Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The voyage continues... Captain's log, Stardate 2013.10.23

The middle schooler has decided that school is sort of a waste of time. There are things she has learned from being there though. She likes the consistency of friendships and the continuity of following a suggested course of study. She likes deadlines and designated time for things. She likes pleasing others by achieving things.

She would like more time to pursue independent interests or work with small groups on projects they found exciting. She would like the freedom to go play when the work was done instead of feeling like they are being given "busy work" to fill the time remaining in a class period.

We like that she is motivated and excited to learn again, that she is discovering new ideas and being a part of a larger group that shares an exciting purpose. We like that the atmosphere is safe, small and community driven. I like the routine and rhythm it brings to our family.

Not to say we are for sure done with IVA. G-pie wants to finish the trimester for sure. We are going to take some time tomorrow to go over her body of work, the pros & cons and spend a little time in meditation "feeling" for the best answer. Then this weekend Sugar Daddy and I will talk about it.

What she really, really wants is a hybrid. 4 days a week (10-2 is what she proposed- then I suggested maybe only 3 days with a 4th dedicated to field trips/ nature hikes and community service type action). With enough kids that they still get to switch classes, play PE games and have a student government. She also wants "real teachers" (she said it's fine if they are moms, just not *me* teaching everything). And when it comes to "teaching" we both liked that the teachers at IVA are more like "thought & discussion guides", we believe without the "public charter" aspect they could be that way even more.

So I am looking into it. I am looking for a location. Again. Still. I guess I always sort of am. :)

[Star maps reveal no indication of habitable planets nearby. Origin and purpose of the cube still unknown.]

My personal goal is to find a place where we can occupy 4 rooms with school age kids, have a preschool/ nursery for little sibs and an office or resource room where homeschool moms can come prepare & plan- print stuff, have meetings to discuss collaborative learning opportunities, share materials and motivation; and it would ideal to also have a large meeting room to have community focused seasonal celebrations, special speakers to support us all and focus on family style fun!

If you know of such a place or want your child to attend it, let me know. We aim for starting in January. Ideally we would have 6-8 kids in the Kinder- 2nd group and 10-12 children in the 3rd-5th group and 24-30 in the 6-8th group. 40-50 kids total (plus of course the little sibs). We would need moms to volunteer to be a thought & discussion guide (helping the kids identify common goals, work through communication glitches and set their plans to accomplish projects together) and other moms to head up administrative, fundraising and membership details.

This would not be a child led, nor a parent led program but a community driven, "tribal" or "village" learning experience- democratic, but with accountability and a participation requirement element would have to be discussed (interestingly this is something that is very important to G-pie- she said when everyone is free to decide if they feel like doing something on any given day the chances of the group getting anything done is slim; but if those who are interested are committed to being involved in the group's plan and influencing the project with their own ideas they will appreciate the expectation of attendance).

Now for the real question- cost and how to pay for it. Finances (fundraising?) would be for the location, materials and any experts we want to hire.

Sometimes I feel like my thoughts on education for my kids are more like notes in a captains log- we are star trekking across the universe, always going forward 'cause we can't find reverse, and we often find ourselves saying "beam me up" and "danger will robinson" and more than once I have felt like Gwen Demarco- "I have one job on this lousy ship [and sometimes it feels like] it is stupid, but I am gonna do it!"

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