Homeschooling can be an option for some families. (Photo/Getty Images)

Urban Baby Blog: Gearing up for homeschool adventures

The weather is getting cooler, the school year is starting, and moms around the country are getting ready to send their little ones to preschool for the first time. Except me. Adi isn’t going to preschool this year. She’s not going next year either. We’ll be skipping kindergarten too for that matter. First grade too. If things go as planned the first time I take Adi to school will be when I drop her off at college.

Why? Homeschool, that’s why. Unless something major changes in our family that prevents is from doing so, we won’t be sending Adi to a school. Ever. Ever ever ever. But we won’t be keeping her isolated at home reading pseudo-science biology alternatives about how Jesus had a pet dinosaur either. Next week, we’ll be starting class with a homeschool co-op. It’s a bit of an educational experiment started by a group of moms in my neighborhood, including myself. Five days a week from 9am until 1pm our kids meet in the apartment of a group member, and our kids play and learn together. We’ve even hired a Waldorf teacher to give it a bit of structure. At least one parent every day will stay with the teacher to help out. Right now our group has 6 kids, so basically each parent has to be the helper once per week. I’m one week away from having four half days per week in free time. The other half of the day I’ll be teaching Adi whatever she needs to learn. I’m happy to teach her, but I’ve found that she’s quite good at figuring things out for herself. Adi has never seen a flash card, but she knows her letters, numbers, colors, etc. as well as her flash card friends. She also had a lot less anxiety than her flash card friends. I’m not knocking the over-achieving flash card parenting method, I’m sure those kids will get into amazing kindergarten programs (that’s the goal, right?) but memorizing and learning are two different things.

But what about socialization? I hate when people ask me about that. Socialization is for dogs. Aside from her co-op group, Adi has friends from the neighborhood, friends from soccer, and plenty of opportunities to socialize. She has friends of all different ages too. If putting a kid in a box with a bunch of other kids exactly his age, making him sit still with those kids for hours, and then finally letting him talk to that same small group of kids for about an hour is socialization, then I’m not interested.

But what about standards? In New York, homeschooling is allowed as long as you keep track of your child’s learning and demonstrate that she is keeping up with state standards. Unfortunately, state standards are a joke– a joke that keeps getting worse the more times people try to tell it. One of the main reasons behind the decision to home school Adi is that I don’t have much faith in the public school system. I’m a product of the New York City public school system, and while I came out of it relatively okay, there is no way I’m sending my child into there. The original plan was to send Adi to a private school, but while crunching numbers (private schools are expensive) I realized that I could give Adi the same quality education in a home school format and use the cash I save to travel more with her.  This would, in turn, up the quality of her education even more. Win/win.

I’m so excited for Adi to start school. I’m even more excited that a large chunk of her school is me.

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