Sunday, October 30, 2011

Public v. Private

I like public schools, just not the public schools in Oakland or L.A. I have seen too much. A prefers private schools.
I don't want my kids to be taught to tests, to do paced learning or to be denied free play.

The thought of finding and getting into a school we love gives me a tummy ache. The baarea cities cities Mr A wants to live in, have good schools but Mr A wants private. One of our friends coaches at a private school and he has explained that the bay area for private schools are as competitive as the L.A. private schools. We have to go to the feeder elementary to get into the top high schools. The high schools have entrance exams.

That is stressful! Mr A went to private schools so I think he has a bias towards them.

I think a school is only as good as the parents whose children attend that school. I think parent involvement is the main part of a students achievement. Liberals prefer to blame schools and place 0 responsibility on parents.

Someone should do an experiment. I'd like to know the schoolwide student success when parents who qualify for free lunch remain involved .

Thursday, October 20, 2011

these are the times

I spoke with a preschool director this week to schedule a tour. After i told her the names of TR's two friends who attend that school, the woman asked me if was looking for a spot now. I gasped because I realized that time is approaching. My baby will be 4 next year and in kinder the next year.

I told the woman I was looking for a 1/2 day preschool for fall 2012. TR might be ready but I am not. I want a 1/2 day kinder so I can ease into school life.

It makes my teary to realize this 3 year old used to be a little infant. We were in the kitchen yesterday and I was taking bacon out of the oven. QT began to walk towards me and I was stuck trying to figure out how to manage that. I had a hot pan of bacon in my right hand, I was still
Leaning and not at a good angle.

TR assessed the situation and put her arms on QT's shoulders, pulled him back and said, "I have him mommy." She told him the oven was hot and to wait until I put the bacon down.

My infant is a big girl.

I love how the kids interact. They take care of each other. TR gives him advice and he listens.

I love being a mother to my babies. School will start for them and I will miss my random moments with them. The time moves so fast so I am trying to enjoy every moment. They are close to me so I can go get hugs and kisses during the day. Once school begins they will be further away and I will have to volunteer at their school to be a part of their day. I don't think private schools have room mothers' so I will be on campus but probably not in class with them.

So I enjoy these times and enjoy the busy lifestyle being mother to 2 young kids offers. I guess I will be a workaholic once they start school and both Mr A and the kids are gone for 6 or so hours each day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

habitats

Habitot Museum was great fun! I love Children's museums. If we lived here I would surely be a regular visitor. It's awesome to have places where your kids are free to passionately explore, investigate and breaking things is not an issue.

I haven't decided what the plan is for today. I want to go to Michaels and pick up craft supplies. I also have coupons for Micheal's so my being to lazy to drive the 10 miles each way in L.A. worked out well. (Mission complete)

There was another school we briefly considered for the kids. It seemed to have a play based structure for the early years but Mr A discovered it utilizes Singapore math which seems to be very worksheet heavy. We are not the worksheet people. Any curriculum that relies primarily on worksheets is not for our family.

Mr A loves math and TR is able to do basic math. She can divide up snacks to make sure she and her brother have equal amounts, if she has two pieces of candy she will state how many she has and ask for x more so she can have a total of X. She subtracts the same way. She can figure out probabilities of stuff. If she wants to jump from the chair to the couch she visually calculates the distance and will move the chair closer so she can make the jump. But maybe that is science?

Mr A thinks in math. If something is going on, he starts turning things into numbers. He said he thought everyone thought that way until he started spending time with me. Haha! I always wanted (seriously and truly) to marry a man who was good at math. Math is my weakness and I wanted my kids to have a chance at it. One day in response to my question, Mr A told me, "there is no math I cannot do." I swooned. Whooooo! That man knows how to speed up my
pulse. (*_*)

We might send TR to a 1/2 day play based preschool next year. Or I might see if I can get one or two other home based kids to do a museum trip once a week and work on my homeschool preschool plan.

Whatever we decide, I know that its about to get expensive parenting 2 little people and keeping them exposed to nice people, places and things.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Playschool

Today my mom and I had a lovely and "hot" day in San Francisco. I love the city on those rare hot days. We did a bit of shopping and then lunch.

