I’ve been thinking quite a bit about school lately, starting with the chin-scratcher of whether or not Riley should start kindergarten this fall, and moving right into a mostly-uninformed and knee-jerky sort of freakout about what his experience will be like once he does start public school, which is kind of a stupid thing to worry about at the moment because man, our future is nebulous lately in the Magic Eight Ball REPLY HAZY TRY AGAIN sense, and it’s anyone’s guess what we’ll be doing a year or so from now. Will we be here? Living elsewhere? Selling plasma? Rolling in gold ingots? CANNOT PREDICT NOW ASK AGAIN LATER.

Still, I enjoy a good pointless fret session (see also: zombies, Large Creepy Things Partially Submerged in Water, the unhappy results of the pinch test on the back of my hand), so I’ve been worrying about What Will Happen If We Aren’t Happy With Our Public School and then I looked up tuition information for some local private schools and I died, the end.

(Honestly, I didn’t think anything could be more expensive than our daycare school, but ha ha ha ha HAAA. Wrong.)

In other education-related musings that require an actual resolution of some kind, I’m trying to decide if I should sign up for a math class this summer or not. On the one hand, I definitely should, because I have a lot of catching up to do in that subject; on the other hand, this semester’s nutrition class has been fascinating but also kind of a lot of work, and I am giddy at the thought of a break from studying and homework and evening classes during the best time of the year in the Northwest. There are a lot of races and events I want to participate in, and I would love to feel free to focus on training and enjoying the long days instead of being tied to a textbook once the kids go to bed each night. On the other other hand, maybe pre-algebra math doesn’t require a lot of studying and high-volume memorization? Like not as bad as the biochemistry stuff from this quarter, right? Or is it? Or will it be a lot of repetitive assignments and worksheets that take just as much time as remembering what the fuck a Krebs cycle is and I’ll feel too guilty to go for that long bike ride because what if I don’t get an A in class OH MY GOD?

Basically I’m feeling like we should all just live in the woods and wear badger pelts and teach our children how do the badger-skinning and leave the complicated complexities of the modern world to the inevitable robot overlords. Who’s with me? Badger looks soft.

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Stephanie
12 years ago

I’m with you. When things get complicated around here, my husband and I sometimes look at one another and say, “Let’s just go live off the land.” (Not that either of us is Eagle Scout enough to ever make something like that happen.)

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

One step ahead of you. I’m already wearing my badger pelt. And it feels divine.

As long as I don’t think about the fact that there is dried badger skin laying against my own skin.

Minor detail.

Pete
Pete
12 years ago

Take the math course. My wife didn’t and ended up taking it anyway and then retaking the pre-algebra class.
FWIW Parents make a good school. My son is still mad at his mom for hold him back in preschool for another year (7 years later).

Penny
12 years ago

On the math front, why don’t you hire a tutor? It can be virtually homework free, maybe cost as much as a class, and you kind of get your cake (math lessons) and eat it too (not the workload of a class).

Julie
Julie
12 years ago

Have you looked into Waldorf school (http://www.seattlewaldorf.org/)? Kindergarten is absolutely what is should be – imaginative play, art, outdoor stuff – NO ACADEMICS at that age, and no pressure to be anything other than a child. But – $$.

Blandy
Blandy
12 years ago

I have a totally off-topic question. For anyone to answer, really. I was just browsing your lovely Flickr photos and saw the ones of Dylan & Riley riding bikes, and I’m wondering at what age and for what kind of bike kids should start wearing helmets? I bought my nephew, who’s about Dylan’s age, a little tricycle like that and my sister in law was sort of put-off that I didn’t include a helmet with the gift. He wanted to ride it right away but she wouldn’t let him. I notice that Dylan doesn’t wear one on his tricycle, either, so I know I’m not the only one. There’s probably no right answer, but I was curious anyway! :)

melanie
melanie
12 years ago

I decided to send my boy to kindergarten, and I am too freaking the shit out…yes I know he is ready (I mean his k-prep teachers tell me he is ready, the school he will be going to tell me he is ready)…. yet its heartbreaking to be losing my baby. I know I would never be disciplined enough to home-school and we sure can’t swing private school, so I am hoping that by being active in my kids schools I will make a difference. WHO KNOWS!

melanie
melanie
12 years ago

oh and to Blandy, I didnt do a helmet with my kids little tricycles, once my son started going faster and getting bigger bikes then yes

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

We have a private boy’s school right up the road from us. Bill Murray’s son actually went there, which is weird because it is in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. I would love to have sent Eric there, but there is no way we could afford it.

I’m with you on the Badger pelts.

crisitunity
12 years ago

Rolling in gold ingots sounds painful.

