All You Ever Need to Know About Kindergarten

November 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Haha. Joke’s on me.

Now I have an eye twitch because of Hiram’s Kindergarten.

I thought I was going to be able to write prolifically about this process but actually, it’s too distressing. I think I’ll need to write a retrospective when it’s all over instead. Haha! Look how stressed out I was and see? It’s just fine!

That is going to be an awesome day.

We’ve completed all our scheduled tours and added one more. When Brad asks me if the one we scheduled for next week is going to be the last one I say “yes” but in my head I say “no.” Most likely I am going to make Brad continue to tour kindergartens with me non-stop until Eldyn turns 7. And then we need to start on college. Settle in, Mr. B. 

One thing I can say is that touring is KEY to knowing what you want. Getting what you want, on the other hand, is not turning out to be a very sure thing. Even things I went into this process thinking were a sure thing are not a sure thing. For example. This Q/A on the web site.

Q: Is my child guaranteed acceptance into one of my requested schools? 
A: Yes, if your child is entering kindergarten, you submit your request card by February 19, and one of your requested schools is your community school.

I used to make fun of this Q/A. OH! So if you select your community school as one of your top two “choices” then your child is guaranteed a spot! Haha! I can read between the lines!

When we toured Hiram’s community school last week (which we love) they told us it’s possible they won’t be able to accommodate demand for his school next year. Therefore, Hiram will NOT be guaranteed acceptance into one of his requested schools even if the school we request is his community school.

Remember how we toured this school two years ago and decided not to move because we thought our community school was great?

Let’s add this Q/A next year.

Q: Where the heck will my kid go if he doesn’t get into the school where he’s guaranteed a spot?

Riddle me that, community school!

Breathe. Breathe. Be polite. Control your eye twitch. Baaaaaaaa!

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Write a Novel: November Update

November 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

It’s official. I’m behind.

I spent the month grappling with two separate problems on my religion charter.

1) That doozy of a Rituals section. The more I wrote the more complicated it got and the more I had to write. It took me twice as long as I had hoped but checking it off as “complete” still felt good. Let’s hope History and Beliefs are better. Key word: Hope.

2) The History section is not looking better. Mainly, this is because I am having a hard time finding good content related to the emotional aspects of the farm crisis. It’s hard to conjure up fiction when all I’ve found to read are academic analysis of “why and what now.” I just found two documentaries that might be good. So, let’s see if I can turn this trend around in December.

And, to tie up my non-progress with a big fat bow, the class I wanted to go to as an extracurricular activity was cancelled. Soooo, that’s on hold too. I can’t wait until the month when everything clicks again. That’s going to be fun.

Here’s my sad report for December:

November Update

e-Lew’s Dictionary: Amoo

November 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

This one is for posterity…

Amoo [ah-moo], proper noun: The best brother ever.

Just this week, Eldyn has corrected his pronunciation for Hiram’s name. He says it so correctly now, I feel certain we’ll soon forget how cute it was when he called his brother “Amoo.”

  • “No Amoo!”
  • “Amoo fell down.”
  • “Amoo’s shoes.”
  • “Amoo sleepin.”

I also loved that eLew and Amoo rhyme. It made it a snap to invent song lyrics about brothers, for one thing.

But. It’s amazing to hear Eldyn develop his ear and word-making muscles. How carefully he’s practicing the word “Hiram” and how perfectly he says it now, almost every time.

The Three Friends and the Hats

November 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

To you and me, this book called “The Three Friends and the Leaves” by Tomie dePaola might seem like a book about leaves. But to Eldyn, this story is a who’s who of hats. Who has a hat. Who doesn’t. Who used to have a hat but doesn’t anymore.

He actually makes an interesting point about the hats. The situation is an ever-changing affair in this book.

After spending some time with my own kids and their hats, this story is a pretty realistic tale to boot. Er. Hat.

