School Daze

So, I’ve started visiting schools for Vivien for kindergarten next year. I’m only looking at public schools. Even pre-Madoff we were always go to go public for elementary. I don’t know why… guess we love rusty water fountains, or maybe paying $25,000 for kindergarten seemed a little outlandish even when we could have. And in LA one needs to save the pennies for high school. The school in our area is considered good, but in LA there are also magnets, charters, open enrollments. Basically, through a ton of parental involvement, some crappy schools have become good ones, and there is more choice than years ago.

Okay, so question: am I only the only one who gets kind of sad and or anxious when looking at schools? I think it’s twofold for me. 1) I start worrying about making the bell as if I was the little kid again. And 2) I am seeing some good schools, and while I’m excited for Vivien, I’m sad for what I didn’t have. My schooling was a tad chaotic. I went to a few, and I think there was less structure and fostering of various talents than there could have been.

Was that diplomatic enough?

I also had a yucky time in 1st grade, which, kid you not, bothers me to this day. I also feel like a bit of dumb dumb sometimes because of holes in my education. And there is nothing like having kids to point this out. After 5th grade when I offered Oliver help with his homework, he began to respond with what I can only describe as a smirk.

“No, that’s okay” when he really thought, “From you?  Are you kidding?”

And my handwriting does look like that of a serial killer. I left traditional school after 2nd grade. At that point we had learned cursive for the first half of the alphabet. I went on to go through Lord of the Flies academy after that, so I never properly learned the other half. There are other gaps as well. On the good side, I did gain a lot of sass, which is pretty much what I have run on since.

It’s something I didn’t think about when becoming a parent, how putting my kids in school would make me wish I could have an education Mulligan (for the golfers out there).  But of course I can’t do it over and only hope I chose correctly for my kids.

Uh, we really have to be there by 8:05?

8 thoughts on “School Daze

  1. 8:05? That’s a walk in the park, we have to be in place before 7:35 when the bell rings.
    Oh, and it’s cold and dark here at 7:15. So, I’ll be having waaaaaay less fun than you.

    What does Viv get excited about when she sees a school? That’s her style of learning: is it visual, sensory, etc? I checked schools based on how my kids would feel when they were there. You can see it in their faces.

    Good luck! Have fun!

  2. I would guess helping with homework will be your education mulligan. I remember my mom studying the encyclopedia (pre-internet days) so she could learn enough to help me with my homework. Now that I have a son of my own I am already looking at those little one sheet study guides to brush up on all the stuff I never really learned in my lame schooling experience. They were so interested in making sure they had good graduation rates that we got better grades than we deserved most of the time.

  3. I think Alexandra had some GREAT advice about paying attention to your child’s learning style and trying to go with a school that will appeal to her. I’m not quite there, yet, but that would definitely be something I keep in mind for the Bitlet.

  4. My son did private montessori kgarten and then on to public school for first grade. I was very glad I had signed him up for township soccer in k-garten. It gave him and us a chance to get to know other kids in his soon to be school. It gave me a chance to learn about the teaching style and school culture and he was thrilled when he knew three kids in his class on the first day.

    As for the homework, never let them see you sweat. When I started to struggle with math in about 5th grade my mother blithely said “well I was NEVER good at math and you are a LOT like me…” I of course took this as a pass to suck at math. Which I do, till this day. But I have decided that my kids will not know and I will use their education as a chance to bone up my skills. And I will NOT give them the pass to suck based on my knowledge or lack thereof.

  5. very good point about not passing on our flaws. And I like the glass half full attitude some of you have about learning from your children’s school work.

    I’m not sure what her learning style is yet. She doesn’t like disorder in the classroom or in her sports class. So I think she she likes some structure. She is very social. hmmm, not sure.

  6. Ah, Kindergarten. We just wrapped up the first quarter of Kindergarten and parent/teacher conferences with our son. talk about feeling like you’re in the hot seat. I was a classroom teacher before he was born, so I thought it would be so easy to be the parent— nope. Sometimes I feel like I know too much. I read between the lines of every comment from the teacher, feel like I’m constantly trying to get a read on the teachers, staff, etc. My son is in a wonderful public school with a strong staff and a great teacher and I still spend lots of time wondering if he’s doing well (his teacher says he is), if he’s making friends, if he’s happy, etc.

    On the plus side, he does really seem to LOVE school and he’s made some really good friends. It’s fun to get to know other parents and to have a new social circle. I think the thing to remember is that there are very few high school students who can’t cut with scissors or write neatly— Kindergarten really is about allowing the children to feel good about themselves, learning, and building a good foundation for future years. (Even if I obsess over every paper he brings home and checked and double checked his report card.)

    p.s. OMG. 8:10 is SO early. And, it’s not gotten easier. At first, I felt pressure to be fully dressed and “cute” (pulled together) even though I never get out of the car in the carpool drop-off lane. Lately? Zip up hoodie over my pj’s and slippers. Sheesh.

  7. sounds like a good outfit to me!
    Thanks for this Heather. It ‘s hard to know when you are over thinking it. I agree, I want her to feel confident so she continues to like school.

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