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Oh, the Places I’ve Gone

My dears, I have been out and about for the past few days, leaving me tired and exhausted at the end of the day instead of chipper and full of cheer, ready to write something that I daily pray is even mildly entertaining.  We have also had an extended heat wave here in Glinda-land, which has tried the patience of even the most optimistic of my loved ones.  Oh yeah, and out-of-town relatives coming in to visit, which will always be more attractive to me than sitting at the computer.

So, to make a long story short, sorry about the unexplained and unanticipated absence.

I suppose though, that many of you are beginning to gear up for the start of the new school year and are just as busy as me.

One of the things that I don’t miss from our formal schooling days are the damned supply lists that the school would email two weeks before the beginning of the semester.

I was buying everything from Kleenex to dry erase markers and everything in between.

Of course, it is technically not legal to send this list out, as public schools are supposed to provide students with everything except perhaps writing utensils.  Is it better to have the families pay for it than the teachers?  I guess so, except that I am sure there are some people who cannot afford everything on the list, which totals to about twenty-five items.

In my state, the idea that the state would actually pay for all needed supplies is a large joke which would have every parent doubling over with laughter.  Hysterical laughter, most likely, but laughter all the same.

Does your school send out a list as well?

And That’s All You Need to Know

I could totally picture my son writing this in kindergarten.

via

Priorities, People, Priorities

So, a mother in New York paid a preschool $19,000 to prep her four year old for an Ivy League education.  She then claimed that the preschool did nothing of the sort, and is suing them.

There are just so many things wrong with the sentences above, I don’t even know where to start.

Let me say this, though, that if there was any doubt that there is a huge (and growing!) class divide here in the United States, this is a prime example of it. We’ve got middle class families fighting for their right to collectively bargain for their working conditions, and then we have people paying exorbitant sums of money for a preschool.

But let’s get back to that four year old and her future illustrious educational career.   The woman was upset that her daughter was placed in “a big playroom” instead of being drilled on how to take the ERB.  The ERB is technically an IQ test, and I want to know how a school is going to increase your child’s IQ, especially at such a young age.  Or, are wealthy parents expecting the schools and tutors to show them the actual test questions and coaching them on the answers?  I’m sure I don’t really want to know the answer to that.

Now, I know that parenting is all about pushing your children to succeed, because if you don’t do it, who will? There aren’t too many self-motivated middle schoolers out there.   But there is wanting your children to succeed and then being pathological about it, a la your friend and mine, Tiger Mother

Newsflash for all those type A moms, many four year olds, they like to play.  A lot. Much more than studying for a test. Most educational experts agree that at such a young age, children learn just as much by playing , if not more, than they do by sitting at a desk and filling in bubbles.

And tell me, is an Ivy League education all it is cracked up to be any more?

I’ve read quite a few articles claiming that an Ivy League education may not be worth the price any more, especially factoring in paying off student loans.

Yet here we have people shelling out almost twenty thousand dollars for preschool, which I’m sorry, sounds a bit insane.  That’s only about fifteen thousand less than the tuition at one of the vaunted Ivy Leagues, yet all little Lucia will get is a certificate saying that she was proficient in, well, preschool.

As I watch my own very bright son whack the daylights out of his friend with a Nerf sword in the front yard instead of learning French, I wonder which of us moms is making the right decisions.

Only time will tell.

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

The other day on Manolo Beauty (and if you haven’t gone over there yet and checked it out, it is a rather good site, if I do say so myself) I had mentioned a lunch box I used to take to school every day.  Being the 70’s/80’s, it was of course made out of metal.  That post got me thinking about those old metal lunch boxes and how different they are to the ones kids use today.

The one my son takes to school is fantastic.  It is insulated, big enough to fit everything he needs but small enough to still fit in his backpack, has a front pocket, and just does an all around good job of keeping his drink and whatever fruit I pack in there cold until lunchtime. 

So very different from the metal ones, which did a crappy job of keeping anything warm or cold, but damn, did they look good.  We didn’t know it then, but we were toting around compact works of art.  Sure, a lot of those lunchboxes were just advertising disguising themselves as something useful, but they were so much more visually stimulating.

Today we definitely choose function over form, but I can’t help but be a bit nostalgic about those metal boxes.  And really, they were useful as weapons, too.  I love things that can do double duty.  Today’s lunch boxes are soft-sided and useless in a fight.

Join me as I take a trip down memory lane…

I would have loved to have this lunch box!

Never knew anyone with one of these, but I covet it even now.

It seems out of all the recycled 80’s characters, Holly Hobbie was totally left in the dust. Confession, I had this lunch box. And I hated it. And I hated Holly Hobbie. She stood for nothing other than her dumb patchwork clothing.

I NEVER got into Strawberry Shortcake, but I was totally in the minority. I guarantee you someone in my class had this lunchbox.

Yes, we all watched Mork & Mindy, but I don’t know anybody who liked it enough to own a lunchbox with it. Maybe I was hanging with the wrong crowd.

