Thursday, August 20, 2009

Check it out!

So check it out. On the right side of my blog is a link --------->

You can go to that site to play an easy little game! All you do is make a guess on our baby's gender, weight, arrival date, etc. Whoever gets closest to the actual weight, height, date and time little Zoe is born may win a special prize (the gender is a given)!!! So go on over and be sure to leave a guess. It'll take all of 30 seconds. Be sure to put "blog friend" in the spot that asks for your relation to me so I know who is leaving the guesses.

Tonight was a parent meeting at Elaina's school. It was very informative. For instance, they're raising money to hopefully build a bigger facility. They've also extended school hours from 8am-4:30pm because last year's test scores were on the low side (and I do mean low) and they're on warning. The reason the scores were so low is because most of the students are bilingual and their primary language is not English. So they are taking state tests in English and not fully understanding the questions. They are taught English at the school but it's one thing to take a test in your own language and quite another to take it in a language you've only been learning for a few years.

One woman got really upset about the extended day and left. She feels there isn't enough family time at the end of the day as it is, which I agree. I see both sides of the argument. The catcher is that kids who score well on tests (at or above the expectations in place) will get to leave school at 3:30 and not have to stay the extra hour. So it is an incentive for students to work hard.

There will also be no homework as kids will get to do the work in the school, with tutors and teachers. Most of the parents only speak their own language and so they cannot help their child with homework as it is so students are not getting support at home. However, parents are more than welcome to come to school, at any time of day, to help out and help educate the children as well, to read them books and help them with their literacy skills. So parents are NOT cut out of the picture; quite the contrary. They want parents deeply involved.

The principal refuses to budge on this new policy and told parents they're welcome to choose another school, in a firm but polite way. Props to her! This isn't a regular school full of Caucasian, English-speaking children. There are 7 countries represented at this school and those children are learning English as a second language. It can take 7 years to learn a language. They aren't beating information into these children, either, btw. They learn through interaction, exploration, immersion, games as well as through books and projects. Not everything is textbook and memorization. At the end of the day I agree with this course of action, as does Daniel, for THIS school and its unique community of students.

The preschoolers are exempt and still get to leave at 3:30, thankfully, unless they have an older sibling who is required to stay the extra hour. It's already a long enough day for children who are so young. Elaina has been coming home excited to talk about her new friends and share what they did in class. Some days she is super hyper and animated, other days she flops on the couch and falls fast asleep until dinner.

I've been with Elaina every single day of her life, except for 2 days when I was in the hospital after Abigail's birth. This is so foreign. As a stay-at-home parent it's difficult to come to terms with the fact that your baby is now under the care and supervision of other adults after years of being with just you. I've had to learn a LOT about letting go, just in these first 4 days of school. I'm still her parent and still make executive decisions on important issues... but someone else is comforting her if she falls down, someone else is making sure she goes potty, someone else is playing games with her all day long...

But I've also been less stressed with her at school. She's been getting bored at home. She and her sister have started to get into a lot more arguments and I have just been at the end of my rope with her at times. So this is a bittersweet situation; to have to let go but also to have a break from one another as we were both stressing one another out. Believe it or not but parents do need breaks from their kids and vice-versa or emotions begin to run high!

It's hard to articulate exactly what I mean but I'm sure if you've lived in similar shoes you understand. Sometimes I feel like such an awful parent. That I'm messing her up, not meeting her emotional needs, not paying enough attention. I feel like I've become Military Mom. It breaks my heart to think of myself that way. So I've been trying to be better about it. I feel like I'm so much harder on Elaina than Abby and so fairness and equality are two major words rattling around my head.

I've been careful to choose my battles lately. I don't nag and get on them about every little detail. I let them be and explore, so long as they aren't in danger. I try to show them how to solve their arguments without having to tattle and scream in anger. I just feel like I'm constantly trying and I worry about the things/attitudes Elaina may pick up at school.

This parent thing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It's one thing to burp babies and soothe them to sleep. They're so innocent and needy. It's when they grow up and become more and more independent from you that your heart just splits between wanting to watch them grow, with pride, and between wanting them to need you forever. I now understand why and how some moms just NEVER let go (which is NOT healthy).

This post seems redundant to one I wrote not long ago but I don't care. I have to get it off my chest. I have not cried once since Elaina has gone to school (I'm not really a crier anyway) but one of these days it is going to slap me in the face and I'll probably break down while washing the dishes or something. If I do cry it is usually always when I wash the dishes because my mind wanders to those scary places.


Leah said...

Cool game about guessing about Zoe. :-D

I can only imagine how bittersweet it is for Elaina to be in school, especially because you are a stay at home mom and are so used to being with her. I think it's great that you are letting go a bit. I have a feeling Elaina will love and thrive in the school setting. :-D

The Mommy said...

It's so nice to hear someone else say that parenting is HARD!
You're doing a great job, btw!
((Big Hugs))

Susan Sene said...

I must say, as a former teacher, I hate standardized testing of any kind. I know it's needed because some sort of yardstick is necessary for accountability...I just wish there was a better way to get there. I think it's good to extend the school day, give the kids help while they're at school and not giving homework. I'd think the parents would be more in favor of no homework and only an hour or so longer at school.

Vixbil said...

I so relate to this post about schooling. Bubbs is going into his 2nd year now in a school similar to yours and he is loving it. As I was reading the post it felt like I was talking and not you.

*~Chelsea~* said...

Hey! Awe...yeah, it does seem like it would be both good and bad to send your child to school...a slight relief, but of course also a big transition! You're doing great!! *hugs*

From your posts and videos, Elaina seems like a fun, sweet little girl that will really thrive in school. And it sounds like an interesting school setting! The extra hour is a good idea, I think. When you consider how many days children are actually in school, it's beneficial to add an hour. And what a great incentive that if they're doing well they can leave early! :-) I think that'll raise grades REALLY quickly. ;)

Washing Away the Gain said...

Oh wow I've missed a few of your updates!! :(
That picture of Abigail and her school tray is so cute.
I am hoping I will be strong when it's time for Max to go to school. It's kind of how I felt when I moved him from the bassinet that he was WAY too big for, to down the hall in his own room and crib. Even though it was hard on me, it's been great for him. He is so independent, and falls asleep when it's time to go to bed most times. I make sure to put him in there only at night, so he knows it's bed time. Okay I'm getting off subject, and I know that is not the same as sending your kid to school, but I agree with you on the letting go part.
You look great in your new pink top with Elaina. As for the guessing game..hmmm I will think about this.