Friday, July 30, 2010


Boy-o has been attending a morning summer camp at the local Y this week, and though clearly loving and thriving on it, he has also been much more tired and moody this week.  It made me start to feel a bit nervous about our decision to send him to pre-kindergarten this September.  This decision is a bit trickier for us, as Boy-o is a December baby, meaning that he could start either a half year "early" or a half year "late."  The question being: when he's in high school, do we want him to be the one buying the beer for all of his friends, or will he be the one depending on others to buy the beer?   We chose the latter, not because we're opposed to him buying beer later on, but because he seems ready for much more stimulation than I am able to give him at home these days.  His joy at attending summer camp programming seems proof positive of this.  (And truth be told, the kid is so frickin' tall, he'll likely be buying everyone's beer anyways!)  BUT:  the moodiness and tiredness has me worries that perhaps his intellectual and emotional growth aren't necessarily working along the same ahead-of-the-game curve.

There are so many questions involved in whether or not kids are ready for school, and what kind of school (or homeschool) environment is right for them. Are we sending them too soon?  Too late?  Are they intellectually AND emotionally ready to start?  How will the teaching philosophies affect learning?  How does the philosphy actually translate into the classroom practices?  Is it laid back or rigid?  Too laid back?  Too rigid?   What are the hours?  How many days a week is too much?  What does the discipline policy look like?  How does it coincide (or not) with how we do things?  How is the classroom set up for kids who are kinesthetic learners (learn through movement and activity)?  These are just a few of the questions we started out with in looking for the right schooling environment for Boy-o.   And then we had a few extras that lots of other folks don't necessarily have to worry about (but SHOULD anyways), like, how do families get talked about in the classroom?  Are the teachers going to go out of their way to make sure my child doesn't feel left out or ashamed when talking about his family?  What is the school policy on homophobic bullying?  How does this work in practical terms in the classroom?  The list could go on forever, particularly here in ole Redneckville, which makes me concern about the aformentioned questions soar off the charts.

On the plus side, we've found a school we're really pretty excited about, (even though it means a 20+ minute commute each way, each day), and though the school runs for 4 days out of 5, we aren't too concerned about him sitting out any days that seem too much for him.    And we're pretty chill around whether he moves on to kindergarten next year, or does another year of pre-K.

So I guess there's not much to do now but wait and see how it all comes out in the wash (or, erm, at the liquor store)...


  1. For goodness sake, teach him early on not to buy those horrendous cocktail peanuts on the counter on the way out of the liquor store.

    There are lots of decisions to be made when a person decides to send their child to school. Most of the time, people don't even ponder the choices. They sign the kid up for the nearest one as soon as possible, walk up to the door on the first day and relinquish their child.

    With the amount of thought you've used to approach the idea of education outside the home, I don't think you have a whole lot to worry about. Except maybe those peanuts. Definitely to guard against.

    Seriously, it sounds like nothing is etched in stone, and that you're perfectly willing to make changes when they're needed.

    We really could use more thoughtful parents in the world.

  2. I just don't feel like I'm finding the right school anywhere for Imogen. The Glenrose school seems awesome, but she's got maximum stay of 5months there. Then what? Boy-o's school is full (I checked into it after hearing about it from you)... I would LOVE to homeschool her, but she's a kid with a social disorder... she NEEDS the practice of being around other kids a whole awful lot.
    I used to think that the parenting gig would get easier, or at least less draining, as the kiddos got older.
    Not so much.

  3. T and I have about 4 years to think about this, but the other day we were daydreaming about starting our own little charter school for children from fairly left-leaning families. A little oasis of a community, embracing kids of all abilities with tons of parental involvement from the ground up. Inclusive classrooms with energetic, innovative teachers who understand that variety and diversity are the norm in the real world, so why not in the classroom.

    Then we considered the numbers of left-leaning parents in our city and realized that we weren't really talking about a school so much as a large, diverse, multi-age home-schooling classroom (which actually has its merits too - food for thought).

  4. Kate- that sounds like school heaven :-) We checked out Caraway, which is the local lefty-leaning home-school-y type school in Edmonton, but decided it was way too unstructured for Boy-o (and for me!) to deal with. There's a fine balance between too much structure and not enough... Man it's tricky.

  5. Since I read the "professionalization of parenting" post first, I now have the radar to call this one 'the professionalization of choosing a school'. ;-) I'm going to go and stress out about all of the things I've been putting off thinking about. -J Mac