When I first approached my husband with an exciting work opportunity that would allow for him and our 5-year-old daughter Jade to leave New York City and spend a month or so with me in the city of Atlanta (my husband's birthplace), it seemed a far-flung prospect. But after further discussions and some careful checking on the logistics, we made the potentially controversial decision to pull our child out of kindergarten "move" down south to live with my mother-in-law.
My daughter hadn't hesitated. In her eyes, time with Grandmommy and her southern cousins meant a potential, perpetual party. So, when I asked her if she was okay being away from school and her friends for a while, she responded, "I spend every day with my friends. If I'm away, they'll have a chance to play with each other, and I'll have a chance to meet new friends, and that will be good for us all to have a change."
Leaving New York would mean warmer weather, time with family and friends that we didn't get to see more than once a year, and many more strip malls. But my main (guilty) concern was how we'd handle our daughter's "Home Schooling."
We'd been in touch with our daughter's teacher prior to leaving, and came armed with reading books, some math exercises workbooks, and a "How To" project that my daughter would do while her classmates did it at school. My husband even brought my daughter's brand-new violin with us, saying that she could be practicing what she just learned from her teacher in the four lessons she'd had before leaving. My husband spoke of the lesson time he'd spend with our daughter each day while I was at work.
Arriving home after my first day of work, I asked my daughter how her first day of "home school" went. She looked at me with a quizzical face. "Well, hon? How'd it go?" I asked my husband.
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Turns out, that first official day of home school was spent on a "field trip," to Zoo Atlanta. Apparently, it was too nice a day - in comparison to the dreary New York winter we'd left. I saw pictures of our daughter and her two younger cousins as they fed the goats. There was no written work that day, and no complaints from our kid.