ravishingjane — Mon, 11/21/2011 - 10:38
With Q-Bear in public kindergarten, it feels like she never has school. First off there is the whole thing about how kindergartners in Idaho only attend school for 2 1/2 hours a day. Sometimes they even have "half" days where she seriously is supposed to show up and stay for an hour and a half… And we have to bring her so she doesn't have a absence marked against her! She spends a lot more time at home with us than any of us are used to.
I was surprised last week when I learned that school is closed for an entire week for Thanksgiving and 2 weeks for Christmas. I remember going to school up until the day before Thanksgiving and having that day be a half day with a party. I'm pretty sure I didn't get a full 2 weeks off for Christmas either.
I'm sure most of this is from budget cuts in our schools which sickens me. Screamers has school at his Montessori, which we pay for, up until Thanksgiving day. I guess you get what you pay for and somewhere along the line my taxes didn't make it to our public schools.
My solution for getting Q-Bear out of the house this week, and the last time school was closed (3 days off because of parent teacher conferences) is to put her in a day camp. I'm paying $30 a day for her to go play and do nothing educational other than learning to avoid the kid who likes to get in her face and cough or blow snot on her. I think I would rather pay her teacher and have her go to school, keeping her schedule someone normal. Though, I would prefer she went to school all day.
If all 18 kids in her class paid $15 to go to school for their 2 1/2 hours, their teacher would have $270 in her pocket. Twice that if the 20 kids from the morning class paid her as well. I have a feeling that is plenty more than she makes on an ordinary day and it's only half of what I'm paying for Q-Bear to have something to do today. Then again, I'm sure there would be an uproar if public schools started asking for a few bucks to stay open a couple extra days before the holidays.
Where did we go wrong?
ravishingjane — Sat, 10/22/2011 - 07:34
This week Q-Bear had her first ever field trip and her first ever (but oh so longed for) ride in a school bus. Dearly beloved and I went along as parent volunteers. Destination… Linder Farms pumpkin patch.
G-Sauce and I were in charge of keeping 4 Kindergartners together during their outing. It was a good thing that there were two adults watching over these kids too because one child wasn't interested in sticking with the group unless the group was doing what he specifically wanted to do. He was a bit of a wanderer with a somewhat short temper. Cute kid none the less. He actually fell asleep on my shoulder during the bus ride home.
We got to do a lot at the farm. We went through a hay stack maze, a corn maze, played on giant tires and tall stacks of hay, hunted down the perfect pumpkin to pick from the field and take home, and went on a tractor ride. During the tractor ride our group of kids decided it was appropriate to yell out "NAKED!" every time they saw a broken pumpkin. They were loud and there were a lot of busted pumpkins. We didn't ask them to quiet down.
Everyone seemed to have a great time. I had expected Q-Bear to enjoy her lifelong dream of riding on a school bus more than the pumpkin patch. It seemed like the bus was a bit much for her though. On the way there she decided to ignore her crazy surroundings and recharge her love-lite. Criss-Cross-Applesauce, hands on knees, thumb to middle finger, eyes closed. She meditated more than half of the way there.
It was nice getting to know some of the kids and put some names to some faces. I have my first art class with them on Monday. I'm a bit anxious because I don't really know what to expect. They seem to be a good group of kids and I hear that everyone loves an art teacher. Should go well enough.
ravishingjane — Fri, 09/23/2011 - 21:09
Earlier this week I received an e-mail from Q-Bears teacher saying that she hadn't had anyone volunteer to be the Art Parent Teacher for her class. I had heard of this position about a month ago and was really interested, but knew that with a move and life change coming up I couldn't handle the obligation. This e-mail from her teacher saying that nobody had signed up for the job bothered me because it meant that the kids don't get art. They have a huge closet full of art supplies and no one to treat them. I now hang my head with another obligation on my plate. I couldn't let these kids go without art, so of course, I volunteered.
Today I had a meeting, with art parents from other classes, to learn how to be an art parent. It was fun and insightful. Q-Bear goes to a really good school! We have an incredible amount of supplies and descriptive lessons at our disposal. So much so that we have donated much to another elementary school close by. Actually, an elementary school that has zero art program and one that I attended for half of my 5th grade year (a half of a year that was so traumatizing to me that I had to go to counseling… If you must know).
I can't tell who is more excited, me or Q-Bear, about being art teacher for her class. I love being closely involved with the atmosphere of my offspring, and it's a given that I love art along with the dirty hands it creates.
Busy just got busier. Always for the better. My mantra? One day at a time. One day at a time…
ravishingjane — Fri, 08/26/2011 - 21:02
Q-Bear started Kindergarten this week and is already a pro. Since she's been in full time Montessori since the week she turned 2, I didn't expect this to be a hard transition, but she's really blown my mind in some ways.
