Twice a week, we make a trek to an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) public school approximately 45 minutes away. Forty-five minutes in a straight shot, an hour with traffic. There's frequently traffic.
There's a couple hundred students from grade 1 through high school. Many are on different schedules, different blocks, different programs, but all are attending there to complement homeschooling. That means that parents - or other guardians - are not only welcome, but encouraged and even expected to participate in classes. Every single one if they wish. But at the minimum, parents are expected to be in each of their child's classrooms a certain amount per month.
Not as volunteers. As teachers. Sometimes that means a parent sitting there with a phone in hand, scrubbing through Facebook while their child's class learns ten feet away. That happens, and that's the worst. But the best is when parents are in the classroom, roaming and helping and contributing to an encouraging environment for all; for all learning styles and personalities and bringing a bit of extra teaching assistance into their child's classroom.
Ours are in 3rd and 6th...and their little brother, 22 months, attends alongside, lounging in beanbags reading books, sitting at a big person desk furiously drawing, and sometimes, sometimes fighting enthusiastically to ensure his voice is heard when the teacher is lecturing. That's the point where I have become adept at attempting inconspicuous exits.
I walked through the library today and overheard two mothers talking in reference to their children's academic progress. My fave:
"...it's one step forward and fifteen steps back!"
I didn't get into the math of things with her, but I am reasonably certain her child is fighting a losing battle if that's the situation.
So basically, never give up. Unless you fall fifteen steps behind with every step forward. Then maybe rethink the situation.
As we walked out to our automobile after school, a nine-year old struggled along with his backpack, lunch pail, coat, books, etc. as he approached his car, where his mother sat behind the steering wheel, idling, rolling through her phone.
Mom! I need help! Come help me!
Mom looks up. Starts laughing.
MOM! I need help! I'm dropping everything!
Mom frames carefully with her phone and calmly screams at him as he limps forward.
I'm trying to get a picture, I HAVE TO GET A PICTURE OF YOU FIRST!
So much to unpack. I giggled and loaded our also-loaded kids, and we headed home; they dug through for uneaten lunch morsels.