We home school, but we use a virtual charter school (I would love to be a traditional home schooler, but the curriculum I love is tres expensive, so this way my tax dollars pay for it). Because of this we have certain constraints, restraints, whatever you want to call them, that traditional home schoolers do not have. For instance, we have an official start date and and official end date each year. During the period of time between those two dates we are expected to complete the curriculum and log a certain number of hours. Really, it is not too difficult to accomplish, though I wish we could be a year-round virtual charter school so we could take off the whole month of February and just stay in bed. But we can’t.
One of the other differences is that each year my girls are assigned a teacher. As in a state certified public school teacher. Now, these teachers have nothing whatsoever meaningful to do with my children’s education, they are just a hoop (which we unfortunately cannot set aflame) that the charter school must jump through, and pay, so that the school can be accredited or whatever by the state. Thank goodness the state is looking out for these home schooled kids by requiring academic nincompoops to call once a month and email once a week throughout the school year.
But really, I can’t judge this year’s teachers base on last year’s. Actually, I can’t judge L~’s teacher at all, because I have no idea who s/he is. Yes, school is officially starting on Monday, and I haven’t heard a word from her teacher. I have, however, gotten two emails from A~’s teacher. Yippee! The unnecessary cluttering of my inbox has begun!
Anyway, she seems nice so far, and she can make her subjects and verbs agree, so this bodes well. Today she emailed a questionnaire so that she can get to know the students better. I suppose this is admirable, though I don’t know why she bothers seeing as how her only job is to needle us if we get behind and offer professional help and insight which we really don’t need. Not that I’m a genius or anything, but I myself was a state certified public school teacher (in two states!), so I’ve got the academic nincompoop thing mastered. Alright, well, technically only bachelored.
Moving along: I thought you might like to see the questionnaire she sent out, along with my replies (and yes, this is exactly what I sent back, except for the editing out of names and stuff):
Hello Virtual School families,
I am excited to have the opportunity to work with each of you this 07-08 school year. As I review the curriculum I am also thinking about your child and how I can best support your family. Please take a moment to answer each of the following questions which you will find below (editor’s note: slightly redundant). Please hit reply and fill in the answers. Thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire!
- What are your child’s major interests?
A~ (I am assuming you are her teacher only since L~ is in the 3rd grade?) loves to read — anything. She is a big Harry Potter fan, and she also loves martial arts. She takes piano lessons, but I don’t know that that would count as an interest.
- What are your child’s strongest subjects?
Probably language arts, but she is a very bright child (I know, all the parents say that) and is a good student all around.
- What skill(s) would you like to see strengthened?
She’s really above average for her age, so I’m not too concerned about strengthening anything specific. I just want to see her progressing and working to her potential. My husband says he wants to see her strengthen her mad juggling skillz.
- What should be your child’s three main academic goals for the first semester?
Our main goals are to keep on track with hours and with the curriculum, and to find other ways to supplement as needed. I really don’t worry a lot about this because she is constantly reading something or playing games which challenge her mind, or writing stories or plays. She has been a self-motivated learner her entire life.
- When your child receives a gift that needs to be assembled, does he or she read the directions first, or does he/she dive right in and try to figure it out as he/she goes?
Yes, well, directions seem to be one thing she doesn’t read.
- Is your child more apt to complete a three-step direction if you give him or her oral directions or do you need to write the instructions down for your child?
Umm . . . why would I need to write down three-step directions for an almost 10-year-old?
- Would your child rather watch television or play outside?
- Does your child prefer listening to music or reading a book?
Reading a book.
- If your child could choose the subjects he or she studied in school, what would he/she choose?
Language arts, archeology, potions, and care of magical creatures.
- What extra-curricular activities does your child participate in?
Martial arts, piano lessons, and church activities.
- Is there anything you wish to share with me about your child?
A~ is actually pretty shy and, though she talks non-stop at home, she usually clams up when on the phone. I really try to have her work on her handwriting but, seriously, she has a genetic pre-disposition toward chicken scratch. Overall, A~ is just a great kid: bright, articulate, compassionate and motivated to learn.
What do you think? Safe to say no teacher would ever want me as the room mother?
O.K., Traci, I promise I will get to the Big Love thing. And then, after that, I think we may have a big, long blog discussion about why Pa (of the Little House books) deserved to be dragged behind the barn and taught a lesson the old fashioned way. Go ahead, go re-read the first book and see if you can figure it out for yourself.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.