Tag Archives: school

Just Another Day At The Office

I was having a crummy day. Nothing outstanding happened. Just the usual. Running late. Forgot to sign the permission slip. Almost late on a bill that got lost in the shuffle. (Thank God for online Bill Pay!) Out of milk. Nothing for dinner. Bank account low. Deleted a show by mistake before I actually watched it with no way to retrieve it.

Just your run-of-the-mill terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad day.

So, I called my sister.

“Hey! How’s it going?” she chirps.

I tell her. All forlorn. Waiting for the pity party to begin.

And it does. She’s great like that. After we commiserate, I ask her about her day.

Background info: She is the head administrator at an alternative school for teens.

She had to expel the girl who put the other girl into critical care Monday. A student stole copies of an upcoming test. She had an appointment with someone’s probation officer in 15 minutes. So, no time for lunch. Again. Her lead English teacher turned in her notice because she was following her husband to South Africa. And she had just finished a meeting with one of the plainclothes policemen that would be at the school tomorrow because a student posted on their Facebook page that they planned on bringing a gun to school.

Yep.

Just another day at the office.

Boy, I have it soooo good!

Please pray for all of our teachers and administrators out there. They have the toughest jobs ever!

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Filed under All In A Day's Work

Two Boys (And Their Mom) Enjoy Their 72 Hours Of Fame

Remember when I said I’m not into blogging for the money, just the fame? Well…..

My boys are famous!

Parents.com saw my first-day-back-to-school pic and asked if they could use it on their back-to-school online page.

Yep. That’s them! The cute little devils on the left. You have until Monday to check them out and then I suppose they’ll be replaced by two more handsome little devils. (But never as cute as mine!)

Even if you see this too late, head on over to Parents.com anyway. It is chock full of helpful information to make your school year delicious, easy, organized, joyful, healthy, fashionable, effective, bully proof, homework-hassle-free, safe, nutritious and fun. You name, they have an answer for it!

So check it out.

And yeah. My boys are there. Rockin’ it out like the rock stars they are.

Ok. So I’m not the famous one  this time.

That’s ok.

I’m a mom.

I’ll just live vicariously through them! 😉

 

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Filed under children

Back-To-School Traditions Shared. (I Hope)

When my daughter first started school, 14 years ago, we started a tradition of dinner out at the restaurant of her choice on the first day of school. It was a tradition born of necessity. I was teaching at the time, a single mom, and was completely overwhelmed and frazzled on that first day of school. She had no idea she was saving me from having to tackle dinner.

She thought it was all about her.

Which it was.

And continued to be.

We’ve done that every year as our little back-to-school tradition. Not very original, though. Especially when I read a Facebook friend’s little shout out: “Just finished our end-of-summer-back-to-school tradition of ice cream for dinner! Yum! Yum!”

So cute. A little too sugary for my tastes. (Ba-dum-bum! Chhhh!)

 But original. And a lot more exciting than our boring ol’ go-out-for-dinner-on-the-first-day-of-school.

There must be other traditions out there that I hadn’t heard of.

So…..

Shout them out in the comments section below.

Please?

I’m looking for new material!

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Filed under Because I'm Curious

Mom’s First Day Of School Jitters

We had to switch schools this year.

#1daughter is attending college in a short 10 days. And in case you weren’t aware….college is expensive. Damn expensive. I sure don’t remember having a college book bill totaling over $500.

And my husband is self-employed. Oh, yeah. And the economy sucks.

So, the boys had to leave the perfectly lovely, wonderful, can’t-say-enough-good-things-about Montessori School they’ve been attending for the past 4 years. We adored that school. But in March, we (and by we I mean “I” because my husband hates to be the bad guy) had to start looking at our “free” options. As in, those evil public schools. (And by evil, I don’t really mean evil but it seems whenever you tell someone you’re paying for your child’s education – on top of the taxes you already pay – it must mean that you think public schools are bad. Which I don’t. But that’s for another post.)

