Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hot topic: Homeschooling

An SF K Files visitor suggested that I start the following thread:
Could you please start a new thread on online school/home school? We are out 0/15 and as the school year approaches, I was looking at some other options and stumbled on this website http://www.k12.com/cava/ essentially an online public school program which gives materials out so there is more guidance if anyone chooses to homeschool. Both of us work so we had not considered homeschool at all, but I was wondering if there are other parents who are looking into it as well and if there was an interest in a small co-op where working parents could help in other ways. Do other working parents have any ideas? I dont think we will want to homeschool past KG, but this might be something to do as a back-up as the public school enrollment plays out. People who do know about homeschooling, any ideas/suggestions?

5 comments:

  1. Thx for this post! I haven't seen that site before. I've seen another post back a few months ago about homeschooling, but didn't notice that site.

    Our daughter won't quite be Kindergarten-eligible until Fall of 2010 (I think 2 months younger than the cuttoff date), but already my wife & I are already considering homeschooling as an alternative to SFUSD. One main reason is that we vividly remember the boredom, dread & misery of going to public school in our youth, and thought, "There has to be another way" and "We're definitely not going to subject our daughter to that."

    The second reason is to retain her Spanish. We hire a Colombiana (who was a preschool teacher) to care for her and teach her Spanish, and now she is fluent. Because my wife and I are nowhere close to fluent, we are very worried that she'll lose her Spanish when she goes to elementary school. It's been our observation that even in immersion classes/programs, kids speak almost only english to one another. This has been true in places where there are less than a dozen kids in the class, and where the class is focused 100% on Spanish - I can't imagine how it would become when it's only mostly spanish, and there are 22 kids in the classroom. (BTW - If anyone has an english-speaking household and whose kid(s) go to a spanish immersion program in SFUSD, I'd love to hear how fluent your kid(s) have become).

    So among:
    - Spanish language retention,
    - our own experience in public schools, and
    - downright fearful of the lottery process
    ...we're considering alternatives to SFUSD, and homeschooling with a handful of like-minded parents seem like a great option. In fact, because both of us work, I think a little co-op or something is the only way we could make it work.

    Here's what I was thinking about setting up:
    - Finding 6-10 families like ours.
    - Hiring a teacher/facilitator (with maybe a 2nd one as a back-up/alternate)
    - Parents filling in here or there
    - Monthly (or bi-weekly) parents meeting to go over curriculum, the "school" etc.
    - "Tuition" mostly to pay salary, but to pay for space (if that's necessary), supplies, etc.

    I'm thinking this little set up would cost about half as much as private schools currently cost. My calculations are possibly underestimates, so let's just say, "definitely less" than regular private schools."

    But then, it makes me think this might be bad karma. I can't help but think about the quote from Superintendent Garcia to the effect of, "Parents in SF are smart and on top of it, but they are also pretty focused on their own as opposed to embiggening schools for all children."

    So who the heck knows.

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  2. Garcia! Don't get me started. Of course parents are focused on their own. That's our job.

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  3. Todd,
    I'm sorry you and your wife were bored as children, but your child is her own person, and may not have the same likes / dislikes.

    As for how fluent kids in SFUSD immersion programs become, there's plenty of info on this website, on the SFUSD website and at the immersion schools themselves. The short answer is that within two years most become fluent, and by fifth grade they are all extremely capable in Spanish. Much more fluent, certainly, than your child will be if you try to home school her with a group of other native English speakers.

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  4. Todd:

    I recommend you check out www.sfhomeschoolers.com.It is a loose group of parents in SF (and some beyond) who homeschool their children. Many of them "unschool", others use curriculums, and there are a vast number who use/do all sorts of things.
    You can join the on-line group and post messages, watch for weekly events, etc.

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  5. i am ready to be one of the home skooling families that shares the teaching load with others. i have a just-turned five yr.old,plus an almost full time job. lemme know how to begin, please advise.

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