Friday, September 05, 2008

The other day, I asked my kids what they had for lunch at school. My 10-year-old son explained that there was a burrito, a cookie, and some other stuff. But then he said "but I didn't eat the cookie". It's rather shocking that a child would be given a cookie and then not eat it, so I asked him why. He said "because I traded it for another burrito"...LOL. So he had 2 burritos for lunch, while his buddy had 2 cookies. That reminds me of when I was on a field trip with him a year ago. A kid at his table inquired about Andrew's dessert. Pretty soon Andrew had traded his dessert for the other child's string cheese. They were both very happy about their trade. I think Andrew has made a reputation for himself as someone who will trade perfectly good treats for regular, healthy food. Isn't that great? (well probably not so great, according to the parents of the kids who are trading with him and having just 2 cookies for lunch...)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to School Time!

During the past few weeks people have been asking the kids and I if we are excited that school is about to start. Up until last week the answer from all of us was "no". The kids weren't done enjoying their summer. I wasn't ready to go back to a structured schedule with the kids. Plus, I enjoy having them home (most of the time, anyway). But last week something changed. I guess we all had about enough of each other. The kids started getting very annoying; arguing, picking on each other, complaints of being bored. We all started looking forward to the start of school and the changes that would come with it.

The kids are back at Timeberland this year. We spent 5 years with Timberland, and then we went to a different school last year. Three Oaks, which is only a couple blocks from our home had a great preschool program for Kaylee, while Timberland did not. We decided to switch school so the kids would all be at the same place. We like most things about Three Oaks, mostly that it was a small school and we liked how close it was. The teachers were great too. As much as we liked Timberland, we were thinking about staying at Three Oaks, mostly because of how close it is to home. But then, a "failing" charter school in the area was shut down due to it's poor test scores. It wasn't our school, so it shouldn't have affected us, right? WRONG. The failing school's management company decided to take over Three Oaks. Our principal and many of our teachers were fired and replaced by staff from the failing school. They also brought busses to Three Oaks in order to transport all the students from the school that was closed. What happened to the school was wrong on so many levels that we didn't even have to think about whether we would send our kids there this year. That door had clearly been closed.

For some reason, I looked into the local Christian school, which is also only a couple blocks from home. I think that would be a wonderful school to send my kids to, a bit of a dream come true. Unfortunately, even with a reduced tuition fee there was no way we could make it happen. We prayed about it daily, knowing that if it was God's plan for the kids to go there, HE would make it happen. It seems that it wasn't his plan for now, and that's OK. Not only were we not able to afford the school, but they were also rather rigid with their policy that children need to turn 5 by September 1st in order to start Kindergaten (state law says they need to turn 5 by December 1). While I agree that it is best in most situations to let the kids do a year of DK when they are one of the younger ones, I do not agree that it is best for every child. Kaylee is more than ready for regular Kindergarten, and if we did go to that school, I would have to either put up a huge fight to get what's best for her, or just hold her back because they said so.

All three kids have great teachers. I requested Kaylee's teacher because that teacher seemed to really want Kaylee in her class, and I really like the teacher's aide. Rae Ann has a teacher that we had a couple of years ago for her step-brother. We have always liked her and she is great with both students and parents. Andrew has a male teacher for the first time ever, which I am excited about because the teacher seems to have a lot of things in common with Andrew which doesn't happen as much with female teachers. Also, a good friend of his from boy scouts is in his class. It's nice to be back at Timberland. It feels like we belong there.

I have already been able to get more things done around the house with 3 of the kids gone, and it's only 11am! They are quite helpful in doing chores around the house, but it's amazing how much faster it goes when I just do it myself. It will also be much easier to keep Kaden on a schedule he is happy with since his sister won't be here to wake him from his nap minutes after he drifts off to sleep.