I took a class this last semester that I thought would be easy-breezy, and it turned out to be the most horrible experience of my post-high school academic life…and I had too much pride to quit. I’m not saying that’s what’ll happen to you, but I am saying that there are no guarantees on how easy or hard something schooly will be. And that, rather than being stupid like me, you should feel free to drop out and try again later if it’s honestly too much.

Erika
Erika
12 years ago

I say find another class that you need to take that is easier than math. That way, you keep going with school but you don’t go crazy this summer.

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

It sucks being an adult and having to make damn decisions for people smaller than you like you actually know something about anything, hell I can’t even make decisions for myself, and my kids are grown with their own kids and I still don’t know what I’m doing….and I’m taking a math class too this summer, as well as med terminology and anatomy, and interpersonal communication, and you need beaver because it’s waterproof and the tails are good to eat, (I’m told). And that’s all I know.

victoria
victoria
12 years ago

Take the math course — when the weather gets bad again. Until then, please do everything in your power to enjoy this all too brief bout of beautiful weather up here.

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

PS There’s alot of algebra on you tube if you aren’t getting it, you can watch those. I expect my 4.0 to go to shit with this class, I hate math.

Ris
Ris
12 years ago

I did kindergarden through the Montessori I went to preschool for (ouch $$) but it was such an amazing experience. I was a bit of a weakling and am at the younger end of the school year age spectrum so my parents had hesitation over sending me off into the wild blue public school yonder. RE: math class. Can you take one session? ie can you do one summer month of math (July, say, since it’ll be hotter) but give yourself a break in June?

Sarah
Sarah
12 years ago

Skip the class this summer. Summer classes are more concentrated and faster. If you are concerned about how you’ll do, it will probably be better to wait until fall when things are a little slower paced and spread out. Enjoy the summer!

Amy M.
Amy M.
12 years ago

I say take the class & get it over with. I don’t think pre-algebra sounds that bad, but then again, I have a masters in math, so maybe you shouldn’t listen to me. It’s not a lot of memorization & if you do enough problems, the techniques should become instinctual.

BTW, badgers are MEAN! You have to be careful! ;) Maybe a coonskin-cap?

telegirl
telegirl
12 years ago

Wow. Can’t help you on the math-front but I have to say that badgers are mean mo-fo’s and I would suggest possum instead.

Blandy, I would say a helmet would be a good idea just because when they get older, they’d be in the habit of wearing one. We have our 3yo son on a trike (no helmet because he hasn’t figured out pedaling yet 100% and doesn’t go fast) but for his Power Wheels ATV, he does wear it. That being said, your generous gift was enough. They can go buy the helmet.

claire
12 years ago

I’m with Sarah – don’t take math during the summer. I made that mistake, hoping to get it out of the way faster than a normal semester and holy hell was that a big mistake. It was awful and lowered my stellar 4.0 GPA. Too much content in too little time with exams at least once a week. Take it during a normal semester and take something with less work during the summer.
My favorite summer class experience was Public Speaking (REQUIRED TORTURE); it was a smaller class and I got to know the people better since it was 4 days a week which made it so much more comfortable. Also: only 4 weeks. Perfect.

claire
12 years ago

Oh, and I also totally agree with the badger pelt / living in the woods thing. Life is getting too complicated.

6512 and growing
12 years ago

I too am freaking out about kindergarten. I don’t care if my son is ready, I’m not!
It’ll only work if we ALL move to the woods, otherwise there you are with your small family and your badger pelt collection and then what?

Kristi
12 years ago

So, I’m guessing the pre-algebra class is only a requirement to get into algebra, which IS a requirement? Yes?

I say hire a tutor for several sessions this summer and then take the placement test so you don’t have to take pre-algebra.

Beaver pelt is good too – the large teeth and hard tail make exceptionally good weapons for thwarting forest attackers as well.

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

I say enjoy summer with your family – the college classes will be there when you get back to them in the fall, but your boys will only be this small for so long. My husband has been in school for a long, long time, and summer classes are super concentrated, so I say give yourself a break, focus on a few thing that make you happy (family, training, making Big Decisions) for summer. As the spouse of a perpetual student, I think it’s great to have summer family time that doesn’t involve a laptop or textbooks.

Brenda
Brenda
12 years ago

I have a pre-algebra book for sale if you need one ;-) Just finished last semester. I don’t think I would take pre-algebra for a summer session. It’s one of those things you need to take your time to learn. I’m taking interpersonal communications and intro to psychology this summer.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Every now and again, my husband reminds me that there are less stressful places to live (We live in DC). And every now and again, I have a beautiful daydream of actually up and going to those places.

And then I get in my car and I commute to work and think about, oh, I dunno, GAH COMMUTING, GAH. The end.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Wait, I had a point: You should prob take the math class. Seriously. Just get it DONE, already. The days are longer, so theoretically you get even MORE time, right?? (right?).

