Thursday, October 28, 2010

And If I Can Do That... What A Gift It Will Be

#1 I read this, and it pretty much summed up my feelings on homeschooling.

#2 Dark green carpet may not show dirt... but... it shows EVERYTHING else.

#3 I went into the school to talk to Kid's teacher. I asked her how Kid was doing socially. She said "Fine". When I told her she was actually having a hard time adjusting, blah, blah, blah, and that there were some mean kids, etc., the teacher responded with....

"Well, we all have our hardships."

(FYI, that was not an acceptable response.)

I also had to bear the heartbreaking disappointment of seeing that the kids' desk were all prepped for the next morning with their stacks of worksheets. I know we get about 10 home everyday... but... I didn't know it was this bad. I wouldn't wish a boring non-stop paperwork job on an adult... I certainly am not going to sit back and resign a year of my child's life to that. REALLY. This is the actual learning style of that classroom. They walk in, sit down, and work on worksheets ALL DAY. It's raining... no recess you say?... no problem... they don't have free play... they have FUN WORKSHEETS to do in their desks. SERIOUSLY. These kids are SEVEN YEARS OLD.

So yeah...

#4 Kid is coming out of that school before Christmas. That I can goddamn guarantee you.

I talked with Kid about some choices. I talked to her about another private school. "They don't have any worksheets there." I said. She was excited, then said slightly concerned, "What about fun worksheets, like coloring ones?" "Honey, at this school you can draw whatever you want." She had a huge smile.

I may not know what we're going to do next. And I may not know how it will be. But I do know it will be better than what she's doing now.

As I said to Kid, while walking home from school....

"There is a difference between being *happy* and not being *sad*.

We can't control everything. We can't protect our children from all hardships. God knows, we know that.

But, you can choose to change the things within your control.

You can choose happiness, when happiness is a choice.

And if I can teach my children anything.

It's that.


TotallyFried said...

this post brought tears to my eyes. I agree with you all the way on #3 (and other #s too but #3 was the reason for the post). I am so with you on "there is diff between happiness and not being sad." So true.

Whatever decision that you make (private or homeschool) will be the best decision for the kid!

trifitmom said...

this is a public school ? are they supposed to be good in your area ? i can NOT believe the teacher responded that way ?? are you going to talk with the principal ? tomorrow is my kindergartener's class party and as the class mom i have to be there. i am so freaking happy to see how the kids and teacher are....i will be watching EVERYTHING.....

G in Berlin said...

We have been so happy since changing schools. T1 was sad, on and off, about the children she missed. But scholastically she is challenged and she has made many friends and we are all much happier. Change is always hard.
I said that to my husband recently- that we needed to be more present in ourselves and purposeful and we are trying and I think it has been good: the act of trying, even when we are not successful, makes us happier.

Kim said...

"We all have our hardships"?! At seven years old? What the hell sort of hardship should your normal seven year old child have? Certainly not one brought on by the stress of school. I would have really had to restrain myself from bitch slapping that teacher. You clearly have more restraint than I, for I assume you did not post that from jail. . .

julie said...

I'm appalled by the teacher's response. Did she give you any other feedback?

Just curious, does your elementary school have guidance counselors/in-school therapists? At mine, they will invite a small group of kids to have lunch with them, building relationships,etc. We have 2 of them. I am beginning to think we go to the world's best public elementary school.

Mrs Furious said...

You guys are not going to believe this... but... she is also a licensed counselor!

thank you. it' has gotten to the point that I know that this is not the right setting for her... everyday from now on I'm knowingly sending her into a bad situation. And I can't live with that.

Sadly this school is an extremely high rated school. That's one reason we wanted to move back here. Really aside from one district (not ours) every district in our county (which includes Ann Arbor) are all pretty equally high rated. You really can't be in a better *rated* school district then we are in. Kid's particular school only goes through 2nd grade so they don't have testing yet, but every school in this district rates at a 9 or 10 out of 10 on, once they start doing testing they range from 90-99% on all tests. So incredibly *good* school systembased on testing. Kid's school (even though not tested) won an school of excellence award last year. So, I don't know what to think. Maybe we just got a shitty teacher and things could have been better in another room? I do think the highschool is top notch. I think even middle school might be a great program. I, truthfully, just think they are sucking the life out of early elementary to meet no child left behind standards and keep up funding.

Oh I wish I had bitch slapped her. I was actually just in shock that she said that at all. This was only a 2 minute conversation in total and the entire time she was acting too distracted to give me her full attention (which is exactly how she was on open house night while I was telling her about Kid's epilepsy... so ....).

I know she'll be happy at the Waldorf school. 100%. We just don't know if we can swing it financially. Right now we'll try the homeschooling, and then take it from there for next fall. Every year she's happy hear... is a serious chunk of money we can bank for the next year if needed.

I don't even know. I think not. Like I said above she is a fucking school counselor (by training) and I do know when there have been tragedies (kid dying, etc) she is outsourced to help the other district counselor. I do know the district has great services for special needs students, but I think they might be at the other k-2 building and not at ours.
But, no, they aren't doing anything to foster new friendships. I think some of that might be the backlash of being such a small town... there really aren't that many new kids... it might be a population that gets overlooked in general.

Mrs Furious said...

happy here... not hear.
sorry... I don't want to totally ruin my homeschool street cred

Elastigirl said...

"You can choose happiness, when happiness is a choice." Love this.

What a terrible teacher...

Jenny The Bold said...

