Monday, September 20, 2010

No longer homeschooling

This time I'm not making any promises to keep up posting on here.  Seems like every time I do I disappear for a 2.5 years.  Sorry about that. 

This post is basically an update on what I've been up to.  The girls are 9 and 7 now.  The nine year old was in Connections Academy from ages 5-8, so basically from Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  Last year in the 3rd grade she had to go to a local public school for 3 days to write the FCAT and she said she enjoyed the experience and wouldn't mind trying out going to school for a year.  Since she said that, I decided I would definitely give her the opportunity to attend school. 

When my youngest was 5 I tried my best to get her into Connections, but due to funding cuts and weird new Florida rules, they stated that she needed to have attended a brick and mortar school for at least one year before they can accept her into the Virtual School.  I wrote so many letters to the Superintendent but unfortunately nobody could do anything.  I purchased the Calvert Homeschool curriculum for her for two years but it became increasingly difficult for me to try and teach her because I was so used to the structure and organization a virtual school brings into our lives.  Things were often chaotic and with her temperament and tendency to get frustrated easily, at times I was at a loss for what to do. 

That's why this year I finally decided to register them both into the local public school.  I have a very sweet and dear muslim neighbor whose children also attend the same school and she gave the school rave reviews.  My 9 year old is also in hijab full-time now so that was also a bit of a worry for me.  However my neighbor's daughter also wears hijab there and has been for many years without any issues or problems. 

I remember the first day we went to register.  We were sitting in the office and the principal approached us just to say hello.  He's very sweet and friendly.  We told him that we were registering our daughters and they were always homeschooled or virtual schooled so this will be their first time actually going to a school.  He reassured us and really made me feel at ease.

I had my 9 year olds transcripts and FCAT scores from last year on me, so he asked to see the FCAT scores.  When I showed him he was so surprised and happy.  He said these are the highest scores you can get and asked to make a copy.  Because of those scores they've placed her in a special gifted class for 4th graders.  All of the students in that class have high scores and the work they do is of a higher level.  I can already see it in the homework she brings home.  She really is enjoying every aspect of that class, which I'm quite suprised about.

I remember my little girl when she was only 3, so shy and quiet.  Now she is so talkative and friendly and outgoing.  I thought adjusting to school would be tough for her, but she has managed really well and talks about all the friends that she has made.  The gifted class is really challenging her and I was happy to see the books that she has been assigned are much higher than her grade level.  I will talk more about that in future posts.

My 7 year old on the other hand, she really didn't want to go.  But I explained that only this year you have to and I will homeschool you again next year.  The first day she was fine, the second day was not bad either but then after a few days she started missing being home a lot.  She had some problems with being able to finish the math tests on time since at home she was never really timed before.  So the first week took some time for adjustments and I spoke to her teacher but now, Alhamdolillah, things seem to be going well.  She's really liking school she says.

They both say they might even want to attend school again next year, but after that my eldest will be in middle school so most definitely they will be homeschooled once again.

I think I rambled enough in this one post.  I will definitely blog more now that I have more time to myself.  I'd like to discuss more about what we did during Ramadan, their current Madrasah and other updates that I feel like sharing. 

I'd like to add, I had closed this blog down for over two years but every once in a while I would still get contacted about it, so I really appreciate the support I get from you guys.  I have changed the blog a bit.  I ended up deleting some personal posts, didn't think they were that necessary to keep and also updating some links and such on the sidebars.  I've also added some books on the side that I recommend for reading, especially if you are looking into homeschooling.  I will try and change that up every once in a while.

Time for me to get some sleep, but I have to admit....it feels nice to be writing again. :)