Eldyn: 1 Year + 11 Months

November 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

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Terrible Tears: Eldyn has been crying real tears since birth. Apparently, this is a little unusual (most babies start crying real tears between 1 and 4 months.) The addition of real tears so early was a little hard to take – Lew cried all the time and tears did a lot to make him look just so sad. Anyway, now that Eldyn gets frustrated more often we’ve been seeing more tears again lately. Here’s the thing about Eldyn’s tears: they come quick and they are absolutely huge. One dropped on my hand the other day and the diameter of the plop was no less than two inches wide.

Full Sentences: Eldyn LOVES to talk and he wants nothing more than to speak in full sentences. Despite his amazing efforts to learn new words every single day, he still doesn’t know quite enough (yet) to string a sentence. This doesn’t stop him from making something that sounds exactly like a sentence though. ‘Nuh, ne, ne, Hiram, nah, nah, outside nuh, no hat!’

Hockey: eLew’s got the hockey bug. Bad. Now that we park our cars in the garage, we walk across our deck the hockey rink on the way to our car each morning. Inevitably, this gives Lew an idea. As soon as he gets out the door, he grabs whatever hockey paraphernalia he can find and starts running around like a crazy person while yelling “Hockey! Hockey!” It’s up to me to catch him, which is good for him. I’m the one wearing dress shoes and carrying 18 thousand bags.

Eldyn: 11 Months

Eldyn: 11 Months + 4 Days

All You Ever Need to Know About Kindergarten

November 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Anyone who knows me knows that I combat stress with planning. More stress = more planning. This explains why I created the “Hiram Kindergarten Plan” when he was two.  

To my credit, there were actually some interesting things to do right away on this Kindergarten plan I made. Most notably:  

  1. Figure out which school Hiram would “default” into
  2. Tour that school to see if I need to create a “move to a new house” plan

Happily, two years later, we are still in our same house. But that doesn’t mean the project plan is finished. No way! I’m way too stressed about kindergarten to stop planning now.

One thing I can say about Minneapolis Schools, there are plenty of options. Charter schools, community schools, magnet schools, dual immersion schools. They are not kidding around! Once I knew we had one good option for Kindergarten, I set out to see if I could find anything better. With only 880 days left to decide, I figured we had no time to waste! I sent Brad to the Minneapolis School Fair while I stayed home with Eldyn who had just been born.

Brad took Hiram to this fair and came home with very big eyes and a very long face. “Useless” he said. Then he said there were enough school booths to fill the entire convention center and it was impossible to decide anything based on your 4 seconds with whichever volunteer was available to hand you a pamphlet.

At this point, I started to panic. Enough booths to fill the convention center?! Finding the perfect kindergarten was going to be like finding  Hiram at the Chutes and Ladders playground on a Sunday afternoon. I started to resent our house in Minneapolis. Stinky Minneapolis schools. All these silly choices and wait lists and booths in a convention center. Why can’t we just live in a suburb and have someone give us a handful of viable options? That way we could avoid all the:  

  1. Pressure to find the perfect kindergarten
  2. Feelings of guilt if (when?!) we picked the wrong one

After feeling grumpy about this for a number of months, I gave myself a pep talk. If we’re not going to move then we better get a better attitude about this abundance of choice! Make the best of it! Trust ourselves to do it right! I went back to my project plan with three goals in mind:

  1. Acknowledge that this is overwhelming and break it into steps that aren’t
  2. Appreciate the fact that we have amazing options
  3. Enjoy the process of finding a place where Hiram will love to learn

I’m going to start a little series of updates about this process and track them here. We’ve already toured two more schools (2 down, 5? to go) so stay tuned for a flurry of updates over the next few days.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

November 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hadley Barrows

My book group recently finished the, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I’m not sure we did this on purpose but it is nice to have read this book about veterans of Vietnam so recently. It makes this Veteran’s Day feel all the more essential.

O’Brien is a bold, brave storyteller. His stories will take you by the stomach, set you down in front of yourself and tell you to “look and look hard.” The only way this works, though, is because he’s expected the same thing from himself. Throughout this book, he carefully delivers information about himself in a way that makes it impossible to pin down. Right? Wrong? Good? Bad? Who’s to say?

Time and time again, O’Brien would mention other veterans who contacted him with ideas or details to add to the writing he does. He was the one they trusted to carefully balance the pressures…

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