And when you tell your friends that you’re considering other options, everyone wants you to choose their option. The charter school, homeschool, the school down the street. We (and by we, remember we’re talking “I” here) weighed our options. And the school down the street (not really down the street but closer than the last school but far enough for the boys to ride the coveted school bus) was the fit that I (oops, I mean we) thought was the best fit for our children.

Let me tell you. I agonized over this decision. It kept me up nights. I listed the pros and the cons. I consulted friends and professionals. I visited and visited, again and again. I read articles online and compared test scores.

It was brutal.

But I finally came to a decision I prayed was the right one.

And even though I was pretty sure it was the right one, I still worried. It’s so different from Montessori. And so much bigger. 800 students in all! What if #1son gets lost in the crowd? What if #2son gets bored and starts acting out?

The first day arrived. #1son – who thinks he is too big for hugs and kisses goodbye, who marched around like a drill sargent that morning making sure everyone had their shoes on, teeth brushed and lunch boxes in hand – when it came time to hug me goodbye, clutched me around my middle and wouldn’t let go. I practically had to peel him off me. I could feel his apprehension. He didn’t have to say a word. (And he didn’t.)

I worried all day long. Every half hour passed and I wondered: “Did they make any new friends?”, “Were the kids mean on the playground?”, “What if they can’t sit still that long?” and “Will they get lost in the lunchroom?”

This is what greeted me after ambling off the bus: both boys, two thumbs up!

 

Nope. No worries, mom!

What a relief.

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Filed under children, Moms, Motherhood

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Most wonderful commercial ever! (At this time of year, anyway!)

Just one more week for mine. How about yours?

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Filed under funny

Now Showing In A Neighborhood Near You – The Wrap Party

FADE IN. Comfy living room open to kitchen area. A mouth-watering buffet is set. Beverages of all kinds, including YOUR favorite libation. All of Plain Jane’s blogging buddies are chatting and relaxing, laughing and sharing….

Thank  you, all, for your supportive comments yesterday. That post was a nice burden to unload. (And a fun way to unload it!) But it still frustrates me that I stood there like an idiot. I feel like I let my son down.

A few of you asked about my friend’s suggested retort. I’m probably mis-remembering (so correct me if I’m way off, K!) but it went along the lines of this: “Oh! That’s why we chose Even Better Montessori for our boys. We WANT diversity. We want our Asian son to feel confident and secure and accepted in his school environment. We want to teach our children that what matters is on the inside, not the color of your skin.”

Great response but as Annah pointed out, a garden party may not have been the time to educate.

And staying away from these women? Pretty much impossible. And quite honestly, the comment wasn’t said in a mean-spirited tone. The Pollyanna in me would like to think that what they were getting at was that the school population of Perfect Grades Elementary was made up of “like-minded” individuals. And we all want that, really.

The school my children attend is a beautiful mix of skin colors. There are many reasons we chose that school but the blended skin tones was a plus. And the parents are willing to shell out tuition to ensure a strong education for their child. There are mandatory volunteer hours for each family. The campus is set on many acres with walking trails, sheep, goats and chickens, raised earth gardens and compost bins. It’s a beautiful environment that we chose to reflect our values.

At least, I’m hoping that’s what those women were getting at about their school. Hopefully, they just have a misguided view that homogeneous means shared values.

I need to stop beating myself up about this.

But I still wish I had been woMAN enough to have said something. Anything to let them know how offensive their comments were.

Instead of just standing there.

It’s done. I can’t transport myself back to that moment in time. I can only move forward and give my children an extra hug. And try to be prepared if it ever happens again.

Ok.

That’s a wrap!

21 Comments

Filed under Be-Causes, Lessons Learned

Now Showing In A Neighborhood Near You!

FADE-IN. Beautiful garden pool party. The sun is setting and children are playing in the pool. The beautiful people mingle and talk, carrying drinks in their hands save one plain Jane, trying to fit in. Soft conversations and the laughter of children can be heard in the background. Four women are talking together in a group.

WOMAN #1

Oh, we just LOVE Perfect Grades Elementary! Absolutely LOVE it!