We saw a crack head homeless person on the street and my mom told me that was her Uncle's son. I guess he saw us because he hid. My mom asked another crack head homeless person where he went. My mom took us in search of him and when we found him he remembered her.

It amazes me how my mother has hundreds of cousins and knows them all and their kids. Her parents took time with everyone. I guess her memory is good.

I love how she treats all people like people. She went and spoke to her crack head cousin, asked him about his brothers, where he was living and spoke to him. He looked and smelled like he had not bathed in 3 years, his hair was matted, his teeth were a mess and he looked like he was looking for a hit. If he had been wearing an expensive suit and smelling like he had just stepped out of a milk bath on his private jet, she would have spoken to him the same way. I appreciate that.

When we got home the kids and I cut up a lemon and made lemonade. They loved it and so did I. They got to hand squeeze the lemon, add sugar, water and stir. It's easy to forget that simple things are an adventure for kids. Their excitement reminds me to appreciate things and to see how fascinating life and living is.

Later in the day we took the kids to a Farmer's Market. The kids had great fun on some of the kiddy fun house jumpers and slides. TR wanted to buy a flower plant but all she had was $5. I asked the merchant if she had any flowers for $5 and she said no.

I told TR that there was nothing in her price range and the lady pulled out a potted lavender (TR's favorite color) orchid that she said needed some TLC. TR gave the merchant the money and hugged the plant. The orchid is beautiful, young and in bloom. TR LOVES flowers. I am excited about her taking care of it and her seeing it do its thing. Her other plant passed when we left town for a couple of weeks and it was battered by the weather.

I have finally been able to articulate to myself what I want in an early childhood program and why I want playbased. I want it to be interactive. If the kids are learning math, I want them to use things to count, not paper.

Give the kids m&m's for addition or subtraction and let them figure out how to cut a pizza to test out division. I want a program that allows the kids to move about, interact with materials and be active learners.

I don't want sitting at desks, paper and pencil, lectures and memorization. I want them to understand the uses of concepts. When they are older and not needing to move about, they can sit and do paper and pencil activities. I want centers and choice. I want activities that allow kids to think, create, make connections and want to investigate.

Thursday will be a trip to a children's museum. I am putting our Skirball family membership to great use. If we have not made our money from the purchase we've gotten close to break even. We've been able to invite other kids and their parents and use our membership to get our guests in. I've been able to make spur of the moment and rainy day trips to Zimmer. We'll certainly renew our membership.

The link to locate a children's museum near you is http://www.childrensmuseums.org/visit/us_members.htm

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mutiny

My children held a mutiny yesterday and demanded I make a grocery run to get cheese.
I try not to take both of them to the grocery store by myself. I'm not sure that I have ever done it but it was quite easy and fun.

Mr. A has taken them both lots of places, by himself. I just figured he was a brave man. Perhaps now that they are older its easier than what I imagined. TR can climb into her car seat and put her straps on, so that helps. I unstrap her when we reach our destination and she climbs in the front and I usually get her out. Sometimes she says she wants to do it by herself.

TR is a very good grocery shopper.







Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Working Mommy

While I try to enjoy as many lunch hours as possible, the fact remains that I am a working mother. After many months (of trials and hearings) I was finally able to get back to the work I have come to enjoy very much. My special education stuff.

The thing I dislike about litigation is how loooonnnnnng it lasts. My education stuff lasts a few months at most. A lawsuit usually lasts a couple of years. I get tired of long term litigation.

It rained Tuesday and Wednesday. I picked up the kids and their nanny and took them to the Childrens Museum. On Wednesday so I drove everyone to story time and stayed for the hour and then dropped them off at the museum.

I noticed they had drop in art so I went to get them settled in. Then I had to do a bit of banking, make doctors appointments and then squeeze in work before picking the kids and nanny up.

Today is a sunny but cool day. The kids went to the park. I got work done and am now off to an in person meeting. I hate the inperson meetings but that is where I get paid.

Ain't no rest for the weary*, money don't grow on trees, we've got bills to pay, we've got mouths to feed, ain't nothing in this world for free. We can't slow down, I can't hold back, and you know I wish I could, there ain't no rest for the *weary, until we close our eyes for good.

*I changed that word on purpose.



