At the end of Part 1, all seemed peachy with our girl in a public Montessori school. The problem is, it wasn’t. At all.
School just provided a new set of issues to deal with. First was an assistant teacher who yelled and was impossible to please. After a year I finally asked to move to a different classroom. Then there was the chunk of time where my child was acting out with terrible behavior and the consequence was always to take away her recess time. Are you kidding me? The kid had energy to burn. She was thriving academically but emotionally she was crashing. HARD. As a side note, this was also when we figured out she had food sensitivities. All those “snacks” they get at school. They are laden with dyes and preservatives, which caused some hellacious reactions in my girl. Basically, the food she was getting was setting her up for failure.
Then, the Metro School Board decided to move to a “balanced calendar” which meant chopping summer down to a measly 8 weeks. This warm-weather loving gal was having none of that. Kids spend SO much time in school. I wanted my kiddo to have a break. Heck, I needed a break. School is tough on us mamas too. It’s all that up early, uniform washing, lunch packing, PTO meeting, fundraising, school supply buying, car line sitting, folder checking, form signing, suck up to the teacher business. It’s exhausting! We need time to kick back and have fun.
So, I went round and round with the Board over the calendar. Twice! During this process it became apparent that the school board could care less about the well-being of the student body as a whole or parent opinion for that matter. In both cases, they passed their agenda which mainly focused on how to help the minority rather than the masses. Basically, the average family didn’t count.
Next, I somehow got elected to the PTO Board. I say that in jest. I totally wanted to participate. I was dedicated to the cause and wanted to be involved in my daughter’s school experience as much as I could. I thought I could make it a better place for her. Well, let me just tell ya, there’s a whole new level of sucking up to be performed when you’re on the PTO Board. You have to be political. Like it or not. You hear about crazy things that go on behind closed school doors. You have to consider the effects of every decision. Don’t get me wrong. The Stanford PTO is Ah-maze-ing!! Truly. They collaboratively accomplish exciting things for the teachers, staff and students. But it’s a part of my disillusioned experience with public school so I thought I should mention it.
This year, we “flew over” and moved from a Primary Classroom to an Elementary Classroom. Y’all, 1st grade is no joke! I had been warned this was a big transition year. Sure, okay. Um, it’s like the transition from young married to first child. It rocks your world.
The first strike was homework. I was a #homeworkhater from Day 1. School gets my child for 7 hours a day. By the time I manage to chauffeur her, feed her, clean her, clothe her, and put her in bed, I get about 2 hours. Heaven forbid I let her participate in an extra-curricular activity to gain some perspective and experience outside of those school walls. I’ve now practically scarified my entire evening with her. Oh, but wait. She still needs to do more school work. At home. I could write a whole post on homework. Plain and simple, it’s for the birds. I would rather be baking. Now, that’s math and it’s a life skill! Plus, it’s just plain yummy and fun. 😉
We actually ended up opting out of our church’s Awana program this year because our schedule had just gotten so ridiculously busy at night. She needed the downtime. We all did. I still felt that scripture memory was important so I owned up to my responsibility as her spiritual teacher and we started having Bible Club at home. It was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. We memorized God’s word in a manner that was easy for both of us to learn and we went at our own pace. It was super sweet and fun. It made me think that maybe, just maybe, I might want to have more time to teach her things. Important things.
Stay tuned for Part 3. I’ll talk about strike 2 and 3.