Yes, I owned a Cabbage Patch Kid, who was inexplicably a boy.

I can sing the theme song to this show to this day.

Anybody else think the Sleestaks were pretty lame?

Sneaker Pimp

Back-to-school shopping, I hate it.

I have to wander the aisles at Target with my little pre-printed list, wondering why they don’t carry white board erasers, and then wondering some more why I need to buy four of them.

We also had to purchase shoes, and made the trek to a couple of stores, only to find a horrible selection.  And then amongst that horrible selection, hardly any of the shoes were my son’s size, which happens often. He must have been born in some sort of baby boomlet year, because it seems every time I try to buy him clothes or shoes, they are out of his size.

So, I decided to go to Zappos and see what they had there.  They had a much better selection than the stores, and being the magnanimous mother that I am, I allowed my son to choose his own shoes. 

Imagine my surprise when he told me he had found his pair and I looked at them on the monitor.

Here they are:

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  Those are indeed gold sneakers.

Briefly, I pondered what his choice meant, and how it reflected up0n me, but then decided it reflected more upon him and his desire to be cool and “different.”

Once school starts, we’ll see if being “different” gains him accolades or finds him eating alone at the lunch tables.

Sales, Sales, and More Sales

$7.99 and under Juniors at Macys.

Lancome free 7 piece gift with 32.50 purchase.

Spend $60 at Beauty.com and get $10 off.

Take 25% off all Tom’s of Maine products at Drugstore.com.

At Hanna Anderssen, get free shipping on orders over $100.

Also at Hanna Anderssen, select items are on sale for back to school!

Lord Help Me, I’m Seriously Thinking About Homeschooling

little red schoolhouse

 

I’m not sure what exactly the impetus was for the husband and I to begin viewing homeschooling as a valid option for next year.   I know that we regarded kindergarten as a big frakking waste of everyone’s time, and we were more than willing to give first grade a chance to redeem public education in our admittedly jaded eyes.  Private school would technically be an option, if it weren’t for the fact that the ones that seem to have a curriculum/philosophy that we can get behind costs the equivalent of a year of college.  And that, my friends, just isn’t going to happen.  Because even if we had loads of money and could afford it, it seems obscene to pay that much for elementary school.

All I know is that the Munchkin doesn’t like school, doesn’t like homework (really, who does?) and I don’t like the fact that there is no art instruction, music instruction is now something after school that is paid for, critical thinking skills are sacrificed on the altar of standardized tests and worksheets, and the schools in my state are having their budgets slashed to the point where certain districts are cutting the school year short.  And the budget problems are only going to get worse.  In fact, in my most humble opinion, it is the worst time in the history of my state to be a public school student, what with NCLB seemingly up for passage even though it is a horrifically misguided piece of legislation, and the morale of teachers being sucked down the toilet as they are asked to do more and more with less and less.  And just so you know, the Munchkin’s current school is in the top ten pecent in the state as far as test scores go. But test scores don’t always tell the whole story.

And so it seems to me, that this where I can step in.  This is where I can be proactive with my child’s education, rather than reactive.  Where I can take charge of the direction of his studies instead of sitting there wondering why the school does x a certain (crappy) way and fighting a rather entrenched bureaucracy with barely a fifty-fifty chance of succeeding.  I’m already at home, so no need to quit a full-time job, we learned years ago how to get by on just one income.  I have a degree in English, but I do suck at math.  Somehow though, I think I can handle it.

So the huz and I are in heated talks about perhaps not enrolling the Munchkin in second grade next year.  And let me assure you that my husband is actually anti-homeschooling and has been one of the major reasons I haven’t already tried it.  I realize that however much work I think it’s going to be, I should automatically double it.  However, I think that as my son’s steward, it is almost my duty to ensure that he can learn at his own pace and not have to fill out worksheet after worksheet after worksheet after worksheet.  I swear, if we want to focus on saving some damn trees, schools should be looked to as some of the main offenders.  I digress…

I will be the first to admit that I don’t know everything.  Shocking! I know!  But the one thing I do know is that the Manolosphere has some of the best and brightest minds in all of the intertubes, so why not ask for your opinions before I embark on a life-changing course?  Is there a flaw in my reasoning?  Am I being unrealistic?  Am I being too harsh on the public education system? Would you homeschool if you could? Will  my good intentions put me on a nonstop flight to hell?

So I turn to you, dear readers. I truly want to know what you think.

Oh Cletus… I Never Thought I’d Have Your Picture in a Frame

Today is picture day for the Munchkin.

And although I have been told by many an unbiased person that he is a handsome young lad, I’m afraid his 1st grade school picture is destined to look like this:

Cletus the slack-jawed yokel

 

You see, his two front teeth are extremely loose, and one of them might even have come out yesterday if I had allowed him to wiggle it as much as he wanted.  Because they are so loose, there are big gaps in between all of his front teeth, and the loosest one is actually sticking out at an angle.

OK, so maybe he won’t have the horrible haircut and ‘stache, but I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty close.

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