(**EDITED TO SAY I HAD TO ADD A PHOTO! :o) No, it’s not of his awesome new clothes but I couldn’t leave a blank spot on the blog! )
I think this is the first post that I have made without a picture. <Gasp!> That’s because I don’t have one yet. Don’t worry, I will on Monday and it will be awesome…if only because I said so. ;o)
So a little back history: We did a year of homeschooling and then last year we did a hybrid situation where we homeschooled three days a week and were in a classroom setting twice a week. I love the idea of homeschooling for so, so, so many reasons. I also know that I love being a photographer and a mountain biker and I have to bring in an income. It’s that pesky necessary income thing that sometimes impedes my ability to balance things.
The hybrid situation was PERFECT, scheduling wise. NOT so perfect curriculum wise. Contrary to what we were told, we could not expect to move at our own pace and be accommodated in the classroom. Instead, Noah would find himself daydreaming through the same worksheets and materials we had covered at home two months prior. This and the hours of sitting at a desk working on papers every day did not make for a very happy or challenged five/six year old.
For various reasons, there is really only one school within our public school system that I was interested in as a potential for Noah. It’s a Reggio Emilia style school that is a partnership between our public school system and Butler University. For only being in its second year of existence, the Lab School has quite an amazing reputation…and the classrooms are pretty damn dreamy, too. Imagine: No desks. No textbooks. Warm lighting in paper lanterns and plenty of natural light. shelves filled with books, blocks, Legos and other “learning tools”. Some comfy mats, chairs and perhaps a couch. Oh, and then there’s the art and nature studio that the kids have access too at their free will. Yep. Sounds like a perfect fit for us outside of homeschooling.
So we applied and made third on the wait list. School started two weeks ago and we were still on the wait list. Yesterday, I made the commitment to purchase new homeschooling materials. An hour and a half later we received a call from the school principal offering us a place in the Lab School. Half thrilled, half teary-eyed and hesitant, I accepted. I was already fully committed to homeschooling again and really looking forward to it. But, if we didn’t take this spot we wouldn’t really have another opportunity, so it was now or never. If we hate it, we homeschool again. Since parents are not only welcome in the classrooms but encouraged to participate as often as they’d like…I’m sure they’ll be seeing a lot of me. :o)
Last year Noah was able to wear any color polo shirt and khakis to his two days of school. His typical self imposed dress code was always something along the lines of a pink polo, khakis, hot pink (preferably sparkly) shoes of some sort…and all topped off with a hot pink Hello Kitty fedora. While he received a little crap the first couple of days, overall the staff, the kids and the parents were all incredibly supportive of Noah’s fashion choices. On top of that, in ballet class he had the freedom to wear his pink leotards, skirts, tights, shoes and head attire. He definitely took his liberties there and I’m fairly certain that, in both school and dance class, he was pinker than most, if not all, of the girls.
This year, with both school and dance class, Noah will be much more restricted. In dance he must wear a plain white shirt, black bike/compression shorts and white ballet shoes. In school he must wear khaki bottoms with a navy blue or white polo shirt. Noah doesn’t wear blue unless he absolutely has to. So…several white shirts went into the cart. Now onto the bottoms. We were standing near the “girls section” when he made his choice: a khaki romper style dress with a pleated skirt. He had to have that for the uniform. After a little discussion about dress etiquette in public places, I agreed with him that I would pick up a pair of hot pink compression shorts to wear underneath the dress. And to polish off the outfit: we got a brand new, hot pink Hello Kitty backpack with more than enough sparkles. He’s pumped up to wear his brown shoes with pink owls on the first day, along with the romper dress and the Hello Kitty backpack. I do have some concerns as to how the administration will handle a boy wearing a dress, as it’s specifically on the girls list for uniforms but not the boys. If an issue does come up, though, I’m prepared to fight that one and win. I know many parents who’d have our back in a heartbeat, too.
Obviously we’ve gone through this before already: addressing his differences with the teacher so that she can help diffuse any ugly words that might come his way and help the children (parents and staff, too) understand that there’s nothing *wrong* with how he dresses and the personal choices he makes. Still, that doesn’t make me less nervous for him. There are a couple of upsides to this school, though. First, this year they only house grades K-2, and will add a grade each year. That means that there aren’t any big kids around, they are all his age or younger which is less intimidating for him. Second, we have a kick ass community of friends who love and support Noah just as he is. Much of the student body at this school is comprised of members of that community or other like-minded families. So here’s hoping that we can integrate ourselves into this school with as much ease as we have everywhere else. I have a good feeling about it all, and so does Noah.