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Saturday, December 30, 2006


Jorge and I feel we are short-changing our youngest daughter, Elle. Sarabelle is the oldest and, as most first-borns do, received loads of one-on-one quality time with us. Gracie was treated to extensive Mommy-time a few years later when Jorge stepped in, toting toddler Sarabelle around with him for the better part of a year to give me a break. Both then had plenty of attention lavished on them as we began our homeschooling efforts. Elle is now past the point where Gracie started her home education, Kindergarten, and only one year shy of the extent of Sarabelle's institutional education, third grade (up until our recent return to mass schooling this year.) We have been tossing the idea around about keeping Elle out next year and doing it at home again to give her the same exclusive attention and foundation her sisters received in their younger years. Her final report card for first grade was outstanding even with the new tougher state guidelines imposed, the ones that said be happy with all Cs on your child's report card because that's average, where most people are, and it's a solid, respectable grade. In our parent-teacher meeting the teacher even threw out that seldom-used, non-egalitarian term "gifted" to indicate her special needs. Next year she would be in a composite class of first, second, and third graders, which would allow the teacher to stretch her lessons to fit her if need be. And while they don't have specific, separate programs designed for those particular G-word students, the teachers are all trained to adjust their curriculum and technique to suit the child. It sounded pretty good to me. But then Elle overheard our discussion and asked if she could please do homeschool.

How could we say no?

The problem is our finances. We are floating an awful lot of expense and Jorge's present employment situation is just barely stemming the flow. I feel guilty that he has to work two jobs while I sit back and play secretary for the new local tennis club and stop in for a cuppa with neighbors. I need to bring home some bacon too.

But today while poking around a few websites for Australian homeschool alternatives, my thoughts returned to the idea of establishing a small, non-profit private school, something along the lines of Mortimer Adler's Paideia Proposal. A little didactic, a little guided project, a little Socratic seminar... I've met and heard of a few other folks around our area who home educate, maybe they would have some interest. I'm sure there would be interest from the tony resort town down the range, especially where the only other option is a slightly shabby Catholic school in a nearby blue-collar town. My searches led me to a wealth of information on grants available to non-government schools. In addition to providing major one-time capital investments, the goverment regularly subsidizes private learning facilities on the average of about fifty percent. The beauty of it, maybe even if I only had my own child and one other as the entire student body, is that I could pay myself a salary. It sounds too good to be true, which means that it probably is, so I really need to do my homework on this one.

At least the grant writing seminar I took to help out the community center, primary school, and tennis club seems to have been money well spent.

Anyway, for Christmas all Elle wanted me to get her was a history book, so I bought her Story of the World Volume 1. I couldn't help but order the activity guide to go along with it. Just in case.

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