Also, I am betting this semester was so tough because you really cared about the subject matter, and it was all new. Math? Not all new. And you don’t really care. Just rip the bandaid off and do it.

Jill
12 years ago

Have you looked into a charter school? Usually they’re low-to-no cost and have great programs. The only problem is finding one with a good reputation, and then the application process (which shouldn’t be an issue if you wait until next year.) Good luck :)

Kathleen
Kathleen
12 years ago

Not sure how you are with math, but anything short of calculus is a lot easier than Kreb’s for me. And I teach Kreb’s. On the other hand, I think anyone who has been thinking about oxaloacetate and GAP/G3P/however your class shortens it deserves a few weeks’ recovery…

Jodie
Jodie
12 years ago

If you go commando in the woods with badger pelts, have someone else skin them…they are seriously crabby and nasty little boogers.

warcrygirl
12 years ago

Math is the DEBBIL so of course I’m with you on the “I need help” department. Public school isn’t as bad as the media makes it out to be; on the other hand, if you find out you’re unhappy with your school you can always homeschool. You’ll only need about two hours of instruction per day, the school year is only 9 months long and you can travel/vacation whenever your work schedules allow you to vs. trying to schedule everything when school is out. Although kindergarten doesn’t look like much academically it does teach kids how to behave in a classroom setting and how to interact with other kids.

kristin c.
12 years ago

I concur. With a background in Outdoor Education and my current stifley living situation in the heart of the Midwest away from my beloved mountains, streams, etc…I am feeling extremely itchy to leave daily life behind and go live off the land in the woods with my husband and child. I had an especially strong urge to do so after seeing Avatar on Sunday night. See you in the woods….I’ll be the one with the badger pelt slippers.

MRW
MRW
12 years ago

Yeah my husband and I have often bandied about the idea of becoming farmers and living off the land and providing for ourselves (with the added bonus of being prepared when the apocalypse hits). Then I realize I’ve never lived on anything more than a 10,000 sq ft lot in the city and we’d die of starvation if we had to feed ourselves and we’re screwed if there is an apocalypse. Reality sucks.

Gnometree
12 years ago

While you might fear living off the land, I’m pretty sure that JB is more than capable (being good at all that huntin’ and fishin’ stuff an’ all). And I think he would prefer a beaver pelt to a badger one (snigger).

Victoria
12 years ago

I’m in.

Beth
Beth
12 years ago

Don’t take the summer math class!!!! Enjoy the best season – nothing good comes of taking math in the summer. Trust me, I tried it several times, it moves fast and your brain doesn’t

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Don’t do math in the summer. For people who aren’t intrinsically good at it, doing well in a math class is a matter of sitting down and grinding out the problem sets until you know how to do every version of the problems backward and forward. It’s not busywork; that’s how you get comfortable with the material. In an accelerated class you also won’t be able to miss a day without losing important ground. You are a busy lady and deserve to be able to take an evening off to hang with your kids or your husband.

You’ve written before about how you have a big mental block about math (and it’s OK; I had a giant one myself and started with Algebra II in order to get through the 2 semesters of calculus I had to pass–you will be fine once you’re doing it and have some successes under your belt) but it seems like starting in an accelerated summer class in a subject you’re worried about and that you have to take further classes in is asking for a not-fun experience that will set up all the subsequent classes for being not fun either.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

Also: I hear you on the daycare/school thing. I am 11 weeks pregnant and recently looked up the price of full-time infant daycare at a local (non-fancy) Montessori program: 20K/year. And then I fainted, and then I decided we need to move.

Courtney
12 years ago

You know your son best. As with Dylan and the potty training thing, if you think Riley isn’t ready, he’s probably not ready!

That said, being the youngest in your class ssuuuuuuucccckkkss. Think of it this way: as the “young kid” in his class, he’ll be the last one in his group of peers to get his license, be legal, etc. Also youngest to enter college (17 year olds at freshmen orientation struggle).

I’m terrifying you with this drivers license/legal/college thing, huh?

On point, buuutttt… the oldes kids are AWESOMELY COOL! They get their drivers licenses earlier! And get to vote in the elections! And are thismuchcloser to being 21 in college!

Also: summer school is meant to be FUN!

Garnish
12 years ago

Riddle me this…would you rather be spending your summer biking, pizza picnicing and outdoor movie watching OR learning that x+y=8? Find a college student who’s looking to earn a little extra cash for some math prep. You’ll get way more out of it in way less time.

As for Kindergarten. Been there, fretted for months and years. For me, it’s all about student teacher ratio. If your public school has a decent one, then he should be just fine. If they’re cramming 25+ kids into a class with only one teacher, then break out the wallet. 24 kids with one teacher and one full time aid in the classroom would be my max.

