Friday, March 6, 2009

No Homeschooled Preschoolers Allowed!

When I was in school, my school participated in the Book It! program. It was really fun to get a free personal pan pizza once I had met my reading goal. I was pleased that Book It! was open to homeschoolers. As I went to enroll my two homeschoolers, I learned that only one of them was eligible. Ethan is reading independently and is in preschool (K4). He was ready to start this year, a year early, so I didn't see any reason to wait until he was "old enough." Book It! doesn't see it like I do. They have a preschool program, but only extend it to kids in a "state school," day care, etc. I called them, because surely they wouldn't be so narrow-minded. But they are. They make no provision for preschooled homeschoolers. I sent them this message:

I was thrilled to learn that Book It! allows home educated children to participate and was eager to enroll my kindergartner. I participated in Book It! in elementary school and thoroughly enjoyed the free pizza! I knew my son would enjoy it also. That excitement soon turned to utter disappointment. I home educate two of my children. The younger of the two is 4 and will not be in kindergarten until the 2010-2011 school year. Sadly, he is not eligible for Book It! Beginners because he is not enrolled in a "school." We home educators understand that a child's ability is not hindered or mandated by age. He should not be excluded for being intelligent or an "early learner." He works very hard and deserves to be rewarded. He is reading independently, fluently, and better than some children twice his age. I humbly request that you reconsider your policy in regard to home educated preschoolers and the Book It! Beginners program.
Respectfully yours, Elizabeth

Here is the response I received from the people at Book It!

Thank you for your email. The materials that are printed for the
BOOK IT! Beginners Program include a poster, cutouts, teacher and
parent calendars and several other helpful items for teachers to use.
At this time the BOOK IT! Beginners program has not been modified
down for individual use and unfortunately we do not have the budget
to mail materials to parents nationwide that read to their
preschoolers. We do have a wonderful web site with many ideas and
items that you are welcome to print off and use, however we would not
be able to enroll you as participating. I hope this helps you
understand our situation and look forward to you enrolling your
homeschooled children when they turn 5 years old and begin
kindergarten. Please let me know if you need anything further.
Thanks!

BOOK IT! National Reading Incentive Program
PO Box 2999
Wichita KS 67201
1-800-426-6548
Fax: 316-685-0977

Needless to say, I was not happy with the response that I got. What gets me is that Ethan will never be five years old and beginning kindergarten. He will be in first grade at five years old. I don't even really care about the silly posters. It was the idea of getting to take the kids down to Pizza Hut for a free personal pizza that was fun. I suppose I can just pay for it for Ethan out of pocket, but he won't get a fun Book It! clip or anything.

Okay, I'm done venting now! :P

2 edifying expressions:

Kristi said...

I don't blame you for needing to vent. Your preschooler should be awarded for their hardwork just like other preschoolers!

We do the Book It with our youngest and have participated the last several years. I also know someone that works for Pizza Hut corporate, AND, they homeschool. I'll make sure he gets your letter too!

:)

~Kristi

Tammy said...

That's a bummer. I remember participating in the Book-It club, too. So much fun! To this day, Pizza Hut is my favorite pizza.

I guess those programs aren't geared for homeschoolers. A four-year-old who reads independently? Preposterous!

:op