Sorry for being so harsh, but I am tired of elementary school. My oldest started Kindergarten in 2003. I wasn’t sad on that day either. She was ready to go. Excited. She had plans. She had friends from the neighborhood who would be in her class. She walked in with a smile and a quick wave to me. No tears from either of us. It was the beginning of a journey for our family.
But after 10 years, the novelty of “big girl/boy school” has worn off. They are ready to move on and so am I. While I sit here this morning, I thought about the things I won’t miss about elementary school.
The Lack of Competition – The most frustrating thing about elementary school is that everyone is equal – all the time. If one class got something, they all got something (see classroom parties, below). Field Day at their school is more an organized play time. No one wins anything. The sad thing about the absence of competition at the elementary school is that by the time these kids get to high school, the competition is so high that these kids don’t know how to cope.
The Projects - All projects that are done at home are to be done “by the student only and with materials that you have in your home.” That has rarely been the case. First of all, who has felt, clay and Styrofoam balls lying around the house? Secondly, you would be surprised how many parents actually do their child’s project for them.
The Pick-up/Drop off Line –Ten years. Twice a day. Crazy hurried drivers. Creative parkers. People crossing the street in between cars – assuming you will stop for them. Moms on cellphones. Kids everywhere. The dads or grandmas who are sent to pick up the kids and are clueless to how it works. It is a miracle that no one has been injured during the process.
The Reading Log – Starting in first grade, my kids got a reading log from their teacher every month. The kids had to log their reading time and get it signed. Every night. Every kid. Then the librarian decided to do an additional reading log. When all three of my kids were there, that was 6 reading logs per night. Eventually, we just stopped doing reading logs. And you know what? My kids never got in trouble for not handing them in. They were OPTIONAL!
The Removal of the Holiday – At our elementary school, the holidays are “seasons”. For Halloween, it is called Fall Happenings. Those holidays in December? They don’t exist. Better to ignore than to hurt feelings. Honestly, I would love if my kids learned about a holiday that we did not celebrate at home. But, you can’t celebrate December holidays because that wouldn’t be fair to the ones that don’t celebrate at all. The Winter holiday that they do celebrate is Valentine’s Day, but they call it a Winter party. The Spring party is celebrated right before spring break. No holiday is tied to it – especially not that one with the bunny and the eggs!
The Classroom Parties – If you have seen one party, you have seen them all. A few years ago, they decided that the parties (games, crafts, etc.) had to be the same as the other classes in their grade. Sadly, the role of the Room Mom went from creative party planner to babysitter. The parties should probably only go on until 2nd grade. After that, the ring toss, bean bags, Bozo buckets, and bingo gets a little boring. The crafts might appeal to the girls through 5th grade, but my son doesn’t enjoy crafts. And the snack? It’s double healthy snack day! The perfect theme for a kid party! (If there was a sarcasm font, I would use it here.)
The Hours – This is something I will miss the least! School for elementary students in our district starts at 9:05. On Wednesdays, it starts at 9:15. That is so convenient for working parents! (Again, sarcasm font) For ten years, I have lived my life between 8:45 and 3:15. Next year, I won’t have to go into panic mode if I am on the other side of town at 3:15 or if I am running behind at work. All my kids will be taking the bus.
In all fairness, I should share some things that I will miss about elementary school.
After being there for 10 years, everyone knows who I am. Much like Norm walking into Cheers, I get a wave or a smile and a “Hi, Mrs. Molnar” when I walk into the school. In the middle school and high school, I am just another parent.
I will miss the excitement of the kids waiting at the mailbox for the post cards that reveal their classroom teacher’s name. Although they changed that last year, I remember the anticipation of neighborhood kids waiting for the mailman at the curb. The phone would start ringing as the first postcards were dropped off, with their friends asking which teacher they got. In middle school, you find out your schedule when you get to school. Such a downer.
I loved the special events like the Mother’s Day Tea in 2nd grade. My daughters enjoyed going to the Daddy Daughter dances and we all enjoyed having lunch together on field day. The Halloween parade (I can’t remember the politically correct name) was always fun to watch and the ABC countdown included fun days like Pajama Day, Hat Day and Crazy Hair Day.
But by far, the thing I will miss the most is seeing the friends I have made along the way. I know that once the kids get to the middle school, we will see less and less of each other. There is very little need for volunteers and very few times that our kids want to see us at their school. After all, as of tomorrow, those days are over.