You should WANT your kids

I don’t understand why people bother to have children if they don’t want to spend time with them. Listening to one of the mothers at my son’s gymnastics class, you’d think her daughter was some huge inconvenience. You’d think she just appeared, unasked for, like a puppy on the doorstep. No lady. In fact, you and your husband created your child. You chose to carry her and give her life. Now, treating her like you can’t stand to be around her; talking to the other mothers in gymnastics, telling them how much you can’t stand to have her at the house for the summer—that is something I can’t understand.

This all came about because another mother and I were discussing our homeschooling plans for the upcoming school year. The other mother is homeschooling her daughter for the first time- kindergarten. My son is now in first grade, and we’ve now spent over a year homeschooling. She is from another country. So, she was getting advice and tips. Hearing this, the mother of the other poor little girl began her put downs. “I just don’t understand how you can deal with your kids all day every day without a break.” “I couldn’t be home that much.” “I have to get out of the house, I have to get her out of the house.” “I love my daughter but I just couldn’t deal with her full time. I can’t wait for her to go back to school.”

I looked at her sweet little toe-headed five year old and thought of how it must make her feel to have her mother tell strangers that she doesn’t want to deal with or be around her all the time. That can’t do much for a child’s confidence. Children experience enough judgment and criticism from the world around them. At least their parents should want to spend time with them, feel compelled to do better for their kids. If you don’t want more for your kids—and not just want more but be willing to provide it—who will?

This is not an incitement on parents who public school. People send their kids to public, private and charter schools for many reasons. They also homeschool for many reasons. Sometimes those choices boil down to a “this is the best we can do for now” situation and many times it boils down to “this is what I think is best.” All of those are perfectly acceptable. What I am baffled at, are the parents who say things like “I couldn’t deal with her full time.” If you can’t stand to be around your kid, its because YOU did something wrong. Children are a reflection of their parent’s parenting skills. All children deserve to feel loved and wanted, no matter their parent’s choice of schools.

School

School. It’s a challenge that my son and I are facing together.

For me, I am finishing my Master’s Degree. My classes are all done and have been for a little while. On Monday, I take my comprehensive exam. Its a day long writing exam which determines whether or not I get my degree. Yeah, no pressure. 5 days. Then it’s over.

For my son, school time is just beginning. He starts kindergarten this fall. My son has been pretty lucky, and didn’t start daycare until he was 6 months old and was home full time by the time he was 2. As such, he has been a little nervous about going to school all day. Since the subject first came up he has given me a firm “No way buckwheat!” about the whole school discussion. What’s a mom to do?

The most important question I faced, where to send him? There are a few options in my area. There is the neighborhood public school, other local public schools, private mostly religious schools, and a public charter school. So, for the last two years I have researched each of them heavily. As someone who doesn’t prescribe to any particular faith, I am leery about sending a chid so young to any institution that will teach my child that there is only one right way. Especially with everything going on in the world, there is no telling what kind of nut job could be standing in front of the classroom spouting intolerance to a room full of vulnerable 5 year olds. That is of course, not at all to suggest that religious people are, by default, intolerant. I don’t even think most of them are, but it really only takes one. I want my child to have all the information and be able to make the decision that makes the most sense to him. And I wouldn’t mind a religious high school, when my son will be old enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

So, religious school out and no non-religious elementary private schools in the area means either home school or public school. So, on to the public schools. Going to a public school other than the local one you are districted for is not an easy thing to achieve. So I looked into our local school. Low test scores (well below the state and county average) and extremely high rates of poverty (over 80% eligible for free and reduced lunch). Yikes! This is my baby boy, my only child. As such, I want him to have every advantage that is available to him. It is well documented that children from low income families have more behavior and learning problems. This has something to do with younger, more stressed parents who usually work long hours and have little time to devote to the children. More of these children tend to be looked after by strangers and have less one on one time with their parents. Of course, this is all just “per the studies” and averages so it isn’t true of every child.

Either way, not what I’d hoped for for my baby boy. So? The public charter school. We went to an open house last night. The kindergartners do science experiments and write out hypotheses about their experiments and are expected to write and illustrate sentences. The second graders separate out recyclables, slop, other organics, and trash from lunch hour. They feed the slop to the chickens and pigs they have onsite and give the other organics to the worm farm they have in their science classes which create the soil that they take out to their garden and greenhouse to grow the veggies that then get used in the cafeteria. Talk about learning about plant and animal biology!! The seventh graders spend a week in Italy. And most importantly, after the open house, my son changed from “No way” to “can I go today?”

Now let’s just hope that out of the 70+ applications, my son’s name gets picked out of the hat (it’s a no kidding lottery) for the 20 spots available.

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