In which I vent

I am SO FRUSTRATED. This is going to sound like a rant, but really, it’s a cry for help. Or sympathy. Or knowing looks across the internet. Something. Okay, no…it’s a rant. I should just own that. Here we go.

What the #$%^$ is the deal with school?

Let me tell you about this week. (Mind you, it’s only the start of day 4):

-Yesterday was a half day. For teacher development. I thought the teachers were supposed to be developed before the school hired them, but apparently no. They’re learning on the job. Whatever. Bless them. But what this means is that the kids still do their full schedule, they just run from class to class in 20 minute intervals, eat lunch at 10am, and are sent home at 11:20. What’s not wonderful about that???

The really great part of half days is how it inspires kids to come up with their own plans!  Like the one #1 Cherub told me about, where “ALL THE OTHER KIDS get to ride their bikes to the new outdoor shopping plaza.”  The one that is five miles, two towns, and a major highway away. I mention the obvious no-biking-on-the-highway problem (leaving unspoken the whole Hello, you just turned 13 and so no, you don’t have free range of the entire north Boston region), to which he insists, “But there’s another route! We won’t actually be riding on the highway!”

No you won’t, Son. No you won’t.

-Now this particular half day (we have TWO this month) was ALSO National Walk or Ride Your Bike to School Day! The school emailed us about this approximately 10 minutes before Cherub pickup the day before, so there was lots of time to plan.  #1 Cherub had made arrangements to walk with his friends, #2 Cherub wanted to ride her bike but is too young to do so alone, and Brand New To All This Nonsense Mom couldn’t even begin to imagine what hour she’d have to wake the Cherubs for them to make this journey in time to begin their 20 minute classes. Not to mention: “Going to School” time & “Rush Hour for Grown Ups” time? They’re THE SAME TIME.

Great idea, folks.

-But we figured it out. So later, after the Cherubs had (I hoped) walked/biked/hitchhiked/who knows? their way to school, and were rushing diligently through their learning, some bratty kid made a joke in the hallway about having a knife in his locker. After which the school went into full lockdown, which (if #1 Cherub is to be believed) involved our entire local police force AND a SWAT team. #2 Cherub thought this was “her luckiest day ever” because this meant she missed gym. Both kids thought it was hilarious good fun, a delightful break from the pressure of trying to focus on one subject for a full 20 minutes.

-But the HIGHLIGHT of this week was when #2 Cherub came home waving a giant packet from the PTO. “I have to fill this book with addresses of everyone we know!” she said breathlessly. “They’ll order magazines, and I can win Beats headphones, or even a radio with water than dances as the music plays!!!”

We helped her list the names of aunts, uncles, and grandparents, along with a couple of friends. We drew the line at people she hasn’t met.  So you can imagine the devastation as she realized that we were well short of filling ALL THE SPACES on her form. “But I have to fill out the whole thing!!!” she whined. “It’s due TOMORROW! They said so! They’re going  to CHECK and they’ll be mad at me!!!”

Ever try convincing an enthusiastic, goal-driven, rule-following 11 year old that no, “They” won’t specifically check her magazine solicitation efforts and scold her for non-compliance? While gently breaking the news that not many people read magazines anymore, and those who do already get the ones they want? It’s SUPER fun.

So THANK YOU, PTO person who convinced my daughter that you’ll be mad at her personally AND that she’ll fail life if she doesn’t give you our address book. I threw away three cereal box tops just to spite you.

(The only redeeming thing in this is that my dad’s first name is Russell, and #2 Cherub – a child of of phonics – spelled it Rustle. So we’ll be able to track how far & wide this address list is sold, and get a little giggle over this unique take on Dad’s name for years to come!)

-Amidst the swirl of all of this, #2 Cherub handed me a math quiz we needed to sign, because the score at the top was…well…not one of the numbers between 50-100. A quick glance at the questions & answers made it clear that she totally does not grasp the one concept that all the problems rest on. It’s not a complex thing – it’s well within her reach. It’s just missing.

And I wonder: How on earth are kids expected to CARE how to divide things by tenths when you can WIN BEATS HEADPHONES if you can get your parents to cough up some addresses, today is a HALF DAY and you’re hoping to catch a jet to Paris (because all your friends are going and there’s an alternate route that skips RIGHT AROUND the ocean), and best of all, there’s a WHOLE SCHOOL LOCK DOWN so you don’t have to go to gym!!!

I don’t see how the lowly decimals and fractions can compete.

-So now tomorrow, because 5th grade has been SO HARD ALREADY this week, they’re skipping all the classes and heading out for an all-day field trip.

-And at the end of the month, the 7th & 8th graders have a dance. For Halloween. You know, with COSTUMES. Which is so awesome, really, because what would make life extra fun right now is having my son’s mostly-dormant interest in girls JARRED AWAKE.

***

When you adopt, one thing you hear over and over is how important it is to establish structure and routine to help kids acclimate to their new lives. I’m finding this to be 110% true (which is why Steve is the one who helps #2 Cherub fill in her math gaps). Our kids THRIVE with routine. They love it. I love it. It gets a little tedious sometimes, but it’s so very worth it.

Which is why their school is ruining our lives. (Cue hyperbole trumpet)

No two days are the same, no two weeks are the same. New options pop up at unexpected intervals (HEY KIDS, WALK TO SCHOOL TOMORROW!), and you have to make split-second decisions about how to respond. It’s like they’re living in a video game.

(And don’t even get me started on the whole “6 day shifting schedule” thing. Just do. not. ask.)

I don’t get it. So much of this stuff is unnecessary. (Okay, I guess making sure that kid didn’t have a knife in his locker was necessary. But the rest of it? Not helpful.)

I know this is just the way things are now, which is why I re-wrote the opening up there and admitted that yes, this is just a rant. There’s no one to call, no nice way to explain that we have our hands full here, learning to be BRAND NEW FAMILY, so if you school folks could take care of teaching the math basics for us between 7:30-2:15, well, that would be awesome.

Sigh.

Okay, I’m done. Thank you for reading. I feel heard.

Now I have to go fill out a form about #2 Cherub’s reading habits. Pray for me. I’m tempted to write, “She used to read all the time, but now she’s busy selling magazines…”

3 thoughts on “In which I vent

  1. Kathy says:

    I hear you, Trish. As a grandmother, it’s even more disconcerting… :-( In an effort to make school more entertaining and fun it becomes frustrating. As for fundraising, we sold gift wrap. Had enough until my kids were college grads!!

  2. Molly says:

    My kids informed me recently that “some kids” play games on their iPads during “read to self” time. Where are the teachers? Oh, wait, playing games on their iPads maybe?

Comments are closed.