Thursday, August 4, 2011

off

Sure, we're spraying it to keep the mosquitoes from draining us every night.

My balance is off, too. I rolled my left ankle at karate and it's swollen up like an apricot on the side of my leg. It hurts when I bend it wrong. I know, I know. Quit bending it wrong.

I've signed off on sending Team Testosterone to parochial school. It was a decision we reached earlier this summer, but certain people deserved hearing the news in person, not via the grapevine. A tough call, I feel like I'm bailing on public education, never in a million years would I have thought I'd send my kids to parochial school. But that was when I was a teacher, a taxpayer, an average citizen. Now I'm a mom and it's become a personal choice. Factors weighing in included my philosophy about kids and learning and how the entire process should not be skill/drill but rather employ higher level thinking skills and develop their curiosity and talents. The public school is all about "How fast, how many?" and they like the kids to fit into a box, any kid who thinks outside of the box isn't encouraged or supported. This philosophy is driven in part by testing and in part by teachers to whom things have come easy. If I were an administrator, I'd like to see at least one B or C on a new teacher's transcript because it would demonstrate that they struggled at some point in their education. Struggle develops empathy and better teaching methods. The straight-A gang of teachers tend to be baffled by kids who struggle because they have no concept of what that means. They lump it as "lack of effort" or shrug their shoulders and write the kid off as a failure, but they don't think outside the damn box to address the issues. I believe in authentic assessment, testing kids to see if they understand the concepts. I'm seeing a lot of good things at the parochial school down the road, I want all three of my sons to have access to the same quality of education, regardless of their learning styles, strengths and weaknesses.

I also have three sons who think outside the box and I want that to be celebrated, not frustrated by their teachers. I like sending my kids to school in a uniform, I prefer the rigor of the curriculum at the parochial school and the administration over there kicks butt. A little liturgy every week is a small inconvenience when there's so much to be gained.

I'm still spouting off to the school board, however. The superintendent has finally presented the teachers with a contract. Box or no box, some of the terms of the contract are shitty. I can still support the public school even if I'm opting out of sending my kids to it.

I'm laying off the blog a bit, too. Regulars probably notice. It's summer. We're busy. Just like everyone else. And I'm trying to keep my kids away from TV/video games so I need to set a good example, right?

Now I'm off to clean the fridge where something smells a bit off. (Come on, you totally saw that coming.)


28 comments:

  1. I'd send Moe to private school if we could afford to do so. The church affiliated schools here are way too conservative for me, or they are out of reach by distance or cost.

    Moe started at the new high school today. I'm crossing my fingers and trying to stay on top of things, it's all I can do.

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  2. Had the money been available I would have sent my daughter to private school. The public schools on both sides of the country are seriously lacking. Charter schools are picking up some of the slack but it’s still nearly impossible to get a good education at the public school in or near any major metropolitan area.

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  3. Will miss reading your blog, but the boys come first and enjoy the summmer with them. It is great that you can support the church school in your area.

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  4. I totally understand the debate over private/public schools. My kids are in a private school. We love our school, the public schools here are just so not good in so many ways. I still feel like I should be doing some thing to make education better for everyone.

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  5. I understand your decision to opt for parochial school, and your kids will probably be very successful there. Our children went to public schools; each parent needs to consider the options and decide, as you did.

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  6. We are fortunate enough in Wisconsin to be able to have so many choices in good schools. Our public schools are great, but parochial schools get to offer such a different way of teaching because of the smaller class sizes. That is a HUGE bonus. But when my sister moved back to WI from VA she couldn't believe how much better the public schools are here. Her poor girls were so far behind the other kids here and had to do so much catching up.
    We really are lucky with our public school system, but of course it has flaws too, as you know. So glad that the parochial school is able to give your boy what he needs. Awesome.

    How do the other two boys feel about joining the parochial school? It can be a pretty big change. Nice that they have brother already there to help them transition. :)

    Hope your ankle feels better!

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  7. Up here, our public schools seem somewhat in line with the catholic schools, so I'm okay sending my son to public. I kind of have to be because the catholic school principal is "uncomfortable" and "concerned" with me sending my son there... it's about me, not my son -- she made that clear. Guess I shouldn't say EVERYTHING that's on my mind. :D

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  8. I could echo your comments exactly. Philosophically, I'm a strong supporter of public education, but I also want the best education I can get for my child. So she's in a small, secular, progressive school, where the teacher to student ratio is 1:12, and they do authentic assessment. I'm grateful we can afford it.

    The public schools in my area are really, really, bad. I get those students at the community college where I teach, and it's scary. Our college teaches more remedial math classes than college-level math classes, and it's close to that with remedial composition classes. I wish I could see a solution to the problem of public education, but I don't.

