School, But At Home

Greyson started kindergarten and Violet started preschool this week.

But neither of them left the house (except for mid-day walks in the countryside).

Or even put on shoes, for that matter (except for evening walks to the park).

They are now enrolled — without any arduous paperwork — in what we’ll call South Mountain Kinder-preschool-garten, conveniently located in the nexus between our dining room and living room. Their teacher is a warmly nurturing, hyperintelligent woman who was born in Washington, grew up in Colorado, studied English and history in college, reads nonfiction World War II missives for pleasure, and has an uncanny ability to remember… everything.

And I can already tell, just 3 days into their formal education, that this teacher simply adores both of the kids. So they’re clearly in good hands.

It’s a wonderful feeling to know that your kids are learning from someone who is deeply invested in their intellectual and emotional well-being, while also being deeply smart and intuitive. So I leave for work each day with a spring in my step, because I have that (and Greyson and Violet have that) in spades.

Danielle has known for a few years that she wanted to homeschool the kids, at least for the first year or two. And I, who savored my 2 years of being homeschooled in the late ‘80s, am fully on board. The Covid situation made this plan even more appealing to us, especially in our rural school district where masking has been politicized (despite the alarming Delta transmission rates) and is already creating bad blood between mask-averse parents, already-exhausted school admins, and Wolfishly vigilant governors.

So we’re very grateful to not have to worry about any of that this year. We’ll reassess next summer based on how things go at home, and how Delta (or Mu, or some other variant) has changed the landscape.

But I’m thrilled to report that our newly created school is running smoothly! It’s a work in progress, but Greyson and Violet are — each in their own unique way — natural students. They’re sponges for new information, and they both read voraciously without coercion. I’ll give a more detailed synopsis of what a day at SMKPSG looks like in a future installment.

For now, let me just say (by way of those cute signs kids hold up on their first day of school) that Greyson’s favorite things are animals, birds, and books. While Violet’s favorite things are sticker books, playing at the park, and her big brother. When they grow up, Greyson wants to be a zoologist and Violet wants to be… wait for it… a sea otter! Which I guess means that he can study his baby sister closely.

I’m awash in gratitude that our little zoologist and our little sea otter are in school, at home, learning from one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. And enjoying an enviable 2:1 student-to-teacher ratio.Much remains to be seen about our long-term education plan. But for the time being, what I know is this:

Home(school) is where our heart is.

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