Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disillusioned Goals

When I was a kid we lived down the road from a family who sent their kids to an academy. I remember watching them come home in their fancy uniforms and shoes, carrying their laptops and cellos, and I would sit there and stare longingly. I wanted to be an "academy kid" more than anything I had ever wanted in my entire life. I remember begging my mom, to no avail, although she did let me go there for one day to check it out and see what I thought. I loved it, as I expected, but when I told her that it still didn't change her mind. My yearning to be an academy kid lasted until I graduated from a regular plain old boring public high school and I have never forgotten my insane desire to be one of them. I don't know if it was because I wanted to stand out, maybe it was a status thing, or an attention thing, I'm not sure what I found so irresistible about it, but I needed it, I dreamed about it... it was a sickness.

As I got older and became a mom I sort of pushed that aside, after all there are bigger fish to fry than a stupid childhood fantasy, right? My children attended, or are attending as the case may be, a regular public preschool with no uniforms or fancy classes. Their mainstream education has been a blessing to us and I have watched them grow and change in ways over the years that have literally taken my breath away at some points. We have been lucky to get some amazing teachers who I can't say enough wonderful things about. Especially Miss Valeri, I'd move her in if I could and I'm more excited than words can say to have the baby in her class next fall. She did miraculous things with my son and my youngest is desperately in need of some Miss Val treatment.

However, when my oldest graduated preschool and we started looking into kindergarten I was hit in the face with memories of  my "academy kid" dream. We started her in a public kindergarten program because we assumed we could never afford a private school and then we ended up taking her out halfway through the year due to some issues with her teacher, who was physically aggressive and verbally inappropriate. This is in no way connected to the school, just some unresolved personal issues, perhaps she has daddy issues, who knows. Anyway, I homeschooled my daughter for the last half of the year, I even had her testing at 1st and 2nd grade levels at the age of 4. Homeschooling, even for half a year, was great and I enjoyed every minute of it- the planning, the collecting activities and lessons, and especially the carrying out of said lessons. As much as I loved it, I knew I could never do that for the rest of my life or with all three kids, so we were back to looking at schools again for the fall.

I finally managed to do some research and found an academy to send her to. She was accepted and will be starting kindergarten there this year. Now let me tell you what's so damn special about an academy now that I know first hand. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Finding and buying uniforms is becoming a pain in my ass, there are no buses so I have to drive her both ways every day,  and their website is always down- which wouldn't be a big deal except I can't even know when school starts if I don't go to the website. It turns out that an academy is just as crappy as my school was, just with funny shoes.

Tonight we're having an "Academy Family Event." Yup, we are going to go play on the playground in the rain and eat popsicles. I am thrilled about this, just effin thrilled. It's not that I don't think this is a great idea. The premise is that the kids will be able to meet their classmates and have some time to play and perhaps forge some new friendships. This is a wonderful idea. I just think it could have been postponed since it's been raining for almost 48 hours. Then again, perhaps it was postponed and I just can't go to the website and find that out, this is also plausible. Either way, I am preparing to drag myself and my children to a playground in the rain where we will eat frozen things. Yay.

The moral to the story is one we've all heard a thousand times. The grass is always greener on the other side... be happy with what you've got... or... be careful what you wish for. These all apply to me, but you should find the one that fits your day and then twist this story to be relevant to you.

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