24 March 2009

kindergarten blues

Yesterday (or lasterday if you are Keira, my three year old) I realized that kindergarten registration began March 2. I had wanted to enroll Nyla in the all day pilot program. . . of course the deadline for that was the 13th. (Way to go loser mom.) I have heard good things about all day kindergarten and I know Nyla could manage the full days but going into further detail about that topic is now fruitless. Moving on. . .

I have heard mixed reviews about the elementary school for which we are in the district for. Mostly from my husband because he grew up in this town and likes to tell me that all of this friends that ended up in jail went to this particular elementary school. My sister in law offered to let us use her address to go to the elementary school that is actually closer to our home which scores a five star rating if you believe in this website that rates and compare schools. The "particular school" in our district scores a one.

I went to the "five star" school and picked up a packet and gave the snooty office lady my SIL's address. She oddly looked at me and asked which side of the street we were on. Turns out that her address is a border street and the folks across the street from my SIL are in the district but the side of the street she (we) are on go to yet a third school.

Feeling only moderately defeated I pack up the girls and we go to the "one star" school we are supposed to attend. It's a meek brick building with the playground invisible from the street, which I like so I shrug and optimistically charge the kids through the front door, aaaaand is smells. Badly. There is random crap all over the hallway and the office is a disorganized mess. I grab their packet and now I feel pretty crummy. I also feel pretentious and strangely guilty about it.

This is what's wrong with our current public school system. I want my daughter to go to a clean orderly school-an environment conducive for learning. I want the teachers to shower and dress nicely and comb their freaking hair (actual sightings from "one star"). We can't afford the artsy private school we prefer at $7,000 a year x3 and the other private schools are religion based which we aren't keen on either. But we do have the luxury to manipulate our current district zones and for that I feel lucky. For us the crappy economy has a silver lining: we have an undeveloped lot on the other side of town that no one, not even my husband the developer, wants anything to do with. So I will drive the 60 minutes roundtrip to take Nyla to one of the three best schools in our town. The guilt comes in because I think the kids that don't have another option except to go where the district tells you deserve clean schools and teachers too.

Good school aside there was an irrational (or very rational) part of me that considered homeschooling. An option which, for me, can easily be waved off with a, "I couldn't possibly. . . " I run a business. I have multiple children. I'm artistic which means I'm disorganized and suck at math.

That brings me to you people. E, I know you are planning on homeschooling, hijack the comments, what's your driving force? Crappy Schools? Curriculum? I am honestly curious as I think there are a slew of current and up and coming homeschoolers that will break down the stereotype that if you homeschool you are some sort of freak. And honestly I'm in awe of those people. Others who have school age kids, are you pleased with your school? Why or why not?

I have to go to bed now, dance starts tomorrow!

4 comments:

Sasha said...

I don't home school. I was a teacher, but couldn't teach my own kids. You might be one of the special few who can! We actually moved to get into a better school district. I am pleased with the school, but it is hit or miss based on which teacher you get each year. My oldest goes to middle school next year and that has me terrified. All of this aside, I work for a company that provides curriculum to home schoolers and actually has a virtual charter school in Washington where you could get curriculum, computer, teacher, etc. for free. This is NOT a sales pitch, just something to look into if you so choose. Like I said, I'm not cut out for it! Don't know if I can put a link in here, but go to K12 dot com. Good luck with your decision!

B said...

Sasha-

Thanks so much for the input. While homeschooling is appealing I don't think it's for us (or me I guess). BUT I do not expect my kids to get the the education I want from school alone if when we finagle our way into a good one. I certainly plan on supplementing their education with lots of weekend "field trips" to museums in Seattle ect. And I will definitely look into the K12 dot com for other good ideas, so thank you!

e. rene said...

oh B! what an interesting experience. i think i forget that here in iowa finding a 'good' public school, at least clean, is not so hard. i would feel the SAME way. ok, so why do i think homeschool works?
1-it takes A LOT less time to go through the same amount of curriculum at home as it does in a class full of young children. i see the public classroom (elementary most definately) as a sort of daycare. nothing against the parents who have to send their children there, i just see it as a HUGE waste of time. there is actually a book out there that talks about how they can get 'school' done in 1 hour a day and still stay on par with their peers.
2-i know how frustrating my school experience was & now that i'm almost 30 i'm still struggling to find a skill that i want to get good at. i believe had i had the opportunity to stay home and hone skills with my mom/dad, relatives or someone in a homeschool group (very cool resource) i would have had a lot more confidence going into high school and college (that is, IF i decided to go to college).
3-i believe the best teachers for my children are myself and their father. NOT that others cannot teach them and i will have them involved in other groups where they have other authority figures, but i do believe parents have the most patience and understanding for thier own children, which i believe is VITAL when learning.

about the 'i don't want my kids to be social retards' part of homeschooling, this has always been a concern of mine. i basically see it as part of my mission to prove this assumption wrong. it takes the perspective that sheltering your children is not best for them and the hard work of involving them in the lives of people from all walks of life, all ages. one big problem i see is friends who homeschool only really allowing thier children to hang-out with other homeschooled kids. stupid & boring. i don't see this being a problem for you.

i wanna talk more!! i think you'd be great!!

B said...

E-

I would love to read the book you mention, can you post the title in the comments?

I agree with you very much which is why public school can't be the only means of education for my girls. I also think it's awesome that you are forming your plan now while your daughter is so young. I just always pushed the school issues under the rug and now-ack! It's here! Nyla will be five! this summer. It went far too fast.