Back to school

I think it was a week ago last Monday (that’d be March 22, THAT Monday) that I got home from my walk and saw headlights shining through the woods. And there was this sign but the signs on the front of the school were inscrutable. One day I noticed a guy walking a little girl with a backpack to down the sidewalk at about the school starting time. Was school in session or not? The district website did not provide much information. Amazon Woman has a daughter in the public schools here but she’s in middle school and those kids were still totally virtual at the time. The website was updated when I checked it today. It’s spring break this week but it turns out that yes, the schools are phasing in a “hybrid” version of classes.

As Michigan COVID cases rise, I am not a fan but I don’t envy anyone connected to education their jobs right now. Teachers, parents, students, administrators, whoever.

In general, I was *happy* when my kids left for school each day. Whether I was walking them or they were walking themselves, middle school bus or carpool, and eventually driving the Indefatigable down Miller to “Commie” High. (That’s what us parents *affectionately* called it. I’m sure our high schoolers were rolling their eyes.)

I did a lot of volunteer work throughout and met up with my then walking buddies at Haisley every morning. I was in and out of that office constantly and therefore overheard a lot of “stuff”. I usually kept my mouth shut but once, the principal and secretary were kind of kvetching about people calling their kids in sick all the time, when the kids were probably not sick. I mentioned that if my kids were not sick, school is where I wanted them to be, as much for my sanity as their education.

Public school is not perfect. Lemme see… My kids are pretty intelligent but as small quiet girls they didn’t always get “noticed”. There was the one kid who took off into the reading stratosphere halfway through first grade but it didn’t get noticed until second grade. There was the first grade class (different kid) in which there were so many kids with serious special needs that my kid kind of got ignored. There was a hugely different middle school experience for my kids based on the fact that one went to an alternative “open” school and the other had to deal with a large bureaucratic middle school. She once told me (as an adult) that she thought middle school kids would learn more if they worked on a farm and I cannot disagree. And then… One of the kids, at our beloved alternative high school, went through three years of weird “forum” (kinda like home room but more) experiences before finally finding a decent forum home.

But! Overall, the public schools do a good job. It can be difficult to endure a year with a less than satisfactory teacher. But it’s important for kids to learn that life is not perfect and you are going to encounter less than perfect people/teachers/bosses/partners/whatever. In my case, when my kids encountered imperfect teachers, I think I was able to support them until they were old enough to handle their own interpersonal relations.

My adult daughers? They aren’t rocket scientists but they could be if they were interested. They pretty much rock the world these days. And I am kinda done here. I have more to say but not necessarily the words to say it.

2 Responses to “Back to school”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I did similar parenting to you. I let my daughters learn about difficult people and strategies for dealing with them. I was always supportive and I hope gave them some tactics or a listening ear. My older daughter did a year at a sort of alternative college. It wasn’t a great fit for her, but was an enormous growth experience.

  2. Pam J. Says:

    “She once told me (as an adult) that she thought middle school kids would learn more if they worked on a farm and I cannot disagree.”
    My husband, who taught for a few years in public schools, completely agrees. Many years ago he told me that 8th graders would be better off doing just that, skipping the academic classwork and spending time at manual labor for a year or so while the hormones settle in. I always thought that was a brilliant idea.

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