February 21, 2013

Online Public School Valentines Party

This is a little late in coming, but I'm emptying out my camera card and wanted to share some shots from the kids' online public school Valentines Day party.  I wanted to share them for 2 reasons.

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First, I hear hard core homeschoolers ranting about the evils of online public school all the time.  When we made the choice to add a couple of public school classes to our day, I had people unfriend me on facebook, unsubscribe from my blog, and send me nasty e-mails about how much respect they lost for me as a homeschooler and to "Be careful of what you're giving up to get free art supplies from the government."  It felt like a sort of grown-up, cyber bullying in the homeschool community. And maybe in some programs you do give up some things, but every state has different programs and we certainly haven't given anything up for those free art supplies, and what we've gained has been great.  We've kept the curricula that we loved that has nothing to do with the public schools, and we've used what they have to offer that works for us.  

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One of the best things we've gained is that feeling of belonging to a group.  That may seem silly, but the kids love putting on their official school shirt and going to a party with 100 other kids in matching school shirts.  And I love that there are holiday parties planned with zero work on my part, and paid for by someone other than me.  This Valentines party was at the local bowling alley, so the kids went and had their card exchange in one of the party rooms and then bowled with their friends before playing some video games, setting up playdates for the next 2 weeks, and finally heading home.  It was fantastic.  And while we were there, we could chat with their "classroom teacher" if we had any problems or questions.  So for us, taking an online public school class here and there has given us a little bit of community and bonus fun time on the government's dime. 

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The second reason  wanted to share these pictures is because of that age old concern on behalf of homeschooled kids that they never leave the house and have no social life.  Well, surprise!  We do. Sure there are parents all over the place, but we weren't there to cramp anyone's style.  I got to chat with one of my favorite mom friends, Sally, while our kids bowled and sucked on lollipops from their card exchange.  Not a bad way to spend the afternoon; me with my friends and them with theirs.  I never got a great picture of the expanse of bowling alley all overrun with homeschooled kids, but you get the gist of it.  There are more than a couple of us and we do leave the house, sometimes all at once, and engage in a little frivolous socializing.  LOL!

So that was our big school related Valentines Day celebration.  We attended another party, smaller in scale, hosted by a friend at her church.  Everyone in that party was a member of a science club, except for us (we're in a science club, but a different one from the party goers) and we were just lucky enough to be invited by the hostess anyway because our kids are friends with most of the other club members.  So nice to be included!  And that one was a blast too!  Someone had glow sticks on their cards, so the kids all ran around crazy in the gym with the lights off, throwing their glows sticks around and screaming like animals while the moms sat in the relief society room and chatted about all sorts of mom things.

Well, that's all for today!  Seems like our holidays sort of bleed out for weeks, and I'm only now getting around to posting about them.  Ayyam-i-Ha is right around the corner, so we're gearing up for the next big holiday run!  More later!  

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