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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

school rant central

I should have started out by saying that I apologize to any teachers, I probably don't know the half of what your big issues are to deal with. This may make me look pretty ignorant to teachers and administrators in the trenches. This is only the perspective from where I, one parent, am sitting at this moment in time. 

I'll start with a link and status from FB this AM. 
I had more to say, so I'll blog.

As I sit making worksheets I'm wondering A) should I have homeschooled and B) what is she doing all day in Kindergarten 'cause it ain't practicing handwriting step by step like I the "old days."

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I still feel good about our decision not to send to kids to preschool, but if they are going to expect one to be able to write well and almost read, they should REQUIRE x # years of preschool and make good public ones available. Insert suggestion to invest in our own kids instead of the Israeli Occupation.

And once we sort that out, let's bring music back. I used to love that "break" where you get to sing, play recorder and put on plays and such. I probably learned something about music inadvertently; if nothing else we got introduction and appreciation. Aside from that, I can't see justifying dropping it. Aren't there studies that show that music is good for math skills? It's sad that that won't be a part of my childrens' school experience. I mean, why not replace computer class with music class, unless they are typing or programming or something. I mean, we are kind of to the point that computers are so ubiquitous that teaching kids to use them (I'm not actually sure what goes on in her class) seems unnecessary. Maybe I am way off on that point in some circumstances, but I think music would be a better use of the time, especially if kids have any access to computers, smart boards, and iPads in class.

And don't get me started on school breakfast/lunch. Too late. :) Let's start with breakfast. They talk about reduced lunch and the policy of kids not going hungry. Yes, I think that's good, but when breakfast is a pop tart or super bun (whatever that is- I'm imagining a Honey Bun covered in icing...) I don't think you're helping out all that much. I did notice a few less of those options this month than last, so maybe it just takes them a bit to get organized?

Now, lunch and the potato problem. Yikes. Let me start by listing the "ways with potatoes": oven baked fries, parslied potatoes, baked potato, potato rounds, whipped potatoes, and of course sweet potato casserole (which I'm guessing means marshmallow and brown sugar?). Not so bad, right (except for the last one for which they could sub a baked sweet potato with a little cinnamon...)? 

I do see some positives. French fries and deep fried options don't seem to be there. I'll give them that. But when you are replacing a green veggie with a starch, that is a problem. At least I think so. Maybe it is a failure on the parents' part that a Kindergartener won't choose the healthy option independently? Or maybe elementary students shouldn't have so much choice? My thought is that even if we eat healthy food at home and they like it and eat it, the broccoli, turnip greens, peas and green beans I've seen at various schools are soggy, straight from a can, salt-less and flavorless. I probably would let them choose the main course and set the rest- or let them choose main course and have a choice of "equal" veg-  peas or green beans, broccoli or mixed veg, etc.

Maybe school lunch is a rite of passage and I should just relax. I can accept that because I think we do a good job at home and enjoy family meals and all the rest. Also, there is the money issue. Budget, budget, budget. Federal government and everyone else is living on credit and borrowed time. I know having Jamie Oliver* come and cook all of the meals would not be in the realm of possiblity, but could we demand more, as in a team of nutritionists or something, than one person who may or may not have a science or nutrition background (I don't know) set menus for the entire county or state or however that's done?

*Jamie Oliver reference- His show is  Food Revolution. And here is another can of worms- was there mutiny, did the healthy changes stick, was it real, etc. I think there was a lot in there about how school lunches are set up and how they have to use what they are given...most of which I've forgotten, but I remember coming away with how it is a racket. I thought the premise was good and was hoping it and the revolution would take off.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I am for banning vending machines with soda, sweets and junk also but I guess that's another issue...

Having said all of that, I still think my husband and I made the right choice in schooling for now, despite all of this- what may seem like- complaining from me. I'm an introvert and so I consider myself just more observant, not a big complainer. I notice things. I guess I should have said that when people used to ask me why I didn't talk. Sometimes these observations bother me. Anyway, as a result of our looking at all the school options, I plan to be involved because I think it's as important as if I homeschooled as to how much the kids gets out of it. I guess we can always switch things up if necessary. I still feel the pros and cons are pretty equal either way.

This isn't really the post I set out to write, but I won't delete it. It is what it is, as it is with me.

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