Friday, August 16, 2013

School for the Young 'Un

I don't believe I've written yet about the school my youngest will be attending.

It's called Summit Christian Academy, and it is a University Model School.  This model is kind of a hybrid between homeschool and private school.  At the elementary level, students are at the school two days a week and home being taught by their parents the other three days.  Once middle school hits, that increases to three days a week in school.

There's a lot I like about this model.  I've talked to many parents over the years who really liked the idea of homeschooling but were terrified to actually be solely responsible for their child's education.  A lot of the parents I've spoken to from this school seemed to be in that camp.  This can give them the best of both worlds, in a way.

I also found that they use a lot of the same curriculum I did (or curriculum I would have chosen if I were going to spend the money on curriculum) and a similar approach to subjects that I have.  For example, for the last few years, I've combined history, literature, and writing into one big "subject" I've labeled Humanities.  They seemed to overlap so much, separating them out into individual subjects almost seemed artificial.  SCA does the same thing.

So, there's a lot about this school that I'm really excited about.  But I do have some concerns . . . or at least things that I'm anxious to see if they will work well for my kid.  The primary one: class size.  This is a relatively new school.  They started with early elementary grades and added on a grade level as the kids enrolled grew into them.  My youngest's class -- the eighth grade class -- is the new class this year.  And if she continues there, she will ultimately be in their first graduating class in 2018.  Kind of cool in a way, but it also means that she and her classmates are the guinea pigs that they're figuring everything out on. 

And it also means that her class is small.  In fact, with her, there are three.  The seventh grade class has three also (including the principal's daughter), and the two classes seem to do a lot together.  Considering that for the last three years, she's been a class of one at home, this is not as dramatic a change as you would think.  But if it turns out that she doesn't get along well with these other 2-5 kids, that could make for a miserable year.

It will also be interesting to see what her work load is like on her two days at home.  One eighth grade mom told me her daughter is done with her SCA work by noon and that she supplements with other work.  A seventh grade mom told me her son works until 4:30.  That's one of the advantages of homeschooling -- being able to adapt things to fit your kid.  I suspect my girl will need some supplementing . . . particularly in the literature area.  They do seem to be much lighter on literature than I have been, and it's important to me that my kids are well-read.

The other disadvantage of a small school: less "extras".  They're starting their first athletic program fall.  Cross country.  My daughter is participating, although after the first two practices this week, she's regretting that decision (she's not in great physical shape for this yet).  My oldest daughter's school offers a full music program, drama, yearbook, plus some media classes which my youngest would really get into -- and an athletic program that she would not.  I'm wondering if, by the end of the year, I will want my youngest to have access to all of that, too.

I'm also wondering how I will take to giving up so much control over my kids' education.  Yes, I still have more control than I would have if she were in a regular school.  I'm just spoiled now.  But who knows?  Maybe I'll get used to the burden being removed and end up liking it.

In any case, it will be an interesting year with SCA.  Classes start next Thursday. I'll fill you in as we go.  :)

1 comment:

Coram Deo said...

So happy you are getting settled. I can really speak for having children in a small/new/different approach to education school. I am so glad we made the decision to enroll them there. Wilfredo graduated from the 2nd graduating class in a class of 2. The work load was heavy at times, but this definitely prepared him to move on to Widener U next week :). The other graduate will go on to Rutgers for biology because she wants to go to med school. Both students were homeschooled in the elementary years, and had middle and high school at the school. I can say it worked wonderfully. So I am so hopeful for your daughters! In the extras sense...perhaps to many things add to many distractions to the young people. More is not necessarily better when you are that age, although the culture will make you believe the opposite. Godspeed!