Momversation: Private vs Public Schools

There is so much to be said on this topic. But Alice made a good point when she said that what can make a school good is often unquantifiable. Did I spell that write? Not sure if my school was any good.

Here is the dead truth about what I think is wrong with most public schools that NO ONE talks about: architecture. Seriously. One of the reasons I hustled and graduated early is because public school buildings are NOT built to the environment. They are created by the same people who build prisons. They are beat, yucky, not a place you want to matriculate, let alone take a dump. Sorry, but it’s true. I used to hold my sphincter in till after 3 in high school because of the gross bathrooms.

Architecture does affect people. One of my first reporting assignments I did in radio was to interview high schoolers from South Central in the aftermath of the LA Riots. These were the good kids. Not rioters. They were seniors who would graduate. But they said, basically, look, where we live is ugly. There are no trees; there are mostly liquor stores. It makes us feel disrespected that we live in this environment, so while we don’t think it’s a good idea to burn this place down, we understand why someone would.

I often think of that.

I mention my mother’s high school in this piece. It’s called Venture School. Her school is small, but she has helped many people over the years. But, you know, I’m biased.

Stacked Up: School Library

It’s a rite of passage of parenthood: volunteering at your kid’s school. I signed up for the school library, thinking that I can label and stack and organize.  Deciding on categories is tough, though.  We aren’t dealing with the Dewy Decimal system.  Ours is more like, “There’s a bear family in this book; oh, right, I’ll put the animal sticker on it.”

Those tasks can always be more tedious than one imagines.  Now that I can barely bend over, I might have to retire my library hat for while.  But the last time I was in the library, it looked fine.  Not my fault if people don’t put books back in the right places!  Here are other ramblings of a library volunteer.

Home Schooling

What would you say to a mom who says she might never send her kid to school? Well, the folks on Babble.com got an earful when one mom said just that. It’s called “Unschooling.” Now, I really try not to judge other mothers’ choices, but from personal experience, this was the nicest way I could say: BAD IDEA!

Bully Kids

Can you control your anger when another kid is mean to your kid? Would you be able to control your anger if no one else was watching? Do you wish you could say, “Hey, saggy pants, you want to take this outside?” I wish I were an animator; I could do something funny with that.

The sounds in the background are a teacher leading some 5-year-olds through a class… I didn’t notice any bullies, though.

High School Reunion

Actually, mine was a Junior High/High School reunion because I’m a product of an LA public, magnet, alternative school. My handwriting might be akin to a serial killer’s, but I’m a skilled critical thinker and free spirit.

My reunion was not in a ballroom at the airport Radisson, like they usually are. Instead we had a potluck at a big, pretty park, organized on Facebook. The last reunion we had was at my mom’s house (site of many great parties, since my mom was the original “Cool Mom”) ten years ago.

Vivien had fun with the other kids, but the only thing I didn’t like was how hard it was to look good at a park picnic.

Vivien for President

Parents, listen up! It’s never too early to plan for our children’s future, right? We try to put away some dough for rainy days, college, shoes… So while we’re planning their future careers, shouldn’t we also consider the future of our country? In this video, I lay out my plan for young girls to take over the world – I mean, the USA. Let’s start there.

The School Lunch Dilemma

Okay, this got a little choppy, but when I held up the potato chips there was a longer story there. Hey, it’s hard to fit it all in, in under 70 seconds.

My cousin Margo is a schoolteacher. She teaches elementary kids on a military base. According to her, lunch is a big problem, as the families are poor and the kids don’t get adequate nutrition. She actually has kids who come to class with a bag of chips for lunch.

The harried quality of this video captures how I feel on the mornings I forget to make something the night before. Other times, I really enjoy putting the meal together. It’s like an airplane meal. Little bit of protein, little bit of fruit, etc.

What are your favorite things to put in your kids’ lunch?

Happy Manners Day!

Just because I do not always have them, I do love good manners.  I think a little social order is a good thing. In San Francisco, where I’ve never met more men who will NOT open the door for a woman–even when on a date–could use a little manner review.  And of course, I am sure it comes as no surprise most people’s traffic manners are abysmal.

Well, lets start with some kiddie manners.  At Beverly Hills Manners there is a great survey to take.  Here is a sample question.

We live in a time where bad manners are running rampant. People are offending others without care. Here’s an opportunity to select your biggest manners pet peeve:

People who show up late without apologizing

People who fiddle with their cell phones and Blackberry’s during dinner

People who insist on using foul language

People who talk with their mouth full

People who do not respond to emails

People who cut in line

I chose “People who cut in line” which are yours?