i work at a school that homeschooling families register with so that they can have a teacher work with them at monitoring their curriculum and do assessments (aka. report cards). this way, when their child graduates from grade 12, they'll be issued a BC Dogwood diploma whereas if you are a traditional homeschooler (no teacher), i don't think you get a diploma. you also have access to a grant from the government which they use for paying for curriculum but also they can use it to pay for gymnastics lessons or art classes - whatever relates to their learning.
i've watched my friend, kara, do this job for 3 years and another friend, heidi, do it for a couple years also. yes, two of my close friends work for this school. it seemed ideal. almost all from home except for 3 - 4 meetings a year for planning and assessment. when kara and her family decided to move to northern bc, she put in a good word for me and i was hired to take over her job. the school happened to be looking for abbotsford/chilliwack teachers in order to expand more into this area. i was SO pumped to get this job.
so what has made me so busy over the last few weeks? i'd had many of my family meetings back in july and talked with moms about the curriculum that they were going to use - i was ready to write their Student Learning Plans (SLP). but they weren't due until the end of september, so i let them hang over my head all summer and didn't do anything. this was one of the reasons i thought that i might not be the greatest at this job. i procrastinate. but i procrastinate mostly when i don't know what to do. at the end of august, i bit the bullet and wrote my first SLP. basically, i break down the resources into their course categories and figure out how i will assess them (scan two samples per week, present at home visit, etc). it sounds simple but not every parent wants to use a textbook for every course....of course! that would kind of go against the point of homeschooling. SO figuring out how they're going to teach each thing can be daunting. once i finished one SLP, it was like, "ahh...this is how it works!" i worked non-stop all of labour day weekend and managed to have all 17 students' SLPs finished in rough copy and sent to parents.
at the same time as working on SLPs, emailing back and forth with parents and my vice principal, i was coming up with ideas for other things i could write. one parent asked about an author of the month study - i said, "i can write one for you every month!" another parent didn't have any ideas for Health and Career Education so i said, "i'll create some assignments for you!" my VP said, "this student doesn't have much in the SLP that relates to his passions and interests - come up with something related to cars." "sure, i can do that!" and these extras seem never ending. families new to homeschooling like lots of input. families who have been homeschooling forever generally like working on their own. each student takes a different amount of time. it was estimated that each student takes about 45 minutes per week. i just got three new students last week so now i'm sitting at 20 students. that's (at a minimum) almost 20 hours a week! no wonder i'm feeling like i'm glued to the computer.
throughout the year, (ideally) parents email me weekly logs that let me know what their child(ren) have been doing the past week. i keep track of that info so that i'm prepared for the assessment meeting in november (and then again in march, and again in june) which helps me write report cards.
also, each term, i'll be teaching a 4 - 6week once-a-week class for grade 4-7. this term, i'm teaching electricity. i'm also signed up to teach a book club but few kids have signed up so far so it might not fly.
the nice thing about this job is that it's turning out to be great i got over the difficult start with the planning and i'm running with it now. the relationship with parents is very different than when you're a classroom teacher so i've enjoyed meeting all these families and am enjoying working with the moms who are excited about teaching their children. i am remembering how much i liked coming up with ideas for teaching and writing units - i get to search online for ideas and gather them together but don't have to teach them. ;) if i can get through september, i'm hoping it will be less daily work until report card season.
|my view from the office : ben painting at the little table over there - see him?|
i have been feeling badly that i'm spending so much time on the computer while ben plays on his own or with avery and i was saying this to my mom the other day. her response was, "you have a job but you're home with them. you're still there to make lunch, to give avery her bottle before her nap, and to hug and kiss them when they get hurt." this has given me some perspective this last week and encouraged me that this has been a good decision for us. i'm still involved in what i love to do - both for work and with my kids. i'm feeling very, very blessed for all that i have.