first off. sorry it's been like 10 years since i've last posted. i am trying not to say that i was in the vortex that is my life, but i don't seem to be able to help it. this thirteen jobs business is kicking my but. thirteen? let's see...
nursing (that's two: am and pm)
talking to my preschooler (over and over and over and over and over and over again)
recovering from this op. (almost over. yaay!)
waking up every morning
strapping kids into their car-seats (don't scoff. when it's more than one kid, it counts as employment!)
i think that might be it. so i lied. call it exaggeration. anyway, my latest job has been sorting out lauryn's schooling. since the home school thing isn't looking too - let's just say it - pretty. oh, i AM starting a home school - a play-group in my apartment to be more "pacific". (i've always wondered how come those people never were "atlantic" about anything.) anyway, it's going to be called the spectrum play school. i still hope to pull of the montessori thing in the next couple of years but in the meantime, it will be a thrice weekly for 2's and 2 1/2's.
(have you noticed that i have yet to get to the subject line of this post? well, i DID mention it last paragraph but let's just get to it then, shall we?)
disclaimer: the thoughts, views and opinions expressed at milkshaken will not reflect those of the reader. you may not like it, but don't be offended because every mom does what she feels is best. and then there are those moms who risk martyring themselves to do better than that. i relinquish all responsibility for anybody's feeling offended cause that's not about me. nuff said.
lauryn will be going (we hope) to the little schoolhouse in september. most of you already know that i am a very firm believer in no academic learning for young children. i think it is absolute BS. this ridiculous race to the illusion of a finish line has trickled all the way down into the pre-schools and i am pissed off at the shit that i hear about at some schools. for example there is a local school that's well respected. the owner is quite a lovely individual and i do not wish to mar her credentials so i will not name the school. let's just call it "the top school". the group of kids there that are 3 at that start of the school year are now learning how to write their names. let me say that again. THREE. LEARNING TO WRITE THIER NAMES. i really am heartbroken. and i have a friend whose child is being threatened to be HELD BACK. HELD BACK. if s/he doesn't learn how to do this by june. this child will not be four until after june. people are you hearing me? this isn't even pre-kindergarten here. that is some shit. i've mentioned it to a couple of early learning specialists and they - traditional as they were - were equally flabbergasted.
so there are really one a few options on the island for schooling: (i'll use fake names to protect the schools' identities)
monarch way- not even if it was free and the last school standing. everyone there is vomiting (anti) jesus crap that will darken any light that remains in the soul.
prime and anti - too far. no high school (major problem) and the curriculum is really really heavy. so no.
elizabeth's choice (EC) - went for the tour. the ELC is NOT an option. more on that later.
sandy port kids club - btdt. too far. waiting for AL to retire either way.
not quite presbyterian (NQP) - costs a ton of cash. went for the tour anyway. here lies the crux of my sad state of affairs.
now for the stories. for me, it had come down to EC because it was a good school and it was close by and relatively affordable. with ideals like mine: montessori learning, no rushing kids, lots of space to run and play, a pool and a good sports programme - it is impossible to find the perfect school. (here in para-medic please-dise). but i figured if we skip the ELC (which i've heard countless scary stories about) and just started in the primary school it would be OK. well, deborah went to book the space and - surprise surprise - it's almost impossible to get in without going through the ELC. so we went back and did the tour to see for ourselves if it was as scary as some had made it out to be. sad news. it was. i am tormented by the image of three year olds (turning four during the school year) with big red X's and check marks and SCORES on their WORKSHEETS. count the beans, glue them down in quantities from 1 to 10. that was the task. fair enough (i guess, but not really) and they were graded. what TF is that? deborah and i left and we were reeling. we were almost prepared to deal with the writing in pre-k, the lack of good toys, the computer in the class - those big red X's were the little breeze that blew us over and now we were stuck. now what?
my brain had the lovely little idea to "just have a look see" at what NQP has to offer. this, for me, was kind of like saying i need a watch, let's just nip into patek phillipe to see what they have. mostly ridiculous since i can only really afford a citizen but i happen to know that they (PP) make very good watches.
naturally, i went for the tour at NQP and it was WONDABAR! INCREDIBLE!! AMAZING!!! The classrooms were like little shrines to most of my ideologies. (of course.) no letters/numbers on the walls. just really neat creative stuff. they were doing eric carle books and had done artwork to match the story. they were learning about how humans coexist with animals. they have a fantastic library with gallery floor seating for the little ones. they have a huge, fantastic music room. no religious stuff. reading doesn't start till reception (kindergarten) and even then they only get books when each child is ready. no computer in the class. no graded work as far as the eye could see. just lots of color and wonder all around the room. monthly parent-teacher talks. parents can come it at 2:15 and share in story time. folders done at year's end to show the progress through the year. (this is how rex drew mom and dad in september - circles - and this is how max is now drawing mom and dad in may - circles with lines for legs and facial features.) i really was impressed and i had to keep my jaw from being slack with wonder and aww. no kidding. it was that good. so what's the problem? the little thing i haven't mentioned yet: tuition. and i say tuition because "school fees" just wouldn't cover it. sort of like calling a luxury million foot yacht a boat. it's right. but it isn't.
twenty six seven hundreed dollars per term... for kindergarten! that's 2-7. hundred. kindergarten. it increases for each grade level. so now what?
get a job teaching there. the vice-principal who gave the tour said that the discount for teachers is generous and was made even more so just this year as there were still some teachers who couldn't afford to send their kids there and the admin thought that was insane. so i finish my degree and teach there. or, get a part time job and earn $400/week working from 10 to 2 every day.
bottom line, i know i'm going to get flak for my decision (just like natural birth, co-sleeping, extended nursing, un-schooling, healthy eating and all that) but i am a mother who intends to do the absolute best i can for these people whose lives have been entrusted to me. and i will do what it takes for them to get the kind of education i think is best. like i said to nathan, it won't be easy. it won't be pretty at times but i will show up for these kids. i will be home when they are home and i will find a way to work and make the money i need to while they are in school. and it will cost me a lot (personally) but this is what i've signed up for. so look for bitching and moaning on the side.