As most of you know you, I homeschool my son. We just started last fall in Kindergarten, but so far it's going well and I like it. Think he's learning almost as much as I am.
But, on Monday my little three-year old daughter will be put on a bus and sent to school. Not your standard pre-school, but a special school offered by the district for kids with speech and language delays.
Hard decision. Both my son and daughter are in private speech therapy, but there's only so much insurance money to cover the $120 per half hour, per kid, each week. So, the private speech therapist suggested I contact the school district to get the kids tested and find out if they qualify for (free) services with the district.
If things weren't already challenging enough trying to help my kids get up to speed with their speech and language, now I have to deal with the dreaded school district. I have to tell them I'm a homeschooler, which comes across as an unspoken criticism of public schools and teachers. Then I have to jump through all of their hoops, which includes filling out a conscientious objector form because I don't immunize my kids.
Before any teacher or specialist has even seen my kids, I'm already labelled a right-wing nut.
But, wait, there's more. There are several forms that ask about my daughter's outside involvement, I guess it's looking to see how much "socialization" she gets. The form is too black-and-white for me. If my daughter is in another pre-school program, a box gets checked for that. If she's in day-care, check the next box. If she's involved in any other district run educational programs, check that box. I protest that she's involved in a children's bible study program every Thursday and numerous homeschool activities like going to the Nature Center, MN Orchestra, Children's' Theatre, etc., etc. I believe she participates in more activities than many children in her age group.
The box that gets checked on my daughter's form is: No outside involvement.
What? No outside involvement?? Is she locked in a dank closet somewhere?
Of course, things are going down hill because I already came across as a right-wing nut in my choice to homeschool, but now that I mention that the "only" outside school setting my daughter participates in happens to be, egad!, bible study, then the rubber stamp gets pulled out of the bottom drawer and I get "religious wing nut" invisibly, but indelibly, stamped on my forehead.
Actually, her teacher seemed very nice and didn't blink or roll her eyes when I mentioned homeschooling, it was just all the people I talked to before getting to this point that treated me "special." Part of the reason we didn't pursue services for my son, is that since he's already in school, homeschool, there were so many "if not, then" turns in their procedures that nobody seemed to know who we, as homeschoolers, were supposed to talk to. Appointments were arranged for testing only to have them call and cancel because my son was already of school age. There's a different process for him, you need to call another lady. Of course, that lady had no idea what I was talking about or who to forward me to.
But, Monday morning at 7:48, the bus will pull up in front of our house and gather my daughter for her first day. I've prepared her as best I can and she seems thrilled to be going. It's my husband and I that are concerned about bussing a three year-old. One of the three teachers rides on the bus and picks her up, straps her in her special seat, and then they take her to the school's front door. Upon arrival, the primary teacher meets the bus and brings the kids into the building and into the class room. NOT an easy concept to get used to, especially when my daughter is not able to tell anyone who she is, where she lives, or even if she needs to go potty.
She will attend school MWF from 8-10:30am. That's a huge amount.
Hubby is taking the morning off to see his little one safely on the bus. The rest of the family plans to hop in the car and follow the bus to school, just to ease our minds. I hope it does. Hubby is getting a chance to see the school and meet the teachers today, so hope that helps too.
Am sure my daughter will have a great time and she really needs the therapy. To my daughter, it is just another great adventure and a class with kids to play with just like in bible study. For the rest of us, it's been a long and difficult process and she hasn't even stepped on the bus yet.