Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo…

Yesterday, the Things and I trekked out to the Bronx Zoo for our first “official” homeschool event.  It was a class for 2-4 year-old homeschoolers, and of course a chance for them to “socialize.”  All in all, a disappointment.

Firt of all, I don’t drive anymore.  Between dealing with Builder’s Explorer (he’s one of the few people who can justify ownership of an SUV, but I still hate the thing) and dealing with bad New York drivers (see my post on Boro Park WMDs), I am sticking with public transportation, car services and walking.  Fortunately, car services do provide car seats.  (Hey, I learned something new!)  So we took a car service out to the Bronx.  True, there is a stop for the zoo off the 5 train, but who in their right mind is going to shlep two babies and a double stroller up and down all those damn stairs?

(Yeah.  Turned out the babysitter was a flake.)

So we get there, and despite the class being listed on Jewish Homeschoolers of NYC, I was the only Jewish family there.  I don’t mind my kid getting a little diversity, but I knew Builder wouldn’t be too happy.  Also, none of the parents, myself included, were actually homeschooling yet!  All of them had brought their oldest children, 2 and 3 year olds.  Some had decided they would homeschool, some were yuppie parents weighing their options, but none of them were really “official” yet.  (If your kid’s under six, you ain’t homeschooling.  Sorry.) 

So, we get to the classroom in the Gorilla House, and I could tell right away that the class leader was expecting an older crowd.  I guess she didn’t get the memo that everyone in the class would be under 4.  She expected everyone to sit still and listen, know their letters, and accomplish all of these feats without parental help.  Once she figures out that this group still has some members in diapers (including Thing 1), she has to switch gears very quickly.  So, she pulls out a frog puppet, which Thing 1 immediately covets.  When the puppet goes away,  Thing 1 lets me, and the entire class, know that she wannnnts it back.  Right at the top of her lungs.  Yeah, not one of our prouder moments.  I soon find out, however, that the yuppie parents have been dragging their kids to events like this for quite a while, and their little ones know how to behave.  Only one other member of the group has a younger sibling, and by younger, I mean practically Thing 1’s age.  So, not only am I behind on the “socialization,”  I’m also breeding too much.

After we match a few animals to the letters their names start with, then the fun begins.  We get to see live animals!  A chinchilla and a turtle put in an appearance, and I actually get Thing 1 to sit still long enough to pet both animals.  Finally, as little attention spans begin to wander, we take a tour of the Gorilla House.  After the class, I walk around with a couple of the other parents, and find out that winter is not the best time for a trip to the zoo.  Many of the exhibits are closed because of the weather.  So the other parents and I make our way to the giraffe house, and I find out that there’s an art class for toddlers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The 3-year-old “student” in this class lets me know that “Perseus” holds Medusa’s head.  And I thought Thing 1 was doing well correctly identifying the color pink.

However, the day wasn’t a total loss.  I did meet the mom who put the class together, and she is a real homeschool mom, in that her kid is actually old enough to be homeschooling.  We talked for a while about the logistics of organizing a meetup in Central Park for the homeschoolers on the board.   Finally, people to talk shop with!  How to find materials for limudei kodesh!  And, of course, how to navigate New York tricky homeschool laws!

Should I go back next week?  Naah!

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Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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