Some of you (and by “some of you” I actually mean “my mother”) are a teensy bit annoyed that I’ve mostly abandoned this blog, and when I do show up, I rant on about social/political issues instead of offering narratives of and insights regarding the daily lives of my children (and by “my children” I really mean “my mother’s grandchildren.”) So forget the feminist revolution 2.5 I’ve been fomenting and journey with me to this day—June 21—the first day of “summer” vacation.
Side note: I will not take “summer” out of quotation marks until the temperature in effing Seattle rises high enough for me to comfortably turn the furnace off. That’s right. June 21 and I’m still running the heater. Gah.
My delightful (and by “delightful” I mean “surly, yet charming”) 13-year-old just finished 7th grade at the local big, scary, public middle school. You might think that sending my child to such a place would cause me to regret leaving the local small, safe, private school my kids used to attend. But no. Tigger had a good year, and my unconventional daughter benefited from the big diverseness of the place. (Point of reference: the public school contains about 350 7th graders. The private school—30.) That’s a much bigger pool of peers from which to choose one’s friends.
Back in 6th grade, Tigger’s teacher told me to watch out for middle school social pressure stomping the individuality out of my kid. As if, Mr. S. Tigger found herself a group of great friends who value her Tiggerosity and have plenty of quirks of their own. As a public school bonus, they all live in our neighborhood. And since they are all teenagers anxious to assert a bit of independence, they happily roam the local streets in a pack, probably terrifying the neighbors. So it should be a great “summer,” too.
My charming (and by “charming” I mean “delightful”) nine-year-old completed 3rd grade last week. You might think that a 3rd grade gifted class at the local public elementary school would be just as good as 3rd grade at the hoity toity private school. But no. Little Bit’s class was huge (32 kids), split between 2nd and 3rd grade, and suffered through an inexperienced and aggravating long-term substitute when the regular teacher went on maternity leave. (Yes, private school teachers have babies too, but the classes are small (12-16 kids) and the 3rd grade is not split.) Little Bit spent the year discovering that apparently teachers are stupid and to be endured rather than appreciated. Academically, she spent the year chafing at a slooooow curriculum that forced her to repeat work again and again and again and again. On the positive side, she too now has good buddies who live nearby.
“Summer” is a welcome respite. I believe 8th grade will be a good year for Tig, and I am hopeful, at least, that 4th grade will be a big improvement over 3rd grade. We don’t yet know who the teacher will be, but we’ve been told it will be a straight 4th grade class. In my experience with both kids at various levels, a split class is always disadvantageous to the older group and no better than neutral for the younger group. While we await the next onslaught of education, the kids will be enjoying a variety of “summer” camp experiences and playing in the sunsh…ok, never mind that part. They’re going to camp.