Dude, working and momming is hard. I didn’t intend to take a hiatus, but holy shit. I am posting this from my phone. While pumping. We’ll see how this goes.

I refer to Cayenne’s day care as school. The idea is that this will make me feel less guilty about leaving him there every single day. It does not. But I do it anyway.

We go to the best provider in town. The only one in the county that is NAEYC accredited. I know he likes it there. And I really do have to work — that is, if we want to continue to meet our obligations — so it’s not like there are a lot of other options.

None of that makes me feel any better about sending him there, so the school fiction persists.

I just commented on Bunny’s post about finding a preschool that it brings up so many feelings.

I am a product of moderately shitty public schools. In 11th grade English class we read Michael Crichton. In AP American History we spent a ridiculous amount of time making presentations to prove to the corporate donors who’d provided our computer lab that we were making good use of said lab. This may be why AP history stopped at the Hoover administration at my school.


We did have a computer lab. We did have AP history. So I know that right there I was in a better situation than a lot of kids.

Now we live in a county that has one of the top school systems in the state. However, our state is almost the worst in the nation for public schools. So . . . The best of the worst, I guess? And this is where Cayenne will go to school.

Do I send him to the public elementary school down the street? The one that proudly notes they are sponsored by Burger King because they don’t get enough public money to keep the doors open? Do I send him to a private school that pushes a religion I don’t believe in? Do I just fucking move?

And to what degree am I just being a snob? I mean, yes, my public school experience was not great, but I can read and reason and at one time I could do trigonometry, so does it really matter how “good” the school system is? Is it really all about making a home that values learning?


10 responses to “school

  1. Hey, G&L, good to “hear” from you.

    My sister & I are both the product of very shitty public schools. We didn’t even have AP classes. One entire semester in my junior year American history class consisted of watching videotapes of the miniseries “The North & the South.” (I promise you I am not making this up.)

    We both managed to go on to earn advanced degrees and succeed in professional careers anyway. Not saying I would recommend this for Cayenne (or for anyone’s children, really). . . just saying, it’s not the end of the world.

    I do think that, to a certain extent, the advantages and education provided by the child’s parents make a bigger difference to him than the education provided by his school. Just my $.02.

    • Nice to hear from you too! 🙂 and I totally believe you about “North and South.” That sounds like something that could easily have happened at my school. It’s good to hear that from you, though, because I know how freaking smart you are – it would be better if everybody got to go to good schools, but absent that it’s good to know that a crappy school isn’t insurmountable.

  2. I don’t even have kids (and I might not ever have them, if my body has its way), but I think about this all the time. I went to public schools (although, in Maryland, where they’re apparently decent), my husband went to private schools, and I’ve been the librarian in a crazy expensive independent school as well as public schools. I’ve seen the best and the worst of both. I think that public school better prepares a kid for college and life and they learn accountability. Independent school, however, is sometimes a more pleasant experience for kids. I think about things like “What if independent schools didn’t exist?” Then parents and teachers and districts and states would be forced to improve the public schools because they’re where the kids of the most affluent/influential people will get educated.
    That’s not realistic, though. I don’t know what I would do.

    I do think that all the most important things he needs to learn will be taught by you outside of school.

    • That’s such a fascinating “what if.” What if the Very Important People had to send their kids to the neighborhood school? I bet there would be no more miniseries in history class (as above)!

  3. Is it really all about making a home that values learning?

    This isn’t something I’m in a position to answer from experience — my daughter is two, and I was homeschooled, so I have no idea what going to real school, public or private, is like. But I can’t help but think that the answer is “yes”. If you cultivate in a child a love and value for learning, and you do it by example, then even if the school is just mediocre, your kid won’t help but learn the relevant things — inquisitiveness, critical thinking, knowledge that failure is OK (because how else could science progress?). We’re lucky that living in a university town, we should always be able to find good schools for Gwen. But even if not, dinner table conversation alone will have to rub off on her some.

    • I would love to hear more about your experience as a homeschooler! Who taught you? Did they have any training as an educator? Do you feel you got a good education? Would you consider homeschooling your daughter? Ok, that’s a lot of questions. I promise I’m not creepy, I’m just very interested in the idea of home schooling. Personally I don’t feel I have enough of a background in child development to really teach a child what he needs to know to be a good critical thinker, but on the other
      hand, I could certainly teach him his multiplication tables or how to spell.

  4. YOU’RE ALIIIIIIIIVE! Just the other day I passed through here in case I’d missed anything… Obviously I haven’t finished working through my Extremely Important thoughts about all this, but my personal experience has suggested that shitty public schools can be overcome… I’ve been thinking lately about what exactly it is I want them to learn and what portion of it I expect them to get from school, just like you say. And it’s funny, I can look at other people’s kids and think they’ll be fine because of their awesome parents (Lookin’ at you, Cayenne!), but I think partly because education is such a big part of my life, it’s hard to keep my cool when it comes to my own children…

    I’m sorry you’re facing crappy choices. I hope BK Elementary is better than it looks from the outside, that there’s at least one good teacher, and a few good friends waiting to meet your awesome kid.

    • Yes, I’m not dead yet. 🙂 and really I know I’m jumping the gun on this whole public school freak out thing. I mean, he is NINE MONTHS OLD. He just learned how to bang on a pot with a wooden spoon.

  5. I was just walking around my city the other day, missing you. It’s not that you and I walk around where I live together usually, but walking is when I do my thinking these days and I was thinking, feeling rather, that I missed your voice in my days. And a few days later….there you were again! Welcome back, and by no means let this little introduction make you feel pressured to write. I know you have zero time for blogging.

    I have also followed Bunny’s series on education with great interest. My thoughts on the matter are evolving too, as my child gets older and enters the education system, starting with daycare in 5 weeks (I will follow your lead and call it school, if you don’t mind me borrowing from you).

    A new thought that occurred to me while reading your post was about trusting ourselves as mothers, or parents. It sounds to me like you made an excellent choice for Cayenne when you selected the day care centre you’re sending him to. You used everything you had at your disposal to make the best decision. And you’ll keep doing that.

    But that only takes care of one half of the equation. I know. I had to pick a day care centre I do not like very much, but which has most of my minimum requirements. What helps me live with that choice is a) I’ll pull Gummy out if it’s not working, b) they will be providing childcare, we will be parenting, and c) I believe in the good enough mother theory.

  6. lifesabanquet1

    Hi there! My name is Heather and I wanted to know if you could answer my question about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it!

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