On Thursday, I looked into having the girls take some afternoon classes at a local school in town. The afternoon classes that we had been taking in town , have been canceled for various reasons. So, in order to get more exposure to Portuguese, we opted to enroll them in some classes at the small Christian school a few blocks from us where several of their friends are already attending. The girls were very excited to start. So, they attended classes the very same day that I inquired about our options. To make a long story short, Samantha had a great time--a nice teacher, sweet girls, and 2 hours of P.E. class--what could be better? :) Makaela on the other hand, had a miserable time--unfriendly teacher, four hours of sitting in "boring" over sized classes with little to no teacher interaction, and dealing with clicky girls who wanted to keep her in their "group." She disliked every part of it. We are going to try a different class this coming Tuesday and see how that goes for her. It's the class that she originally wanted to be in, but due to her reading ability, they put her in a more advanced class. However, she is not attending this school for academic reasons in the least, so we are going to bump her down to the kindergarten class where she can do more fun things like painting, story time, etc...she's crazy excited about this idea, as one of her "best" friends from here is in that class. We'll see how it goes.
The entire experience of the girls being at an "outdoor school" as we call it has been interesting. I have received many unsolicited, ignorant comments regarding how "great" it is that the girls are now attending a "school" where they can be "socialized" and "experience the real world." I respect the fact that these folks are speaking out of ignorance (as homeschooling is obsolete--not to mention illegal in Brazil). I am deeply thankful, that I have had the good fortune to be born into a country where I can choose how to raise my own children, a country where the government cannot take my children into custody because I have chosen to make sacrifices from my own career possibilities, and give my children what I deem to be a superior education at home. Here in Brazil, two boys who have been homeschooled in Sao Paulo are in the midst of a vicious lawsuit in which the country has threatened to take custody of the children for no other reason than for homeschooling. The children are well educated, and bilingual. The revoking of the parental rights is purely political. The belief that one person who has limited vested interest in a class can teach 25 students better than 1 teacher (a parent with vested interest) can teach 2 children does not seem sensible. That is why after all, private classes are sought after, right? The students who I teach at the local English School, pay a premium price to have a private class with me. Why do they pay more for one on one? Why does this concept not pass over into elementary school? Anyway, it is absurd that we punish the conscientious parents, and reward those with the herd mentality who make little to no purposeful parenting decisions. Parents should be allowed to be the parents--not the state. I personally support all school options--we need every sector. I am grateful for the wonderful public schools we have, the private schools options, and the hundreds of homeschooling curricula a parent can choose from. I am grateful that I can put to use all three of those options depending on the need of my children. I have had such awesome support regarding my homeschooling decisions back in the States--support from my family; from my friends who send their kids to public schools, private schools, or who homeschool; friends who are teachers in every sector; neighbors, etc...but, here it has been one attack after another due to the intense need to conform. I am truly thankful for America, and the freedom we still have--the freedom to be who we choose to be.