Sprout has had me running almost non-stop since the arrival of her beloved "Rosie" in our driveway. This week is a great example. Monday, we went to visit our friends the E., A., & B. Since B. runs a home daycare, Sprout loves to be there during the day. Not only does she get the chance to play with her friends E. (age 5 1/2) and A. (age 7) but also with the 3-5 other children who might be there on any given day. So Monday, after the daycare kids were picked up by their respective parents, the 5 of us... B. and her girls, Sprout and I all went to dinner at CiCi's pizza because on Monday nights kids eat free. From there, we went to a park with a cool playground where the kids played until dusk.
Tuesday went much the same way. We went to B.'s house to play, then to kid's night at Fazoli's for $0.99 kids meals (and their free craft project) followed by the library where Sprout received her "Library Champion" yard sign, and other summer reader goodies. After the library, we went back to B.'s house where the girls played until dark.
Today we were.... you guessed it, at B.'s house. Today it was all girls so B. painted finger and toe nails while we treated the 4 young girls in the house to Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kaye. (Ok, we forced the girls to watch the movie... it was really more of a treat for us. They thought that it was too slow and too long.) After the primping and the movie, we headed our separate ways. B. had plans with her sister-in-law and E. & A. were looking forward to time with their cousins. Sprout cried for a full 1/2 hour because she couldn't be with her friends.
Tomorrow will be a home day... Maybe, if the weather is really great, we'll go over to the park or I'll take her to the Y or McDonald's to play on the climbing structures in the AC while I knit. It's not like B. and the girls haven't invited our visits, but when I begin to feel like maybe I should show up with suitcases and start paying rent (my problem, not a feeling that I'm getting from them...) it's time for a change of pace. The problem is that B. was working a full-time job for the first part of the summer and Sprout and I missed spending time with them. I'm just really enjoying having my friend back and that's nothing compared to how my daughter feels.
In other news, I had hoped to start Sprout in preschool this fall and simultaneously homeschool her with a commercially available curriculum. It looks like that will probably not happen. We've had some financial upheaval and will probably not be able to invest the extra money in the commercial curriculum. Given that Sprout is reading at a very advanced level for her age, homeschooling has certainly looked like one possible option for ensuring that she gets the best possible education for her needs. It is for that reason that I'm a little disturbed to learn that the Ohio Department of Education is contemplating a review of their homeschooling guidelines (pdf link) that, given the current climate, could seriously complicate any plan that I might have in that direction.
The ODE is currently soliciting feedback from "Stakeholders" about the guidelines and the potential review. My comments are posted below.
My 4 year old daughter is, according to the current state guidelines, 1 year too young to begin school. Unfortunately, that doesn't take into account the fact that she is already reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level and is doing basic mathematics. Homeschooling currently offers the only suitable option that I see for providing her with an education which meets her needs and provides her with the challenge required to keep her engaged.
The research that I have done leads me to believe that my daughter would not be well served by the current model of public education. Students who are not challenged are a disruption to the classroom environment and the atmosphere becomes hostile to learning for all of the students, not just the accelerated student.
The current rules have served Ohio parents and students quite adequately for almost 20 years. While parents reasons for choosing homeschooling as an option for their children are extremely diverse, the guidelines as they stand enable all of us to make the choices we feel are in the greatest good. Changing them now will inevitably throw obstacles in the path of parents trying to ensure that their children get the education they feel is most appropriate to their specific needs and places a great many students with special circumstances into a school system that is already struggling to meet the academic needs of their students.
Please do not disrupt a system which is working well for families for Ohio families who feel that their needs would not, or perhaps could not, be served by the current public school system.
Well, I'm wiped out and ready for sleeping... I've got a bunch of notes in my palm about things that I want to blog, but no energy to type them up. I'm feeling a bit like I can't move forward without posting them so I may just decide to delete the notes and let the post(s) go. There's nothing life shattering... The political stuff goes elsewhere and that's a large part of where my head's at right now.