Everyone told me it would be okay. I never knew how it possibly could be. But by golly, they were right. Still a couple of years away from #3 entering real school. I’m sure I’ll fret and freak. But yes, it will be okay.

Julie Boyce
Julie Boyce
12 years ago

Take the course. I returned to school, as a Mom of toddlers, and to my amazement and surprise, started bringing home As and A+s, which I certainly never got close to in highschool. This motivated me to keep going, but taking courses while you’re working at the same time does eventually wear on you as time goes by. So I say go with it now, while you’re inspired and motivated. You will be so glad that you did and you will not miss out on your summer. You will just appreciate it a little more…

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

We were going to wait a year for our son to start kinder (he turned 5 on July 30, about 3 weeks before school started), but got a spot at the last minute in the charter school we wanted. It has been a good experience, but it is also clear that he really is just younger in age and developmentally than the other kids and we are likely going to have him repeat kindergarten. I wish we had waited, but on the other hand, we felt like we had to jump on the opportunity to get him in a great school. I think it really has less to do with age and more with developmental readiness. My son is fine with the academics, but he is anxious and more immature socially than the other kids. My hope is that the extra year will give him more confidence as one of the older kids rather than the youngest. These decisions are SO HARD!

Kate
12 years ago

Kindergarten: Wait another year. I wish we had with our son.

Math class: Wait until fall. Enjoy the summer.

There’s my two cents.

Bachelor Girl
12 years ago

Linda, if you were a GOOD mom, then you’d homeschool. No question.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA. (I so funny.)

Seriously, I have no (useful) advice to offer on that subject, but re. the math class, I say go for it. I think you’ll find that, especially if it’s a lower-level class, it’ll be a lot less challenging than it sounds like you’re expecting.

Also, re. the living in the woods and wearing badger pelts business? DUDE, I’M IN.

teacup
teacup
12 years ago

oh, dude. we do the kinder/school thing differently here but we, too, were unhappy at our public school, and looked at private. and LOVED it. but at the last minute, literally, i got buyers remorse and backed out. seven grand a year… i keep thinking we should just suck it up and do it, then i mentally list all the OTHER things we could spend that much money on (without even buying anything FUN) and i go back and forth. for, oh, the last two months? aahhrrghh.

Rachel
Rachel
12 years ago

Now that you’re in the habit of school it might be better not to break from it. That being said, summer classes are generally much faster paced and more intense, so it’s probably the cruelest thing you could do to yourself to take a subject that is difficult for you. Pick some other prerequisite or take something frivolous. Do they offer Riding-Your-Bike-in-the-Park 1A?

deb
deb
12 years ago

Hey, what did the badgers ever do to you that you have such plans for them??

Cobblestone
12 years ago

As mom of a mid-August son – ran across a number of things about “redshirting” young boys for kindergarten, and my brain **twich, twitch, buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz**. I still have 3 years before I have to know what we’re going to do (I’m leaning towards run/hide right now).

As the wife of a community college math professor. Summer session pre-algebra is great if you were pretty functional at math earlier in your life and you just need a brush up / reminder about stuff. If you were weak earlier in your life, wait until fall and then take it hella-seriously because getting a good solid hold of it will make everything so.much.easier.

As myself, I skipped a summer class because it is summer and young kid(s) only last for so long.

ErinM
ErinM
12 years ago

I myself am skipping the summer classes. Just need a break. Treat yourself. Algebra will always be there. Nice weather won’t. And seriously, the sun’s vitamin D is important to your happiness, damn it!

Margaret
Margaret
12 years ago

Terrible at math, had to take a “basic” math class that was expensive & did not count toward graduation credits when I returned to school at 35 years of age. It was easy & the algebra class that followed was easy as well. Apparently, you have to follow steps to solve problems, and I never learned those steps due to excessive daydreaming during high school. Naturally there were tears and cries of “I just don’t get it!” because I failed to learn the steps required. Take the class. I simply did the work following the class which took about 30 minutes, then reviewed prior to the next session – another 30 minutes. I planned a minute of work for each minute of class and scored a 4.0.

Annabelle
Annabelle
12 years ago

I’m a Badger (On Wisconsin!) and everyone is right, badgers are mean mofos.

On the math front, I completely concur with Liz, you WILL be fine once you’re doing it and have some successes under your belt. I am a math-type but I once tutored a roomate once who was returning to school for the final three credits she needed (7 years later) for a degree, and she was in your same boat with the pre-pre-algebra. After about two weeks of tear-filled study sessions, she started bringing home quizzes with 94s and 95s all over them. After that, she aced the semester.

I say wait until the fall (only if you won’t spend the summer worrying about it) and get yourself a tutor for an hour or two on the weekends to help until you get the hang of it. You ran a marathon, you can do anything.