August 24, 2009

Come over here a sec?...I need your shoulder.

I I'm not sure ear, a sounding board, advice, a shoulder to weep on, validation, a reality check...

(To anyone who is not familiar with Waldorf education, this post will probably seem like a pathetic and whiny, dare I say "elitist" rant, so please bare with. For more info on Waldorf goto Why Waldorf Works.)

After 2 years of immersing ourselves in Waldorf education~through the Aurora Waldorf school, reading countless books, the abundance of learning from and making friends with all of you WONDERFUL Waldorfy blogging families, and implementing this philosophy into our lives...Lo started full day public school Kindergarten today. And I could just die.

1st day of kindy

We have known all along that beyond the 3 1/2 days of pre-k/kindy that she had attended last year at Aurora, private school was just not an option. There was no way-even with tuition assistance- that we could afford that type of financial commitment. It broke my heart to leave that school last spring... For us, the idea of homeschooling past the pre-school age has never been on the table. We've made a lot of sacrifices for me to be able to be a mostly stay at home mom for Lo (I've only worked 3 1/2 days a week myself) with the intention that I would work more as she went to school. In being honest with myself, as much as I love to teach, I'm not very good at it when it comes to structure and organization. I wouldn't want to hinder my child's education because of my own difficulties with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Our only other option was a wonderful Waldorf-based charter school that is part of the Anchorage school district. We had toured it twice and felt that it was a good alternative for us. Like all charter schools here in Alaska, admission is based on a lottery system. I knew that going in-but the "fairy tale" aspect of me said,"We have put so much effort and dedication into Waldorf has become a big part of our lives....this educational paradigm absolutely resonates with the type of child that Lo is-the type of people WE are...we would be a great asset to that school in our commitment to it ....everything will work out fine, we'll get into that school." I put all my gnomes in that bola basket.

Obviously this little fairy tale shan't be coming true any time soon. Last March I put Lo in the lottery and she was 59th on the list. The class holds 10 children. I was in tears when I found out but I also remembered when the Principal told me that they had about 70 on the list last year and they blew through them by the first weeks of school. All summer I have held on to that hope-the unknown hanging heavy around my neck . I remained diligent-writing e-mails and calling once a month to check on her status. When I was in New Jersey I called to check in since school was just around the corner. I was told that at some point someone had called in and declined her position. I politely WENT THROUGH THE ROOF. No one on our end had called to pull her from the list. By the time I returned to Alaska she had been put back on the list. They told me she was now 54th on the list. So much for "blowing through" all those names...

I had told myself that even if she didn't get in, she could stay on the list and we would just transfer her when the time came. But that was when I thought her name would be working itself down the list quickly. It could still happen. But when? 2, 3 years? Will the fact that she's been in public school learning things in kindy, 1st, 2nd that she wouldn't normally learn until the higher grades pose a major problem?

My inner turmoil is exacerbated by the fact that I have come to loath not only public education, but all the mainstream commercialised nonsense that other children are exposed to and bring to school. Hannah Montana who wanna play Transformers(WHY didn't Transformers die out in the 80's?!?!?)...All the junk food. We now have Lo in the Open Optional charter program that Dea was in. At the time, when Dea was entering 4th grade, I found this program to be a wonderful alternative and closer to a Waldorf philosophy than anything else(the Waldorf charter did not exist at that point). We had every intention of putting our newborn in the same program when she was 5. Oh, my head spins with how fast time has gone by.... But from all that I have learned and experienced in the past 2 years, anything else anymore is just not "acceptable".

But I understand I HAVE to accept it. In the interim I'm being positive for Lo's sake and pro-active by volunteering. After all, as a friend put it today, our 2 girls learned to walk in the halls of that school as their older siblings attended and we volunteered. It's been 2 years but I am familiar with the faces and the inner going-ons of the program.

Look, I've had people say it to me ad nauseum... I KNOW there are, have been and will be GAZILLIONS of children who go through the public school system and turn out JUST FINE. I know that Lo, an inherently bright child, will do well wherever she goes...But there will be an inner.... "lacking" for lack of a better word, on different levels. Maybe with the influence of our Anthroposophical environment at home and our continued relationships with Waldorf minded folks, this lacking will be minimal. Let's hope. But to put it simply, once you have experienced filet mignon, you can't really get into a cafeteria burger, ya know? When I walked into her classroom last week for the evaluation with her kindy teacher I wanted to just weep. It was so cluttered. So overstimulating. The walls jam packed with crap. Blazing primary colors and bins upon bins, upon bins of plastic toys and manipulatives. No softness. There were no dress-up clothes or babies to love....ugh this is killing me.

In my SOUL... I KNOW that if most of those gazillions of children had/have a Waldorf education the world (and our floundering country) would be an infinitely better place.

Over this summer I learned a huge lesson. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. I accept that this situation will bring us to a better place. But some prayers and good vibes sent out that Lo gets into that charter school couldn't hurt, huh?

But if one more well meaning person says,"Awww. Don't worry. You'll see her at the end of the day!" AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!

August 21, 2009

Home again...

We're back from our trip to New Jersey! Well, actually we got back about a week ago...I'm just now sitting down to post. So my trip photos are a bit messed up-not organized here the way I wanted them to be. For some reason Blogger isn't letting me click and drag my photos beyond the window so that I can place them in different spots. Anyone else having this problem?!?!? IRRITATING!
I've spent so much time dinking this that I'm just going to make it short and sweet. We had a GREAT time. The weather was hot and humid and a-okay with me because we were always near a pool or the beach! Different from our other Jersey vacations, on this vaca we spent a lot of time with my step-sister's family on various beaches along the Jersey Shore. The girls and I had a great time with Aunt K, Uncle B and their 2 girls. The cousins all had a ton of fun with each other. Here's what we did:

Exploring the Mountain bike trails by my mom's house. We were wishing we had our bikes-it was a pretty tough trail for NJ! I was able to get out most mornings and run it. Very pretty woods-started a lot of deer(so lovely), tried hard to avoid all the tiny froggies jumping about by the river, and got a kick out of turtle "song"!

The cousins and Pops.

The Jersey shore-Spring Lake

Me and Dea's yearly shopping trip to New York City-

Ground Zero

Ferried around the Statue Of Liberty

Seaside Heights-

We all took a trip to Atlantic City-very fun! Here's our suite complete with 4 bathrooms and 2 "Buttwashers"!

Taking a limo costs the same as trying to get us all into 3 cabs. The kids LOVED it!

Trump Marina Casino

The boardwalk

The pool was on the 6th floor!
Swimming and sparklers at the cousin's house

Long Branch-

I always feel SLAMMED into fall after our late summer trips back East. It's cooling off here in Alaska, the blueberries are ripe for pickin' and the colors are just staring to change! Dea is now a freshmen in High School-holy Jeebus! And my baby starts full time Kindergarten in 2 days-I could just crawl into a hole...but that's the next post....

August 5, 2009

See ya

The girls and I are off on our yearly visit see Gramma and Pops in New Jersey/Connecticut. We'll be back east for 10 days. I don't think I will be posting-Mom's computer is a total relic. But I'll get to it when we get back.

Hope your summer continues to be full and rich as we wind down toward school!