Thursday, September 24, 2009
Going To School Should Be Easy, Right?
As I'm writing this I am feeling at the peak of my emotions. Here are the events of the morning:
We had an appointment to tour the school we are hoping Isaac can get a spot in. The receptionist told Jon two days ago that it looked like there were spots available. The school offered a tour for parents interested in sending their kids there--next year. Everything here works a year in advance so you apply now for a spot in a school for next year. This morning we took the bus because it is about a 30-35 minute walk and we are trying to take advantage and learn the bus system here. The bus was almost 15 minutes late which made us late for our appointment. We went on the tour and got a feel for the school (more on that later). After the tour we talked with the Head Teacher (principal) about getting Isaac into school starting Monday. According to the Head Teacher and receptionist, they have space but because they are at full capacity according to county standards, we had to wait a few minutes to get final word from the County. The County called back and told us that we have to file an appeal with them. So, they said no he can't just start Monday--you have to file an appeal first and sort of "prove" that you should go to that school. We aren't sure how long the appeal process takes--they have to mail us the forms first.
Here is the kicker--in order to give Isaac a better shot at getting into their school this year the Head Teacher and receptionish said I could register Ewan now as a Year 2 student (meaning he skips Kindergarten and goes right into first grade). It gives Isaac a "sibling advantage" of getting into the school. If the appeal commitee sees that Isaac has an older sibling in the school they will most likely put him in the school as well. We have already bought a homeschool curriculum and I don't want to put Ewan in school just to get Isaac a spot. That would be money just flushed down the toilet---even though it is unused there is no way I could get my $$ back due to the shipping fees. We already paid to have it shipped here and the likelyhood of me being able to sell it here is vey slim.
We have 3 options:
1) Sign Ewan up for school at Neville's Cross to give Isaac a better chance at getting a spot and essentially flushing curriculum down the toilet.
2) Take our chances with the appeal process without signing Ewan up.
3)Try another school and start the whole process over.
Another little glitch in the system is that if we want to send Ewan to this school next year (to Year 3) then we would probably have to sign him up to start Summer Term--which starts in late April--as in this coming April. This is because there is a school near Neville's Cross that only goes up through Year 2 and those students need to find a different school starting in Year 3. At Neville's Cross, there are only 34 spots available for year 3. 30 spots are already taken for next year. Waiting until the Fall Term might be too late and then we'd have 2 kids at 2 different schools. So, Ewan could do a partial year of Kindergarten, skip most of the first grade year completing the 3rd term of it and then start Year 3 (2nd grade) the following year. Make sense?
I walked out of the school and burst into tears. Getting your child into a school feels so difficult. Maybe it would feel differently if we had a car and it were easier to pick up and drop off. We walked on to our bus stop and realized once we got there that we'd have to wait for an hour before the next bus came. It was almost 12 and the kids were tired and hungry. Graham was falling asleep in the stroller--which he can't do or he won't nap. Jon didn't bring enough cash/change to take a different, slightly more expensive bus so we either had to wait for an hour or walk home. We decided to walk home--which let me tell you did NOT get a good response from the boys. Ewan got up very early this morning because he had to go to the bathroom and didn't go back to sleep. He threw an enormous fit about not wanting to walk home and screamed for a third of the way. So sad that waking up early and choosing not to go to sleep means you are miserable when you need extra energy! Hopefully that consequence did some talking.
I know we are used to the American system and how it works--and that there are many, many people in the world who walk miles and miles to school just to get some education. I get that. I'm sure in a year's time I'll even like the system. I just need some room to dislike something that feels so difficult.
In the meantime, I have no idea what to do. I feel too cloudy in the head, and frankly--angry, to hear what God might be saying. Any prayers are welcomed!