Supermoms Anonymous

Can I really have it all and why would I want to?

Back to School

on August 2, 2010

Here in Alabama, the neighborhood kids are getting ready to go back to school already. Monday, AUGUST 9th is the first day in fact. My kids are looking at me like I have lost my mind. The oldest asks, “What happened to Labor Day? Did I miss it?”

We sort of saunter into the school year. In June, we hit the local thrift stores to pick up practically new items at thrift stores, such as backpacks and lunch boxes that mom and dad had to replace most of the way through the school year.

In July, we cruise the Wal-mart school supply aisles, stocking up enough glue, pencils and paper to get us through the year (or sponsor a third-world school if we ever invent the truly paperless workplace).  In late August or early September, we go to “NOT Back To School” pool parties and picnics. Finally, by mid-September our home school co-op classes have started and we are already looking at ways to slow down the hectic go-go-go pace of activities, meetings and field trips.

At least, I like to pretend to be so casual about all this back-to-school funny business.  While the surface of the pond is calm and smooth, millions of things are happening below.  Plants are attempting to grow faster than they are eaten, micro organisms are planning their next conquest of the earth and aquatic animals are doing what they do best: eat, sleep and make babies.

So while my family is sorta, maybe, kinda toying with the idea of getting back into the routine of math books and home school co-ops, I am swimming around trying to get all my ducks in a row.  Scoping out interesting books, locating local groups for our interests, and – EEK – getting my paperwork done.  This year the stress of the official paperwork looms over my head slightly heavier than usual.  New state, new laws and regulations to learn, new cover school to choose.

Cover school…brings a new level of red tape to home schooling.  I will comply because I have not the time nor the quixotic strength to fight every instance of ignorance and inefficiency I confront in life.

Cover school: def – a middle man between the state and the homeschooling parent to act as buffer in case of public uproar, possible blame and idiocy.

The basic premise is that the homeschooling parent (yep, that’s me ) will enroll the students (my kids) in a cover school. The cover school acts as a church school (even though the kids will be with me, not in the church school). I report their attendance to the school (three or more forms per school year). The school reports to the state. The school also reports truancy or withdrawal from the school if the parent does not file said forms.

The minimum state legal requirement is the attendance report.  Attendance is compulsory, education is not (a.k.a. you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, at least not without risk of a horseshoe upside the head). The fact that someone has finally acknowledged this is a major triumph in the grand institution of education.

p.s. The word of the day is “red tape” (technically 2 words I know, but you get the point). In the 18th century, British government documents were bound in red ribbon (also called tapes) and we all know how much paperwork any government office produces. So I can only imagine how much red tape a single office worker had to deal with on a daily basis.  Maybe I should tie little red bows around my attendance reports. (Grosgrain or curly ribbon?)

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One response to “Back to School

  1. I do hope all my wonderful teachers and classmates from years past understand that I am not insulting education as an institution. I merely wish to highlight the fact that students only learn when they wish to learn. All the new buildings, teacher certifications and bells-and-whistle curriculum cannot force a person to learn. While these are wonderful things, they do not determine who learns the most. The cost of education is not directly related to the level of learning.

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