Today started with waffles. And I promise you! It took me way longer to make them than it is going to take you to read this post in its entirety.
This was a real treat for my kids, because we never have waffles. This would be because I’ve never owned a waffle iron before, and I never buy those nasty freezer waffles at the grocery store because I love my children and try not to hasten their inevitable demise with that much processed food and sugar, especially first thing in the morning.
Anyway, they were molasses waffles (really, might as well have called them what they were: gingerbread waffles!), and the recipe was quite healthy (whole wheat flour, egg replacer, sweetened with stevia, no sugar) and the batter was goopy and, well, weird. And they took forever too cook in my brand spankin’ new waffle iron. Literally, two hours to cook them all. I am so glad I did it last night so that I could just heat them up today, rather than try to do it all this morning. Nothing like sending your kids off on their first day of school ever with no breakfast.
But they got breakfast and, really? The best dang waffles I’ve ever had (taste wise, of course – consistency was a bit off) (but who is complaining when it tastes like you are eating gingerbread for breakfast?) (with 100% real maple syrup, of course).
So my oldest two are at school right now discovering the joys and pains of fifth and seventh grades. Probably eating lunch as I type (though I undoubtedly won’t get this finished and posted until sometime after supper).
The bus came ten minutes earlier than we were told it would, but luckily we were outside already taking pictures and whatnot, so it wasn’t really a problem. It was only kind of a problem because with the girls madly dashing across the front lawn to get to the bus (oh yeah, they haven’t figured out what cool is yet) I forgot to remind them to look at their bus number and make sure they got back on the same bus to come home.
This realization hit me about ten minutes after they left (meaning right when the bus was supposed to be there) and gave me a minor panic attack. I called my husband, who was on his way to work, to share this newest angst and he basically told me I shouldn’t worry about it, the school would take care of them, blah, blah, blah, but agreed to call the school later in the day just to make sure. I would have called the school myself, but I was afraid I’d break down over the idea that my girls, who are smart but clueless in the ways of government schooling, would just pick a bus, any bus, at the end of the day and find out too late that it wasn’t going by their house.
Later my best friend called me to see how it went, that sending them off for the first time, and when I told her about the bus confusion and my husband thinking it was no big deal she said, “Are you kidding? I wrote my girls’ bus number on their ankles with a Sharpie. And this isn’t their first year going to school!”
So I called my husband back and told him I wasn’t worrying about nothing.
Then he called the school and they assured him I was, and they always make sure all the kids get on the right bus for the first week and a half or so before leaving them to their own common sense and ability to hopefully be responsible.
It wasn’t that way when I was in middle school is all I’m saying. They were like, “Whew! Last bell! Get out. Get out! GET OUT!!!!”
Okay, maybe those weren’t their exact words, but trust me (I worked with some of these same teachers later) they did not follow us out and help us get on the right bus. They just hid until the buses pulled out and then they beat a hasty retreat to their own cars (What? My contract says I’m supposed to stay in the building for another 40 minutes after the kids leave? Screw that). On the last day of school for the year? They stood outside and waved at all the kids as the buses pulled out and muttered things like, “Good riddance devil spawn” under their breath and fake smiles. I know, I stood out there with them as a teacher one year. Oh, yeah, they were a great group. Every bit as mature as the devil spawn we were waving off.
Okay, maybe they didn’t say “devil spawn” but there was muttering under breath and fake smiles.
So this morning of doing home school with the littles has been . . . umm . . . interesting. What with Tank Boy in kindergarten and Midge in first grade, and Quinn squawking around wondering why the hell nobody will play with him, and toys? Why do you keep giving me toys, woman!? I want people! It may take us a little extra time to get everybody’s lessons done for the day.
It is going to take us a little while to find our groove this year. Maybe a long while. Why, I can even foresee that we may not find a groove at all, and by the end of the year I’ll be nothing more than a body on the floor that people just step over on their way to get Play Dough out of the cupboard.
Kill me now!
School, home school, church meetings tonight. Then, of course, there was the requisite filling out of a thousand more forms for school once we got back home. Blargh.
The girls had a good day at school. They actually were waving and saying, “Bye!” to other kids as they got off the bus. That is pretty much all I dared hope for on the first day.
