School’s Out, School’s Out: Thank Heaven!

I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.

Technically?  We haven’t made it all the way.  L~ still has a few math lessons to finish up today, but that’s it.  Then we’re done.

So I’ll post more later about this school year, and the things that have lead us to (most likely) enroll our oldest two in the local public school district for next year.  I still say most likely, much to my husband’s dismay, because the school isn’t sure they will accept her as a seventh grader  Never mind the fact she probably has a higher reading level than most of the staff and faculty, and who cares that she has already done an entire sixth-grade curriculum?  She was born 26 days too late, and, therefore, might have maturity issues and emotional problems as a seventh-grade student this coming fall.

And know know what?  They could be right.  She might.  But  you know what else?  They could be wrong, and she might not.  Considering they have never met her?  I think it is rather ignorant of the principle to be so hesitant about the whole thing at this point.  And I know parents can be biased and stupid when it comes to their kids’ behavior and emotional development and whatnot, but I can honestly say that one of my biggest worries about my parenting of this child is that I have always expected a lot out of her.  A LOT.  Because she has all been smart and way ahead, and where much is given, much is required and all that.  Though I know that can be taken to the extreme and I worry that I’ve done that at times.  But the point is?  She is not immature.  Her entire life, I’ve had people tell me that she acts older/seems older than she is.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s still an 11-year-old kid, but the whole idea of someone deciding she has to redo an entire grade because she is 26 days too young just really ticks me off.  So, we shall see what happens once the committee makes its decision about my child.  After that, I will make the final decision.

Anyway, that is not my intended topic for the day.  My intended topic is the forms I’ve been filling out to get this whole enrollment process started.

Holy hell!

They want to know how old I was when each of the kids to be enrolled was born.  They want to know if I had any unusual physical or mental illnesses during the pregnancies.  They want to know when the kids were potty trained, when they started walking, if they’ve ever had  . . . a whole myriad of possible medical issues, including, but by no means limited to, eczema or urinary tract infection.

Excuse me????  I’m enrolling my kids in your school, not taking them to see a new doctor for the first time.  I can totally understand why the school would need to know about medical conditions that could affect my child’s ability to learn and/or participate in a classroom setting; but eczema?  How the heck is that any of their business?

Oh, because it’s a state form.  It’s not really the school who is asking, it’s the State.  That makes me feel much better.

What the frap?

And the form honestly asks:

How does this child’s development compare to other children, such as his or her brothers/sisters or playmates?  About the same ____  slower____ faster___

Ummm . . . hello?  Want to be a little more specific there?  Social development?  Emotional development?  Physical development?  Gross motor skills?  Fine motor skills?  Receptive language?  Expressive language?  Intellectual development?  What?  What?  What!????

It’s like this folks, I’m sending my kids to school to be educated.  Not psychoanalyzed, not medically or emotionally evaluated, not to have my own medical history questioned.  I understand some information is necessary for the schools to have, like vaccination records.  If my child had serious allergies or were epileptic, those would also be things the school should know about.  But what the frap difference does it make if I had any unusual illness during pregnancy?  Quite frankly, I count hemorrhoids and morning sickness as unusual because they aren’t things I deal with when I’m not pregnant.  I realize they are probably looking for other things, bigger things, things that could affect the child’s ability to learn and/or function, things that could cause difficulties or disruptions that could be headed off by having the knowledge ahead of time; but that being the case?  That would already be addressed elsewhere on the form.

Grrr.

I’m making a plan to send my kids to government schools, and I’m not liking it already.  All I’ve done is fill out half a dozen forms for each kid, and I already feel like the schools are being intrusive way beyond what they need to be or should have the right to be.

Oh, and one of my favorites?  I am supposed to sign a consent form for the school to be able to release my children’s information for medical and educational purposes.

What does that even mean??????  Do you want to have consent to release medical information in case my child is involved in an accident or something on a field trip or on the playground, and the first responders need the information?  If that is the case, then sure!  By all means!  Tell them what they need to know.

