Monday, August 2, 2010

T minus 7 days and counting...

Can you believe this is already the last week of summer? Well, *our* last week anyway. I am SO set and ready to go with our curriculum, our lesson plans, our daily to-dos. I don't have any worries about being successful this year; this will be my fifth year teaching these kiddos and I have to laugh sometimes at how nervous I used to be! I was scared to death that we wouldn't stay on track, that I would be an awful teacher and - my biggest fear - that I wouldn't be able to teach them to read. I am still so glad that I had the confidence in myself to persevere, because the teaching part has just been so easy and so natural, and they have all done so well.

Of course the biggest thing you hear people ask about homeschooling (usually from people who would never consider it) is, "What about the socialization aspect?" I always like to joke, "What is it you think kids do all day in public school?" I know it's more complex than that, and up until recently I really felt like we were not only meeting but exceeding any socialization these guys would encounter in a traditional brick-and-mortar school. In the 2008-2009 school year, we were lucky enough to discover our city's homeschool PE program. We would go to our local gym twice a week and my kids would get to play with other kids in a structured, active environment. We really loved our PE teacher and we also got to go to some other city programs like a toddler time for Coral and a monthly science program for homeschooled kids. Then the city's funding disappeared and they cut ALL of the programs for kids. Poof, all gone.

Fortunately our PE group had formed a really close bond, and we continued to meet twice a week at our local parks. As the 2009-2010 school year came to an end, we were down to meeting once a week. Then summer hit, and we were every other week. Now, the group is pretty much gone. One of our families has moved out of state. Two others have decided to go back to work and the kids are off to public school. One moved to the other side of Orlando. There are only four of us moms left. It's just so sad; I see this as a snowball effect of the economy on us all. I'm left at the start of this school year with only one other mom who really is making the effort to stay involved.

My friend and I are headed out this evening to have dinner - woohoo! - and then attend a meeting for a local Christian homeschooling group that supposedly has lots of local activities and field trips organized for its members. My friend is so excited about this new group. I *really* want to be excited, but I just don't know how to feel. We don't practice any religion. My mom was raised Catholic and my dad Southern Baptist; us kids weren't raised anything. Mark went to church when he was a kid but was never active in it as an adult. I've never even been to a church service, and we have never been to one with the kids. I almost signed up for a Christian co-op last year that many of our friends were active in, but all of the co-op paperwork included references from your pastor, and to sign a statement of faith. I know this new group requires you to sign a statement of faith. Mark thinks I'm overthinking this, but I keep feeling like it's wrong to sign a statement when I don't even know what faith is. At the same time, if I don't find something for my kids to do we're going to be missing out on a lot with the homeschool community, and with our close friends especially. Sigh. I don't know what to do. I figure I can at least go to the meeting and see how it feels, and make my decision after that. Wish me luck!

a flashback from our PE days

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