The end of the school year, finally!
Did I tell you that my son went to public school this past year?
Did I tell you that my daughter was in a regular Kinder classroom this year?
Although it was nice to have them both in school, there were definitely things I was not so hip on, such as having to wake up at 5:20 every morning just to get everyone out the door on time. And then after all the driving and dropping off, going to work. Such fun!
I had forgotten the dreariness of having to complete mounds and mounds of homework (even though new research has shown that homework, especially for Kinder, is for shit). Of constant deadlines and fundraisers and things I am supposed to volunteer for.
My daughter had a good year, but was definitely not without its bumps.
Her teacher, an older, highly experienced, practical woman with a Master's in Education, kept referring to my daughter as an "inclusion student." It wasn't her name or just "student" but was always prefaced with the word "inclusion." That bugged me, I have to admit. I am not sure what the dynamic in the classroom was, but if the teacher is going to "other" you, then that is for sure going to carry over to the other students. And to some degree, I think it did.
My daughter, the outgoing, friendly child who makes friends everywhere she goes, could not find a friend. This was brought up in multiple meetings, and the teacher kept prodding me to schedule a playdate with someone. But who? And when in the world does anyone have the time?
The school she attends is a lottery school, a science and technology magnet that is quite a few miles away, thus leaving us with no neighborhood friendships to be developed. That in itself is kind of a bummer, but I stand by my decision to keep her there.
My daughter can be very loud, very impulsive, and quite uncompromising. I am sure that didn't help her cause, either. She was referred into some behavioral group sessions as well, which I guess isn't that great.
By the end of the year, she had good friends, but it was tough to get there. I am hoping that next year the transition will not be as abrupt for her. Her former school was tiny, with lots of aides and teachers and a very small class size. To be thrown into a 30:1 ratio must have been difficult for her.
She did have an RSP who just adores her, and that is a big help. She is such an advocate for my daughter, I trust her completely on what is best for her in the classroom setting. We are blessed to have her.
Another part of the problem is that she is above grade level in many academic areas, and the teacher (yes, I know she was overwhelmed) did not know for at least six months that my daughter could even read, much less at about a third or fourth grade level! I tried to tell her, and I think she thought I was exaggerating. I wasn't.
As for my son, he was catapulted into the honors program in his middle school and I think he had some issues adjusting to the amount of homework. Seriously, if there was anything I could change, it would definitely be the amount of homework. I know there are some teachers who think it is vital, but I could not disagree more. There might be some students who need the repetition to cement the concept, but my son is not one of them. That is one of the beauties of homeschooling, tailoring the amount of work to how much the concept is not sticking. The one size fits all approach blows, to be completely frank.
He also was in the school orchestra, and by dint of being very tall, was given the string bass as his instrument. Despite having to wrestle it out of its closet every day, he didn't do too badly. One of the things his father and I really wanted him to learn was how to read music and play an instrument, which he would always resist. So I am gratified that he chose the orchestra and kept at it.
And he is 13, so we are getting a lot of eyerolls and being looked at as if we know absolutely nothing about anything. Usually my husband and I just wind up giggling hysterically when he acts like that, and 99% of the time, it infuriates him more. Maybe because we are older parents and just don't have time for that kind of crap. The computer being taken away is a big incentive, as most boys today live a large online life. Nice to have something that works.
Summer is now in full swing, and my daughter is attending a day camp run by the school district at her school (we got lucky, as it changes every year) and loves it. My son will be volunteering with our city's youth volunteer program and I am positive that the start of the school year will come faster than I would like it.