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I hate school. I hate pencils. I hate books. I hate teachers, dirty looks. My oldest kid hasn’t even started school and I’m already at odds with the system. She should have already started kindergarten, but the school district deems her too young by a couple of months and they wouldn’t even let her test in. (See “Parenting 101: Letting go“) I learned about that last February and I’m still pissed off.
Now I’ve got something new on which to focus my anger. I just returned from kindergarten orientation, where they told me they have only 23 spots for full-time kindergarten. Last year they had 93 kindergarteners. They run a lottery for full-time kindergarten and if my daughter doesn’t get in, she goes to half-day kindergarten, which is not, in fact, a half-day. It lasts three hours, and minus recess, the teachers get 2 ½ hours a day with their students. Worse, I only get 2 hours a day to work. As the kids’ schedules work out now I’m already down to 3 hours a day. I’d love to work more, but I just don’t have the childcare. And next year, when my daughter should be getting more schooling, she’ll be getting less. Right now, she goes to preschool for 4 hours a day. She’ll graduate, most likely, to 3 hours a day. Nice.
As if that wasn’t enough, she’ll be going to afternoon kindergarten, not morning. Her brother will be in preschool in the morning and she’ll be in school in the afternoon, which basically means I have to quit working. The neighborhood kids get to go in the morning, because it saves the district a bus run.
Here’s another fun fact. Even though it’s public school, full-day kindergarten isn’t free. You have to pay tuition. So why can’t they give everyone a spot if everyone will pay tuition? They can, sort of. The principal said they need a certain threshold of paying students to add another full-time class. So there’s hope. But last year they missed the mark by 15. It sucks, too, because I don’t mind paying tuition, and I also don’t mind making it possible for scholarship families to work while their kids are in school. There’s hope for this year, I guess. Maybe they will get enough paying families to add another full-time class.
Speaking of hope, I have a plan if she doesn’t get into full-time kindergarten. I wanted to sue, but it turns out I can’t. So I decided that if she doesn’t get in, I’ll have her tested for first grade. Because of the school district, she completed an extra year of preschool, and she’ll be able to read by the time she gets to kindergarten. It’s not a stretch to believe she’s ready for first grade. And first grade’s free. Maybe I’ll have her tested no matter what.
But I’ve got to get rid of my anger. Otherwise every interaction with the school is going to make my head explode. The thing is, just as my daughter might not get into full-time kindergarten, she just might, and if she does, I’ve wasted all this energy on anger for nothing. The world gives back what you put into it, and if I keep sending out negative stuff, that’s all I’m gonna get back. So I have my registration forms, I have my plan, and I’ve got to let go. Right now, the only person this anger’s affecting is me. And the school district’s giving me enough to deal with already.