And I’m already fed up with the virtual charter school we use.
We were supposed to start school this week (but we haven’t yet). I think it is ridiculously early to start school, and planned to start next Wednesday, when the oldest two start school in the local schools. I may do a few lessons with Tank Boy today, however; because he is now in kindergarten and he’s so excited he can’t stand it.
Yesterday, as I was sorting through our school cupboards, throwing stuff out, packing stuff up, unpacking the new supplies and rearranging and tidying up in general, he kept asking, “Can we do some school now? Can we do some school now? How about now? Can we do some school NOW???” I figure I owe the kid some school.
As I was packing and unpacking and sorting and all of that, I noticed Midge and Tank Boy each sitting in a separate cardboard box, reading comic books. It was one of those moments when I knew I should go grab the camera, but didn’t. They were so intent, side by side in their shipping boxes, reading about the exploits of various important figures in the Clone Wars. Thank goodness for little people who can read. It helped me accomplish what I needed to get done.
But none of that is why I’m fed up with the virtual charter school. I know I’ve said it before, and I don’t think this year is going to change anything: I wish I could dump the charter and just buy the curriculum outright. But there is that little issue of it’s expensive which is holding me back.
Incidentally, someone (Char? I think?) asked why we don’t send the older girls to private school given my feelings about government schools. There are a few reasons, but the most compelling would be: a). there aren’t a lot of private schools in the boonies and I don’t want to have to pack up five kids every morning and afternoon to shuttle two of them back and forth; and B). (I capped it because it is more compelling) We have five kids, so private school is a little out of the budget. Oh, and C). We’re
only mostly putting them into school so that they can make friends who live relatively near by (because nobody lives actually near by), and taking them to a private school a few towns away would most likely defeat that purpose.
Anyhoo . . . what is currently curling my toes is this: the virtual charter has introduced a new course (every freaking year with the new hoops of one variety or another to jump through) called Introduction to Online Learning. Now, I can see how this would be very, very helpful for parents who are brand new to the virtual charter and how it works, especially as it has become increasingly convoluted over the years. However? We have been with this school for six years (beginning our seventh right now). The school has only existed for seven years (beginning its eighth). I’ve pretty much mastered the system, yet I seem to be required to do this ten lesson course and log my attendance for it in Tank Boy’s attendance log.
Or is he supposed to be doing it with me and it’s his attendance I’m supposed to be logging? I have no idea, but it seems highly unlikely given the drool-down-my-chin, bore-me-to-death-with-tedium way these lessons are put together. Not kindergarten friendly learning, is what I’m saying.
In addition! The school and its teachers (I am merely a learning coach) are just super duper, Vaseline-on-the-teeth smiley because this year, this year, they are going to focus more on actual on-line classroom sessions between teachers and students. Yes, the teachers are going to be teaching more! Yay!!!
Only? Not. Because? If I really wanted to be handing my kids over to other teachers right now? I’d send them to school. I already told Tank Boy and Midge’s teacher this very thing.
Yes, I am One Of Those parents.
I told her, very nicely, that past experience with the online learning sessions has proven that they are mostly a gigantic waste of my children’s instructional time, and the kids generally sit in front of the computer doing other lessons while half listening to the classroom sessions that teach them mostly nothing. I explained that both Tank Boy and Midge can read way above their grade level (Tank Boy’s reading ability is truly shocking given the fact he didn’t seem to be able to read more than simple, three letter words until a week or two ago) and their time would be better spent working at their level (which is totally supposed to be the big draw to this at-home learning stuff) than sitting in some online class with kids who are still learning what the A says.
And please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way belittling or criticizing the kindergarten kids who are still learning the basics of phonics, I’m just saying that isn’t where my kids are, so for the love of Pete! Don’t make them participate in all this “increased instructional time.”
The teacher was looking through Midge’s course work as we were talking and astutely noted that Midge is doing second grade math this year.
“Oh, I see she is doing Math 2. It really wouldn’t make any sense for her to participate in my math sessions since I teach kindergarten and first grade. Because, then what do I do if I have kids in my class who are struggling with first grade math, and kids like your daughter who are doing second grade math? Just shoot for the middle? You might as well have your kid in regular public school at that rate.”
Hmmm . . . yes, I believe that is my point. So at least I think the teacher and I are going to get along smashingly.
She is checking in to whether or not this new, exciting, extra-large helping of teacher time is required or, you know, just offered. Please, God, let it not be required, or I will have to go sell my plasma so I can finally just buy the curriculum. And I don’t think there is anything special about my plasma, so I’ll have to sell a lot of it (unlike a cousin of mine who apparently has extra-special plasma and made lots of money for college off of it – or something like that).
So last night, as I was clicking through some of the Introduction to Online Learning
crap material just so I could get to the end and mark the lessons complete (I am not logging any attendance time for it however – I am such a rebel), I told McH that, should he get a promotion with a decent raise any time soon (somebody WAY high up the food chain recently referred to him as a Rock Star, so it’s possible), and should his consulting contract also be renewed at the end of the year, the Annoying Virtual Academy (which I actually, truly loved the first few years) is getting the boot and I am buying the curriculum booty.
He didn’t say it, but I know somewhere in the back of his mind he was thinking, “Only if I get one of those new Camaros.”
So the front of my mind telepathically shot back the message: “Yeah, right.”
But the back of his mind just kept saying, “Camaro . . . Camaro . . . MMmmm . . . Camaro.”
And George, if you’re out there, even Tewt the Newt doesn’t think any raise will be that good.