I think its easy being a man. Since I have a meeting this afternoon I won't be here when the nanny goes home. Mr. A had the option of having her stay longer and being at the football game 3 hours early or waiting until I get home and at the latest being 1 hour early. He chose to have the nanny stay longer and be 3 hours early for football.

I don't get it and these are the reasons I hate football.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The gift of persistence

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'press on' has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race."
Calvin Coolidge

I think persistence wins. No matter what your gifts are, if you give up, you can't win.

TR took a test (Judge me if you desire) and the psychologist confirmed our suspicions. She is gifted! Most of these private schools want certain scores so although our dream school does not want test scores, I have an idea of other schools we can apply to.

The psychologist told me TR will probably start to read shortly. I told her that TR is already doing that. She told me that TR should be in an academic program but I am sure y'all know we are advocates of play based education for the early school years.

I think everyone has a gift or talent, I would love my kids to be able to operate in their talents and gifts.

Story time

Our wonderful story time teacher is transferring to a different library. The one day she was absent was terrible. Story time requires more than an ability to read. You have to engage the young children. The librarian for the teen section did the class that day and it was chaos! I have no idea what to do about this. I don't want to drive to story time. Taking a relaxing walking to the library is a part of the experience. One of the readers* was telling me how well TR does. She said TR and another girl have all the personality in the class, so they are good friends and that TR is always in the front participating. I will have to go observe this week because this will be story time teacher's last week.

*I have been talking to that reader since before TR's birthday. Saturday we went to a crafts event at the library and Mr A asked me if I knew her. I told him she was P.J. Turned out she is the woman from Friday who said, "you ain't got to lie Cr.wig". I kept thinking her voice was familiar. She also does voice work.
Now I understand why she is such a good reader and singer. She is a natural performer.

Dance and Gym

TR and QT are finally doing their ballet and gym at around the same time and at the same place. QT had to move to the 2/3 year old class. He is a beast. He is strong and fit. He can hang on the bar without assistance, he can do pull ups with minimal assistance, he can walk the balance beam well and he can climb. He is a natural athlete.

I think I blogged that QT is potty training himself. He takes his diaper off and gets the potty. He had been taking the diaper off, getting on the pot, getting up and then peeing on the floor. This weekend he peed in the potty. Joy! I wasn't ready for this but I won't hold him back.

I think changing TR's ballet time and day was a good decision. She left class with a huge smile and jumping. It's the same teacher and the class has more students but the kids are focused. In the Friday afternoon class those kids needed naps not ballet. I understand wanting to do it all but if a young kid is at school from 8am to 2 pm, and up earlier gettng ready, sometimes rest is needed.

It's craay how excited and proud parents look watching their little kids trying to do ballet. Do all 3, 4 and 5 year old girls love ballet? TR's gymnastics school had ballerinas and she would come home and do what she saw. Shortly after she hit 3 (earliest most will take kids), I signed her up for a class.

Mothering

I love being a mother and guiding and observing my kiddies develop into people. Turning off electronics and interacting with your children is W-O-R-K. I love that my kids do not need t.v. and can entertain themselves. But it is WORK. They play well but I have to break up fights, be a part of imaginary scenes, watch and cheer TR's cheers/dances, get out paint, put paint away, wash paint off of QT, the list is endless.

TR knows all about television and has her favorite shows, but if I turn the t.v. off or turn the channel my kids play. They create, imagine and pretend. If they have a choice between going outside and t.v., they will go outside. If the choice is between t.v. and playing inside, they choose play.

T.V. makes it easier on me but fortunately I enjoy their creativity so the work is worth it. I think t.v. kills your ability to create or make your ideas happen.

SAHM

I think I could enjoy being a stay at home mom. There are so many ways you can make home life wonderful. I enjoy being able to focus on mother stuff. I have been swamped with work the last few weeks. It was sweet relief to complete everything.

I think those women who fought to get women equality created trouble. I think mothers feel guilt about sending their kids to daycare and to compensate they discuss all that the kid learns at "school" and that they get to socialize.

When most mothers were home kids learned and socialized with the children of other SAHM's. So now because every other woman works a full day outside the home, the at home kids get criticized by the 9-5 moms, for not socializing. Crazy how that happens.

Its good women have options but once women load themselves down with student loan debt, those options usually end.