juthwara: (Default)
Two months into school, K is lukewarm at best. Somedays, it's not too hard to get her out the door, others, there's a lot of crying and attempts to claim she's sick. I know part of it is that she's not a morning person, but it also happens on mornings when she's been up a while. She's usually happy when I pick her up, but she's going home, so of course she's happy.

Socially, she seems to be doing fine. She has complaints about a boy who sits next to her, but she has a best friend and a boyfriend, and I've seen several other kids hug her goodbye. Sometimes, when she doesn't want to go to school, I can get her on board by reminding her that she'll be able to go play with her friends. Other days, it doesn't help.

Part of the problem, I think, is that she's an introvert, and being around that many people for so long is just plain tiring and stressful for her. I know that she's going to have to learn how to cope with being an introvert in a crowded world, but surely there are better places she can learn than in a class of 30 kids in an urban school. She's also very shy about showing what she knows until she's absolutely sure she knows the answer. She often would rather say she doesn't know something at all than make a guess on something that she knows the answer to, but not confidently. This doesn't mix well with school. But I also got another big clue tonight when she said that she doesn't like school because she gets punished for not paying attention in class. To two parents who spent our primary school careers bored out of minds because class always moved to slowly, that's a big red flag.

So what to do? We're going to an open house for a local Friends school next week, but I have big doubts about our ability to afford it, and doubts about whether it's really the best decision to spend our limited money that way now instead of saving it for college and retirement. That leaves homeschooling, which I'm actually starting to warm up to a bit. Ironically, as much as I dislike homework, it's convincing me that done in the morning when everyone isn't tired and ready to go to bed, doing school work with her could be a lot of fun. There are online charter schools available here, so we wouldn't have to have the responsibility of planning a curriculum, but we could still go at our own speed.

The drawbacks, of course, is that K would be home all day. It feels like missing the point to say that I feel like I could homeschool as long as I had someplace to send her every day, but that about covers it. Even if I tried a lot harder than I have in the past, doing the things that would get her well socialized are profoundly uncomfortable for me, and I've more or less counted on having places to send her where she could get her socialization and I could get a break. Would it be totally weird to send her to an afterschool program?

This is the short short version of everything I've been thinking about the school situation lately. Sometimes I think we really need to find a new situation for her, other times I think I'm overreacting and probably projecting a bit too much and it would be bad to take her away from her friends. Sometimes I think it would be a lot of fun to have her at home, other times I think it would drive me around the bend, especially when I factor in trying to do schoolwork with an active toddler "helping." It all adds up to a big ball of inconclusiveness.
juthwara: (Default)
We have mostly come to a decision about kindergarten for K next year. I did some research on the public elementary school K would be going to, and it's really not that bad. We're in a fairly solidly middle-class area, so even if our school doesn't get any more money, the parents have more ability to be involved than schools in poorer areas, which can make a significant difference.* They also have an active music program, one of the areas I was worried about with public schools (she could start learning the violin in first grade!), and they have both a library and a librarian. With books. And I'm not being funny when I say that - there are schools in Philadelphia where they have a beautiful library room that was endowed, but with no books for it. And the early childhood education is in a separate building from the rest of the school, so although this school seems relatively safe, we have even less to worry about because the little kids are kept separate from the rest of the school. And as I said before, it's more the middle school and high school years that I worry more about in regards to safety. She's unlikely to get knifed in the first grade.

It doesn't look like even the cheapest Friends school will be financially feasible next year, so we'll hold off on that for at least a year, and maybe pull it out as an option if we get unhappy with her current situation. This is where I get mad at the mayor once again, because [livejournal.com profile] longstrider was supposed to step up in pay in January, but since his union is working without a contract while it's in negotiations, the mayor is claiming that the city doesn't have to give step raises. That's $200 a month we could find plenty of good uses for. It should come through eventually, along with a nice chunk of back pay, but I'd rather have it now. The car is going to be paid off in August, which will free up more money. And while I don't want to go back to the online job I left in June, I found a similar one recently that has a lot more flexibility in the number of hours I would have to work and when (my biggest problem with the last job was having to work four hours a day, every day with no flexibility, which made for some exhausting days when I worked both that job and at the library on Fridays). If I could only have taken Fridays off, I would probably still be working there). So I have to take a test to qualify for that, but I'm not terribly worried about passing, and hopefully that will bring in more money.

There's a long shot compromise option - there's a nearby charter school we've applied for. Charter schools aren't necessarily better academically than regular schools here, but there would be smaller classes and involved parents. They also have a big emphasis on community building and conflict resolution, which is a lot of what I wanted from a Friends school. Unfortunately, there'a a lottery to get in, and even if we do really well in the lottery, they have sibling preference. So I would be shocked if we get in.

Of course, the real question here is when did my baby get old enough for kindergarten?

*I've realized that there's no way to talk about this without sounding like an elitist asshole who doesn't want my pwecious snowflake around those icky poor people. But as I've said before, there are my ideals - that all children have an equal right to a quality education and it feels unfair to leverage my privilege to get K in an advantageous situation - and then there's the fact that I have a real, concrete responsibility to the non-theoretical child in front of me to prepare her for the world in the best way I can. And that means not sending her to school that would give her a bad education if I can send her to one that won't. It's unfair, but so is the entire system.
juthwara: (K)
We went to an openhouse for a local Friends school Saturday. It was a nice little school, with small class sizes and a good philosophy. It looked like the sort of place we could all be very happy with.

This gets long )

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May 2015

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