While listening to the self-help book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***, I’m simultaneously failing, or at least having my new found life methods put to the test, by a never-ending need to vent about the public school system. In my defense, they are helping me right along by supplying me daily with new things to give a **** about – as hard as I’m trying not to (read the book and you’ll get what I’m saying).
If you read my previous post, you will recall my great frustration over the excessive nature of the school supply lists and the insane cost of these supplies.
Day one of the new school year came, and so did their backpacks – stuffed with more papers to sign, forms to fill out, and requests for money everywhere.
The district is completely online. All enrollment forms are done online; schedules and test grades are posted online; and class news and teacher communications are also online. Yet, each teacher wants the parents to fill out information packets on their children again. Yeah, I just spent a week doing it, running back and forth from three different schools for residency verification because the online system wasn’t working (enter eyeroll here). But now I get to hand write it all out again for each of the teacher’s files. Maybe they don’t communicate with the office and the online system in that capacity. Whatever. I’ll let that one slide.
But now there’s more and more stuff to buy, things to volunteer and sign up for, and more supplies to buy. I’m seeing red now. It’s only the THIRD DAY!
My middle schooler is in Art. While I already bought supplies for this free, public school-provided class, I must send him with a $25 check for Art class by the end of the week for a grade! So he’ll fail if I can’t pay? What if I can’t? He has to pick another elective?
On the way to school this morning, the 5th grader started haggling me for $5 for a “mandatory” student planner. Funny, the middle school gives them out for free. That must be where the art fee comes in – to offset the cost of these “free planners.”
I lost it. I said, “No way. I don’t believe it. They can provide that. Tell them your mom can’t afford it. Tell them I went broke buying school supplies for the rest of the grade!” And by the way, I’d rather go to Office Max and spend $50 on a fancy planner for her than buy their branded ones they are using as fund raising.
Schools are good at convincing our impressionable youth of a few things, many of which deserve their own post. But right now, let’s focus on how the child must buy everything thrown at them, or be made to feel left out. After all, what’s $5 for a planner? Don’t I want my kids to keep track of their assignments? Don’t I care?! So right now, that’s the measurement: the parent who can volunteer for everything, buy every piece of spirit wear, planner, and contribute to each fundraiser and donation request, cares the most. More than me. I’m not personally in competition with Mommy Do It All. I’m pissed that my pockets are expected to be bottomless or my child probably isn’t loved enough and will fail in life.
Oh! Did I mention their tennis shoes aren’t allowed in P.E. unless they tie. Yeah, I got a demand for new shoes from two of the kids (the third, autistic, I was emailed about). My kiddos run around all day in their tennis shoes just fine. But now they’re not good enough for 30 minutes of jump rope and situps.
I’m sure there’s a life lesson that my children and I can learn from all this non-education related nonsense. So far, they don’t appreciate me singing The Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need!