They both said they made friends. We had to have one of those difficult discussions in which you try to open your child’s eyes a bit without turning them into the same jaded cynic that you, yourself (and by that I mean me, though I prefer the term “realist”) are. You know, things like, “Well, yes, she may be T@nya Tuck3r’s second cousin. It really is possible. But just because that is also her name doesn’t mean it is true.”
I wouldn’t have actually gone there, except the young Miss Tuck3r also told my daughter some other things which gave me reason to dole out some cautionary advice.
At any rate, they both declared the day “good” and had many, many, many, many, oh my word! many tales to tell about their adventures in government school.
Their only real complaint?
It was BORiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnggggggggg.
They didn’t do any actual school work except for art class. The rest of it was all (and I’m channeling Flounder here), “This is this and that is that . . .” in every single class.
I asked them, fully acknowledging that it is only one day and way too early to form a really valid opinion, if they were glad they went to school or if they wished they were staying home this year (a question I plan to ask frequently – a thermometer or barometer question, if you will). They both said they were glad they went, but they hope it gets more interesting soon, or they won’t be.
Ahhh, yes, one of the biggest downfalls of government school. How much actual schooling did you do today on this, your first day of school?
“None except for art.”
And how much would you have done today if we had kept home schooling?
“At least five hours.”
Not that I was trying to talk them into coming back home. I just wanted them to see one of the reasons government schools can sometimes be less effective. When you are in a class of a bunch of people, the teachers have to keep explaining the same things over, and over, and over, and over until everybody hopefully gets it. When you school at home? It only needs explained until you get it. I told them to plan on having rules and procedures explained to them for the rest of the week.
“Yeah, one of my teachers said we won’t really start school until next week,” one of the girls responded.
Lovely. Because the virtual charter school hours that we MUST log? That requirement is there because the government school kids MUST also be in school for a certain number of hours/days. Which I get, but . . . you can do it so much faster at home.
Anyway, I digress.
Their day was good. They met people. They had people to sit with at lunch. They were still nervous, and they still are nervous about going back tomorrow, but they were glad they went.
They made it through the first day with nobody being mean or snotty, and that is huge, HUGE, in my book.
A~ needs to take a “silent reading” book to her language arts class for those times when she is finished with her work and has nothing else to do. She said the teacher told them it must be at least seventh grade level. No third or fourth grade silent reading books in her room! But, she said, if a student feels their reading level is higher than seventh grade, they may bring in a higher level book.
A~ said she’s already decided to take in Oliver Twist. She’s been wanting to read it for a while. As she pointed out to me, she started reading it when she was seven, but it was a little difficult to understand then so she didn’t stick it out. She feels ready for it at 11.
And I? I am wondering if they actually have her in the honors/accelerated/whatever they call it language arts class. I mean, if the teacher has to specify that the book must be at grade level, may may be above grade level if the student feels ready . . . not sounding too accelerated to me.
I asked A~ if they put her in the advanced classes (I believe math and language arts are the only ones they track). She said she wasn’t sure. I asked to see her schedule. She said she left it in her locker.
So, again, I am being one of those parents. I told her to go in tomorrow and look at her schedule to see if she is in the advanced classes. If she can’t tell from her schedule, I told her to immediately take it to her homeroom teacher and tell her that her mother wants to know if she is in the advanced classes. If the teacher says no (either to one or both classes) then she is to sigh and roll her eyes like her mother is the most embarrassing person on the planet and tell the teacher that I would like someone to call me about this asap.
Okay, I didn’t tell her to sigh and roll her eyes. I do, however, want to make sure this is all good and right by the end of school tomorrow.
Now it is almost 11:00 p.m. and I am dog tired, just as you are undoubtedly tired of reading all of this. I was going to post pictures from this morning, but perhaps I will do that tomorrow in its own post.
Side note: Quinn cried and cried tears of utter sadness and despair as he watched his sisters get on the bus and go away. He was very hurt/upset/concerned/scared/something by their leaving. Conversely, my newfoundland barked and howled as the bus stopped in front of our house and let them off in the afternoon. I have never heard her make such sounds. I prefer to think she just didn’t like the squealing of the bus breaks over the idea that she was bothered by the girls coming home.
Now I am off to find my copy of Oliver Twist (which I’ve never read myself) for my daughter, and then go to bed.