Sunday, August 29, 2004

Schoolish and schedule stuff

Both boys started school last Wednesday. Son1 (8 1/2) started his fifth year -- third grade -- and Son2 (4 1/2) started his first experience of school -- pre-kindergarten, 2 1/2 hours each afternoon. Both are enjoying school. Son2 happily tells us all about whatever caught his interest each day. Son1 seems relaxed and interested in his school stuff, a good sign, though not very talkative about it, as usual.

But -- on the third day of school Son1 already had a bad interaction with a kid who has been a bully in past years and was gone last year, but is back in Son1's class this year; I need to email the teacher today with a heads-up about the incident. We will NOT let this kid bully ours. Sigh.

Life was hectic this past week, and I give us all another week. Then I think the kids and I will be more adjusted to the new constraints and routine. I'll bring back The Story of the World at after-school snack time again, and offer some Cuisinaire rod work. Perhaps a bit of Miquon or Family Math from time to time -- or play more card games! If Son2 is still interested, we'll pull out the Bob Books again and alternate with "Little Stories for Little Folks" from CHC/Catholic Heritage Curriculum. Son1 really enjoyed those when he was first learning to read.

We have one car and are a transfer family to the school that used to be our little neighborhood elementary until we bought a house last year. We're now about 10 minutes' drive away, in another school's area. We transferred to keep the boys at that little school where we know many of the families and we know and like most of the staff, their morale, the way they teach, and so on. This means that I'm now puzzling over my driving schedule: drop off Son1, return home; take husband to work (10 minutes away too), return home; take Son2 to preK, return home; pick up both boys, return home; pick up husband from work, return home. Aack!

My goal is to do errands or MOMS Club activities or go to the library with Son2 most mid-mornings between dropping husband off and dropping Son2 off at noon. That way I can go home during preK and do whatever I need to do, yet preserve my reluctant-chauffeur sanity for the day. What's really funny is that the dropoff/pickups are only 10 minutes each way, but it's a big deal to me.

Re. homeschooling, I will only say that I would LOVE to do it, and 2 1/2 years after my homeschooling "aha!" I have become deeply resistant to being enmeshed in the schoolish way of life. And yet, here we are. Schedules, structures, constraints... that enable teachers to work with a large number of kids at once and try to support the kids who don't have enough or any support at home. Apparently slow support for my son where he is advanced in subject areas (far ahead in math and way ahead in reading). A typical self-preserving organizational hierarchy that goes all the way up to the school district. Et cetera. Things I don't like about any organization, and this one has my kids and, therefore, us. Thanks to homeschooling I know my family doesn't need this and can untie ourselves from this if we dare. That's all I'll say about that.

Son1 is interested in a couple of activities this fall: the upper elementary strings program offered by the university music education folks, and the city parks and rec league basketball program. Dear husband and I are keeping an eye out for announcements of the swim club tryouts, because we think he'd actually love the swim club. We'll see; they're all monetary commitments as well as time, and we had always said we'd limit the kids to one sports, one music, and one church activity. Yet with just one child involved it can have a huge impact on family life. I see why some parents direct their children to the same or similar activities.

The plan is to get more info on all of the above activities, we parents and Son1 discuss, and then we parents make the decisions. He's not quite old enough to acolyte at our church, so that's out at least until he's nine. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, that's what's up after the first three days of school in our neck of the woods.

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