Is it me, or has public primary school drastically changed since the early 80s when I was in kindergarten?
I eagerly awaited the day I could sign my child up for *free school*. After paying an obscene amount of money to private preschools, I was excited to actually have my tax dollar working for me in this way.
A'las, kindergarten this year...public, and up the street. I am of the mindset that public school is fine for most students. I went to public school...yadda, yadda, yadda. More diversity, more interaction with real life people. I believe it's easier to be a big fish in a little pond, so the fact that the school is 'average' could be a great thing for my kid. And, studies show that 'average' middle class kids, who attend 'average' schools, do just as well as similar 'average middle class' kids at great schools (whatever those are). Also, I've seen my share of the rich spoiled Paris Hiltons, to know that many of those expensive, pricey private high schools are full of cocaine, fast cars, and complete disregard for humankind at large. I've seen plenty of kids come into the ER intoxicated, high, raped, "suicidal", or all botoxed up with perfect make-up to boot, at age 16, from these well-to-do schools. My kid has a Diva personality, and she doesn't need any coaching in that area.
So, we went to the local public school. It was okay, I guess. But, it didn't seem as though the kids were well supervised. My kid is an escape artist, and she isn't always a great listener. It's important to know your kid, and in doing so, attempt to create an environment that they'll thrive in. Well, free play (whether planned, as in montessori or other 'child based' methods of teaching; or by default, as in lack of supervision by disinterested minimum wage earning staff on the playground) isn't a great environment for my little girl. Strike 1.
Then, they get out at noon. "School" is from 9a-12p. That's crazy. What is she supposed to do the rest of the day? Play on the playground....with the unsupervising supervisor. Strike 2.
What do they learn in kindergarten?
letters, numbers, frog cycles...
When do they learn to read?
First grade? You've got to be kidding me. I knew how to read and write sentences in kindergarten. I actually remember my teacher and everything. I expect that she'll learn how to read in kindergarten (actually I kinda think she should already know how to read).
I spoke with local parents, all whom agree that the local schools are unable to keep the reading ready kids advancing as a result of the....other kids. Those kids who don't know English, or are just stupid.
I don't want my child to stagnate waiting for Spanish speaking kids to learn English (unless my kid is learning Spanish simultaneously). Otherwise, my kid is getting the short end of the stick in this deal...and it's my duty to try and address these issues as her mother. As they are still learning (a very valuable skill), my kid is acting out, playing candyland, and waiting....
...and in the end, she's gained nothing. Strike 3.
So....she's going to private/christian kindergarten this fall. This school is the closest thing to a 'regular school' I've discovered in our 5 year search. They 'pledge allegiance to the flag.' They learn songs and dance. They learn about morals and friendship, love and obedience. It's okay for parents to spank (gasp) if deemed necessary. And....She's *learning practical things at school*...like reading, and math. Strangely, the Christian school has allowed us more freedom of expression than the public school or private, liberal preschools. The Christian School has been the most tolerant, and accepting of our family, our values and beliefs. It's amazing. Sometimes is seems the crazy right-winged republicans have taken ownership of Christianity. I am a Christian, and it's nice to see that there are Christians who actually do WJD (do what Jesus did).
After years of being forced to sit through church as a kid....and then marrying a guy who works in a world where anything Christian is typically anything but, it's refreshing to experience Christianity from this different perspective.
We have come full circle....back to our 'regular school.' No bullshit Montessori, or 'let the kids do whatever the hell they want child-based'. No learning about frogs and roaches in lieu of letters and numbers. No purple haired, flip-flop wearing, 35 yo single, childless, "teacher" with a PhD acting holier-than-thou because I think watching TV is okay, and my child eats Oreos. A regular school. With little desks. Where children raise their hands, and call teachers by their last names.
Ahhhh....finally....after 5 years!!