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Education as a Priority

September 4th, 2010 at 01:53 pm

I've submitted the application to put my son in an online virtual academy (charter school). It's extremely daunting for me... doing so means "Yes, this means you cannot find a job in public accounting for at least one year."

But on the other hand, I feel strongly compelled to do this for my kids.

With my son, the 1st grader, there are no other opportunities for him till he gets to 2nd grade. He's already testing at mid-year but because other kids don't have the foundation he has, he has to be held back till they catch up.

I'm sorry - I did not spend $8000 over two years to send him to preschool to make sure he could read so he could wait for the neighbor's kid down the street to recognize the words "a" and "at".

The state has a virtual academy that uses a K12 curriculum that I'm familiar with. When we lived in Virginia, there was a Navy SEAL's wife who lived down the street and used that program for her girls. The oldest was homeschooled for a little bit and was able to skip a grade & then be placed in the city's "gifted" middle school after that. All of her kids are very smart so I know the curriculum is good.

It's always just been making that leap to homeschool/virtual academy that has held me back. But I showed the kids' the state rankings in education... How Virginia was a +8.31 and Nevada is a -11. I've been teaching them integers and showed them that the difference is almost 20 pts.

My sister also recently graduated from the school system so I asked her what her thoughts were. And she told me if our mom could have afforded private school, she would have wanted that because she wanted to be challenged but instead got passed along... and because of that she feels like she got cheated out of an education.

She got straight A's in high school and yet SOMEHOW still had to take remedial English when she got to college.

Me, I went to so many different schools between Hawaii, Nevada, and Michigan that I remained flexible wherever I went. But I DO remember writing an article during my senior year in journalism about how I was appalled that Hawaii was teaching material in their senior year that I learned during my sophomore year in Michigan.

And I know it hasn't gotten better in the 10 years since I graduated.

But anyhow, back to DS, if he's just sitting in class bored - it's not really something that makes me feel good either. From what I understand with the K12 program for grades K-8, it should take about 4-5 hours a day. Considering that I get up at 5:30 in the morning and work with the kids when they get home from 3:30 to 5:30 everyday, I'm sure I can fit in 4-5 hours during the day and still work from home. Then in a year, I'll re-evaluate.

I'm 100% certain I want to do this for my son... would also want to do this for my second daughter but with my working from home, I don't want to take on more than I can handle. I've never homeschooled before, could I really teach 2 kids at once?

My oldest daughter is one that I think I'll just continue to supplement her education & when she gets to high school look into private school. She is very headstrong and I cannot teach her, it would just cause bitterness between her and I. But my middle daughter & son, I could likely succeed in doing so.

The program is 100% free, the school even provides a computer, printer/scanner, and there is teacher support. So hopefully this can work.

Again though, it is daunting to come to the realization that by doing this - I am fully committing myself to not pursuing my dream of being a CPA for one year.

Oh well, I'm sure when the time is right - something will come up. But if I let my kids' education fail, that'll weigh much heavier on me than anything else. In the meantime I'll just try to find volunteer opportunities & what not... one day I will find my niche.

Till then, I need to make sure my kids stay up to the standards we first established for them. DD #2 wants to be a vet & go to Cornell, DD#1 wants to be a Marine Biologist, and DS wants to be in the Criminal Justice field like his uncle & grandfather.... but it's DD #2 that has me the most motivated to make sure she has a stable foundation to fulfill her dream cause I know Cornell won't be cheap or easy, but it's the #1 vet school in the country.

And yes, should she change her dream that is completely okay too....

6 Responses to “Education as a Priority”

  1. whitestripe Says:

    Had I decided to pursue the career I wanted to in high school, I think I either would have spent $20k on a course I would have eventually dropped out of due to changes of interest - or be working in a field that made me miserable. Of course some people know what they want to do very early on - but it doesn't hurt to have a breather in between secondary and tertiary either. Living a little in the real world allows you to think differently than being in a constant study environment.
    It is nice what you are doing for your son. Hopefully the extra learning will lessen the boredom of school until he gets more challenging work in the next few years. I was able to do years 6 and 7 in one year because of this too.

  2. jewels3 Says:

    Good luck. I enrolled my daughter in a virtual school last year, that uses the K12 program. It wasn't for us, and she is now in a regular public school this year. The K12 program is good, it is a very rigorous program, 4-5 hours a day is a lowball estimate. There were some days we spent 6-7 hours and she still did not finish all her requirements for the day. That's 6-7 hours of work time, not including breaks, lunch, etc. The staff at the virtual school did not support the middle school program very well. We went for months without teacher contact. For us it was too structured, there was always the pressure to "do more" to get caught up. Not very conducive to homeschooling,in my opinion. I do have friends who have elementary children in the program, and it is not as bad, but just an FYI if you have older children and want to do virtual school, it is quite a time commitment, and works best if your child is motivated to do the work.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    I am so pleased to read that you considered other options! Good luck, indeed.

    I know every region is different, but I roll my eyes in California when anyone feels stuck in their "assigned public school." There are so many public options available.

    Though we have the most amazing charter school for our own kids, and I think the high school will probably be okay, grades 6-8 are a black hole in the moment. Odds are we will be driving them somewhere in another area, or doing some homeschooling. The neighborhood middle school charter is excellent, but we will be subject to the mile long waiting list on that one. If we do the charter school route, K-8, we will save a small fortune and have assured the best education for our kids. I think education is #1, but I also think it is important to not go bankrupt over education when there are more frugal alternatives.

  4. Homebody Says:

    You have lots of time. I don't think when you hit my age (52) that you will regret it.

  5. crazyliblady Says:

    Good for you in being brave enough to do this for your child. I hope it works well you and your child. As for your career, is it possible for you to set up a home-based accounting business ?

  6. Jerry Says:

    Making these educational decisions is tough, but I think it will lead to a much better long term situation for your kids. Getting straight A's in HS and then still needing remedial classes in college is not going to provide the insurance for success (or foundation for the future) that a smart kid needs. Good luck and I hope this program works out well!
    Jerry

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