School. It plays a big part in the life of the Reeds. Between Aaron teaching full time, me teaching part-time and Bryn in school, I spend a lot of time working schedules around or thinking about things related to school. And anyone who knows me knows that I am more than a little obsessed with my kids' education. I probably spend far too much time fretting about/planning/overseeing things related to Bryn's schooling. Many days I worry that I am too involved. And then I worry that I am not involved enough. But most of all, I worry that I and/or the educational system is going to fail to provide what my daughter needs to live up to her full potential.
I am not sure exactly when I lost faith in the ability of anyone (including myself as I have not chosen to homeschool) to properly educate my child. It could have started when quite a few people I knew in college who couldn't make the grades in their chosen major or who couldn't decide on a major at all settled on Elementary Ed. (Disclaimer: I realize there are many wonderful, intelligent people who major in Education and who are teachers. I know many of them. But I also know some people who majored in Education who are downright scary and I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy's kid for an entire school year). It hasn't helped that Aaron and I have run into many completely incompetent college students who couldn't write a complete sentence, much less a thoughtful essay if their life depended on it. It really hasn't helped that we have run into even more students who don't give a rat's ass about learning anything in college and expect to earn A's and B's just because they bother to show up to class. Never mind actually doing well on those pesky tests or on actual classwork - they think they deserve a grade just because they tried and did their best (and believe me when I say that their definition of "tried hard" is far different than the one your grandparents would have given you). It does not inspire confidence in the educational system that many of these kids passed 8th grade, much less earned a high school diploma.
I know there are a million and one reasons why kids don't do well in school and not all of them can be blamed on the school or the teachers or the textbooks. I also don't think it can all be blamed on parents or lack of money or No Child Left Behind either. Frankly, I don't really care who or what is to blame - I just need to figure out how to get my child(ren) through it, around it, under it, over it - whatever!
No matter how hard I ponder and how much info I collect, I just can't seem to find the right solution for Bryn and our family. I don't think my kid is a genius, but the work they are doing in her class is not keeping her challenged. I don't even think it has so much to do with the fact that she already knows most of the things they are doing, it is just that she doesn't need 2 weeks to grasp a new concept. I realize that one teacher can't individualize a lesson plan for each student, but I do know it doesn't seem to be working for my kid. And I doubt she is the only one. I don't know how to fix it, but teaching to the middle leaves kids out on both ends of the spectrum. And throwing her in a "gifted" program for less than 2 hours a week as the solution to the problem is almost insulting.
Moving Bryn to the public school does not seem to be a good solution at this point. Their curriculum is even farther behind - not by a lot, but for us, it would just be going in the wrong direction.
Which leaves homeschooling. This would be a bad idea for us on so many levels. It would not be easy for me to do with a 2 year old at home. Bryn and I don't work terribly well together as she is argumentative and I am overly critical. She would REALLY miss her friends and the social side of school. I know she would have plenty of activities and social outlets, but being home with me all day is not he same as being at recess with 10 other little girlfriends.
Sigh. I have to figure it out. I (and Aaron, of course, but he is less obsessive than I am) have to be Bryn's advocate because no one cares about her education as much as I do. If I don't look out for her and make sure she gets the best that can be provided, no one else will. It is up to me, and I cannot fail.