    We are negotiating a new contract at the college this summer, and it's not going well either.

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  9. i totally agree with the private school route. if i'd had the money when mine were growing up, they'd gone to private/parochial schools, too. i home-schooled keith one year with a christian-based program and it was good. i should have continued it.

    hope you enjoy the rest of the summer with the boys and we'll see you when we see you!

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  10. The public school you've described reminded me of how much life is like those not so good schools.
    For some reason we haven't had much in the way of mosquitoes this year (Oklahoma), but we have tons of every other critter. I've been spraying so much spider/scorpion poison that I will probably develop some sort of cancer, but hey, I just can't sleep thinking of scorpions.

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  11. Every child's educational needs should be appraised carefully and individually. Yay, you, for doing just that.

    Thankfully my kids have done well in public school, one of whom is an out of the box thinker. In fact, he has done the best. He's had some inspiring teachers. Yay, us.

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  12. "the entire process should not be skill/drill but rather employ higher level thinking skills and develop their curiosity and talents"

    Really? No, doesn't fit with the testing environment now permeating our schools. Sounds like your kids are on a good track. Hope you found that smell in your fridge.

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  13. Well, I've certainly missed your blogging--but from my own issues, not your having a summer. Sending your kids to a religion-based school means that they'll start being measured by a different standard of "No Child Left Behind," eh? What George W. Bush couldn't measure, God can. Or something like that. Our kids are switching to a school this year that has uniforms, too--a whole new world there.

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  14. Keeping them off video games . . . I used to try that. Now both my boys are making a video game app for the phone ;)

    Sometimes it pays . . . in the end.

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  15. You got good points there, so I always check your site, it looks like you are an expert in this field. keep up the good work, My friend recommends your blog.

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    rachat credit rapide www.rachatdecredit.net

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  16. I applaud you. I used to think that it was the only way, public, but there are other choices. My daughter home schools and the boys are doing great...way further ahead didactically, but lacking in the social skills a bit...they're working on that this summer. Lots more kid interaction instead of just each other. I was amazed at what the regulations are and stringent. It's a good thing.
    BlessYourHearts

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  17. It sounds like you put a lot of thought into the decision with the school issue. I bet you're going to love it and the boys will too. The new kids in such a small school will get lots of attention! I'll be looking forward to your blog updates on this as the year unfolds.

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  18. You take that rest and I'll see you when school begins!

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  19. Hey right on for you, making an "authentic assessment" of your own about parochial school! It sounds like a great choice (which, you know, I can't believe I'm saying as I am not a fan of the Catholic Way *haha)

    And I love the way you describe your injury so modestly - about the size of an apricot where others are tempted to say WOW! the size of an orange! A grapefruit! or some other ridiculous melon when it hurts so much...dang, that's what I do! heehee!

    <3 2 u all..!

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  20. I think the dudes will do fine at the parochial school. All will be great...

    speaking of OFF...we turned off the A/C for the last few days, and so it's been a bit warm around here, but I'm not swelling, so we're going to keep it off.

    But feel free to call me a sweathog...I won't be offended. :)

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  21. That reminds me that I need to clean my fridge too...

    You sound very comfortable with your decision, so clearly you've done your homework. I would have expected nothing less! I'm sure they'll thrive there. :)

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  22. I'm sorry to hear that your balance is off and that the mosquitoes aren't off.

    That's good news about deciding about parochial school and you know that I understand about laying off on the blog a bit too.

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  23. Absolutely, yes, let your school board know how you feel. It will be a strong statement, coming from a mother of three who lives within shouting distance of the public elementary school. I wish you luck with the parochial school; it sounds like the right decision for your boys.

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  24. Bravo.
    Sounds like you've thought things through and made the best decision for your boys.

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  25. Your point about a teacher that understands struggle is quite well-taken--school has always come quite easily to me, but once, when taking a Spanish midterm as an adult, I had an experience where my mind went completely blank (I'd just received a call from my daughter that she was really sick)--I am so blessed to have had that happen because it really increased my capacity to understand what student's can go through.

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  26. Yeah, even Jimmy Carter pulled his kid out after a year or two. You do what you have to do.

    I know how you feel, I think. I meet with other moms who are battling the public schools to get approproate services for their autistic kids, and I cringe just a little, knowing that I have bailed on them. But I can't change the system and my kids couldn't wait.

    Have fun! (And rest that ankle!)

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  27. I agree that thinking outside the box should be celebrated. Sounds like you've made a good choice. I hope Team Testosterone enjoys the new school!

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  28. I'm struggling to keep up with things around here too - the blog being the least of my worries. Summer is too sweet to spend it indoors.

    My fridge smells funky too.

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Spill it, reader.