I think I'm only getting part of the story (preschool)

  • Jacket: David got in trouble.
  • Me: At preschool? Someone got in trouble?
  • No. He asked for cheese. I had cheese.
  • Were you not supposed to have cheese?
  • No. That's not what I said.
  • David got in trouble?
  • No, I said he wanted cheese. So somebody gave him cheese. He asked for cheese.
  • Oh, that's nice. Did you ask for anything?
  • Yeah, I asked for cheese.

Universal Pre-K Names

Has anyone ever looked at the list of Universal Pre-K program names in Brooklyn?  How is “Ring Around The Rosie” the name of a school?  “Happyland”, maybe.  “Kids ECT”- uhm, please fill me in on the etcetera part.  Is it okay to send a boy to “Cinderella Day Care”?  And to be honest, my first thought when reading “Little Sun People” was of a cult- a friendly cult though.

My favorite has to be “Chick Peas Day care”.  Hands down the most awesome Pre-K name.  My kid better know how to make hummus when he or she comes out of there!

Seriously?

Now, before you start, yes- I did take a full day’s rest in the sun yesterday.  I stayed off the internet and only read magazines and listened to RadioLab.  And, yes- I do get out.  I had drinks with friends last night and will again tonight.  And unlike you folks who check my blog every 10 seconds (kidding, totally kidding), I do have other things going on in my life.  It’s just, if I posted about concerts, carnivals and food coops it wouldn’t be fosterhood anymore.

Also, I did read all of your comments and am absorbing them (except for the birth mom bashing one, but it’s best to just ignore those marginal rants unless I want to start censoring and if I do that then I really wouldn’t have a life). 

Now back to the “Seriously?” part.  This.  My problem?  It requires BEING ABLE TO READ.  I was hit with another wave of how-much-would-it-suck-to-be-illiterate?!  The closest I’ve ever come was when I lived in Japan for 18 months and had no interest in learning to read or write Japanese.  I mean, like my brain took one look at kanji and said NOPE.  That led to things like accidentally slopping a can of dog food on top of my rice (what country doesn’t put a photo of a DOG on that shit?), registering for a bicycle permit when I thought I filled out a form to pay my phone bill, ignoring “We’re shutting-off-your-water-for-a-month-due-to-repairs-letters from the government and other shenanigans that were endearing when I was 19 years old.  It wouldn’t be cute if I was trying to enroll my child in school.

But what if I had lived in Tokyo in a neighborhood where less than half of the kids graduate from high school?  And there were a bazillion better options other than walking across the street to the elementary school, but even doing that- being told to bring some more forms into the elementary school before dropping off my kid- is just asking too, too much.

It looks like the illiteracy rate in Brooklyn is between 29%-47%.  

I know this is yet another can of worms, but why aren’t there economic desegration laws?  When I was a kid I was bused far away to create better schools with more diversity- couldn’t it work again?

My friend teaches at a public school in Brooklyn Heights and she used to teach in Washington Heights.  The difference in quality is insane and the key factor is one is full of poor kids and absent parents (most of the time because they’re just trying to survive and provide for their families) and one full of rich kids with overinvolved parents.  Go ahead, tell me why this is a bad idea… I can take it.  :)

Jacket skipped all the way to preschool and then didn’t shed a tear when I left this time. So proud of her.

Jacket skipped all the way to preschool and then didn’t shed a tear when I left this time. So proud of her.

laying down the law (well, sort of- much more than ever before)

  • Jacket's mom's text (spelling/grammar corrected): I'm sorry, she has to come with me for Saturday morning, you can have her next Friday, okay?
  • My text: Does that mean she will miss preschool on Friday and swim class on Saturday? I had to pay for both and they were expensive (I should have laid out the costs for her already but didn't get a chance).
  • You can tell them that she will be there next Friday and Saturday, I'm sure they will say okay.
  • Yes, but I won't be refunded. Are there any other days that she will miss? Where does she have to be that is more important than her education? (a bit on the dramatic side I know, just trying get stress the point)
  • No, don't ask for a refund, just tell them she will be there next Friday and Saturday. She's going to her in-law's home.
  • The school won't let us do that. I had to make a commitment. Jacket can't come and go as she pleases to classes.
  • They live far away from here (it's about a 2 hour subway ride).
  • Did you tell them [her family] that Jacket only goes to school one day a week?
  • Yes, the schools are like that (she means pay-as-you-go). I asked myself when you paid and they told me that she can come and go as she pleases.
  • Who did you speak to at the school (I'm 99% sure she didn't call. She didn't even take the pamphlet home that I gave her with all of the school info on it). I signed a contract (but actually, as always- I'm aware of the risk and willing to cut my losses. I'm just trying to make a point to Jacket's mom). I will give you a copy of the contract next time I see you. I paid $XXX a month whether she attends or not.
  • Not that school, another one that she goes to because I pay them only Monday to Wednesday. She goes and I pay.
  • This isn't a daycare, it's a preschool. And swim lessons are only for 8 weeks. I paid for 8 weeks but now she will only get 7 (In the future, I want to bring myself to require her to pay a portion, even if it's just $1- she needs to be making a commitment as well).
  • Okay, but she will be going with you to daycare. She wanted to see her in-laws.
  • I really want you to think about Jacket's future and the importance of her education. I can help, but you have to do your part as well. In the future, Fridays and Saturday mornings need to be a priority. These are the days you chose. Appointments and family visits need to be scheduled on other days.
  • Yes, I know, she goes to school for 3 days where I live (She's fibbing- she probably feels backed into a corner). She loves school and she asks all the time so I had to put her in.
  • --I wait a few minutes to slow down our conversation--
  • Okay, I am sorry. You're right.
  • Thanks. Really think about it. The better the school the more strict it is (not necessarily, but Jacket's mom is such a concrete thinker, I'm trying to stretch her thoughts the other direction). Jacket could really be a judge or a lawyer (some dreams Jacket's mom has come up with for Jacket's future) or anything she wants one day but it will require that she stay ahead in her education. And when she's ahead, her self-esteem will be high and she will do amazing things.
  • You're right, but she's in school (I know she's not because she doesn't have the right medical forms. I've tried to give my copies to her but she doesn't understand and refuses).

