Friday, June 14, 2013

On School and Education

Sadly, yes, though I always thought my first book would be called Hands-off Parenting: Does Anyone Know Whose Kid This Is?! It turns out I have been a helicopter parent in the name of providing an amazing, challenging-only-in-ways-I-like, godly educational experience for my first-born daughter.

Currently, when a camp, soccer or library application asks "name of school" my throat closes a little and a little acid starts to brew, because we just left a school and we are signing on for new school(s), and I am learning more about my motivations than ever.

For the past four years, my daughter has gone to a small, "intimate", nurturing enabling supportive private school in the heart of Hollywood, and now she will go to a public school in the same locale give or take 20 miles, exhale. I was relieved when she got a spot at a coveted charter school, the kind that can be described as a private public school, until I wasn't.

First, it was the commute, and then it was that I was literally signing a contract on how I would parent outside of school and what kind of lunch I would pack (not talking about peanut-free). I think my past-life under fascism started to rear it's hot head roaring, S A Y  W H A T! I sat with it for a few days, let clarity bubble, and reasoned it out with my sweetheart and a trusted compadre. 

And, this is when the helicopter light bulb went off. My daughter's last school, the private we left, is littered with parents, which is exactly what I wanted! But, it turns out, for better or worse, self included,  adults can be a-holes. They are no longer innocent: they soiree, include, exclude, judge, rule, pay, etc. And this privileged police state is what we chose and then declined.  The charter will be much of the same but free, at what cost?

And then there's the school down the street that I have always trash-talked--don't even look at it!! Never in a million years did I think I would even consider it over the fabulous charter if we were going public, yet somehow, in my sleepless nights, this school pops in my head, and the gossip that's circulating word-of-mouth about it as well--it's getting really good, there's an amazing principal, it's depressing, etc. 

I have done research: the reviews online are great, the school seems to have greatly improved, and there seems to be a dedicated parent body, not in a helicopter.

We can walk there, and there will be a child-presented diversity, not a committee or admissions director. But, there is something too traditional, not magical or special--or wait, is there? Oh yes, there will be hundreds of kids, kids in classrooms and on blacktops, without well-informed and fabulous helicopter parents (like myself) flying about.

Just for today, we can't decide where we'll send her in August or September--how's that for hands off? but I'm getting humbly schooled along the way. 

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