Tag Archives: public school

Z-Boy ed, 2nd Grade, first 2 weeks

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Z-Boy has started public school. It’s been 2 weeks. It has been going surprisingly well… his teacher, Ms W, is older and very, very experienced. She apparently taught at a Montessori school in Berkeley before settling in the great big flatland. She has a ranch in Dixon, and when the school year is over, she invites all of her students and their families to camp on her land and enjoy her horses and chickens and such. L and I have met her and we both agree that she seems both sharp and efficient yet caring and compassionate. She has that economy of action and diction that comes with experience, and Z-boy responds very well to her. In this way, I think, she is very much like Miss M, his first preschool teacher.
When we came to pick him up last Thursday, very few parents were there, and the kids seemed to be late in getting out. When the door opened and Ms W came out, she explained to us that on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons she offers the students a 1/2 hour of “Homework Club” time after regular dismissal, where students can complete homework assignments with other students, or by themselves, and are welcome to ask for help with any problems they are having. We peeked in and saw Z-boy and M.G., a girl who’s been in his class since K, working very diligently, side by side, on some math problems. I was floored – when I try to help him with “homework” worksheets, he usually does his “I’m too tired!!!!” routine, and flops and whines on the floor. But there he was, actually engaged in his work and in his collaboration with Marina! Then after they finished Homework Club, they negotiated a play date for the next afternoon!!! Oh Joy and Rapture Unforeseen!!!!!!!! S, M.G.’s mom, had seen her daughter really start to take Z-boy “under her wing”, for which I am very grateful, since I really like S and M.G. is such a studious and creative girl.
So maybe the whole homeschool thing won’t happen for a while. Maybe not at all this year. As long as Z-boy is enjoying life in school and out of it, I’m not going to try to fix was isn’t broke.

Present, Future tense

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Currently, we are not homeschooling Z-boy. He just completed 1st grade in a K1 montessori classroom at a public school in Davis. He had a wonderful teacher. New, as in brand-spanking, right-outta-the-bag new, but she had all the most important qualities: compassion, passion, and respect for her charges and their various learning styles.
But next year is a different story altogether. Montessori, at this particular school, is less about the whole Child, and more about how some worked-over version of a “whole child approach” can accelerate their academic achievements. Well, that works ok for some, maybe… but…
then there’s Z-boy. He’s smart, but not a reader yet. Unfocused, easily distracted, not terribly good at picking up on non-verbal cues from other kids, and so on. Possibly he has sensory processing issues. He’s a ham. Attention-seeker, happy with both positive and negative reactions, as long as he’s getting a reaction. Table-licker. Clothes-chewer. Completely annoying. Not good at participating in Circle activities. Poor follow-through.
But smart. Usually kind. Very sensitive. Very outgoing. Not at all shy. Amazingly analytical. Vocab to the moon. Loves electricity, building, science. Wants to be a Ramassanse Man (Renaissance Man). Loves the surrealist art of Irving Norman.  (Yeah, I know!  Social surrealism is his thing at AGE 7???)

My World and Yours (And the Gods Created the World in Their Own Image), 1954 by Irving Norman

He’s… unique. More so than most, perhaps.

He’s hilarious.  He once heard the song “Every time you go away” by Paul Young, and misheard the lyrics: “… you take a piece of meat with you…”

I, unfortunately, have to go back to work for 8 weeks come the end of August, so I think he’ll have to be in school for those 2 months or so. Then, we’ll see. I’m predicting some fun parent-teacher conferences right at the start.
So I’m preparing for homeschooling. I’m actually really looking forward to it – I kind of hope that his experience in the 2nd-3rd grade classroom will suck so that we will have to pull him out and homeschool him. Hmmm, what shall we do today? Go to the train museum all day? the art museum? do some citizen science program along the river? plan a camping trip? paint? Start a quilt? bake? experiment with edible fermentation? hang out and do math worksheets? put together a simple motor? take apart an old radio?

Versus:  Stressing out about getting food that he’ll eat for lunch, packing it in the AM, getting him out of bed, making him shovel food in his mouth before hitting the road by 7:55 am, getting home and being too tired to do anything besides shovel more food in his mouth and throw him in the tub and then bed by 8… all that stress… so much fucking stress just to get somewhere and back from somewhere where little learning is occuring and much pain and frustration is happening over workplans and reading and workbooks and losing pencils and is he pronouncing these sounds at the proper grade level and being overwhelmed by 20 other 7-8 year olds…  Yep.  I’m tense about it.

I hope we get to homeschool soon.