Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Get Out Of Jail Free" Card

Summer has arrived! For our family not a lot changes with this announcement. Of course we get longer days, but our mild weather offers very few significant changes. Yes, we see friends for play dates and attend camps, but homeschooling practically year-round keeps us set on a routine regardless of whether it is November or July. We have too many little people requiring naps for our family to be utterly footloose, and fancy-free. But still, the graduation and advancement ceremonies of countless schools, both public and private, marks the arrival of our:

Get Out Of Jail Free card.

California has a wonderful set of educational laws which govern how those in this state may operate a home school. The bottom line is that we register with the State Department of Education as individual private schools, filing the same paperwork as Robert Louis Stevenson, York, Santa Catalina and the like. This frees me from the state mandated public school requirements, and satisfies my adherence to the compulsory attendance laws. However, because home education continues to be vastly misunderstood by the mainstream there is the need to manage protocol in such a way that we raise as few questions as possible for those with, "helpful" motives. School officials seeing my children out during "class" hours might become suspect of my sincere methodologies. The idea that I can teach math at, say 6pm, just as easily as 10am doesn't altogether register with these educational gurus. Hence the need for my family to stay undercover during the school year. This presents a problem.

Because schooling through tutorial based academics (small student to teacher ratios) presents far superior results with the added bonus of taking far less time (remember, I don't have 25+ students to manage before I can even get to the lesson on hand) our schooling lasts for under 2 hours each day. Ideally this should mean I could run to Target during the morning, and avoid evening crowds. But I can't regularly take my big kids with me because of the possible suspicions raised. And my size family doesn't exactly fly under the radar! Neither can I leave my not-yet-big-enough kids home regularly because of the image this might expose us to.

So we are stuck. Until Summer!

I plan to load all the kids into the van this very day and make a Costco run - in the middle of the afternoon.

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