Wednesday, August 10, 2011

schools and stuff

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about schools. A LOT. An excessive, perhaps obsessive amount of time. The good news is we’ve decided on a school for Elizabeth next year – she’ll be attending a charter school that does Spanish immersion, and she’ll be in kindergarten. We think that the immersion portion of the school will be challenging enough that repeating K will not be a detriment to her, and re-setting her grade is something that, for a lot of reasons, we think is the right decision for her.

It’s really made us think about our own school experiences. That, combined with the recent bi-annual visit from the G-clan, along with Facebook and the whole host of school friends that have been rediscovered, plus my 25th reunion this year, makes me appreciate my friends that I have known since kindergarten and even before. The worry that kept me awake more than one night this spring/summer: by living in this city, and switching schools as is typically done here, am I robbing Elizabeth of the ability to have close lifelong friends? I know we’re not, really, but when you compare the stability of life in Pocomoke (which I pretty much hated growing up) with the transience of modern life in a highly transient city – well, everything looks dramatic at 3 am, doesn’t it?

Who will her – and his - friends be? Our neighborhood friends? From School of Religion? From my moms group (right sidebar)? From sports or other activities? All of the above? What will be our touchstone, the thing that really grounds us – and more importantly them – in the world?

There’s a lot of power in raising kids – choices we make now affect them far into the future. That’s an awesome responsibility on so many levels, with so much on the line. How do we decide which sports to sign them up for now – do we do dance or gymnastics? Can we buy a piano (and where will we put it?) to start piano lessons? Is E ready to move from soccer clinic to soccer league (which means practice during the week and a game on the weekend)? We did tball in the spring and there’s a fall league – do we want to do fall league tball or shouldn’t we do soccer? (why aren’t sports seasonal any longer, a trend that is making me crazy?) Right now Andrew mostly tags along on Elizabeth’s activities – once he’s doing his own thing, too, how will we divide and conquer various events, meets, games, activities?

And that’s just the next few years. We’ve made this decision to try bilingual education – what course does that potentially set us on? Will it spark interests in language, or different cultures? Or perhaps it will ultimately be a big turnoff? Will we stick with this school? What about middle school, high school? What about, gulp, college?

And you know what? One of the big reasons we decided on the redo of the K year? Because the thought of sending her off to college at 17 was simply too much to contemplate!

What crazy, irrational parenting questions keep you up at night?

The From Left to Write Book Club consists of over 100 bloggers who read books and then write posts inspired by the book (not a review of the book). This month's post was partially inspired by In Stitches, by Anthony Youn. I type 'partially inspired' only because I thought a lot about writing a particular story about my own high school experience and something my foreign exchange sister once said to me about cliques, but despite several hours of typing and retyping,  I couldn't get it to work out right, so I stuck with my typical kid connection.  Maybe I'll save that story for another time.  But this was a funny, engaging read that I happened to read right after Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and I was struck by similarities between the books (though Youn is Korean), and some of my own upbringing (soon after the Tiger Mother controversy erupted, I was talking to my mom and asked her why she never told me we were Chinese?).  As a book club member, I was given a free copy of the book, which I would love to pass along as a good read to anyone who wants it.

1 comment:

Thrift Store Mama said...

"What will be our touchstone, the thing that really grounds us – and more importantly them – in the world? "

I love this. When I was growing up, we lived 12 hours away from both of my parent's families. My parents had friends but they were busy working or taking care of the house and after my mom went back to graduate school and then work (when we girls were 8, 5, and 3) they didn't socialize much. We had family dinner several nights a week and we also would watch a little tv together. Along with going to church, those were our touchstones. Frankly, they could have done a better job with family rituals and routine. When I think back on it now as an adult (and being a parent myself just colors everything differently) my family and our church was my touchstone. And the church as touchstone started when I was 8 or 9 years old and became an altar server for the first time. My Aunt Marsha, even though we only saw her twice a year, was also a touchstone - or perhaps more of a safe harbor. I don't have any lifelong friends because we moved when I was 10, and I don't know any different. My oldest friends I made at age 14. So, I say all this to say that I think the touchstone can be whatever you make it to be - as long as you are fairly intentional about it.