Day 1, I'm pretty sure I was more nervous than she was. I've grown very comfortable with the Montessori school she's gone to all these years, and the children she associates with all day long. I know them. I know their families. I've become the closest of friends with some and have many others over for gatherings. Who are these strange new kids and their parents that I'm now supposed to mingle with? I still don't know. So far there hasn't been much opportunity to get to know one another, but I hope that in the future there will be. All that really matters at this point is that Q-Bear is adjusting well, and she is.
Day 3, I'm driving her to school and she says that she wants to get herself to where she needs to be. OK… I drive up to the curb, stop the car and let her jump out and take herself to the "KA" hopscotch panel, which she knows to be her classes designated pickup area. Day 3 people!! Already, she's too cool for mom to walk her to class.
She's having a great time going to public Kindergarten and we are very happy with the decision we made so far. Reading through the piles of paper that come home with her makes me think that this is going to be really good for her and not hold her back in any way, shape or form. It's new and exciting. It's big and glamorous. It's things she's knows mixed with things she needs to learn. So far, so good!
ravishingjane — Wed, 08/17/2011 - 11:09
These past couple of days I have been filled to the brim with excitement and nerves for the little lady of the house. We made a last minute decision to put her into public kindergarten and her first day of school is one week from today.
After all the torture we put ourselves through with trying to figure out where to send Q-Bear to school next year, public vs. private, I feel like I wasted a lot of good energy and grew a few new wrinkles just to end up changing our minds at the last minute. But here we are, and she is SO excited.
Our original decision to keep her in Montessori through Kindergarten was due to our not wanting her to be bored while her public classmates learned things she has known for years. I decided to speak with a different Kindergarten teacher at a different elementary in a different (nicer) part of town and learned that they have a plentiful amount of 5 year olds entering Kindergarten each year that are already reading/writing. One student tested out of Kindergarten at a 5th grade reading level! Plus, they still had space for a few more children. I think my eyes flashed dollar signs when we decided to make the change and put her in a public school. We will save a nice chunk of money this year by only having Baby Face in Montessori in opposed to having them both there.
Her new school is across town, but luckily Boise is small enough to where "across town" means a 10 minute drive. She'll be at school for less than 3 hours a day which means I'll get to spend some solo time with her and put her into some extracurricular activities. Where she's at in herself right now, this will be a good thing. She's growing up and is ready for a change. I'm so excited for her that I find it hard to concentrate on anything else.
Last night I took her out shopping for her first school bag and school supplies. Tomorrow is her last day at Montessori, where she has been a student for 4 years with many of the same children. Friday her new school is having an open house for students to meet their teachers and drop off their supplies. Next Wednesday she will have her first day. Wow!
ravishingjane — Tue, 06/07/2011 - 07:29
1. I am still fighting constant sicknesses. It's very frustrating and tiring.
2. You can now get an assortment of Raving Jane goods at Indie Made in downtown Boise. There are hula hoops, clocks, coasters, wine charms, and a couple of wool cuffs.
3. Yesterday was an important day in life for me. It marked the very first day that both of my little chicks went to school. It's been 22 loooong months since Pace was born and my world dramatically changed. Wow, he's been a hard baby! With both kids in school yesterday I was able to put in hours of uninterrupted work and finished the day feeling proud of how much I'd accomplished. Yay for school!!
4. Bike pumps these days suck! It blows.
5. Graham bought me tickets to see The Civil Wars for our upcoming 6 year anniversary. I'm very excited to go.
6. It's raining and my family is still sleeping. This, so far, is my kind of morning.
7. I've not had a drop of alcohol in my system for over 2 weeks now and as a result I have lost 5 pounds. If this keeps up through June, I will be wearing my reward over my shoulder and my pre-Pace-pregnancy skinny jeans. Plus my stated weight on my drivers license will be correct.
8. I recently watched Black Swan and that movie scared the crap out of me. No one told me it was going to be a horror flick.
9. We bought a kiln off of craigslist a few days ago. Soon all of our friends and family will be the wonderful recipients of lots of junky beginner pottery projects.
10. One of our apple trees finally gave up this year. When we bought our house 6 years ago it was the prettiest fruitful thing I'd ever seen. A year later, half of the tree broke off and collapsed into our yard. We've had it trimmed regularly to promote a healthy recovery, but alas, it just couldn't hang on any longer. Yesterday we had it chopped up and hauled away. Our view has changed dramatically. I'm sad to see it gone.
ravishingjane — Wed, 05/25/2011 - 22:32
Today was a big day with big ups and big downs. The big up was that I decided to call up ol' Doug of Doug's Bugs to let him know that my car stopped running last Saturday and that he could expect to see it later in the day for a re-evaluation. He called me about an hour after receiving it and told me happily, again, that he had fixed my car. We were out and about running errands so Graham dropped me off to pick up my car, which indeed seems to be fixed and running beautifully. I still don't trust it enough to go outside of a 4 mile radius just yet. These things take time.
