Friday, September 07, 2007

School Daze

Because we enjoy complicating our life as well as acting upon last minute yet surprisingly well thought out decisions, our children have started a new school this year.

We registered on August 27th.

School started on the 5th.

Which required an eleventh hour flurry of testing/transcripts/paperwork/uniform and only 12 or so middle of the night sobbing fits, are we doing the right thing???? from yours truly.

Today I met the headmaster and as he and I were chatting away, a part of my brain kept thinking, I can't believe how much this guy reminds me of Bill Paxton in Big Love... would it be weird to tell him?

I decided that telling the head of your children's Catholic school that he reminds you a polygamist would be bad form.

Jack had a great first day while Jake informed me that, It didn't totally suck.

Day 2 received more positive feedback - Good and fun was the consensus.

Whew.

We left our last school for a number of reasons and it was not an easy decision. I loved the idea of my kids graduating from 8th grade with the kids they had been in kindergarten with...

But, ineffective administration was making the place feel like a junior high and the best interests of the kids began falling behind the best interests of certain highly moneyed parents... a problem not unique to private schools where some adults think the more cash they throw around the more policy they should be allowed to dictate... obviously, it's the school's responsibility to quell this tide, only ours wasn't...

So after a month of summer, a month of stepping back and calmly looking at the big picture, Hugh and I realized that we had to make a change.

We're not alone. 5 kids from Jake's class left as well as 4 from Jack's... considering the school is a 1 class per grade with about 22 kids per class, well that is rather significant.

And so we talked to the kids... and talked and talked to each other some more... and the boys accepted our decision... at the end of the day they really understand that we would never make a choice for them that we didn't believe was for the best; they know they are our priority and they trust us.

We gave them a choice of 2 schools... both excellent and we deferred to their preference (which was secretly ours, but we wanted them to feel as though they had some self determination in this process).

I was told that having a family call and discuss admission a mere month before school begins is highly unusual... thank goodness I have brainiac children so I can walk softly and carry a big report card... turns out they welcomed us with open arms and 47 pages of paperwork.

I know all of you out there with the babies and the sleep deprivation are thinking you are in the hardest part of parenting and maybe, physically you are... but, I am here to warn you that the mental exhaustion... the second guessing... that only gets worse... there are days when I am nothing but exhausted... days when I question every single choice I made... days when I realize I am giving nothing but assvice... days when I make myself shut up.

Yet, I have these wonderful, wonderful children.


*** edited to add***

as of 2:59 pm, 9/8/07, these "wonderful wonderful children" are approximately 11 minutes away from being sent to boarding school!!!

31 comments:

i-Con said...

Glad it's working out in the new digs for the kids.

I have a little thing for Bill Paxton...how nice of you to plant him in my mind.

At the rate of the wait, I keep thinking senility will be approaching for me by the time school decisions come into play.

Kristin said...

I know... I am sort of hot for Bill Paxton myself... so clearly I can never speak to the Headmaster again.

Marisa said...

"Walk softly and carry a big report card"

I am going to try and find a way to work that into a conversation today.

CDPJ said...

Ugh! School politics. Something I'm not looking forward to. I have a theory about rich parents with kids in private school and you just helped validate it. My nephew, who is seriously a very, very good baseball player (and I'm not just saying that because I'm his aunt -- he's won competitions and shit!!), didn't even make the team at his private middle school and we are convinced it's because some other parents at the school "donated" more money than his did.

jennie said...

good for you - making a change can be so hard. We're still in the pre-school stage at our house, but trying out two different types of schools this fall to help us as we prepare to choose elementary schools next year. It's tough, and I feel a little weird approaching it this way, like I'm making too big of a deal out of it, but I feel like I need some more information to make a good decision. Martin is young, and he's informed me that if its up to him, he'd like to go to the public school for full day kindergarten - so that he can have hot lunch.

I wouldn't be able to speak to the Headmaster anymore either.

minijonb said...

if i met someone who looked that much like Bill Paxson, i wouldn't be able to stop laughing. tell him the next time you see him... don't worry about the pain and torture your children will endure because of it.

Kristin said...

minijonb- you have no idea... I kept thinking, how many wives do you have?

Shelley said...

You sure do. And they are very fortunate to have you guys as parents.

And now you have the weekend to recover from your writer's cramp. I'm right there with ya on the paperwork. Sheesh!

P.S. - Would love to get a gander at that headmaster. :)

Chrissie said...

Well, I'm not sure if your last paragraph was encouraging or discouraging (about the babies/no-sleep thing. Yep. That's me). Unfortunately, you're not the only person in recent weeks to make that statement to me. The more who tell me, the more I'm starting to believe its true.

Kristin said...

Chrissie - It's true... mental exhaustion... but, at least it is balanced out with a full night's sleep! :-)

Gracencameronsmomy said...

