Wednesday, June 17, 2015

In a Jumble

Well, we lost. Dave and I spent the last three weeks eating, drinking, and breathing school zones. After all the conversations, alternate solutions, meetings, presentations, late nights, and drama, the School Board decided to rezone our neighborhood exactly in the way the Central Office had suggested. Our zoned elementary school is now a lower performing school in the town south of us.

It does not look likely that I will be able to resign at work before school starts again. Olivia has said she would rather homeschool than go to a new school and we are not inclined to change her mind. We had planned on homeschooling her this coming year anyway, but we had also planned on me being home. Plans are funny that way.

In my mind I had a vision of how this transition would happen, how I would approach schooling, but my expectations always involved establishing new routines for our new way of living. I did not expect to have to find a way to transition a child into homeschooling while I continue to commute and work full time and while Dave is consumed with his own work, but here we are.

I thought I would take a very unschoolish approach in the beginning in order to reset our expectations about education, but now I wonder, with everything in flux, if that is a good idea right now. If nothing changes except Olivia not returning to school, is that just ripe for nothing happening except an extended vacation. I wonder if getting some workbooks might be in order to help in the interim. I really don't know. Suggestions are always welcome.

Then there is Grace. I feel very conflicted about her for this coming year. Currently our zoned middle school is a very highly praised, award-winning school. I strongly suspect that we will be moved out of this school's zone in the not-too-distant future. My children will NOT attend the middle school I suspect we will be moved to, so if she is ever going to experience a middle school like environment, this year is it.

From my own preferences, I would rather her stay home. I hated middle school, and I want to shield my children from its horrors, but I wonder if I am imposing my own pessimism on her. This school does not seem to have the educational problems my own middle school had, but I think of the social aspects and I recoil. I went to middle school in the inner city of Nashville. Most of my fifth grade suburban classmates cussed like sailors before the end of the first semester. I found the language so horrifying, even as a 10 year old, that I promised myself I would never cuss in that manner and hoped I could survive until eighth grade with that resolution intact. Even now, my language is pretty clean in testament to my reaction to all f'in f'bombs I was surrounded with.

I don't want Grace exposed to all that trash, but I wonder if I am overreacting to my own experiences. She will not be going to the inner city of a metropolitan area. If this year is her only opportunity to attend this highly praised school, is it fair for me to pull her out when all I can offer her in return at this time is uncertainty and maybe some workbooks? Will one year make that much of a difference?

But if we do send her to school for this next year, it could cause its own issues. There is the specter of the school bus and the schedule it will impose. Also I am concerned that when I finally do get to quit, which will surely happen before the close of the next school year, Grace will feel left out when everyone is at home and she gets sent to school everyday.

I think our long term prospects are better than ever and yet we have to navigate the short term, trying to decide what is best right now with the hand we have been dealt. I hope to gain some clarity, but I currently feel like I am blindly groping in the dark. 

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