So here we are, happily moved into the Boston area. We absolutely love it here, mashaAllah! There are so many things to do that any given weekend you have your pick from tons of family-friendly events for any budget including free. I was very on the fence about homeschooling right before we moved. We were going up here pretty much broke and starting over. I was still testing for the new job that I now have (and love!) and had no idea what my income or schedule would be like. I felt too disorganized to attempt to do what I really wanted: piece something together on my own with wiggle room for creativity. Joining the state-sponsored K12 MAVA (Massachusetts Virtual Academy) here sounded like a warming up lukewarm idea. DH was all for it, but I was hesitant because of our experience using K12 for 2nd grade. It was too intense and too structured, but the lure of free materials, teacher support, laid out lessons for a whole year and not having to navigate to horrid maze that is the Boston public school system reeled me in.
I am starting to really regret this choice. Everything in Massachusetts is geared towards prepping the children for the end of the year standardized testing, the MCAS. Every week my 3rd grade son has a virtual homeroom where they continue to prep him for this test. He has weekly scantron and Study Island tests, a website set up to prep kids for standardized testing. I am starting to feel that MCAS stands for Making Children All the Same. I also find the "Master and Move On" mantra of K12 a bit irritating. Are we all in such a rush that we can't Absorb and Enjoy instead? It's a little creepy.
We must follow the requirements for public school hours and subjects. I have 3 children, 8 and under, and I can't meet the requirements for each day, even with the difference in the time given for a lesson and the time it actually takes us. I am starting to feel burnt out, seeing as I am taking the role of several public school teachers, yet only one person. Oh wait that's right, I'm a learning coach, as they call us, not a teacher.
This isn't what I wanted: recreating public school in my home. My son loves robotics, electronics, science and technology, while my 5 year old son loves art and natural science. I don't want to squash this. I envisioned getting some basics done and having more time tailored to each's special interests. But we're too busy prepping for a test half a year away.
The other side of the coin is: I'm afraid to lose that structure and afraid our days will not be productive. I have a fear I won't even know what my kids are supposed to be learning, so how could I keep up? I find myself saying I don't think we're doing K12 next year, and even more recently I find myself saying I think want to stop now. I also feel conflicted about testing, is it a necessary evil? I'm not sure where to go from here and I'm not sure how to get there.