Three of the comments on my November 1 post about potential NaBloPoMo topics had to do with education. Swimmermom asked about picking colleges. My answer is not very illuminating: the Venn diagram of "colleges he got into" and "colleges we could (just barely) afford" contained exactly one school. Jody asked me to write about how much high school stinks, which makes for a short post (Jamie says: yes, it does; hang in there, Jody). And Rosemary asked about homeschooling.
I homeschooled for four years, motivated by my firstborn's tricky combination of adamantine will and superconducting brain. I was, frankly, kind of a nut. Last week I was flipping through an old file folder in search of his vaccine records and came across this record of a week in the middle of his kindergarten year:
"Finished Great Expectations!" enthused 2003 Jamie. I think if I had a piece of advice for my 2003 self, it would be to chill out. I was facing some pretty fierce grandparent opposition to homeschooling (from one grandparent in particular, who had a regrettable tendency to make stuff up in support of dubious assertions), and I felt the need to be a one-woman demonstration of the power of homeschooling. I would help them steward their gifts! I would enrich their environment! I would share the wondrous world with them! I would occasionally get really crabby and stressed out because I was trying to make a kindergartner and his third-grade brother memorize all 1085 words of The Raven! (Oh, wait, the crabby/stressed out bit wasn't actually part of the plan.)
Maybe the most important thing I have learned about kids and education is that I don't need to be quite so wound up about it. Kids are wired to learn: they're going to pick up things I don't even expect them to. Good luck with your decisions, Rosemary -- probably Bearing or Melanie B. would have more current advice about third-grade options. But I can tell you that it will probably work out fine, whichever way you decide to go.