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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day Twenty Nine

Happy Wednesday.

I am anticipating a hissy free day.  All our math, planning and schedule issues have been dealt with and planned for.  Banker was moaning that the course load for his days is woefully uneven.  He is right but I assured him that all will be rectified when my laptop and I spend some quality time in the deserts of New Mexico.  

I did go and "borrow" an assignment from a science teacher in a different district , it's a project about reporting on an ecological crisis, the students have to do a report/pp/presentation/paper about a crisis, it's causes, current ramifications as well as some suggestions to fix/change/alter/improve the crisis.  I liked it so I took it.  He's got till the end of the month to email me something fantastic.  It occurred to me he hasn't had to (been able to) do any "projects" since we jumped ship and I know he enjoys putting his knowledge into something tangible or creative.  So, now he has a project.

I'm just looking at the calendar, the project is due the same day as his next book report (I'm having him read Lord of the Flies!) and the day I'm having my "ladies who lunch with cocktails" lunch, nice. He'll probably be happy with me grading after a lunch with the ladies who cocktail.  I've been getting together with other stay at home moms for a cocktail lunch since Banker was 2 years old.  The original "baby" group.  The kids are all still friends and I just realized that there are 10 of them now, kids, and 8 of them are home schooled.  Wow, that's random.  So my little group takes new incarnations, some moms join and some leave.  They like to change it up and call themselves the cocktail moms, the nooner or the margarita mamas but really, it's all still my original "the ladies who lunch with cocktails" and has been for 10 years now just the faces change.  I like it.  The last luncheon found Banker here, another mom brought her home school 13 year old and they were very quiet upstairs but they were still here and I felt it, although not perfect, it worked. 

But, again, I digress. 

I'm excited for our new change up, the one class per subject and the new, more evenly laid out schedule.  I think Banker is too, he and I had a long conversation about the frantic nature of yesterdays maths level competency reviews.  He admitted he was out of control and explained, pretty clearly, the source of it.  I get this is new and he doesn't cope with change terribly well.  Even though I was very clear in my declarations it was purely for ME to be sure I bought him the right product, he couldn't get past the 'testing' nature and panicked at the amount of information he wasn't clear on deciphering. 

We've made a pact that in future, I'll let him know if he's being tested or just doing a review to see his level for course adjustment and he won't lose his mind.  

I told him, although why I had to I don't know, that I am his biggest fan!  I want him to succeed and the sole reason he is out of public school is because I think we can get him a better future this way, in my heart and soul I think it's better.  


Texas has some of the worst scores in the country, academically.  It has the worst grades, worst schools, teachers and graduates who can't read, are you kidding me?  I just read a report that ranked education and schools by state... Texas won 43rd of 50, well, we beat Alaska ? Oh and I do realize ratings can be tweaked to serve who ever is making the list but realistically, Texas isn't the place to come for public education.  I am a fan of some of their universities, but that's a few years off.  I've always laughed when I hear proud parents waxing poetic about their child's TAKS score...has nothing to do with the kid, just means the teacher drilled that information (and ONLY that information) into their heads with such aptitude (from years of practice) that the child parroted it straight onto the paper, way to make your money school district.  Two of the teachers from Bankers elementary school would read the TAKS test results, by student, out loud to the rest of the class to ensure they all knew who was "commended" and who, um, wasn't.  Although, now that I think of that reading of the scores to the class, one of Bankers 7th grade teachers did the same thing, not the test scores but at the end of the semester, read the grades for each student, to the class.  Nice, asshole.  I remember Banker coming home upset that although he got 100% in the class, some didn't and he could name the students with failing grades.  Wow, he shouldn't know that.  

I am indifferent to any local charter public, magnet and specialty schools, I didn't put Banker in one because, frankly, I wanted him to have a life and although you are free to have your child labelled here in Austin, as "gifted and talented" (what a ridiculous term) Austin doesn't have the money or wherewithal to bother with  specialized programs for them like there are for the stupid and non English speaking kids.  Well, we don't want to leave any behind of course and the smart ones, well, they can read on the couch until everyone else is done unless you want them to have 'extra' work ?  No, I want him to have NEW and EXCITING and INTERESTING work.  There is no reason on earth an above average, smart, elementary kid should be taking pages and pages of those *&^% worksheets home prove what? they know it?  well of course they KNOW it, they're SMART. The "I don't get it" kids are the ones who should be taking pages and pages of mindless photocopied worksheets home every day to practice until THEY get it.  Am I the only one this makes sense to?  Shouldn't the smart kids be challenged and allowed to investigation additional NEW and DIFFERENT information while the back of the pack, well someone has to mow my lawn so I'll hire you, kids do the rote practice till their brains ooze out from boredom?  Yeah I think so.

I want more than that for Banker, I want him to complete his education proud of what he's accomplished and excited with the information he has...not merely sighing with relief that he got the piece of paper.  I don't want him to ever have to embroider his name on his shirt.  I want him to have the stars and I fully intend on giving him every opportunity to fulfill his ambition, without the Texas Education Agency and it's "wait wait let's sink money into the lowest common denominator to catch up instead of inspiring young minds to flourish" minions in his way.  


Wow, that was a wander.  I guess I am just becoming more confident with my decision, daily and even though I don't feel the need to justify what I did what I did I wanted to bitch a bit about some of the things that led to the decision.

Banker is still asleep at 9:30, good for him, he's had a pissy time of it and the extra sleep will do him well.  He has a long academic day today, putting a few things off from Monday and Tuesday plus we are taking Friday off so he's trying to get ahead, although, I really need to clarify for him that there isn't "ahead" anymore, there's just him and his speed is THE speed.  

I'm looking forward to our day and I hope he has a brilliant, informative, fun day too.  He just came downstairs and is raring to go, he's humming already, perfect.  


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