Thursday, September 01, 2005

First day of school blues

Greetings all!
Well, yesterday was the first day of school for us here and I can tell you, we have had better. This is our third year with the k12 program virtual charter school. We started it a year after our move to Philly because I was working outside of the home and trying to truly homeschool like we had been was not working out. I was introduced to the k12 program and thought we would try it out. The first two years we felt very good about it. Although it is a cyber school we are in and they provide the curriculum, etc., we still felt like a homeschool. I still felt like a teacher, I was able to help with income and we felt very good about the educational process. Unfortunately this year is quite a bit different. Tzivya is starting the ninth grade and PAVCS is revamped in the high school to be an actual online school complete with virtual classrooms, teachers, assemblies etc. There are almost no textbooks and parents are to view themselves more as 'academic coaches'. Most of the work is online with e-books. We use a fax or e-mail to submit work to the teachers. There are deadlines, quizzes, tests, classroom participation etc. We attended the assembly yesterday and my Tzivya was a wreck. She HATES it! I realize this is strong language, but she really feels strongly about this. She hates the set up of the school and she hates not having books. You must understand when they call us the people of the book, Tzivya takes it quite literally. She loves books! She always has. When she was just a babe before she read a word, I always knew where to find her, in the schoolroom or living room with a dozen (I kid you not) books spread in front of her gazing at them all. She absorbs books! I wish I could read like she does! (A nod to Dr. Raymond Moore who taught me children do not have to be reading my 5 years old and will read and catch up when they are ready. Tzivya started reading officially at eight and was above grade level by the end of that year) She does not like tests, nor is she really terrific at them at all. I suppose that is my fault as I do not believe in tests and never gave them. Why should I? I figured if I am teaching my children I know if they comprehended what I taught or not. I did administer spelling tests, but that was it. Tests are for teachers of thirty students to gauge whether or not their lectures, etc., are working.
It was so difficult for us to make sense of it all. She spent the morning in front of the computer, holding my hand as if I was sending her off to a brick and mortar school and crying. She really dislikes doing school online.
By the afternoon we had the set up figured out and she calmed down a bit, but was no less enthused by the school. Now you must understand how very unusual this is. Tzivya LOVES school! She has always been homeschooled and has thrived and really enjoys it. This is the first year she has cried through a first day. Racheli was concerned about her and was very comforting with her yesterday. I told Tzivya that we would just commit to a semester with the PAVCS. If at the end of the semester she feels doesn't any better about it, we would simply pull out and do something else. I have had two graduate so I think we can handle it.
Yesterday was just so sad and discouraging. Who knows though? After a semester and getting used to it, she may end up loving it. I woke up this morning and prayed today would be better. Im yirtzeh HaShem (G-d willing), B'ezrat HaShem (with G-d's help) it will be a much better day.

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