Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm Back in School

This whole school thing is hilarious. I didn’t expect to feel this way. I think I’ve been saying that a lot lately! Isn’t that weird? I’ve been experiencing a lot of new feelings or feelings I didn’t expect to feel.

In this case it’s been different because I feel like it’s so much more than I expected. I figured, I’m going to get a tour of the school and what they do there and how they are different from other schools and that was pretty much it. Then from what I learned at the tour I would decide which schools I would put down as my choices. Instead I’ve learned in just the past 2 days that a lot of kids apply for Vanguard and only a third or less are accepted. Usually all the schools all fill up, so realistically we should apply for other Magnet programs that aren’t Vanguard.

Everyone wants to go to River Oaks Elementary. Not just because the name prestige. They are Vanguard and IB. The IB curriculum is integrated into the Vanguard program and the IB methods are taught in the non-IB classes as well. Which means that the whole school is good, not just Vanguard. I think they are the only IB elementary school in Houston. Pretty cool. I wasn’t planning on looking at that school but I was running late to work today and it’s close to my office so I figured I’d go there instead of traveling far.

I bumped into an old co-worker there and she was telling me that Harvard is Magnet. They have a Math and Science program. Since I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket I’m going to apply for Magnet and I need to decide what schools have programs that interest me and are in good areas.

All this talk about applications and how they choose the students, and curriculum etc.. makes me feel like I’m going back into school. In some ways I am. I talked to my girl friend who is raising 5 kids. I think her eldest is in 6th grade and her youngest is 1.5 like mine. She has a lot of great experience in the whole school thing and we were laughing at the difference between us and our parents. Our parents didn’t know the first thing about magnet programs and when we got into Vanguard and Magnet in middle and high school we pretty much did everything on our own. They weren’t involved in our schools. She said sometimes she thinks that was better because it made us more independent and taught us discipline. Our kids are going to be accustomed to having us always do for them... There’s a lot of truth in that point.

But then I think of the kids when I went to Vanguard in 6th grade. I felt like I was so behind compared to the kids who came from Vanguard elementary schools and had parents who were very involved. They had a definite advantage over me and I had to work twice as hard to do as well as they did. I remember being in 6th grade and not knowing my continents or where the Tropic of Cancer or Capricorn were on the globe. I was embarassed that I hadn’t learned these basic things in elementary school. So no, I’m glad I’m going to keep on top of my kids and I’m going to give them an even better advantage than I had.

To start with I’m rethinking the things I said I was going to concentrate on. I need to start drilling Miranda every night until the test. I know she’s smart but I think these Open House meetings have made me nervous. I went over her alphabet and numbers tonight and she’s doing pretty good. I just need to work on having her learn to read short words in time for the test.

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