Friday, March 13, 2015

Don't Burn out Baby!

 OK so I am a mom. I love my children. I will do whatever it takes to protect them and make sure they are happy. So there's that. 

The past 5-6 months or so I have been stressing out about where the small boy will be attending school next year. He has been going to a private school since he began preschool at age 3. It is an amazing school. At 5 years old he reads long chapter books with expression and comprehension. He does multiplication at the meal table even though they are not formally teaching it in class yet. He is better at geography than I am. He spells words I didn't think was possible for someone his age. He can tell time on an analog clock. He knows how to count money. He has received an incredible education. BUT he is a perfectionist. He has high expectations for himself. He wants to be the best. He is highly competitive. Now I used to think these were attributes that would be PERFECT for a school like he is attending. But over the past few months I no longer think that. Preschool was an entirely different ball game. The kindergartners come home with 3-4 worksheets of homework every day. These usually take small boy no longer than 15 minutes to do. Lately it's two digit addiction and subtraction and fill in the middle number (37-__=17) papers, 1 or 2 language arts (I think they are working on "doer" and "doing" parts of sentences this week) and like a real life thing like money or time.  And then they have book work. Read a story. Answer the questions about it at the end. OK fine. 

I think it's starting to get to him. He's smart and knows the stuff and I think he's just tired of all the work. I can see him headed for a burnout. WHAT?! He's 5. FIVE. He can not burn out before he is even in a grade with a number in it! So when it became possible for us to kind of afford putting him into first grade next year we had a lot of thinking to do (this was like a month or so ago). And as of this moment and a few weeks before our answer is NO. Absolutely not. We tried for charter schools but the public school system in Vegas basically has every single parent trying to get into the same charters. Well we tried for 4 campuses. 2 were completely out as far as our lottery number. One is still a slim possibility (#5 on waitlist) and the last...well let's just say I hope they have their shit together as far as education goes because they sure as hell don't have it together when it comes to communication, deadlines, or even telling people the correct information. So I'm guessing that is out too. 

So small boy will be attending the public school we are zoned for. It's taken me months to wrap my head around this idea. Truth is that he is going to be bored. From what I have seen the things the first graders are working on now are things he has known for quite a while now. So he is at least a year ahead. OK. But here's the thing. He will get a chance to be a KID. HE can run and play and learn some g.d. patience. Not everyone is going to learn at your pace. Sometimes you have to wait for them. Sometimes you have to do that WITHOUT goofing off and getting in trouble. This will be a challenge. But there are a lot of things they don't formally teach in school that you will have to learn. 

D and I plan to supplement his academics in school with outside enrichment. I don't want to shove more academics down his throat after school. We will keep him in TKD where he can continue to learn discipline and responsibility and outside of that we plan to learn Spanish as a family. D plans to do science experiments with him and I plan to draw and make books with him (all things he is interested in now). If he asks to learn about something we will teach him or find someone or something that can. 

So in conclusion, private and charter schools: I love the idea of you but I am not stressing anymore. There is no reason to. I have an amazing and very bright little boy who will dominate any school he goes to. Would we love the extra resources other schools could offer? Of course. Can we, instead, step up OUR game as parents? Absolutely. Schools don't owe us a damn thing. We are lucky that we live somewhere that can offer our child a free education, no matter what they are able to teach them. And our kid is lucky enough to have us. Because we want him to learn. We want him to pursue the things he is interested in without pushing him to the point of a burnout. Bam. 

A Time I Had:

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