo day! It was too cool.
I can't leave this out: at her old, public school they never did a craft or art project. Not at Halloween time (OK, they probably just don't want to create controversy.) Not at Thanksgiving time. (OK, surely at Christmas.) Not at Christmas. Not even a stupid coloring page. Nada. THEN, they completely skipped over the 100th day of school. I don't know about where you come from, but around here we have a big, fun day of math activities on the 100th day of school. In Kindergarten (at the same school) they had made shirts and done all kinds of cool things that day. But not 1st grade. No ma'am. By 1st grade they had apparently had all the fun they were going to have in Elementary. There was work to be done, by golly! We can't stop to make an art project not one single time in the year. We can't possibly skip our workbook pages for one day to do something special, yet educational. Meanwhile, I was looking out my office window at the private school kids tracing their shadows on big paper on Groundhog Day. Man, I'm glad we moved her. If nothing else, she re-discovered that school could be fun.

She is now 3 school days away from completing 1st grade (again) at this private school. She is an awesome reader. She does well in math. She writes. She draws. She is very ready for 2nd grade. So, I think we ended up making a good decision. I have been so thankful that she is in private school, away from the state-mandated testing that controls everything in our state. I think she has learned a lot. I know she has enjoyed school. But next year, we are planning to homeschool.

I'll tell you why in another post. I need to know the answer myself so I can tell people when they ask!

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I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)