Real School: 7 Things Double Feature

Bailey has been in “real” school for almost 3 months now.  It was a bit of an adjustment for our whole family for awhile.  It would be very tempting for me to only focus on the things I don’t like about Bailey being school, but in an attempt to be more fair and honest I’ll start with the positive.

7 Good Things About Bailey Going to School

  1. More Time:  It has freed up a 2-hour block of time during my day that was spent fighting with supervising Bailey’s homeschool work.
  2. “Positive” Peer Pressure:  Bailey has had to step up and learn to deal with disappointments and frustrations in a less volatile manner because she doesn’t want to be embarrassed in front of her friends.
  3. Jumbled Birth Order:  Piper is now “the oldest” during the day and is having the opportunity to learn that being in charge means serving others. 
  4. Friendly Faces:  We are more connected with our parish community as we recognize different families at Mass and they recognize us.
  5. Support for Homeschooling:  Bailey has demonstrated that homeschooling hasn’t damaged her socially or academically, since she has proven herself more than competent at getting along with classmates and learning the new material.
  6. Extra Graces:  Since Bailey goes to a Catholic school, she attends Mass an extra day each week and attends Eucharistic Adoration once a month.  They also pray every morning, before and after lunch, and at the end of the day.  I think all of the extra graces have been really good for her.
  7. Individual Needs:  School has been fulfilling some of Bailey’s specific needs that just couldn’t be filled in our homeschooling environment.  Bailey is an extreme extrovert, and with only having one vehicle I just could not set up as many opportunities to socialize as she needs.  More importantly school keeps Bailey busy almost all day; she’s someone who just doesn’t do well with too much free time.

7 Bad Things About Bailey Going to School

  1. Early Mornings:  Having to be up every morning at 7 am is killing me, especially after multiple nights when the baby won’t settle down until 1 am.
  2. Lunch:  Bailey is completely grossed out by the school lunch program, so I have to pack her a lunch every morning.
  3. The Money:  It’s not just the cost of tuition.  There’s the fundraising.  There’s the charity donations.  There’s the special event supplies.  There’s the special t-shirt or skirt/dress for the special dress down day and the Christmas program.  It’s the nickel-and-diming that really gets to me.
  4. Negative social interactions:  Bailey has never lived in a bubble, but up until now we’ve been able to minimize negative social interactions or at least supervise and offer guidance.  While the girls at her school have all been really nice, there have been issues with a few of the boys.  There’s one boy who apparently gets volatile every few weeks, throwing things and making threats.  Another boy is apparently the class pest, and Bailey has been his most recent target.  Then there are curse words and inappropriate comments on the bus.  Bailey eats up some of the drama, but it is a little disconcerting to have so little input or control of the situation.
  5. Homework:  I will have to give Bailey credit for trying to finish as much of work as possible at school, but having to set aside time for homework each night gets old really fast.  There are papers to be signed, school information to go over, and then supervising the work that wasn’t finished during the school day.  It’s like homeschooling without the control or flexibility of being the sole teacher.
  6. Loss of Flexibility:  Speaking of flexibility, we didn’t get to take the girls to see Santa until a few days before Christmas and had to deal with a long wait.  In the past we would have gone during the day while everyone else was at work and school, breezing in and out of Bass Pro Shop.  But now we are a slave to Bailey’s school schedule for doctor’s appointments and special activities.  And when my parents come visit in February, Bailey will miss out on some of the time and treats with them.
  7. Uncertainty and Frustration: I usually feel pretty confident as a homeschooler.  As the parent of a school kid, though, I am constantly riddled with insecurity, confusion, and indecisiveness.  I think it is the pressure of having to conform to someone else’s expectations and not always being certain about what they are.Yes, I went to regular school for 12 years, but it is very different being the parent: not being there during the day, not knowing what your child was told to do, and having to trust that your child is reporting things accurately.  Yes, there is a school manual, but we haven’t been there long enough to know which rules the school is strict about and which things they aren’t.

    I know that the other parents deal with all of these things and just accept them as part and parcel of being a parent.  I think it becomes very frustrating for me, though, because we have lived life a different way for so long.  The structures and strictures that others might see as normal, I can’t help but see as annoying a lot of the time.

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