Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughts on Kindergarten and Conversations at the Dentist. (When you can't think of a title, make it a long one!)

Dy 50: Oct. 24, 2013

On my mind today: where should my daughter attend Kindergarten next year? This question always arises when I go to the dentist. And when you’re having your teeth cleaned, you inevitably find yourself locked into a one sided conversation. I adore my dental hygienist. She’s smart, nice, and she has two girls, four and six.   She has the best kids in the world, and her first grader goes to the Japanese immersion school fifteen minutes from her house and they love it, and they have no doubt it’s worth the drive and their daughter bosses her little sister around in Japanese now. And they both went to a Montessori preschool where they learned more than all the first graders in the public school system by the time they were four, so they’re only choice was Japanese immersion (French and Spanish are too easy,) because now at least they will be challenged.  By the time I get my mouth back, and have a moment to respond, all I can say is wow, you’re really on the ball, and your kids are heading in the right direction, all the while wallowing in self doubt about how my kids are learning absolutely nothing in their very ordinary pre-school, and probably hate it, and although I see the benefit of language immersion, the thought of driving twenty five minutes to the Japanese school is horrifying.

Then I think, ok, calm down. These are the things I want my kids to be exposed to while they are young: music, some structured physical activity and language.  Language immersion is very practical for the language side of things, I give it that. Our neighborhood school, however, is two minutes away and they can take the bus. And its a perfectly good school, probably very good.

The problem for me is that this town has a mind boggling number of choices for schooling your child. There are neighborhood schools, any of which one can lottery into if one chooses, charter schools, private schools, lots of home schooling resources, language immersion schools, "alternative schools," religious schools. Absolutely everyone I talk to has a different opinion about one or other of the schools, and my brain is ready to explode with non-information. Meaning, I don't actually know anything first hand about any of the schools. I have visited two of them in my madness, and both were charming in their own ways. I started visiting the schools last year, and when I would tell the receptionist that my daughter was going to be in kindergarten over a year down the road, she would tell me to suck it and wait until next year because they have enough to keep track of without over eager, judgmental women roaming the halls.

What it comes down to is this: I can decide to go with that tiny little bean inside my gut that's telling me that my kids will take the bus to their neighborhood school, leave it at that, and make my life a million times easier this year, or I can parade from school to school on my free mornings, take notes, envision heaven or hell within each of their walls, then my child could actually get into more than one of our top choices and we'd have to then decide between them. Oh boy! This is going to be a fun process!

Coffee: No cups bought today!

Cups and Bags Challenge: One report of a latte bought with a reusable cup! Yay!! So, that puts us at $48? I think that's right. If you use a reusable cup, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


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