Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Squeaky Wheels

This week. A cry from Banjo ‘I just want to have a nice childhood’ when she insisted I play a board game with her, and from Clancy ‘I miss doing craft projects at home - I don’t have any time!’

I played the board games (two days) and told Clancy that yes, I miss reading for pleasure, because I’m busy too, but she can do craft projects on the weekend, and during the holidays, and she could do more craft if she watched less tv. (Hang on, I could read for pleasure if I didn’t watch tv. Hmm) Priorities. If we want to do the things that are important to us, longterm, (band for her, uni for me) then we might need to sacrifice some other things.

But the squeakiest wheel this week is their dad.

Again, I’ve been thinking I’m doing too much. Is the paid job worth it if I put a lot of my own unpaid time into it? Can I get ahead so it runs more smoothly? What else can I cut back on, or delegate, so I can get ahead with uni work? I bought some frozen food. Now I need to carve out blocks of time to just do uni and nothing else. Even on the weekends. After the first assignment is handed in, I’ll be feeling much better. And I’m grateful for everything that is being cancelled, for one reason or another.

I’m thinking it is all good practice for teaching, which entails loads of preparation time, and is something I’ll have to learn to manage. Learning now.

And applications for high schools. Open days and nights. We squeezed in a few visits, but didn’t go to them all. My 11 year old is writing her resume for her applications. It’s crazy. The local public school is fine, and it bothers me that it is presented as a fallback position: apply to your preferences, but if you fail you’ll get the local public school as a consolation. Not really promoting public schools. People seem to think their local public school only has students who aren’t good enough to get into somewhere better. Not a great attitude and not true. People have their own reasons to consider when choosing schools, and, as a wise principal said, you need to consider what your family values, in term of a range of issues, when you choose a school. Every parent of a Year 6 son I’ve spoken to has said they need their son to attend a co-ed school. They seem to think all boys schools are roughhouses and the smaller, smarter boys will be mowed down. I’m not so sure. I’m told the co-ed schools are pretty boy heavy, so don’t really have gender balance. And lots of attitudes to various schools based on nothing more than gossip. Does my head in.

I really want my oldest girl to attend a different school from the younger two, so they have their own space and aren’t in her shadow. I’m saving the local public school for the younger two. So she’s applying to two others. But if they are all at the local public, then that would be fine too. Really, being close by is the main consideration for me - I don’t want them spending a lot of time each day on travel. And I know that the closer the school is, the more likely I am to attend any events. (The circle I move in is more like a dot!) I’m starting to base my hopes for high schools of where they go for the overseas trip. In one school the dance group goes to New York. Seems to be as good a reason to apply to a school as any other.

Second semester will be easier. Won’t it?


Melissa said...

The o/s trips are the things that do my head in! Where does a one income family find the money and how does one justify spending that money on one child out of three ?

Instead of aping that aspect of a private school education, I'd rather they focused on doing the basics extremely well and encouraging public service.

If an o/s trip comes up for us, we won't have the money to pay for it. So I hope it never does.

Jill in a Box said...

OS trips! My goodness. It's all enough to make me want to home school.

Motherhugger said...

Quite right, Melissa.
And all the high schools mention it in their open nights, as if it would be the deciding factor. I'm saying it might be as arbitrary as anything else to base a decision on. We probably won't be forking out for any high school overseas trips either. It certainly isn't the most important part of their education. And that money might be better spent, say, paying bills.
And yes, I can hear the cries of 'that's not fair', from siblings. And right they are.
There are plenty of families at public schools who would be hard pressed to afford the $600-1000 annual payments, and uniforms. So much for free education.

sister outlaws said...

The schools our children go to become part of our community and it's important to be a part of that - so location is really important! Also - children can get overseas trips in other ways. Both my teenagers attended public co-ed high schools and both went on overseas exchanges (one of them thanks to a scholarship), seperate to their schooling.

sister outlaws said...

Lives are so busy! My sister inlaw has two teenagers and has 10 things a week she has to drive them to and that doesn't include the violin lessons where the teacher comes to their home! Delegating is important but so is simplifying. It all does my head in! By the way - I'm happy to send your Clancy a little re-sew-cool craft kit if you think she would enjoy it (the kits have everything you need in them so no need to have to buy anything else!!!)
Also thought I'd mention that my daughters both changed high schools for VCE because of curriculum issues.