Bear With Me While I Obsess: School Tours Round 2

You are wondering right now if I’ve quit my job so I can focus full time on obsessing and complaining about my kids’ education. Rest assured, I have not.

My son emptied out his desk yesterday and brought home a meager 10 or so sheets of paper from the past few months of school. One was a holiday card he had written to us. It said “Dear Family, I hop you hav a grate krismas. Merry Krismas Ha Ha.” Heartbreak. If there was one word my son learned how to spell over the past 6 years, it was Christ. I can’t believe he left the Christ out of Christmas, addressed the card to “Family” and signed it “Ha Ha.”

Why do I have to do another round of school tours? Why is getting into a good school a “lottery”? What about those of us who never win things? The chances that I will win my kids a seat at a decent school are slim. The only thing I’ve ever won is a 6-week pass to a Stroller Strides class, and I’m pretty sure I was the saddest, dumpiest looking mother there and they set my raffle ticket aside for easy identification. This would be the quickest way for them to banish me from the smiling fit momma club, knowing I’d never follow through on 6 classes.

I’m drawn to unconventional ways of learning and institutional rule breaking. I’ve visited a couple of magnet schools focused on the STEM model of learning, an art magnet school which incorporates the arts into the district’s core curriculum, and a school for gifted and talented children. Next week I will visit a Christian school. I can’t decide which school is the best fit for my kids – I mean, will they be scientists, artists, social activist/engineers or pastors? And worse, will I once again fail to secure a spot at ANY of these options, and then they will just be regular kids? The last part of that sentence should be read in your sarcastic voice.

Last year, I was really excited to visit a dual language immersion school. At the last minute, I had a work trip and my PILL (partner in lawful living), had to visit in my place. Unfortunately, the school brought up unresolved trauma for my PILL, who excitedly reported back to me that the kids there are required to spend about 60-70 percent of their time in the “second language.” It brought him back to his early days of kindergarten when nuns beat him for not being able to speak English.

As I’ve been lamenting these past several weeks about my neighborhood school, I’ve also been reaching out to different parents to see how their kids’ experiences are at their various schools. All of their kids are loving their schools, yet all of them mention the difficult transition between the current school and our former private, small Christian daycare.  At this daycare, the teachers were amazing, learning was active and interactive, and according to my son, they didn’t have rules, had recess at least seven times a day (with access to 14 uniquely themed playgrounds) and could talk about God as much as they wanted. Two meals and snacks were included as part of the fee. I got to see my son’s teachers every morning and every night when I dropped him off and picked him up. He brought home enough school work and art work to fill a storage locker. His eyes sparkled most days and at the end of the year, he was honored as the “Number King” for writing his numbers past 5,000 over the course of the school year. Now he blends into a sea of khaki and blue and his teacher constantly reminds me that she can’t easily keep track of 20 kids and communicate regularly with all the parents when she has a class that large. Twenty? I will leave this here.

In conclusion, I’m praying for a miracle. That I will somehow find a school that my kids actually enjoy in their post daycare lives. And that I don’t have to have the “I’m going to drop of out school” conversation that I had the other night with my 6-year old for another 10 years.

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