I am seriously considering pulling Pea from kindergarten. (I have only barely vented on this blog, but these are some of the reasons why.) Kindergarten isn’t mandatory in Oregon, and the only thing this kindergarten is inclined to do is teach preparedness for first grade in this school…which is to say, how to sit down, shut up, and not ask questions. This is antithetical to everything M and I believe in.
There are three months left. 1/3 of the school year. I don’t know what to do.
Part of me thinks, well, it’s about time. That meeting with the principal? Yielded nothing but the principal no longer making eye contact or responding to “good morning” from me. He does still tell Pea to have a good day, which is something. Pea loves him and gives him a hug every morning and a high-five. This breaks my heart.
After months of requesting a place for the introverted children to retreat to when they needed it, I found out from talking to another mom (and verifying with Pea) that the introverted kids been going under the snack table to get away from the noise and the chaos.
The other part is terrified that I would be pulling her for the wrong reasons, that I am making this about me when it isn’t. (But I would hope that by having this thought, I negate that possibility.)
She has found something of a social niche, playing mainly with the boys. But with the exception of one or two boys, there are no real bonds.
The kindergarten does no academics, the teacher is batshit crazy (do not tell my child that gnomes hide things at night — I mean, really?!), and it falls on me to teach her anything meaningful.
Today is the first day I didn’t go with Pea on Park Day. I couldn’t. I just…couldn’t. I don’t know what I’ll say if the teacher says anything else insane to me. My filter is gone. I don’t care enough to be nice. Nice isn’t working. These people have never seen us angry but I’m one more ignorant comment away from losing my shit in a spectacular fashion.
Do all five-year-olds fight going to school? Like, do they hate it? Cry about having to go most mornings? Feign illness to avoid it? I’m pretty sure that’s not normal.
In the realm of being about me: it’s killing me to take her to school. I feel sick about it.
This morning, I was in the shower thinking, Jesus, I don’t know if I can force her to go. I don’t know if I have it in me. I managed to get her ready with a minimum of fuss, which was good, because I reached a point where I thought, “Okay, if she doesn’t put on her clothes…doesn’t brush her teeth…doesn’t eat breakfast…I won’t take her.”
In favor of keeping her in school:
- Social interaction.
- Lots of physical activity (this is the main benefit).
- Time outdoors every day, no matter how crappy the weather (I am not nearly as inclined to run around in the rain and get muddy).
- I have three hours every morning to myself for writing/socializing/doctors’ appointments.
- The entire burden of engaging Pea’s mind would fall on me (more on this below; it almost all does, anyway).
- I don’t want her to think that school is something that can easily be quit. (I do want her to think school is something that should be looked forward to, though.)
- I would be mentally exhausted by the time M is home from work and would need time to myself to recover — and that’s less time with M.
Opposed to keeping her in school:
- Her teacher does not appreciate her personality or her mind, and I suspect may be actively discouraging curiosity and questioning. If she acts exasperated with Pea in front of me, how is she acting when I’m not there? Which leads to…
- I don’t think her teacher likes her. Sure, it’s unrealistic to expect her teachers will all love her — she is a challenging kid if you don’t like being questioned (and even if you do, it’s exhausting). But she is a sweet kid who is kind to everyone. And until this teacher and this school, she was appreciated as a quirky kid by her teachers. Even if some of them were faking it, never was anyone short-tempered with her in front of me.
- The school doesn’t take racism and bullying seriously.
- The school doesn’t take differences in temperament into account.
- At the school, a good child is a child who does what they’re told, when they’re told, and doesn’t ask questions. (At the first grade meeting, one of the parents essentially asked, “Since our kid already reads, how do we prepare her for a dumbed-down curriculum?” Not “What enrichment is available for my advanced child?” How can a parent even think that way? I was flummoxed.)
- If she’s with me, I can tailor education to her interests (and do so now — we’d just do more of it). We used to go to OMSI and the zoo and Audubon on a weekly basis, and we can go back to doing that. I can pick up a membership to the art museum and add that into rotation.
- I can use the extra few months for preparing her for an academic first grade.
- I wouldn’t be driving an extra 80 miles a week to take her to and from school.
- I wouldn’t be fighting to get her ready for school. This is the single biggest frustration of my parenting life.
Both M and I attended a lot of schools growing up (M=13, Me=7). M dealt with a lot of bullying until he was big enough to kick the shit out of would-be tormenters. I was small, young, skipped a grade, and too clueless until middle school to realize everyone wasn’t like me/I wasn’t like everyone else. There were maybe one or two years of public school where I felt challenged/like I belonged…and then we moved again. I see a lot of my naive, unable-to-believe-people-aren’t-nice in Pea.
So that’s the situation. And…I don’t know what to do. I just know this isn’t working and the school has shown us they really don’t care about it working for her.