The Great School Experiment

Okay, it’s day 3 for Punksin and day 2 for Pudding and I already know that there is no way my kids are staying in this school permanently. The question is not IF they will come out, but WHEN.

Thus far, it seems…tolerable. If things continue as they ARE, I will pull them out at the end of this school year. If things get WORSE, I will pull them out whenever that happens.

I feel sorriest for Pudding. Punksin is older, and a little more resilient, and I can reason with her. She can already understand the idea of being an observer, and of course since she is already well ahead of the kids in her class every subject, the work is not at all hard for her.

But Pudding…sigh. This is his first introduction to school, and I HATE that this is what he is experiencing. Punksin went to a Montessori pre-K that was nurturing, warm and respectful. She may not remember much of it, and yet she was molded by those positive experiences.

English: Portrait of Maria Montessori

English: Portrait of Maria Montessori (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This…this is like kiddie prison.

Okay, perhaps not QUITE so bad. But still, I just don’t like that so much focus is on authoritarianism as opposed to education. I just find it incredibly illuminating that in schools, particularly EARLY schools, when children are given respect and appropriate levels of responsibility, they rise to the education and their behavior is rarely a problem. Then you have schools like this one that seem intent on stamping out any individuality, that seem to want to create Stepford kids, that make up ridiculous rules like not going to the bathroom until after 1:00 merely because they CAN. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to much of it, and if there IS any, it’s not clearly communicated.

As I may have mentioned previously, I am keeping copious notes on what is going on, and my primary purpose was to be able to have reams of evidence to support my decision to pull them back out when the time comes. But, should enough evidence indeed surface, I may actually write a book about it. I find this to be a fascinating glimpse into the world of public education, and while I know that experience can vary greatly from school to school and community to community, it’s just…interesting, to see what goes on.

One very pleasant surprise I’ve had is that the children in Punksin’s class have been incredibly welcoming. Given that she started about a week after school had started, they were very helpful to her in getting her up and running with supplies and book covers and all that, and they’ve been really nice to her. One of them has even told her he will miss her if she leaves. I wondered why he’d said that, since we’ve given no outward indication that that will be the case, but she says she thinks they know that because she was homeschooled previously, and I’m still at home, that she can leave at any time we choose. She is not being held hostage. LOL

Pudding, well, there’s already some little twat in his class that has made it her business to tell him she doesn’t like him, and she asked to see his juice box and then pronounced that she didn’t like that juice either, which made him tell me this morning that he doesn’t want to take it anymore. Mind you, this is a particular brand that he BEGGED me to buy and specifically ASKED me to pack yesterday. So of course I had to explain to him that she wasn’t being very nice, but that he shouldn’t let her affect his day or his choices. And yet I know that type of advice is easier said than done. How do you ignore, especially at that age, someone who insists on making rude comments to you? You can’t UNhear them. And depending on what he is doing, I’ll wager he can’t just get up and walk away or move to another seat because that would probably result in his being put in a stockade or whatever punishment it is they have cooked up for 5-year olds who buck authority by SITTING IN ANOTHER SEAT.

I just told him that if she says anything mean to him today he should tell the teacher that she’s being not nice and making him uncomfortable. I know at that age they can be rude today and nice tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes for the long-haul.

They’re off next Monday and Tuesday, which will give me a good opportunity to keep them moving ahead with OUR schoolwork. I’m not going to stop teaching. Obviously we’ll have less time, but I have to keep them ahead. They’re too bright and I don’t want them sitting there stagnating.

So, we’ll see how it goes, yes?

Stay tuned.

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