I'm feeling a bit bummed today. In the past week I've checked out two local home school programs that I thought would be great matches for our family, or more specifically, for Iris. My goal was to find a one day per week program that ran throughout the school year so that Iris would have a chance to build relationships with kids that would last for a while (both of these programs fit that bill). Before touring, I imagined myself feeling really torn between the two, not sure which to choose, because in my mind, they both seemed so perfect. Unfortunately, reality is rarely perfect. Now I wonder if either is even going to be "good enough".
The first program we checked out is an (outdoor) wilderness program. The space it was held was incredible, the teachers were fantastic, it was all really amazing. The only problem that I see now, and one that I anticipated, was that we have a child who, well, kind of hates being outside if the weather is anything less than stellar. And we live in Seattle, so hello. I think "our weather is less than stellar" should be the city's new motto. Iris did say she liked what we learned about at the open house, but she didn't want to do class outside all day. Fair enough. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't, either. We are not an "outdoorsy" family. I liked that Iris would get exposure to things we really wouldn't otherwise do with her. The one other majorly redeeming factor about this particular program is that it is extremely close to home. It's just a five minute drive or a very hearty walk straight up hill for about two miles.
The second program we went to check out was entirely different. It is a small group that focuses on language arts. The classes are held in a space that doesn't belong to the teacher, so it is simply borrowed on class days, which means there is nothing the kids work on that is that big, or messy, or a permanent part of their environment. They do daily field trips and explore the neighborhood and parks in a very beautiful area of the city. In my mind I envisioned the program more of being a spot for huge, messy explosions of creativity, but it's more like little explosions of creativity. This particular program is run in a neighborhood that can take about 30-40 minutes to get to if traffic is bad, which it would be every morning. While the teacher seemed very smart and full of great ideas and information, it didn't feel to me that there was that much going on, education wise, that I couldn't do with Iris at home. The main goal, for me, of that program would be the social element.
Both programs pretty much ask for a commitment for the whole program year right up front.
So, yeah, I'm bummed. I am feeling like I might need to throw out my desire for a pre-made, structured program and dig a little deeper to figure out what I can put together that will be the right thing for Iris's social, emotional and educational growth. I mean, that should be pretty easy, right?