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02/18/2010

A model student

Fishfood The time has come.  It’s a time I have not been looking forward to but saw on the horizon.  It’s time to enroll my child into kindergarten. My baby is becoming a KID! Soon it will be book fairs, school plays, band concerts, and proms.  It’s all going so fast.

Kindergarten means I’m enrolling my daughter into public school and Columbus has an open enrollment system.  This system allows children to “lottery” into schools that might be better suited for them or in a different neighborhood than their home school.  This has so many benefits, specifically adding diversity.   One thing I never thought about until recently is, what kind of student will my child be?  This question comes up because we actually have the choice (if chosen through the lottery system) of different styles of learning.  We have the traditional schools and the alternative schools.  The alternative schools are typically less structured and provide a different learning environment.  I feel very fortunate to have this choice, but this system is very flawed.  I know, what system isn’t flawed, but let me explain.
Suppose at first you think your child would flourish in the non-traditional environment, so you choose to lottery into an alternative school and they get in.  Well during that school year you realize this is not only the wrong fit for your child, but also that your sweet little genius is falling behind.  All those years of tracing those letters and reading together down the drain, your child despises learning and the next thing you know your bright angel drops out of school at 15, gets really bad tattoos and lives in your basement until he/she is 50 years old, ALL BECAUSE YOU CHOSE THE WRONG SCHOOL.  Of course my scenario is a bit over the top, but that’s how this decision feels. If you choose the lottery school you give up your seat at the home school & you will have to try to lottery your child back into that school.  I understand why they do this, they can’t hold your seat “just in case”, but man it feels like a crapshoot. Of course you investigate each school, talk with parents, teachers, etc, but it’s hard to predict how a child is going to continually learn over the years.  My main concern isn’t how my child does on the standardized testing or what college she’ll get into (cough Harvard cough), but whether or not she likes to learn. To me, the love of learning will make her a great student, not just in school, but also in life.

As parents we are forced to make these decisions for our children, it’s our job. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how your glass is filled, we are wrong.  This is a decision that could definitely shape her future and it leaves me a bit on edge.  As I take deep breaths, I know all I can do is make my assessment with as much information as possible and keep my fingers crossed.  I’ll also start looking for a house with a finished basement…just in case. 

Mollie writes about her paranoid parenting over at Fish Food.  

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