Tuesday, September 13, 2011

down & dirty, a little good hearted educational mud slinging

There is that strange rumor again.  This time from someone in the local school.  The rumor is: after we left the Sego Lily (The Sudbury School here in town) we sent Beach to Challenger School.

Well, what can I say? It's not true. And I don't feel our history with Beach's education is all that dramatic to require such a radical turn in direction which Challenger certainly would be. I feel we have always leaned more towards Crazy Hippie than Uniform Conservative. 
At age 3, Beach requested to attend preschool.  Even at 3 she was well spoken, logical, & confident but I had just lost a sister & was having a hard time navigating the wider world. I reluctantly agreed to the request. She attended a play based co-op preschool. After 1/1/2 yrs Beach was ready for more but she had missed the State deadline for Kindergarten admission & there is no way around it. We moved her to Sego Lily to get what preschool could no longer offer her without compromising play based learning & without feeling like we were giving up our rights to our child & our family time or breaking the bank. We all loved Sego Lily for lots of different reasons. It was prefect for our needs at the time. 
The following year while still attending Sego Lily we tried traditional State School & lasted 3 months in public 1/2 day kindergarten (hey kid why aren't you in school).  After not accepting her the year before the school wanted her to take math with the 2nd grade & reading in the 1st but still attend Kindergarten. It begs the question: why didn't you admit her last year when she would have enjoyed Kindergarten & things would have been simple for all of us?   
We stayed almost 2 years at Sego Lily going 3 days a week, home schooling on the other 4.  One day Beach asked to be home schooled full time.  "I can't stop playing with my friends and I want to learn.  I keep missing classes I wanted to do because I can't stop and then at the end of  the day I regret it." That was hard to argue with. Part of that maturity & ability for honest self assessment is the nature of Beach & I would have to credit the Sudbury Staff & the Co-oping Communities with the rest of it. The nurture part.
A child who is raised to speak up knows she has a voice worth listening to.
But we didn't really leave Sego Lily which I affectionately refer to as The Crazy Hippie School. We made very good friends there. Through a home school swap w/ my Partner in Educational Crime (found at Joyful Liberation) Beach went to Sego Lily once a week with them.
And that brings us to today.  To 2nd grade according to the school district, 3/4 split (some 5th)with possible reading resource services according to district curriculum. With her visual impairment Beach reads on a beginning 2nd grade level but has serious tracking & crowding issues which require larger fonts & other accommodations. So technically she is on grade level in reading but advanced in all other subjects, ugh, fitting star shaped pegs in narrow holes gives me a headache This is coming from a person who as a kid was in Resource & Gifted Talented Program at the same time. 

But no, we aren't at Challenger. 
It's not for us. And we turned down the invite to the districts Gifted & Talented Program, it's not for us either. I do wonder why we keep getting asked this specific question. Who is it making comfortable to fictitiously alter our educational venue?  What is it about educating a gifted child at home that creates such strange rumors.
[Link to the NSGT]
 We are here, at home playing in the mud because when I 'formally' SHOWED Beach multiplication last week using a board game she KNEW the concept instantly & had a good number of the products memorized after 2 rounds of play. Today she did her first page of problems, a work sheet of 30 problems by herself 99% accuracy in about 10 minutes.
Hard to argue with that... Honestly Challenger?!?!
I reminded Beach we had 3 years left on the 2nd revision of the original plan.  The goal was/is to be ready to go to The Salt Lake Center for Science Education (middle school).  She didn't like the plan anymore & reminded me that on her first day of school-school she threw up. So we talked about it.  "If in three years you still want to stay home that would be fine but we need to be ready to enter the school system just in case."  "Okay Mom," she said, "you can do whatever you want but I'm not going to be schooled so get if over it."  You know she really reminds me of someone... 

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