So I drove home with the top up, thankful that my car seems to trap enough heat to take the chill off of my sick body. Graham went to pickup Pace from school so I beat him home and was sitting at the kitchen table when he came in the door. Right away I could tell that something was wrong. Quinn walked in first and had this look of "everything sucks" on her face. Graham came in next with the same look as Quinn mixed in with some sour pissed off heat emitting off of him. The first thing I said when I saw these two was, "what happened?"
Apparently when Graham got to school, Pace was being cuddled by his teacher and getting over crying due to being bitten by another child. My first thought was a rational one telling myself that these things happen and everything will be fine. Then I saw Pace's back. He has one bite mark on his lower back that looks like a swollen red lump and another one on his upper back that you can actually see the individual teeth marks of the biters upper AND lower teeth. Both bites broke Pace's skin and have swollen up looking quite sore.
I am finding it very hard not to cry just thinking about the marks on his back. I guess Pace was working on a lesson that another child wanted to use and so this other child bit him. Hard. Twice. We don't know which child is to blame and I understand why Pace's teacher would keep that information within the school. She did however let on that this isn't the first incident with this particular child. I immediately e-mailed the schools directress to send her a photo of Pace's back and to inquire about what action is to be taken. She responded saying that she is now aware of the severity of the situation and that she doesn't take it lightly. She plans to discuss with the parents about whether the school is a good fit for their child.
Really I just want to know if the biter will be there tomorrow. I pay good money to send my kids to this school. Pace has only spent 9 days there and is still learning how to interact within the school and with other children. Will he be upset about going there in the morning? Will he think that biting is something he can do? Will he be afraid of the other children? He's so young and feisty himself that I really do fear he could decide to pick up on a bad habit or two if exposed. I am incredibly upset.
ravishingjane — Tue, 05/24/2011 - 21:48
An update on school and health… Achoo! Excuse me. It would seem that I have been sick ever since Pace started school 3 weeks ago. I remember this happening the winter than Quinn started going to school too. We were all sick for 3 months straight. It would seem that with her being out of school for the past year and us mostly staying home minding our own business, we have lost our strong immunities to the cesspool that is school. I had hoped that once Pace was old enough to start Montessori we would all have had the icks and the yucks and therefore have a healthy transition for him. Oops. Looks like we get to fill our trashcans with snot rags and empty tylenol bottles instead.
His first week he attended school for 2 days and on the third day (photo day and dressed in his best) he spewed strawberry goo all over himself and my Moms nice chair. This stomach bug lasted roughly 3 days for him. Of course once he felt well enough to run around and be a screamer again he had managed to pass along this virus and infect all around him. Throwing up is the WORST thing anyone could make me do. I do not handle that bodily function well at all, so I was quite upset to spend nearly a whole night hunched over a toilet cursing myself for eating curry at dinner time.
His second week went much better. He made it through all 4 days that I pay for and didn't show signs of being sick until the next day. It's a somewhat vicious cold that he's lost sleep over due to becoming covered in snot and just not feeling very well. He got the bulk of it out of his system in time to start school again on Monday, but not without giving it to me first. I've been popping the Aleve and letting my house turn into a disaster zone.
We are now halfway finished with his 3rd week of school and I'm wondering what disgusting things will be coming out of my body this weekend. And the weekend after that… And the weekend after that. Is it really worth all the money that we spend to send him there? It's like we voluntarily spend thousands of dollars to see which horrible ailment we'll suffer from next. Will it be worse than the one we're still getting over? Just don't make me puke again.
ravishingjane — Thu, 05/05/2011 - 12:08
After a lot of thought about how to go about Quinns schooling next year, we have decided to go with our gut feeling and enroll her back into her old Montessori. She is looking forward to being someplace familiar and being a kindergartener with friends she has had since she was 2 years old. She is also very excited to watch Pace learn the old lessons that she learned at his age and be there to help him if he needs it. She's an amazing big sister. Montessori has played a big part in who she has grown up to be, which is a very well rounded little girl. I guess I'm excited for her too.
I just got a call from the directress at her Montessori, seriously about two sentences into writing this post, and received the good news that both of my little ones can attend their summer program (it had been full) and Pace can start school this coming Monday. Yay!
