Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thankful for the school we are in

The subject of Valentine's Day came up at work today. One of my childless co-workers has a teacher husband. His class is not having a Valentine's party because one of the children in the class does not celebrate Valentine's day. Instead they are having a "day before winter break party." Huh? Like that is somehow better than getting a bunch of fancy cards and candy and treats! I don't think so! Just have the damn party and maybe this child could share with the class exactly why his family doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day. It might be interesting, the kids might actually learn something.

Long ago, when my first child was a baby, and my husband and I were house hunting, we thought distantly into the future about schooling. A looming thought was that we would probably have more than one child and, if we did, we probably wouldn't be able to send them to private school, at least not the private schools that we might like to send them to and still be able to afford college. Homeschooling has never really been an option because I don't really like to stay home, I also enjoy working and since homeschooling usually falls to the mother during the day, this didn't seem like it would be a viable option for us either. We decided to bet on staying in whatever neighborhood we bought our house in at least until our oldest was school age and chose instead to buy not a super great house in a super great neighborhood.

While I would love to have a new and possibly bigger home, I realize that we won't be able to do that anytime in the near future and stay in the neighborhood that we are currently in. Now, for the school. It is pretty much like being in a private school without paying tuition and the parties are fantastic. Why have parties at school? Maybe because they are fun and only happen about once a season. At our school we always have fantastic Halloween parties, which is great for me as Halloween is my favorite holiday. Sometime we get in a Thanksgiving feast, in the younger grades we have a festival of light and cultures around the world in December. In February there is Valentine's day, then St. Patrick's Day, and May Day, and the end-of-the-year parties. It helps to have parent involvement, another thing that I look for in an elementary school and we have that in spades. The PTA, though often a target of humor, is really important and so is the school auction that we hold every year. Those private funds can really enhance any public school program.

So when I hear that some schools don't have any holiday parties or have to alter their parties so that they don't represent the holiday on the calendar, I realize that I am kind of out of it when it comes to what is going on in schools in the country at large. When I hear about this kind of thing it makes me think of that episode of South Park where the kids in lieu of holiday celebrations (because they couldn't have any) chose instead to hold as mascot a piece of poop and celebrate it in honor of political correctness. Yes, that was funny, maybe based more on reality than I realized at the time.

Now I could say that I would send my kids to a poorer school, I can't say a more diverse school, because our school is very diverse. I heard recently that our school is known by name in Korea and people actually move here for a year or more to enroll their children in it. But my kids are not a social science experiment. While I do care for children at large, I can do that on my own time. Personally I would rather sacrifice daily for the good of my own children rather than have them sacrifice daily for the good of other children at their own expense.

So there you have it, my calendar is blocked out this Friday afternoon, I have three Valentine's Day parties to attend and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

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