Venturing into the charter school realm…

We live in California, where there are several options for homeschooling…4, actually…But nearly everyone chooses one of 2: establish your own private school (with just your own children as your only students), or sign up with a homeschool charter (run by the public school system, catering to home education…With enrichment classes, materials, and a credentialed teacher to guide you. All for free, as its public ed).

I’ve rejected the idea of signing up with a charter since the beginning because I do not like the idea of being plugged into the public school system at all. But after about 6 years (my oldest is 10.5yrs and would be considered going into 5th grade at this point, if she were in the system) of attempting to provide a consistent schedule of educational activities…And feeling mostly like I am failing (though I admit that I am my harshest critic, and many would say I was doing fine, I suppose) I am finally facing the reality that I probably could use some help. Mainly because life so easily gets away from me and I am hoping having a little guidance in staying on task might help me finally feel like I am a successful homeschooler. A feeling which I yearn for, and have yet to feel.

I do realize this is entirely subjective. Being a “good homeschooler” means so many different things to so many different people. But for me personally, someone who has unschooling leanings but also believes in scheduled, structured learning as well…I think I may need some outside help to get me on the track that I want to be on.

I’m not interested in doing school-at-home (as in, the public school way of schooling). At all. But I think there are some really great alternative educational philosophies out there (Charlotte Mason and Montessori are 2 of my favorite) that I would really like to better dive into. Because of my very A.D.D.-ness (I’m self-diagnosed, so I’m not sure I really am A.D.D. but am pretty sure), I cannot seem to stay on any sort of a routine for more than a couple days. Its very frustrating! This is a constant struggle of mine…and I don’t really know what the solution is except that I cannot just give up. I keep seeking out new ideas to try…

One of my biggest attempts at creating something that would help aid me in my homeschooling journey came about because of a homeschool charter (Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center) I had heard great things about…but because it was about an hour away, it was not something I felt we could afford to commute to. In fact, I created The Learning Village Homeschool Resource Center specifically because I wanted something like Eleanor Roosevelt without the hefty commute. But, sadly, TLV just isn’t working out. For whatever reason, homeschoolers here in my town are not stepping up to help make TLV a reality, the programs are failing from lack of attendance, and we cannot seem to draw in members or even board members. Everyone’s just too busy.

So recently I finally allowed myself to realize TLV just isn’t happening (at least not right now, and I NEED something RIGHT NOW)…I then began to think more about the charter school option…I realized that it might just help solve some of my issues. It certainly is worth giving a try! And if I am going to try out a homeschool charter, there really was only one possibility for me: Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center.

I’ve been talking with local homeschoolers that commute the one hour (one way) weekly to attend this school’s programs and I’ve heard some very exciting things! This school appears to be very open to whatever YOU, as the parent/teacher, would like to do with your kids. Not all homeschool charters are like this. Many simply have you reproducing the public school classroom in your homes, and you don’t have a choice in the curriculum at all. Not so at ERCLC. Also, there are quite a few neat enrichment classes as well as what sounds like quite a close-knit (but not exclusive) community of families. This is exactly what I want! Just what I had been trying to create with TLV.

So last week a friend of mine and her kids, and me and my kids, went down to visit ERCLC. We instantly fell in love! I quickly decided to enroll my children and am currently awaiting notification of who our “coordinator” (teacher) will be. (Incidentally, I love that they don’t seem to call these “teachers” because, as the director kept saying during our tour, WE, the parents, are the teachers!) And then we’ll find out what exactly we will need to get going starting next week (Monday is the first official day of school for ERCLC.)

I’m so very excited and hopeful at this point! Can’t wait to get started and see where this leads us!

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