But your form, dimwits, YOUR FORM doesn’t specify.  It doesn’t say to whom the information could possibly be released, nor does give even the vaguest possibilities of why it could be released.  (Really, what is an educational purpose????  You’re the school, you’re the educators!  You already are getting too much information, why do you need to pass it on for educational purposes?????).  I am not going to give you permission to just release my children’s information (boring as toast though it is) willy nilly to unspecified entities for unspecified purposes.

Believe me when I say that none of this has anything to do with why I chose to homeschool my kids to begin with.  It really, truly doesn’t.  But now?  NOW????  It’s having a lot to do with me feeling my blood pressure rise and questioning this whole school thing.

If the economy were more certain, if our job security were more certain, I’d just ditch the virtual academy we’ve been using, buy the curriculum I like outright, hire a math tutor for the older kids, and then school year round, with a lot of traveling to historic (U.S.) sights and fun places thrown in.  Although that still wouldn’t solve the underlying problem of living in the sticks and having no kids nearby, and the loneliness that has plagued my oldest this year.

It feels like there is no win-win to this situation no matter what I do.

I swear, one of these days I will make you snort coke and coffee out your nose again, I will!  I know it’s been a while, and I’m probably losing readers because of that, but dang.  This just isn’t funny to me.

And George . . .

15 thoughts on “School’s Out, School’s Out: Thank Heaven!

  1. metaphase

    You know, you left a comment alluding to expecting a lot (too much?) out of your daughter when I was talking about something along the same lines with my little smarty. I want you to know I took that very seriously b/c I respect what you have to say since you’ve been parenting way longer than I have. In the end, I think you know your daughter better than anyone and the school won’t be able to hold her back when they see how special she is. It would be almost ridiculous to keep her in a grade that she has mastered all the material for already.
    Oh, and your take on the public school thing? I know I had some information about some of my special ed students that when I was reading it for the first time, I felt almost like I was snooping into someone’s diary or something. And, your conservative viewpoint on government school makes me laugh out loud (and you weren’t even trying!). You and my husband, I swear you’re so alike. If we both weren’t happily married (with like 7 kids between us), I’d try to set you two up!HA! Then again, that could be a dangerous, conservative combination!

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  2. That form is ridiculous. The worst part (for me) was when I had to fill it out for Lana, and I had to write “not known, not known, not known” over and over and over again. That was much more painful that I ever anticipated.

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  3. ok that is totally horrifying. And it raises all my most rebellious hackles. Doesn’t it strike you at all as ironic that the state both has the authority to force your child to attend school but also wants to make it a royal impossibility for you to voluntarily enroll her? Seriously – a panel?!? Screw THAT! And all those forms? Would they honestly DENY her attendance without them? Probably not the right foot to start out on but seriously it is exactly this kind of thing that, whenever I reconsider school, immediately makes me turn around and run. But I also totally feel your pain about living in the sticks. If Noah didn’t have so many learning challenges I’d have to seriously consider it for his own best (social, emotional) interest. Its so hard sometimes.

    By the way I wanted to ask if the pre-alg is the same there as it is here? McDougal Littell course 2? I’m feeling so much more validated for how much I hate that course.

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  4. mary

    You don’t have to post this on your blog, but you can probably push the school district. I know my cousin did with her daughter. Although she was only heading into 2nd grade and they were living in brooklyn — anywhere within the ny city limits you can enroll your child if they are born by 12/31 & can be admitted into kindergarten. Which meant when they moved to the suburbs and had already done kindergarten & first grade, they wanted to hold her back a year. My cousin pushed and the school finally said yes. There are exceptions to every rule. My sister was the same way when we moved back in the 70s, my mom pushed and said she wouldn’t allow her to repeat the 3rd grade … So she was the youngest person in her graduating class in HS but it didn’t deter her from exceling. Again we were born in the city and my sister’s bday is 12/16!

    Good luck and praying that it will go your way!

