Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fall Enrollment and Frustration

The prolific blooming of the black-eyed Susan's are a sure sign that the big yellow child movers will be once again speeding down the road while blurry-eyed children wait patiently for their turn to board. When we joined the "going off to school movement" after homeschooling it became apparent that there were three general attitudes about this time of the year:

1. It is a time of new things, potential growth and expectations for the year to come.

2. Thank goodness school is back in session because I can't stand my kids and want them out!

3. Disappointment that there is never enough time to experience life and once school starts there will be even less opportunity for this.

I've accepted that for now my school-aged children will attend a formal education program and do not intend to put an "I'd Rather Be Homeschooling" bumper sticker on my van. But after agonizing for five days over which extracurricular programs to put them in I am just spent on this whole school thing and it hasn't even started yet. Be aware that I do not push the additional programs, the kids beg for them almost as much as they beg for homemade biscuits. For us, the problem is twofold: the school they attend is seriously lacking in things like music, art, gym and any other school within logical driving distance is also; and we live 40 minutes from an area that offers decent after-school programs so we have to pick and choose very carefully.

I do remember way back when (not too long ago), we had an art teacher at our school, an actual bonafide teacher paid to teach us art in her own classroom that was filled with art supplies. We went there for 50 minutes twice a week and I don't know too many kids that didn't love that time. Where have all these classrooms and teachers gone? I may be a little soft and skewed in my opinion but if the only way today's kids have to express themselves is by shooting people in video games we have a dismal future ahead of us. We provide students breakfast and lunch on the almighty government dollar but we can't teach them how to nurture their feelings by making music, dancing, creating art or being physically active. Oh, but we do teach them how to write, we even have a standardized test that requires a handwriting sample. Please children, express yourselves and then we will judge it and tell you how poorly you write.

So last week I spent many hours comparing schedules, deciding how much I thought I could handle driving to the Flint Cultural Center and then committing my kids to experiencing the things that really interest them: bookmaking, elementary ballet, violin, beginning music makers, horse back riding, and ceramic & glass mosaics. It is going to be a fun fall, a full fall and a fantastic future for my kids, you know, the ones who really count.


Erin the Librarian said...

Hallelujah that you are willing and able to take your kids to these cultural classes of their choice. I want to believe that someday the politicians who hold the purse strings will recognize the importance of "non-academic" education. I really want to believe that.

Mary Stoinski said...

Right on, sisters.

meredith said...

Damn - you make it sound good there in the end. Remind me of this when we're 5 weeks into driving to Flint - have we figured out a carpool schedule yet?