What We’re Doing for School Next Year

Second grade homeschool or public school choices

All year, people have been asking if we were planning to homeschool next year or send Ella back to school.

And all year my answer has been, “I have no idea.”

This past year has been a good year of homeschool, but it’s also been an additional weight on me every day to make sure we got through most of our curriculum and really dedicated the time we needed to keep Ella moving forward academically.

I know some people are pretty laid-back about homeschooling, but that’s not my style – if I was going to homeschool, I wasn’t going to be happy with reading aloud a little and some mental math problems.

If Ella wanted to keep homeschooling, I was happy to keep it going, but if she wanted to go back to school, it wasn’t going to hurt my feelings a bit.

Every month or two this past year, I’d ask Ella what she wanted to do next year, and every time she said she wanted to keep homeschooling. She kept mentioning how bored she’d been in kindergarten and she didn’t seem to have any interest in going back.

So we were sort of planning on homeschooling this fall, but also keeping our eyes out for other options that might be a better fit.

We had some friends who sent their child to BASIS and absolutely loved it, and I’d heard good things about it when I read this book, so after doing a little research, we put Ella’s name in the lottery and in January, we found out she’d gotten a spot.

Immediately I felt like it was the worst idea ever. BASIS is known for being fairly intense, and I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted for Ella. Plus, it was about a 20 minute drive each way, which seemed like a lot of time in the car for the whole family. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t the right fit for our family, and so, two weeks later, when the deadline arrived for accepting or giving up her seat, we declined it and I didn’t think about it again. I’ve had zero regrets about not choosing BASIS.

So it looked like we were back to homeschooling this coming fall.

Then, about three weeks before school ended, Bart and I made the rounds through the district’s school options again. Our district is open enrollment, so as long as there is space, your child can attend any school in the district (which means that when Ella went to our neighborhood elementary school, many of the children she attended with didn’t live in our neighborhood or even particularly close to us).

Our district has a school with a Spanish immersion program and another one with a Chinese immersion program, and we started talking with Ella about those possibilities, and she suddenly seemed very enthusiastic about attending school.

We also discovered that one of the elementary schools in our district is an accelerated STEM project-based learning school.

One of my friends has a daughter there, a grade below Ella, so I started grilling her about the school and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about it.

The more we talked about it, the more this seemed the right option for Ella. It wasn’t too far from our home, it seemed like it’d be better equipped to keep her from being bored, and she’s always strongly gravitated toward both STEM topics and projects (which was the hardest thing for me about homeschooling, because projects are SO MUCH WORK).

We weighed the pros and cons of sending her there instead of to an immersion program, and both felt like this was the right place for her. And when we suggested it to Ella, she was THRILLED at the idea. Suddenly, all her previous enthusiasm about homeschooling was replaced with wild anticipation for going back to public school.

Enrollment opens early in the year, so I wasn’t sure there would even be spots at this point, but when I called in, they said there were spots in second grade and to come in and enroll her.

Two days later, we went to the school and Ella said, “Could I start today?” (No. I will not enroll you with six days left in the school year). Of course, then we discovered that those empty spots were all taken and she was now on the waiting list.

Fortunately, two days after school got out, we got a call saying Ella had a seat and she’s all set to begin at the end of July when school starts back up.

It’s going to be a big change for our family to have her gone all day after having her all to ourselves for the last almost two years, and I can hardly think about it without getting all weepy – she’s my little right-hand girl and I’m going to miss her like crazy.

But I also think it’s going to be a great year for her, with opportunities to really learn and excel, plus make new friends. She is beside herself excited and cannot wait to start up, which thrills me.

And I’m really looking forward to having time to spend with Ani working on reading and math (she’ll be attending afternoon pre-K next year too, which I think she’ll love).

And, of course, it’ll definitely take some pressure off me which I’m definitely relieved about.

It also makes this summer feel extra precious to me because I want to soak up every minute I have with all four girls at home with me.

I have no idea what we’ll do in the future – if she wants to come back to homeschool at some point or if the school turns out not to be a great fit, we’ll certainly reconsider, and who knows what we will do with each of the next three girls.

But for now, it feels like a huge relief to have things settled for this fall.

Second grade homeschool or public school choices

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  1. School decisions can be the absolutely most stressful decisions. That’s wonderful your district has so many options. My oldest will be 4 in August and headed to pre-school program that I am feeling good about; even after a horrible experience last September. I wish we had local stem based programs here.

  2. So excited for Ella and her new school. I have the same teary eyed, precious feelings about this summer, since Jay and Em both start preschool in the fall, and I’ll have time without them each day. I know it’s where they both need to be (especially Em who will get twice as much therapy at school than she gets through the county currently), but I still keep going back and forth on wanting to steal Jay for another year of homeschool to which Derek proclaims I need to let him go. Ah… cue the weepy tears.

  3. So glad you found something that will be a good fit for her, and so glad she’ll be doing something STEM-focused. As a former teacher (who was in the teaching world when STEM was not a thing the way it is today) and also as someone who lives in a humanities world (read: nose in a book, right brain, creative thinker, barely survived math/science in school), I think it’s so important that kids get a dose of everything.

  4. I find other’s school choices so fascinating so thanks for sharing yours! I love that you are open to more homeschooling! I was for 5 years in grade school and LOVED it, don’t think I’d be nearly as good as my (school teacher) Mom was though!

  5. This sounds so exciting and a good fit! I like how you are flexible with schooling each year. We try to be too. I wish we had these kind of options here. Addie’s school did just get a STEM designation so that’s good….I guess. Not sure what that designation really means. But there are ton of issues I have with the way her school runs their literacy instruction (read: they are married to the basal curriculum, they don’t spend nearly enough time with books in their hands). We’re going to try going back to full day in the fall and if it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to half day homeschooling.

  6. This sounds awesome, I’m so glad you’ve got something Ella is excited about! I have Henry on the waiting list for a brand new charter school nearby that has a STEM emphasis (also CHICKENS(!)) and looks so dang cool. Unfortunately I didn’t find out about it until all spots were filled. The public school in our new neighborhood has a Spanish dual immersion program that I wanted so much, but the lottery wasn’t on our side. 🙁

  7. Our district is doing the same thing: open boundaries and specialty schools. We have immersion, performing arts, STEM, accelerated, etc. The fact that my boys can walk themselves to the immersion school made a big difference in our decision making. 🙂

  8. Yay!! I just received my STEM endorsement through SUU! I have been working on it for the last two years! Good luck to her on this new adventure, I hope she loves it! I may be biased, but 2nd Grade is the best! ❤️

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