WOMAN #2

We had Mrs. Spectacular this year. For kindergarten. She is a gem!

PLAIN JANE

Oh, is it a K-5 school?

WOMAN #2

Yes, it is. And they’re making it a Charter School next year. They’ll be offering karate, piano, Chinese, expanded art classes. I can’t wait.

WOMAN #3

I know. I hate it that my little Allie is graduating. We’re going to miss it!

PLAIN JANE

What are the class sizes like?

WOMAN #2

Oh, the average size. But every class has an aid and the kids are so well-behaved. They WANT to be there.

WOMAN #3

And, most of the kids are (her words are barely audible, muddled by the shouts of the children playing in the pool)

Thinking she misheard, Jane leans in closer.

PLAIN JANE

Pardon me?

WOMAN #1 and WOMAN #3

(leaning in together and whispering)

White

Plain Jane is speechless and unable to overcome her shock. She glances over at her Asian son playing with the other white children. The chatter among the women continues as Jane fades into the background.

This scene actually happened to me this past weekend. A gorgeous garden party in our subdivision. The perfect evening. And when those women repeated the word “white” I stood there, unable to utter a sound. I thought, in that moment, that this is going to be one of those times when I’ll think of the perfect thing to say as soon as we get into the car to go home.

But I didn’t. And days later, it is still bothering me.

I shared this scene with a dear friend and neighbor of mine. She had to miss the party. I was relaying the scene and before I could finish she said, “Oh, I know EXACTLY what I would have said. I would have said….” And then she rattled off the perfect retort. (Just one of the reasons I love her so!)

But what would YOU say? How would you finish the scene?

 

 

38 Comments

Filed under Observations

Competition Is Good

My first teaching job out of college was at a small, private, college prep school. I worked for a very wise headmaster. The principal at a local public school was interviewed in the paper and was comparing her school to our school and slamming us in the process. She said things that weren’t true. She said things that were true, but being small and never able to get our hands on the public money she was receiving, we’d never be able to compete. I was highly irritated that our school was getting such bad press as a result. We were a great school! How could she say these things?

Our headmaster said to me in his very best Michael Douglas (Wall Street) voice, “Jane, Competition is good!”

Competition keeps us on our toes. It ensures that we’re striving to be better.  As long as it doesn’t overtake our sensibilities, competition encourages us to be the best we can be.

Unless you have a son like mine.

Because we homeschooled our daughter for 4 years everyone just assumed we would homeschool the boys. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. I knew this from the time they were infants. They are 10 months apart in age and ever since #2son was born #1son would do everything in his power to outshine him. Competitive doesn’t even begin to describe.

And after these few days of staying home from school I’m convinced we made the right decision. And I’m even more pleased with the school we chose for them.

We chose to go the Montessori route. It is a non-competitive, child-centered, (mostly) self-directed way of learning. I put the word mostly in parentheses because many people think my kids just wander around a classroom and spend the entire day playing with beads if they want to. The teacher in a Montessori classroom is a guide and makes sure that my boys work on a little of everything. Not a problem in #1son’s case. He races to complete everything he can get his hands on before anyone else.

New Image

Which posed a problem missing this many days of school. The first day he was out he asked me about 20 times, “How many days am I going to be home from school?” I smiled. “Until you’re better,” I’d say. My ego stroked. He loves being home with Mommy, I thought.  My sweet little boy and I are going to have such great bonding time these next few days. But the next morning he woke up and said he’d had a bad dream. “I dreamt I missed FOUR WHOLE DAYS of school!” Trying to coax the reason out of him, and fulling expecting to further feed my ego, I asked why he was so anxious about not going to school? “Because!” he declared, “I’m not doing my work! Ethan and Liza will fill their cubbies up before me! I haven’t finished my chart! My chart will be empty when I get back! What if Jayden gets to learn a new lesson before me? I HAVE to get back to school!!!”

So much for wanting to be home alone with Mommy.

Luckily, his dear, sweet, teacher called us yesterday afternoon to check on him. I told her his concerns. She asked me to put him on the phone.