I ffel your pain! Today they decided they need to "re-organize classes". This would be the poor things third Kindergarten teacher in two weeks! I have cried many tears over this same decision...

Jodi said...

Ohmygoodness, see sometimes it good to just have ordinary public schools to pick from so you don't have all this pressure. It sounds like you made the right decision for your boys though!

And Bill Paxton..wow! I LOVE Big Love, that is the best show. It will be iteresting as you get to know the other parents and see how many other Mom's say the same thing.

Kristin said...

Jodi - I agree! And we have great public schools in our area and I often wish I had just gone that route. My choice of a private school was solely based on my desire for the kids to have a Catholic education... but when I think of the huge UN-christian behavior that we have witnessed at their old school ...well, I have to shake my head.

Mrs. T said...

Good you got away from the bs at the old school. There may be new bs at the new one, but you'll be new so maybe immune to it? At least for a few years anyway.
LOVE Bill Paxton! Love. Him. Big Love is wonderful- ALMOST makes polygamy look good- esp. if you are irritated with your husband. Do you ever think "I wish it was someone else's night with him"? Ha ha.

Ninotchka said...

I could have written that last part. And how!

Blessed are we, my dear friend. Blessed are we.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to cdpj's comment. My son attends a very "exclusive" charter school (my sister in law is a teacher there) and we are not in the same league as most of the parents and they never let us forget it!

My son has friends and is happy, but I don't know how much longer I can take it!

Lisa and Tate said...

I found you! I have been wondering why you were not posting on Eva blog.... happily for me, here you are!

I think it is great that you took flipped off the private school and decided to leave that place. School can be too stressful without all the politics, fund raising, and social pressures. You do have smart kids (I'll take your word on that one) but they are pretty gorgeous also!

Lisa

Jill said...

I know this dilemma so well. This year we have one in public, one in private and one in a performing arts charter school. My bent is toward public, but you have to do the right thing by each child. Hope the success continues for your boys!

Kristin said...

Jill- Yes, we almost were faced with the kids in different schools... imagine my relief that they are all under the same roof!

We are still in the realm of the private school, but I have high hopes that this one will prove to be more democratic. :-)

Scribbit said...

Your last line cracked me up--there are days!

S. said...

oh please don't say that, I am only hanging on by a thread now!

Congrats on changing schools--it sounds like it will be a good fit for your family.

Anonymous said...

Where do your kids go to school?

Menopauseprincess said...

Hi

First time at your blog. I love Big Love as well, tell the guy he looks like Bill Paxton, after all one of Bill Henrickson's kids goes to a Catholic school!

rubyiscoming said...

I imagine you had many sweaty palms making the decision. That is one of my great fears, that I will make the "wrong" scholastic choices for my daughter - of course, I have to actually MEET my daughter which should happen in China in....oh, let's say 2011.

Los said...

I never had to change schools, but I know some people who did - it's not easy on kids to do this ... quite traumatic, actually.

Jenny said...

Glad you got the kids into the better fit.

I already worry about it all now and the girls are 14 months old. We are doing private school, well catholic, is it the best option, should we consider this parish or that other one or the one in the other city? We have to move to a better place but what place. And the place I want, is it good enough? Mimi does a PT eval tomorrow, is it a waste?

It is exhausting. And I can see it only getting harder!

Kristin said...

Los - Don't I know it... we agonized over the switch, but, in the end, realized that it was better in the long run... the boys are doing great... they know some kids in their class and are already making new friends... which is the benefit of still being in elementary school; kids are still welcoming.

Damselfly said...

I agree, the sleep deprivation is really tough ... but education is such a big issue. Still, it's nice to have options on where to send your kids, huh?

carrie said...

I am sure you made the right decision. And you are right, this mental work is much, much harder than the physical stuff - partly because you can drink coffee if you're sleep deprived. What are you supposed to do when your actual brain is tired?

Hope the new school continues to work great and yeah, I'd keep the Big Love connection under wraps . . . for now!

Becky said...

i loved the slideshow...so glad youre back to blogging...and no dont tell him he looks like bill paxton although i LOVE that show lol

Lisa said...

I grew up going to a catholic grade school. And since my siblings and I were the "have nots" other kids (and even teachers) were happy to remind us each and every day of the things we didn't have and would never get to do. So when you talk about the people with money thinking they can dictate, I know what you mean. Their kids can sometimes be bullies and teachers will even treat the kids of those parents better.

Not that I'm against a catholic education or any private school... Just that some people treat their child's education as a badge of affluence (look what I can afford!) instead of feeling strongly about the educational benefit.

That's great that you guys saw that bullshit and jumped ship so you could give your boys a quality education. And very cool that they got to "choose" too.