It ended just the way it started; it just did.
Unlike other things in life, the school schedule is not based on when I am ready for things to start or end, and frankly, I am never quite sure how I feel when the dates come and go. Sometimes ready other times not.
Recent articles about adolescent sleep needs, as well as the ongoing debate regarding elementary school readiness, remind us the system is not based on our individual -or even collective- needs of our children, nor based on developmental science.
I have two of five children still at home navigating through the system… and while it is hard to not consider myself ‘experienced’ with the journey, I am continually left in the same educational dilemmas year after year. Will I stand up and fight for every reform I know is needed to ensure a healthier deeper education, or will I let the little things go in order to pick my battles?
What will the battle be this year? Will there even be a battle?
Truth is, I don’t know. I can only speculate based on what I know about about me and mine...
-I live in the State ranked #48 in terms of quality education, there is a recall underway for our State Superintendent of Education, and our Governor is playing politics with the public education funds.
-My kids and I all have ADHD.
-Our mornings are messy, -to put it nicely- someone was already tardy on her first day of High School.
-My son did not get the teacher we expected.
-Against my better judgment, I agreed to my daughter taking ‘zero period’ allowing her to start her foreign language and higher level science so she is tracked for 4 year college...sigh...where exactly was my perseverance and “my kid won’t be overscheduled” demeanor when this happened???
-My kids are known to blurt out answers in order to process their learning.
-Homework is my arch nemesis...as is a consistent family dinner…and bedtime routine.
-I have serious allergies to the myriad of afterschool activities...which are not my thing in the first place.
-Last year’s Hebrew teacher recommended a tutor for my 3rd grade son. (um, did not happen, his bar mitzvah is still 6 years away).
-Voice modulation skills do not run in either side of our genetic make up.
-I’ve been there and done that, and most everything else, as a school volunteer…auction chair x2, class parent times, like, x100, field trips, class parties, you name it! I will not, will not, will not sign up to help… but I still might.
-I have near road rage moments when other people just can’t remember the drop off/pick up rules and I do.
-I’m tired of the core curriculum debate and want to move beyond the issues and roll out/get on with teaching critical thinking.
-I’ve worn many different hats in the course of my 19 years (so far!) in the school system, including being a teacher and administrator myself.
-I am a progressive education buff; I want so much more than busy work for my kids and yours. If it were up to me, we’d get our hands dirty, make friends, work in groups, learn about kindness, and love school so much it would be our chosen pastime.
-I don’t have much tolerance for bullies.
-Mental health days are excuse worthy, almost always. (Except to miss a deadline someone should have planned for).
-We have a history of psychosomatic visits to school nurses.
-I don’t need usernames, emails, and codes to know how my children are doing in school.
-The right teacher for my child is not always the right teacher for me.
-I consider Pokemon cards, Lego directions, comic books, the sports page, People magazine, reading your mother’s blogs, reading/answering my texts while I safely drive the car, as counting towards my kids’ 20 minute nightly reading requirement.
-Despite our best intentions, lunches, important projects, homework, clean underwear, and events we planned on attending, will be forgotten. Oops.
-I am not a helicopter parent by any means (in fact, I am what I’ve heard called, a “hummingbird parent”, sipping nectar and zooming in only when necessary). Although, poke the bear and you might be sorry.
So yeah, back to my original thoughts. The school system is rarely based on our unique timing or needs…and our family systems are rarely based in whole on the school. Navigating the school system is a lesson in compromise. So, may I humbly suggest we all choose our battles wisely? Appreciate the gifts, make peace with the short comings we can make peace with, and support the process. Then, when all your ‘Zen Parenting’ bag of tricks have not worked, -and only then- stand up, kick some butt, and advocate for your child…chances are, you are the only one who ever will.
Make it a great year or not, the choice is yours.