I don't really know how Pace will handle being at school. Quinn never cried or cared one bit when we would drop her off, but Pace is a bit more high strung. OK that's an understatement. He is incredibly moody and temperamental compared to Quinn. He does enjoy playing with other kids and observing new things around him, so maybe he'll be alright. I'll know by the end of next week.
ravishingjane — Thu, 04/21/2011 - 09:06
With Quinn getting ready to go into Kindergarten this coming fall we have been forced to consider the options available to her as far as schooling goes. She celebrated her second birthday with her new friends at her new Montessori school and has been a full time student there ever since (with the exception of this year due to our decision to travel). Having had these years of schooling experience makes choosing a Kindergarten incredibly hard due to the fact that she has had great opportunity to learn things most preschool aged children don't learn until much later. We have, and still are considering keeping her in Montessori full time next year but the cost is a factor since Pace will be starting his first year there indefinitely. Double tuition is a scary thought. I have called one of the public (free) charter schools here in Boise and learned that I am far too late to get her in for next year. All of their Kindergarteners were chosen months ago and there is a wait list of over 100 little tikes hoping to get in. This basically leaves public elementary, which I am not against… Well, maybe a little since yesterday.
Yesterday morning we went to the elementary school in our district to check things out and speak with the Kindergarten teacher about the way her classroom works. Quinn absolutely loved the school and seeing all the big kids sitting in their classrooms working. She very much wanted to stay there and become a student that instant. I have always thought that she would do well in a typical classroom environment where all of the kids are her age and are learning the same lessons in oppose to the Montessori preschool where the age of children ranges from 1 to 6 and are given the freedom to work on any lesson they choose. I have found over the years that when given the choice to choose her own lessons she always opts for something she is confident in doing rather than trying to conquer something new. This results in her becoming bored with school and losing all interest in learning. I have had many conversations with her Montessori teachers asking them to keep pushing her with new and exciting lessons to keep her interests high, but being surrounded by all of the younger children working on lessons she knows well feels unfair to her when she is asked to do something new and uncomfortable. I do believe she would thrive in an environment where she couldn't see younger children transferring water from one bowl to another with a spoon while she is asked to do a lesson that she is less confident in. It's her choice in the end and I think she would often times choose the bowl and water scenario. In public school this would not necessarily be an issue.
While speaking with her would be Kindergarten teacher in the public school yesterday, we learned a couple of things that are rather discouraging. For one, there is only one teacher in the room with 23 bouncing 5 year olds. I think classrooms with 23 young kids beginning to learn the skills necessary to become a good student in the future might need more than one person to keep everyone on the same page and minimize distractions. It's hard enough to keep one 5 year old focused. Secondly, most kids entering Kindergarten can't build words which is something Quinn has been working on for over a year now. She is becoming quite good with her writing/reading capabilities, along with her math skills, and this is something that is a MUST for her to keep working on in school next year. It's bad enough to see how she's slipped down a bit from being out of a learning environment this past year, I can't imagine her missing next year too. I'm not saying that the other children can't learn to build words and Quinn can't keep working on this in public school. Unfortunately, to my surprise, many of these 5 year olds don't even know the alphabet yet. This would certainly hold Quinn back unless her teacher was able to single her out and give her more advanced lessons which would put Quinn in the position of not pushing herself and could set her up for creating bad study habits.
I got to thinking that maybe she could just skip kindergarten. She is fully capable, accustomed to, and loves spending her time in school from 8:30am until 5:30pm. First grade is 2 hours shorter than this a day and Kindergarten is 6 hours less than this a day. I found a list of Idaho requirements for a Kindergartener to advance into the first grade and wasn't too surprised to learn that of the dozen or so things listed the only thing I've never seen Quinn do is count to 100 by 2's. So I e-mailed the Boise School District with my concerns and asked if there is some testing she can do to skip Kindergarten. She is only a couple of months younger than the age requirement and I have no fear of her not being able to hang with the 6 year olds. Their response was a big fat NO. They told me that Idaho law requires children to attend Kindergarten and that once she has started the school year, if I still want to have her evaluated for entering the first grade, I can do so at that time. What a crazy crock of crap! I know from experience that putting your child into a group and then making them change their peers a week later, but still in an environment where they see their old group, is devastatingly hard. I would never do that to Quinn unless she had friends in the secondary group and wanted to move there. My BFF for 10 years was made on my very first day of school. It was easy to befriend her so quickly when the first thing she said to me was, "you're pretty. Will you be my friend?" It would have been horrible to leave my admiring best friend a week or so later.
Bottom line… I don't want to ruin my little girls schooling years by not having her in a place that will balance her, as well as challenge her, all the while being stable.