"There is a difference between being *happy* and not being *sad*".

Love it.

lucinda said...

Could she stay through grandparent's day? We're loaded for bear.

Torey said...

Isn't there another elementary school in the district with the same grades? Could you switch her to that school to try it out? Maybe a different teacher?

Sorry to hear this has been so bad. It sounds awful, and I'm so glad that you are proactive. Her teacher sounds worn out, remember she was there when *I* was there. I bet she's just done. Which is a terrible thing to be as a teacher.

So sorry! What a crappy week you're having. Bitch Fest Friday anyone?

Mrs Furious said...

I don't know if they have room... that's how we got placed here to begin with. But, either way, at this point I think she has had enough transitions for one year. She can try again next year at Wylie when everyone regroups and starts fresh for 3rd... if... she even wants to by then.

Claire said...

I am so excited for you and Kid and Baby - what a great adventure!!! Thanks for linking that blog - did you click on "observational drawing?" I am going to start doing that myself - 15 mins a day!!! I hear you laughing!!!! Didn't have time to go anywhere else on that blog but I loved the art ideas!!!

julie said...

I hate to say it, but if Torey had her years ago, she may be too 'old school.' There are plenty of fabulous older teachers who really 'get' it with kids, and then there are some who are still teaching in the same way they did back when we were kids.

btw, that blog you linked to is very cool. I love all the stuff with art. I have to say that I feel a little like shit that I am reading about how cool this mom is fostering her children's learning, love, life, etc and I am in another room from my kids not doing any of that while they play a video game. I have such a hard time with follow-through with cool ideas.

Mrs Furious said...

lol... you mean like intensively researching homeschooling every single day all day... while... completely ignoring the child I have AT home with me? ;)
Oh, and the teacher is mid to late 40s. Torey is a bit younger... But still, yes, old school. Kid started working with a young teacher for reading group... she loved her... she has a very different style.

you are most welcome. I just found her blog yesterday... she does some very inspiring stuff!

Agreed. I think we lost the lottery this year.

Jenny the Bold,
I'm still trying and teach Mr F that one, too ;)

Gigs said...

I think I said before that the teacher can make such a difference. Last year we had the world's worst. Completely unresponsive to anything we were concerned about. And very young and inexperienced, with none of the enthusiasm that might have offset some of that. She was awful, and it was a lost year for all of us. This year is like he is in another school - two great teachers who listen, hear, and act. It is amazing what a difference it has made. I think it's great if you can find another option for Kid that works for your family, because enduring that frustration on a daily basis really does suck.

julie said...

I guess that teacher is old school without being that old. That's disappointing.

Torey said...

WAIT!! She's in her mid-to-late 40s????

I wonder if she is the daughter or daughter-in-law of the teacher I'm thinking of. . . It could be my memory being off, but I'm pretty sure she was old when I was there. . . .Of course everyone seems old when you're so little. . . but I'm pretty sure it can't be the same woman if she's so young.

What a bummer! I'm glad you and Kid and Baby are going to HomeSchool!

P/F said...

It is such a crapshoot. That's what makes it so hard for me to take my kids out of school. The boys have had some teachers who I'd have to say are almost magical in how they relate to and work with kids.

I DO remember there being lots of uncreative work going on in 2nd grade with my older sons (which worked out well for our workhorse and not so well for oldest son who was bored silly). But third grade: writing fiction and poetry and making interesting projects - both kids thrived.

Younger son's teacher last year is in her 60s and she is exactly the kind of person I'm thankful my son was able to spend so much time with. She expected a great deal from the kids, but was so kind and warm and energetic at the same time. I even felt enveloped with love each time I stopped in to help. She brought all of her students presents from Guatemala, as well as letters from pen-pals (my son is still writing to his this year - they each write in their own language and the letters are translated for the kids). His life is better for having had her as a teacher. It partially her fault that I keep my kids in public school.

I love the flexibility of your plan. You know your kids the best and whatever you decide is not written in stone.

Andrea said...

Love the blog yoou linked to. I really liked "There is a difference between being *happy* and not being *sad*".

Needed this today. :)

steves said...

My wife teaches in the school that my daughter goes to, so we have a good idea as to who is good and who isn't. From what I hear, there is no excuse for just pushing worksheets all day long. My wife says that is the sign of a lazy, uncreative teacher.

You guys are not going to believe this... but... she is also a licensed counselor!

As someone that has a cousleing license, I can easily believe this. Not that it is all that easy to get, but went to school and worked with dozens of people that should have chosen other professions.

I know that other kids are mean and some can be so sneaky about it that it makes if difficult to hold them accountable. That being said, the teachers/adminstrators/staff of any school have a duty to make sure the school environment is physically and emotionally safe.

Deb said...


Friends of mine recently talked to their daughters about switching from Montessori to a regular public school, and their six-year-old said, "But in public school, they just sit at their desks all day long and listen to the teacher talk." Your worksheet story reminded me of that. I'm sure there's a good dose of Montessori propaganda at the root of that, but just because it's propaganda doesn't mean it's not true.

Deb said...


Friends of mine recently talked to their daughters about switching from Montessori to a regular public school, and their six-year-old said, "But in public school, they just sit at their desks all day long and listen to the teacher talk." Your worksheet story reminded me of that. I'm sure there's a good dose of Montessori propaganda at the root of that, but just because it's propaganda doesn't mean it's not true.

Deb said...

Oh, and the hardships thing? Bravo for refraining from slapping her. That made me mad FOR Kid.

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