So. I’m not really sure where to begin. So much has changed, again, and in such a short time, I’m still wrapping my head around everything.
Perhaps the biggest change is with Kat’s school. Things finally came to a head with the local public school– as I had been predicting they would for some time. The special education case manager for my daughter this year was awful. She was dismissive, rude, condescending, and belittling. A few weeks ago, I began calling, interviewing, visiting, and adding Kat’s name to the wait list of schools I liked. There isn’t a huge selection of charter schools in my immediate town, but in the “bigger city” (where Bea’s office is, and where hubby works) there is a lot more choice. Even then, my choices were limited because I wasn’t going to take Kat out of a known situation for an unknown situation that wouldn’t be better. I added her name to a few wait lists, and assumed we would end up homeschooling before the year was out.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. I received a call from a school I had loved the moment I walked in the door, that Kat was at the top of the wait list and a student in the primary level was moving. I visited one more time, with more specific questions, loved the atmosphere even more, and Kat started two days later.
I wish I could put into words how perfect this school is. First, the classrooms are multi-age classrooms, which means Kat isn’t in a room with 30 other grade K students. She is in a room with 25 other students, and there are a mix of K, first and second grade (primary level). She will stay in that classroom with the same teacher until intermediate level (3, 4, 5 grades), and then the last level is senior (6,7,8). Each of the three levels, they stay with the same teacher, and same class.
The belief in this school is that nurturing and caring for the individual is important; that belief begins at the top level with the superintendent all the way down to the school receptionist.The school is full of emotionally attuned people, and that includes the other parents. I don’t feel like I’m wrong or annoying or anything else bad at this school when I request things for my daughter. At first I did– out old school really fed into my already negative feelings about having needs– and everyone there kept telling me I had no reason to apologize, I was advocating for my daughter. They complimented me on being intune with my kid, and they complimented me on being there for her and meeting her needs when I asked to stay at the school for Kat’s first few days. These people welcome parents. Seriously welcome them. There are parents in and out of the school all the time. A lot of them come to visit at lunch or recess, and no one views this as weird or annoying. They want parents to be involved, and they want parents input.
As for how the teachers are with the kids, it’s amazing. They respect the kids and listen to them, are genuinely interested in the things the kids want to talk about. I saw a teacher change her lesson plan because my daughter was afraid of the book that was going to be read. I’ve seen teachers sit and breathe with an upset child, and I’ve seen kids reprimanded so gently and quietly that you wouldn’t know it was happening if you weren’t watching carefully. I’ve heard a teacher admit mistakes and apologize to a child. This place is just so amazing, guys. It’s not perfect, but they don’t pretend to be. The school is perfect because they don’t hide the imperfect things. They are real and open and honest and want to be a team.
I feel like I can breathe again, at least where school is concerned. Now, moving schools has meant I lost my rigid routine that was holding me together (not so awesome) and I am struggling to find a new routine, but maybe not so rigid. School now starts an hour earlier for us, and is an extra 30 minute drive. So things are interesting in the mornings, for sure. I used to get up around 5, do yoga, write, check social media/Wordpress/emails, and then get dressed, get Kat up, have her eat and watch a show while I packed lunch and whatever we needed for the day, and then I’d get her dressed. After that we would drive 10 minutes to school, I’d drop her off and come back home, or run errands, or go to yoga class, until I had to pick her up. Now, I get up at 5:30, get dressed (hair, make up, clothes), then pack up the car, make coffee, make Kat hot coco, get breakfast set in Kat’s travel tray, get everything in the car ready to go, wake Kat, get her dressed, put her in the car, and she eats breakfast and watches a show on the iPad while we drive to school. It’s a busier, crazier morning. Then, if I go home, I have about 2 hours at home before I have to leave and go back to school for lunch. It’s a more tiring day, and I’m not used to that right now. Afternoons have been rough– I somehow keep napping instead of doing yoga, or cleaning, or anything else, but I’ve not been sleeping great at night, so the nap is needed.