School Rules – What would you chose?

standard December 2, 2011 7 responses

It’s no secret that I’m struggling this week. There are so many balls in the air that I don’t know which to catch first and frankly, I’m sorely tempted to let them all crash to the floor while I go off to Hawaii for a quick jaunt in the surf. Instead though, I’ll sit here, sipping a Gingerbread Latte, dunking my donut and I’ll rally. It’s what I do best.

Since, beyond arranging for childcare and entertainment for the kids, I can’t actively do anything about the fact that my husband is having surgery next week, I’m noodling the school issue.

Let me ask you a question. Below I’m posting two sets of school rules. You tell me which one makes you want to go learn. Maybe it’ll help everyone understand why I’m struggling so much with what to do with the kids next year.

School 1, where C has been for two years now. As posted in each classroom. 

School 2. One of the school options for Little L’s Kindergarten.

1. Treat others and their property with kindness and respect
2. Take care of school property and treat campus with respect
3. Use playground and school equipment the way it was intended to be used
4. Do not use abusive language, gestures or physical aggression
5. Do not throw sand, stones, dirt, tanbark, pebbles or rocks
6. No personal toys, sports equipment, cards or electronic devices are allowed at school
7. Bicycles, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades must be stored off school grounds or in the bike storage area. No riding in the hallways.
8. No gum allowed on campus
9. Do NOT leave campus unless signed out by a parent/guardian in the office
10. No student, or unauthorized adult shall be in the! classrooms, library or multi-purpose room without supervision or !permission.
11. Report problems at school to an adult. Students who witness problems and fail to report them are just as responsible as those who caused the problem.

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The end result is going to be the same: respectful kids in a safe environment. It’s just that the first set of rules are… I dunno… more friendly? Easier to want to follow?

If you’re anything like me after the third NO in the second set of rules your eyes glazed over and you started skimming.

If you’re like most people you felt inspired by the first set of rules. They’re rules that apply all life long, which is the premise of the school. They teach the kids lessons that will be valuable their entire lives.

It’s a tough conundrum. Environment #1 is a private school meaning the kids don’t grow their neighborhood community through school. Environment #2 is a public school, so we’d grow our local community, but lose on the school environment we love so much.

What would you do in our case? Which would you pick? (For the sake of argument, assume both schools rank similarly as far as academics go, the distinction lies in the realm of emotional education.)

The Education Question

standard November 28, 2011 1 response

First there was preschool. Then there was preschool again. And when we figured that out we had to start thinking about Kindergarten.

And even then it wasn’t over.

Because the school we found, that we adore, is 40 minutes away from our house.

On most days the commute is fine, long, but fine. Round trip, home, to school, to daycare, and back takes an hour and a half, but we deal. On other days, the commute is painful.

On days like the one last week, when I get called at 5pm because C has just fallen off the monkey bars, the 40 minute drive feels downright absurd. (For the record, I did the drive in 30 minutes. Don’t tell.)

C was fine in the end, but the issue brought the distance issue into debate again.

Little L is supposed to start school with her sister in the fall meaning, that, if we stay in the house we currently own, M will live 45 minutes away from work, the girls will live 40 minutes away from school, and I’ll be bouncing around working from home and from whatever coffee shop I end up in that day. I hate being that far from them all day, but at the same time, I hate being in coffee shops for hours on end.

The ideal situation would involve moving closer to both work and school, but the areas further north are exponentially more expensive than the place we currently live. We’d be able to afford either a house up there or the school… but not both.

C is in a school founded on the Education for Life principles. Their goal is to teach the kids everything they need to know academically while also teaching them how to be self reliant and how to interact well with others.

When C and Little L are grown I won’t care in the least how many AP classes they’ve taken, what classes they’ve aced. I will however want them to be self confident girls who aren’t afraid to think outside the box and follow their dreams.

I worry that if we send them to schools that place more importance on test scores than on emotional growth, that they’ll grow into girls who feel pressure to conform.

I worry that if we stay put and send them to the school we love that we’ll go nuts with all the driving we have to do.

Like every time we’ve had to face the school issue I wish I had a magic wand I could wave to make a perfect solution appear.

A peanut butter alternative bans the lunch packing blues

standard November 12, 2010 8 responses

After my endless whining about the impossibility of packing C’s lunch every night I was thrown a bone. A massive, sticky, sweet bone.

At a school function the children were served sun butter and jelly sandwiches. By some unexplained miracle C bought my explanation that sunbutter is a special peanut butter that was safe for kids who are allergic to peanuts.

She didn’t try it that day and she made a face when I pulled out the jar I had optimistically bought. And then, nonchalantly, two days later, she asked me to pack her a sun butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

I didn’t question her or hesitate. I grabbed the reusable sandwich wrapper that I’d bought on the off chance that she’d one day let me make her a cheese sandwich and got to work.

The wrapper came back empty and C asked for the same lunch the next day, and the next, and every day ever since. I’ve switched lunch packing duties to morning so the sandwich doesn’t get soggy, and miraculously it’s no longer the bane of my existence.

Who would have thought all it would take was some sunflower seeds.

Once again the bane of my days… packing lunch

standard October 25, 2010 8 responses

Every weekday eventing, and Sundays, it’s the exact same thing. 10pm rolls around and I start to get sleepy. I glance at my to do list and decide whether or not I can wrap up soon. And then, just as the thoughts of my bed are infiltrating every brain cell that’s still awake and functioning… I remember that I still have to pack C’s lunch.

I hate packing C’s lunch.

Let me preface the rest of this rant with the fact that I don’t just have to pack her a lunch, I also have to pack her a morning snack and an afternoon snack. Seriously, since when do kids need a morning snack? Whatever happened to Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Dinner?

Then let me explain that the school is peanut and treenut free and that C doesn’t eat sandwiches unless they’re filled with a delightful mixture of peanut butter and jelly.

In fact, the child doesn’t eat many things, so I end up packing three variations of cheese or yogurt and fruit or veggie, for the lunch portion I go all crazy like and throw in some sliced turkey.

The start of the school year was only a few weeks ago and I’m already bored to tears with my lunch packing options. I can only imagine how bored C is getting with eating the same thing day in and day out.

I tried switching it up, threw in some cheesy noodles in a thermos one day… they came home barely picked over. I try to add some edamame every few days, but more often than not that doesn’t get eaten either. The only thing she sometimes lets me get away with is when I get fancy with different flavors of squeezy apple sauces.

I know! I can barely contain my excitement either.Shoot me now.

I could maybe get behind the whole same-lunch-every-day thing if packing it wasn’t such a pain. Of course my eco-conscious brain had to open its big trap and freak out at the thought of 750 meals requiring multiple ziploc bags each. (3 bags per meal would equal over 2000 ziplocs getting thrown away every year. Eeeps!) So I went and bought some reusable containers… and some reusable ziploc type bags. And every night before I pack her lunch I have to wash everything, and dry everything.

The last time I was doing this much nightly dish washing, C was an infant and I was packing her lunch in breast milk bottles.

There is no magic solution to my lunch packing woes. C won’t overnight broaden her dietary horizons. The school’s peanut policy is never going to be lifted, nor are they going to be offering a hot lunch any time soon. And the bags and containers are never going to clean themselves.

I just want to know that when 11pm rolls around I’m not the only one in my kitchen hating the lunch packing life.