Ok, here goes:
Good point about lunch. She’ll be there for lunch 3 times a week while I work. I would pull her twice a week. I won’t do it if she doesn’t want to do it, but if she does want to, I will. Her lunch will be 55 minutes, and since we only live 5 minutes from the school that would work well. A lot of the kids in our complex come home for lunch a few times a week.
Right now she is going to a democratic school three ½ days a week and she is free to socialize as much or as little as she wants, so in some ways she will get less free socializing time at public school, I’d imagine.
You are right, we can’t specify teachers here but we CAN write a note describing our child and what sort of a teacher she would thrive with. It’s a fine line.
I would do this because I am quite concerned that she will get the teacher who gets the kids to do worksheets all day and sends them home with a pile of them to do at night. I just don’t think that is appropriate for grade one. While dd likes worksheets some of the time, she’s also a very kinaesthetic kid who would get downright bored doing worksheets constantly.
You may have convinced me part way about the absences. I agree that a solid routine will be key. I suspect (although I can’t find the documentation for this) that here the truancy restrictions are a lot more lax than in the States, unless you are absent a lot of the time. I don’t think that we need to provide a doctor’s note for absences – it’s just a call in line. I vividly recall that my parents let us skip school sometimes to go skiing, for example. In fact, this is one of the great memories of my childhood – the fact that my parents let us have those special days upon occasion.
I went on a big trip with my parents (as did we all) in grade 6 for 3 weeks. I know a number of other parents who have done the same, so I don’t think that it crosses any boundaries here. I will need to make that clear with the teacher and principal and get homework for the trip, I am sure. I looked on the school web site and extended absences are allowed, they are just not encouraged.
Dh rarely (ok, never) goes with us on big trips. He doesn’t like travel at all, except to the cabin. I adore travel. One of the “rules” of our marriage is that if I make extra money to travel, I can go ... and since I am the primary parent day and night, I travel with dd. Now that she remembers and thinks about her experiences even more, it’s become a good opportunity to broaden her experience of the world. This January, we’re going away for almost 4 weeks to Costa Rica. I did this pre-dd as well.
I was planning to do this with the school as a whole, although ideally I’d like to volunteer with dd’s class as well. I’ll do whatever is required as long as I think it’s useful. Another great childhood memory is the fact that my parents were so involved in my school.
For those who mentioned that I could bring her home – this is not a choice I am making. I would like her home, dh wants her in school, she wants to be home at the moment. Dh would only change his mind if she was very unhappy or when she is 10-14 he might consider homeschooling again. IMHO, private school is not an option. Dh is just as much against that as he is against hs-ing, and hs-ing is cheaper and more attractive for us.
What is it that I fear about school?
Dd will be our only child, and I fear losing my connection with her. Really, that’s the key for me. I don’t think it’s about me and I don’t think it’s about her – it’s really about us.
I also want her to feel less stressed out and constrained than I did as a student. I excelled in school. I am sure that she will too. She is bright and very verbal and is gradually working on her reading, writing and math. She has a great attitude toward learning and I think that she will thrive in any environment right now.
However, as a bright little girl I felt a lot of pressure to conform to society’s ideals of success and to get very good grades, especially in subjects like math. I do think that some of the messages I give myself to this day started back then, and I’d like dd have the freedom to pursue what excites and interests her. I want an environment that supports that, whether it is school, homelearning, or a bit of both.
FWIW, I’m trying to be positive about this year and next year with my dd. I haven’t communicated all of this to her.
Ok, my next question if you’ve gotten this far:
How do you support a good, close family relationship with your school-aged child? What does this look like, week by week and day by day? I want our family to be her anchor, and I feel that school will pull her away.
I think that this is the longest post I’ve ever written here!