    Best,
    Mary
    (One of Colleen’s friends)

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  5. lauren

    although I certainly like the milk-snorting-from-my-nose experience, I want to know abou tthe not funny stuff too. I’ll read whatever you post 🙂

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  6. AMommy

    I was in a similar situation. My parents moved from a state where I would start school to a state where I would have had to wait another year. They got me into school, but in the second grade a teacher convinced them that I needed to be held back for maturity and social reasons. They did it and after a few weeks the school started moving me up to third grade for a subject because I knew all the material and was going through a week’s lesson plan in a day. Then I’d move up for another subject, and another, and after a few weeks I was in third grade for everything except PE and lunch. It was a mess as I couldn’t keep friends and I kept having to explain to different kids. Eventually my parents insisted they move me to third grade permanently. It was a mess of a year, and the elementary grade I remember most vividly.

    Sorry for hijacking your blog, but I just wanted to say fight for where you believe your daughter should be. They haven’t met her or evaluated her. (How annoying they make such a decision without doing so?!?) Repeating material will only bore her and even though it sounds like you are enrolling her in public school for more than academic reasons, I’m sure you also want her to stay challenged academically.

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  7. ash

    The scary part about all those forms is how they will be used. I am not familiar with a Govt. agency competent enough to use them in an emergency. However, they might be able to use them for some data mining experiment. Perhaps to develop a statistic to support some hair-brained theory. Statistics can be shaped for any argument and most arguments being made by the government support more of their involvement, perpetuating their interest. When was the last time that interest benefitted a normal working family?… I simply can’t recall the last. ~ Char’s conservative DH

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  8. We just went through the same cr@p enrolling Annie (11th grade) and Susie (9th grade) at our public high school for next year [I have to go back to work 😦 ]. I must have made 20 phone calls to the poor secretary asking for clarification on the form questions and then I obliterated the margins with my own addendums like “Please contact us for specific permission as needed” and “If you find that this information is imperative, please contact us and we will reconsider your request.” Two months later, no one has contacted us. Although the forms were a royal pain, the guidance counselor was very respectful of our homeschool. She accepted my transcripts and issued credit for every single class, so both of the girls are entering at or above grade level depending on the subject.

    Can you request to participate in the committee’s meeting when they discuss grade placement? In any case, I hope your board will be gracious. If they know anything at all about homeschoolers, they’ll be chomping at the bit to have your girls boost the district test scores for No Child Left Behind.

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  9. Wow, I’m not remembering any questions like that on the forms I filled out. Maybe my state isn’t as intrusive? Or maybe I somehow missed those questions…

    Stick to your guns. YOU know your child and her needs best.

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  10. OK, it’s situations like these that make me a bit ashamed to say I am a public school teacher. Who does this principal think he is?!? Anyway, keep fighting for what you think is best for her.

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  11. Wow, our forms aren’t nearly that bad and we’re in California. You’d think we were the form Nazis, but it’s really not so bad, you just have to fill out your phone number about 15 times (can’t they copy? no, they can’t. they’d get it wrong.) Good luck with all of it.

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  12. Christina

    You do know you said “one of these days I’ll make you snort coke” , right? Unintentional though it may have been – that cracked me up. 🙂

    I wonder, what happens if you just don’t answer all the questions? Because I’m thinking it’s public school and they HAVE to take your kids, right? I seriously doubt all the undocumented non-english speaking type people are filling those forms out. I’m just sayin’.

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  13. I don’t remember the intrusive questions when enrolling Ethan this spring. Maybe I’m already desensitized…

    Public schools can be ridiculous, but in my experience a lot of it depends on who you get to answer the phone. My friend needed to enroll her foster kid in the at-risk preschool this year & the secretary refused because my friend didn’t know the kid’s middle name. It was a huge battle & eventually the social worker had to get involved. The secretary rued the day she made the middle name her Alamo because the social worker had some heads rolling over that little episode. I enjoyed every minute of it because besides our old town having the Children’s Librarian that hates children, we also have the Preschool secretary that hates Preschoolers. The elementary secretaries? Knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, & accommodating. I miss them…

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