Thursday, July 29, 2010

summer school sux

Le Pie decided to go to a very popular, academically-advanced summer school instead of regular camp this year. Last year, he stayed home because we thought it might be his last summer with me. One of the law schools I applied to was a part-time day and started in May, so we didn't want to take any chances by keeping him home this summer.

We should have.

He decided to go there because he had friends from his school there and because he (and we) thought the work would be like what he did in school. While both are true, it has become a frustrating experience for him.

There is almost no recess for his class. He says it's just "work work work and no free time". I think his teacher must be against summer vacation or something because she told me another teacher had to tell her to ease up on the homework. It is really oppressive.

She also has this thing against talking in class. Fine. They shouldn't be talking. But she gave Pie 1 30-sentence essay on why he should pay attention in class. He almost died over that one. She never even checked it. That really pissed me off. She takes away recess for talking. So that means he's not been outside to play for the last 4 weeks during the day. She also took away a field trip once. Both John and I are thinking laziness. Her classroom is one of the 2 the school is using that has a/c. Staying in there is much nicer than going outside in this heat, never mind the kids who need to stretch.

I had to make a comment on one of Pie's report sheets that not having recess is working against her. Pie is bored and was beginning to stray in class, finding other things to do beside his work. I also wrote that I was against cancelling field trips for talking.

A series of events led to Pie crying in frustration over this place. Since then, it's been a pep talk every morning from me to get him through his day. I don't think an 8-year-old needs that over his summer vacation. There are things with the camp that don't sit well with me and I told John I have buyer's remorse.

Le Pie has one more week over this and I already told him he can stay home the last day. They are supposed to go to Victoria Gardens for a grand trip and the teacher has been collecting points for talking from the kids and told him that if they get X points, they can't go. I want to know how she is going to tell parents their kids cannot go. Pie also said that she could cancel the first trip because that was free but the VG trip is already paid for, so she cannot cancel it. I told him not to worry and we decided to take him there as a birthday gift.

One concern we had was the Pie's experience here would spill over into his actual school when the new term starts. He's going into 3rd grade and there will be more work and more responsibility and if he hates summer school, he might not be so thrilled to go back to Harlem Academy.

But he seems to be separating the two. HA kids work very hard but they play very hard, too. It's mandated by the school that they go outside every day. On the days it's too hot or too cold, they might just walk around the block to get some fresh air but there will still be activities inside that they can have fun with, and sneak some learnin' in too! But nearly every day, they have an hour of recess and an hour of P.E. in Central Park. Bliss.

I've been having to pick Pie up at summer school at 3:30, although we paid for after-school and he's supposed to stay till 6. This is a kid I have to drag away from HA every day at 6. Drag. I have no recollection of wanting to stay in school past the set time.

I hated school. Hated it. Hated it. And I only have my parents to thank for that. Common Entrance was the death of childhood. In Standard 5, I had lessons before school started (at 8:30 a.m.) and after school ended (at 3:30 p.m.). My father made me go to lessons on both Saturdays and Sundays. Passing for SAGHS wasn't any great compensation for that misery.

It wasn't until UWI that I looked forward to going to school, for the learning part. SAGHS was miserably for me, academic-wise. I loathed Spanish and Math and I am not a memorizer, so History was painful. My only good subjects were English and Lit and the teacher pretty much sucked and I had to rely on my genetic talent to get through those. A'Levels was a bit better, but still tough for me.

UWI brought me into my own. If it wasn't for that, there would be no ambition to continue my education. I do not want Pie to feel the way I felt for 10 years. I still remember the sick feeling in my stomach every morning before heading off to school. I had good friends but the work was beyond me. I can only hope Chris had a better experience (but he's way smarter than me when I was in high school) and I do not want Pie to lose his enjoyment for school. The kids at HA have no clue as to how hard they work, because the teachers make the learning interesting.

I know we've been spoiled at HA, but I hardly regret it. I cannot wait for Pie to be done with this summer school.