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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

UPDATE to Riding off to Kindergarten



Mom2MomEd Blog: UPDATE to Riding off to Kindergarten
I was so excited that I could hardly wait to share our follow up to Riding off to Kindergarten.

If you didn't read my first kindergarten post (and also our first post to this blog and our most popular post), you can read it HERE. If you have been following along on our family saga, then you will be excited to hear the news!

Just to recap, my son, Hank, is starting kindergarten this coming year and we've run into several obstacles getting him enrolled into our FREE and OPEN  public school system. Our first choices were the local Montessori schools, but we neglected to take out a second mortgage, send him to 4 years of private preschool or know the right people.

So the public school system it was.

With our neighborhood school not being a good fit, I diligently researched our other options, only to be rejected repeatedly by schools due to lack of space. As I opened the letters one by one my heart dropped.

How is it possible that my son doesn't have a place to go to Kindergarten?
How is it possible that education is so accessible and free in our country yet, I can't enroll my little guy in a class that is only in session for 3 hours a day?
Most alarmingly, why does no one bat an eye when I call attention to this issue at the district office?

Has this really become status quo?

Not only has this been an issue that has greatly touched my family this year, but it has called attention to a MAJOR problem that I didn't even know existed.

Watch out public school system....this mom is going to be a part of you for over a decade. I'm determined to advocate for change, be a voice for my son and other children, and to help parents navigate this confusing and disheartening system while embarking on a huge milestone in their lives.

I bet you are wondering why I'm writing a follow up right?!?

Well, we did get some news.

We are still on the waiting list at the Montessori schools (although significantly far down the list), but we FINALLY found out that we got into our top choice of the public schools in our area. It's a tad further away than the others, but this is more than made up for by the wide array of activities and programs that they offer. Not to mention that on their website, they boast about their high level of parent participation.

Win!

We drove by the school last week and walked around the kindergarten area. It's really cute with a garden and inviting classrooms. The school has murals all over the walls and it just has a warm and comfortable feel. I'm really excited for my son to go there. The school offers a perfect kindergarten schedule too with an early 7:30am start and then out at 11:30 so children have a nice balance to their introduction to elementary school. And, I love the fact that this schedule also allows us plenty of afternoon time together.

The kindergarten schedule is significant for my family as my son's changing schedule has been a difficult milestone for us this year. In preschool, he only attended three mornings a week, so we still had weekdays to do activities and meet friends. With him going to kindergarten Monday through Friday this coming school year, it seems like a lot of time away from home. As a family, this may feel difficult in terms of some of our favorite activities, including hiking and and dirt biking. This has been particularly troublesome for my husband who is not off on weekends and has counted on his free weekdays to spend time with our family. Like with everything else in life, we will adjust and it will become our new normal. It might just take some time.

Meanwhile, this summer we are still working on some reading skills, learning about nature, dirt biking, and spending time together as a family. It's bittersweet with our son riding off to kindergarten, but now we have a place to be excited about and he is look forward to attending—we all are! It's amazing how much lighter I feel now!

I'm sure as the summer comes to a close and the first day of school comes and goes, we will be met with new anxieties and worries. Until then, I'm going to keep enjoying my family and we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Do you have a story about a difficult or worrisome situation that turned out to be ok in the long run? How did you cope with the waiting game? Leave your answers in the comments!
Have you been following along on our book club? In July, we've been reading The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre. Be sure to follow along every Tuesday! 

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