I don’t know what she said to him but it worked. He calmed down. His competitive spirit is now in a weakened but healthy state.

Yes, competition is good. But we all have a stockpile of memories or situations when competition is paralyzing, cruel or unkind. The trick is to live in the balance. 

It looks like #1son and I have our work cut out for us!

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Filed under Lessons Learned

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast, Lucky Charms for Dinner

The other night was just one of those nights. Pick up kids from school. Go to bank. Pick up milk. Race home. Feed kids. Get back in car. Pick up daughter from practice. Go to parent meeting. Race like a madwoman from one place to the next.

Now, I knew the schedule beforehand. I knew it would be tight. I also knew that the parent meeting would be right in the middle of dinner hour and would probably run longer than expected. And wouldn’t you know it, my husband had to work late.

We had plenty of leftovers in the fridge. And that’s when the lightbulb went off.

“Guess what boys? It’s opposite day. And today we’re going to have dinner for snack and snack for dinner!”

“Huh?”

“Today, when we get home we’re going to eat dinner for your afterschool snack. And then after mommy’s meeting we’re going to come home and have any kind of cereal you want for dinner!”

“ANY kind?”

“Yes.”

“Can we have Cocoa Puffs?”

“Yes.”

“Or Lucky Charms?”

“Yes!”

“Mom! You’re the BEST!”

You see, we don’t eat sugared cereal for breakfast – at least not on my watch. The sugared cereal is reserved for snack after school or for dessert. They were practically racing into the house to put away their jackets and shoes. They washed their hands at record speed and hurried to the table for their ‘snack.’ I heated up the leftovers and they ate heartily. I smiled at my brilliance.

We picked up my daughter. She watched the boys while I attended the parent meeting for her team. And then we went home.

“Can we have a really, really big bowl?”

“Sure!”

“Thanks, Mom! I can’t wait to tell my teacher I had Lucky Charms for dinner!”

Uh-oh.

I didn’t think of that.

And then I remembered the Bill Cosby skit about chocolate cake for  breakfast.

Enjoy your Friday funny!

16 Comments

Filed under children, funny

What Do You Do With A Goofy Sailor?

Our youngest, age 5, has become a little too comfortable in his classroom of late and his teacher brought it to our attention. I asked her to text me with updates. It’s been well over a week since we talked so I thought things were going well. Yesterday morning we received our first text from her.

“#2son has needed constant redirection and has been excessively silly today. Have a great weekend! – Mrs. Wonderful”

I begin to laugh. And then I think, there’s some great blog fodder in here, I know it. But I’m laughing too hard to type.

First, let me say #2son’s teacher truly is wonderful. I love her to death and she is perfect for our son, hence the name Mrs. Wonderful.

But there’s this part of me that wants to say, then deal with him. What can I do about it from home?

Then there’s the part of me that wants to do what my friend suggested and text her back with “Well, then TGIF, right?”

Then there’s another part of me that knows exactly, EXACTLY, what she’s dealing with and I’m with her – what can we do about it?

And still another part of me is still cracking up over the quick little sentence closed with “Have A Great Weekend!”

#2son is the class clown. And adorable. And sweet, imaginative and funny. Needs redirection? All. The. Time. Excessively silly? You betcha. He wants to be an actor. He performs in front of the mirror constantly. He is continually in Imaginary Land. His world is punctuated with sound effects. One day he’s fighting aliens. Or a sailor on the high seas standing on the couch with his spyglass looking for shark. The next day he’s a pirate, or Yoda, or Spiderman (especially funny when I see him trying to adhere to the walls).

 

When he got into the car at carpool I asked him how his day was. “Good,” he replied. That’s not what Mrs. Wonderful said, I told him. “Oh,” he said. Long dramatic pause. Then he said, “Well, it sure was good to ME!”

See what I mean? I started laughing all over again.
Thank goodness my husband is the disciplinarian in our family. Obviously, I’m not cut out for this.

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Filed under children, funny, Motherhood, parenting