kindergarten is only 18 months away

I’m going back through all of your comments from my previous post on private schools for Jacket while trying to be leisurely about exploring her educational options.  But of course, that’s a joke.  I don’t function in a casual or laid back mode.  Just obsessive, ultra obsessive and sleeping.

Tonight I’ve become familiar with the required acronyms such as the ERB/ECAA (assessments to get into private school), the RFT (forms that need to be filled out to request…), the OLSAT and the BSRA (evaluations for the public schools’…) and the G&T (Gifted and Talented programs).

I’ve looked up my “district” and Jacket’s mom’s district to find out what public and charter schools are around.  Then there’s busing.  I no longer believe that Jacket’s mom will be motivated/capable of transporting Jacket to and from a school which might be across the borough so I’m planning on a need for the “yellow buses” until 6th grade at which time NYC will give Jacket a metrocard for the public bus.

Yellow buses will apparently take Jacket across Brooklyn to almost any charter school, but for the G&T schools (if she even qualifies) the bus will only transport her within her district.  Based on what I’ve read, I would prefer most charter schools compared to the G&T school in Jacket’s district.

I’m also thinking of Pre-K which would be in 6 months; however, the only free options at this point (private schools don’t start financial aid until kindergarten) are the low-performing schools in Jacket’s district and I fear her mom becoming too comfortable with the routine and relationships to the extent that she wouldn’t be motivated to send Jacket to a better school (better hopefully being something Jacket’s mom and I define together).

That’s enough for one night.

Anyone want to home school Jacket for Pre-K?  I’m only half-kidding.

  • Jacket: Rebecca.
  • Me: Yes.
  • Where's my backpack?
  • On your back.
  • I don't see it.
  • That's because it's behind you.
  • (turns around) Where?
  • On your back. It's a back- pack.
  • What?
  • HERE (tugged on it).
  • Oh, ok.

All learning is good learning?

Someone commented along the lines of-

"Is learning Russian a good idea when what Jacket really needs is better English skills?  How useful is Russian and will the language skills be sustained past preschool?”

I know I sound ditzy most of the time on this blog, and I’m insecure about a lot of my decisions in regards to Jacket’s life, but being a cognitive psychologist and all- I actually have a lot of opinions on this matter. 

In short, no- I don’t expect Jacket to be a fluent Russian speaker in adulthood as a result of a (once a week) preschool immersion.  That isn’t the goal.  Instead, I think (and have read) that most novel experiences at Jacket’s age increase neural pathway growth and decrease better optimize synaptic pruning.  That’s what is important to me and my personal goals for Jacket’s brain.  Basket-weaving, pole-vaulting, chess, Russian, Pig-Latin, armhair braiding, Calculus, fossil identification, or my personal favorite 3-hole punching mechanics… it doesn’t fucking matter.  All learning is good learning.

And Jacket’s mom is in.  Russian preschool here she comes!

ADDED NOTE: and of course, nothing in fosterhood is permanent.  Russian preschool may only last a few weeks- who knows? 

Do you like Russians?
The first line of my text to Jacket’s mom. 

How awesome will it be if Jacket from the ‘hood learns Russian?

Holy shit does this Russian preschool mean business.  It’s excellent (according to my co-workers) but sort of scary!  My immediate thought was, well, Jacket’s mom wants white people- she’s going to get them.  Why didn’t I think of this before?

I asked (notice the word asked) Jacket’s new teacher if I could pick her up at 3pm tomorrow and the response was "We do lessons all the way until 6pm.  You are bringing her here to learn, right?  She needs to stay."  Ok, 6pm it will be then. 

Jacket’s mom has chosen Saturday morning as her swim lessons day at the YMCA (I’ll make sure she gets financial aid after last year’s credit runs out), maybe she’ll like the idea of Jacket going to Russian school every Friday?