Okay, so I talked about how much I miss home school and already ranted about one of the things that worries me about being back at public school, but to be fair, there are so many things I am truly appreciating about being back I wanted to share my list. So here goes!
My daughter is exhilarated.
For Katie, public school is the bomb. The kids, the rush, the busyness: it was made for her. I think Junior High is the perfect fit. It’s so cool to see her so excited about school again. She tolerated me and my home school adventure. But now she’s alive with learning in a totally different way.
The consistency is blowing me away.
They are organized and consistent. The school has a few common strategies for teaching (a planner, Cornell Notes, academic language, Promethean Boards) and that consistency is evident when Katie brings home her class work. They are using the same language and the coordination is awesome.
The teachers are amazing.
I have always held public school teachers in high regard. There is no other job that requires people to do more with less on a yearly basis. Yet  somehow they are inspired to be more creative, to identify new ways to teach and to inspire kids to learn. I was actually worried about this school before we got there.  Then they hired an amazing new principal and so I relaxed. But I was an idiot. The teachers there are a hidden, incredible asset.
These men and women are teaching kids during the most difficult years of their life: puberty. Yet they are motivated, inspiring and thoughtful. Katie comes home with stories of (what I consider to be extreme) patience, persistence and insight. She’s learning about life from these adults in addition to the actual coursework. They are talking about college and drug abuse and relationships. It’s not political or charged, just basic good advice that many of these kids are hearing for the first time.
I am totally impressed.
Katie’s demonstrating real initiative.
However things are coming together, whatever the teachers are telling the kids and it’s working for Katie. She comes home and does her work. (Maybe a little too intensely but it might ease up.) What I am seeing is real ownership of her homework and a desire to please her teachers. It includes her preparing things for the upcoming day of school and staying organized at home.
I embrace the diversity.
I mean diversity in a few ways – ethnic, gender, socio-economic, aptitude, attitude, all of it. In home school, the group actually tended to be kind of homogenous (in a weird way). But now that we are back in public school, I feel like the mix of students better represents the mix of people you have to deal with in life. All kinds of people with all their quirks and foibles.  

I am glad to have Katie back in a more diverse population so she can learn to navigate through that complexity. If I truly want her to be a contributing member of society, she has to do that by embracing what makes us different, not by being isolated or self-selecting into a group of that are too similar.
I could go on, I am sure things will get better (or worse? – yikes!). But right now, I am choosing to ride the tide of goodness that is coming from being back in public school!