“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” ~ Sydney J. Harris
This post has been a long time coming. It was more than two years ago we made the decision to break social tradition (yes, again) and move our kids from brick-and-mortar school into the virtual world for public education. Last year, only our oldest — the middle schooler — came home while the other three remained at their elementary school. This year, however, they all came over, and what a fantastic journey it’s been.
Welcome to DirtNKids’ one-room schoolhouse. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not made life here any less busy. Sometimes I’m amazed at what I can continue to do (like maintain this blog). But the benefits to our family are too numerous not to share. Here are a handful of our favorites.
Top Ten Reasons To Stay Home
with Public Education
10. The cafeteria. It’s amazing how much quieter a lunch room is without 150 kids in it. Though four can still make a pretty decent racket all on their own. No more packing lunch kits every day for four. It’s real food, rather than convenient processed or animals-for-food in the lunch room, and Dad now joins us regularly for family dining during the daylight hours.
9. An end to waste. Being a Trash and Consumption Nazi, this is my personal favorite. Tests, quizzes, assignments are all printed on recycled paper (Dad robs the waste bins at work), no more four-of-each-kind-of-flyer-to-go-to-the-bin coming home in kids’ backpacks every day. School supplies are theirs. That is, if they break it or lose it, they buy the next one, Mom’s rules.
8. Freedom and the flex schedule. School doesn’t have to be from 8-to-3 anymore. Want a Friday off? No problem, just work a few extra lessons Monday through Thursday. Besides, museums and natural spaces are best visited during the week without all the crowds. We take vacation days how we want, when we want. Like life in general, kids get out of it what they put in.
7. Field Trips. Because one fun-packed trip per year is just not enough for growing little minds. How does one per month sound?
6. No more backpacks. Textbooks are used in the event of a power or internet outage, for the most part, because a screen makes for a less cluttered desk. Because an entire school year of texts, lesson plans, and assignments all fit comfortably in one tablet and a tidy 3-ring binder, the school goes where we do — even at the picnic table on a gorgeous fall day, if we so choose.
5. The shortest walk to school, ever. Bus bully problems, rainy day pick-ups and delays and general traffic congestion are things of the past. In the mornings, ‘tweens get a bit more beauty rest, and at our school, bed heads and appropriate clothing choices are always optional (I draw the line at boxer shorts, my Dear 7th Grader). Mom can spend more time getting things done at home rather than idling in a car pick-up line or bus stop.
4. Physical Education and Getting Outside. Everyone needs to get up and walk around every hour or so to stretch, and riding the Ripstik™ or bicycle counts toward weekly PE credit. We do it as often as we can. With extra-curricular during the weekdays rather than on the evenings and weekends, there is no frantic schedule-juggling or parent-splitting on Saturdays and Sundays.
3. No more homework. Okay, well, technically, it’s all homework, but because it’s done more efficiently, the weekends and evenings are freed up for more important things, like cleaning your room or playing video games. Wait…did I just put those two things in the same sentence?
2. Household chores and accountability. Kids are never too young to juggle work, learning, and play. And finally, they see first hand what’s been driving Mom crazy all these years. Each takes a chore duty and owns it for the whole week — not just on a Saturday morning cleaning rampage with Mom cracking the whip. The Family Team is firing on all cylinders for the first time in a very long time.
1. Independence, Responsibility, and College Prep. ‘Cause let’s face it, they are going to need all they can get to survive in their world one day. Better to start building that work ethic early in their school careers.
Connections Academy — Virtual School for 3-12