To PTA or not to PTA
Erin Zammett Ruddy confronts the worries associated with joining the PTA.
October 1st, 2012
04:11 PM ET

To PTA or not to PTA

By Erin Zammett Ruddy, Parenting

( - That is my question today. Are you involved in your kid's school? If so, how much? As a new mom in the district, I'm being pitched pretty hard by the PTA. And as a chronic joiner/doer/over committer, I'm intrigued. But I'm also wary.

Alex has been in school for a week now. On Monday I went to a breakfast put on by the PTA—I mostly went just to check it out (and to avoid my deadline) but I wound up signing up for six or seven committees. Ack! Many of these "committees" are really just one event that you might help with—a Mother's Day plant sale, say—so it's not that crazy. Right?

A form also came home in Alex's kindergarten folder to sign up to be the class mom. I remember my mom being the class mom a lot and I loved the security it gave me to know she was so entrenched in the system. She knew the teachers, she knew the other moms, the kids, the school. She was also the CCD teacher, the Girl Scout leader, the carpool driver and pretty much everything else you'd find under the overarching title of Kick-Ass Stay-At-Home-Mom. I don't have the time or desire to be that much of a super mom (for now), but I do want to be involved. And the PTA seems like a no-brainer, right?

Are you involved in the PTA? When did you get involved and what's your experience been like? Would love to hear your thoughts and any advice!

Please share your experience in the comments section below.

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Filed under: At Home • Practice
My View: Common myths about home-schooled kids
October 1st, 2012
04:27 AM ET

My View: Common myths about home-schooled kids

Courtesy Gabriela OliveiraBy Alessandra Oliveira, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Alessandra Oliveira is a wife, mother, and blogger who writes about home-schooling her daughter on her blog, Adventures of a Homeschool Mom.

To decide to home-school a child is not something to be taken lightly. Parents have to consider the child's needs first and foremost. Other important considerations are curriculum choice, socialization, financial strain, time commitment, and personal sacrifices. One big question that needs to be answered is "Why do I want to home school my child?"

Among the reasons some parents choose to home-school are: Dissatisfaction with traditional schools, religious beliefs, bullying, ability to custom-design learning for their child, and a desire to spend more time with their children.

I started home-schooling my daughter when she entered first grade. I call myself an "accidental" home-schooler because I didn't really plan to home-school. I fell into it due to circumstances. Looking back, I know I made the absolute right decision for our family. While my husband and I are totally committed to providing a wonderful, supportive learning environment for our daughter, not everyone in our family has been as enthusiastic. I have faced countless questions, odd looks, even criticism about our decision to home-school. Some people try to be polite and offer advice; others will ask the most inappropriate questions. With time, I have learned to deal with all of this scrutiny and misguided input. I am now able to answer questions and explain my reasoning without sounding defensive nor apologetic.

I must admit that a lot of what I hear are things that I actually thought before I started to home-school. I had a lot of misgivings about home-schoolers simply because I did not have enough information. Here, I have compiled some of the most common misconceptions about homes-schooled kids. These are all things that I have faced along my own home-schooling journey. I hope to help dispel some of these misconceptions with a dose of reality from someone who's "been there, done that.”

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Filed under: Homeschooling • Voices