A few ideas:
run for school board
run for the the PTA
work with the pre-k school to expand their program (days of week, academics, etc)
review online school options that might be available for your state
my experiences with homeschooling in rural environments have been pretty poor so I'd try and make a partial school learning experience work
any chance your daughter has special skills or needs that she might qualify for an IEP? the school would be forced to better educate her
I've experienced both wonderful districts with open-minded and responsive boards and terrible districts where the board is defensive and dismissive. What you need to remember is that your children are only with you a short time and we need to give them the experiences needed to thrive in the world. You can absolutely support the local district and work to improve it without subjecting your children to a frustrating and unproductive environment.
Even without a district preschool program, the kindergarten should have more differentiation in K than that. Drill and kill is bad enough. Drill and kill on colors and shapes for half a school year is sort of ridiculous. I'm not suggesting that what our K programs look like now are appropriate but when you consider that the standard is kindies writing in phonetically spelled sentences by February, adding and subtracting small numbers and early reading, the contrast is pretty extreme.
I highly recommend trying your hand at a parent co-op preschool. If there are a few moms you know that would be interested, you can take turns putting together weekly activities for each other's children at homes, parks, local spots of interest. You might consider starting some enrichment clubs... a book club that offers discussion, crafts, games. I don't know what your area looks like but a nature club or a group that gathers to explore the community might work. I found this a great way to connect with similar families. If anything, it'll help you develop a parent base who might be willing to take a stand with you on the school. The board won't listen until more parents stand up. Parents won't stand up until they recognize that there can be something different.
Married mom, DD 18, DS 15, and a Valentine's surprise on the way!
Thanks WhatsNextMom~ Good advice! I have worked with a couple of other families and we have launched a co-op play group (just started in January). We meet only once a week, but we've had really great participation and more families with little ones than we knew were out there! I can see there MAY be interest in focusing on a bit more structure/some pre-academic activities with some of the 3's/4's down the road, but for right now I'm just so pleased that we have been able to get this far. There's a neat mix of parents, caregivers, grandparents interacting with the kiddos and eachother. Very neat to observe the natural role modeling and learning that's happening between both kids and adults.
I'm all for continuing to support the public school in ways that are meaningful and make sense to our family....which I guess for us means not typical fund raiser purchasing, but more with our time and talents. When my son with younger, I volunteered to help with some kids in his school who could benefit from a little extra time and attention, and was paired up with a little guyw/a not so great home life who liked to play Uno and board games during his lunch time once a week. I was fortunate to continue this relationship with him almost every week from grades 2-8, and even now keep in touch via Facebook as he is figuring our what comes next for him after high school graduation in a couple months. I would love volunteer in this sort of capacity in our current school district, but they aren't interested in having parents help in that way (or actually, in ANY WAY beyond very narrow help w/Kindergarten). Agh--This district is missing the boat on so many levels!!
We have been participating in 4-H for the last 2 years and have found our local Club to a great fit for our family, and also in a first class ballet program. Our local library director's grandchildren are the only other home schooling family in town, and the occasional library programs offered tend to be hosted by the mom and very well done. There are some good group-activities in our community for sure...just not at school!
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