Thursday, February 21, 2019

What math?

This morning I went to a meeting with some of the curriculum committee members for our school district. Such a thing might seem somewhat pointless since we're moving at the end of the school year, but my friend, who is in charge (as a parent volunteer) of the "gifted" program at our school was asked to come in and meet with the committee because she'd been asking them so many questions. She didn't want to meet with the committee alone because she was afraid she'd buckle under pressure, so she asked a couple other parents to come in with her.

Zoë had preschool, so I just sent her off pretty much as I normally would on a Wednesday morning, and I asked my ministering sister to watch Alexander for me. She bravely said she would. Actually, she's offered over and over again to watch Alexander but I've been too nervous to leave him with her because he's a screamer.

Anyway, he did fine for her! After I dropped him off at her house, he screamed and screamed and screamed until she loaded him into her car to go to brunch with her friends (at a fast food joint with a kiddie area; she also brought her preschooler). She said he sat on her lap perfectly calm the entire time they were at the restaurant. And then he started screaming again the minute she started buckling him back into his car seat to bring him back to me. So, all in all, he did much better than I expected.

The meeting went well, and my friend got all her questions answered and I learned a bit about how the gifted and talented program works. I felt a little silly if they asked me if Rachel was in the advanced math group. I was like, "Yeah. I don't even know. I, uh, know she's doing fine. It's been quite the year for us."

To sum up:

  • looming unemployment
  • constant job searching
  • much drama surrounding a certain relative, involving drug sniffing dogs, stolen vehicles, and so forth
  • Karen's death
  • Getting a job!
  • Organizing a cross-country move
  • Did I leave anything out? 

Add to that soccer, piano, organ, orchestra, choir, student council, the school musical, and no. No, I am actually unaware what math group my daughter is in. This. Is. Fine.

But then they started talking about the transition from elementary school to junior high school and I started to get a little nervous about how to guide Rachel through that transition (considering I don't even know what math group she is in). And then I realized that I have no idea how junior high works here, let alone there (in Georgia).

Rachel went on a field trip to the junior high yesterday and they're supposed to register (already) by next week! Otherwise they won't get the elective classes they want and I realized that she'll be pretty much doomed next year—she won't get any classes she wants unless I firmly advocate for them to squeeze her into a couple of classes.

When we moved down here (to Utah) from Alberta, my schedule was a complete math. Although David got to pick whatever classes he wanted (because it was his senior year so he needed to go out with a bang, while I'd have time to take classes I actually wanted later) and didn't even have to audition for band/drama, I was stuck in all the beginning classes or electives that just happened to still have slots open.

I missed auditions for many things. I was stuck in remedial math and remedial English (because I'd moved from another country (and because there was plenty of room in those classes)) but was put in US History Honors. Because that makes sense.

They asked my brother about his health credit and said, "Great! That counts."

And then they insisted that I take a semester of health class.

"But I took the same class my brother took," I pointed out.

Ah, but I had time to take another health class and they did't really know if that other health class counted they just were going to count it for him because it was his last year and they wanted to make it really great for him...

Thanks, y'all.

I'm still a little bitter about how it all went down, even all these (19!) years later because it was just such a mess and, frankly, did not help me enjoy my transition (and put me behind my peers in a lot of cases). But I don't know what we could have done because we didn't know how the system worked. Not really.

It doesn't really matter because I graduated from high school just fine and everything in my life is hunky-dory...until I'm studying for the GRE and realize that I managed to get through school without being formally introduced to quadratic equations or, as I learned recently, factorials/permutations (another thing that is taught in about grade 7 below the 49th parallel, but isn't taught until around grade 10 up north). So, that's another thing I'm trying to teach myself right now—that and set notation (A∩B, A∪B and all the fun stuff that goes with that).*

Having a common core curriculum in place will help make a simple state-to-state transition smoother, but I'm still rather worried about making this move in the middle of junior high...oh, well.

*Though set notation is vaguely familiar I don't think it's something I was ever formally taught. I think it's probably something a teacher once said, "Remember learning about..." and I sat there, mystified because I did not remember learning about it.


  1. Gigi moved to middle school this year and because she was a 6th grader and it was 6th-8 she got a couple electives she really choir. She has survived and honestly her singing has improved even though she hates it, oh well. She should be able to test into math and just insist they put her in advanced English. The rest is generally pretty run of the mill! I guess what I'm saying is it will probably be lot easier for her then it was for you and she will probably still get some stuff she loves and some stuff she hates like all the kids there 😂

  2. Good luck navigating the new school system! I know platitudes like this aren't helpful but I think everything will turn out fine for Rachel (and the rest of your kids). You are such a good advocate for them!

  3. Have you found a house yet? Located your kids' schools in Georgia? I wonder if you can request classes from Utah for Rachel if you know where she will be going.

  4. I’m fine with a few electives she won’t love; I’m worried about having a complete schedule she’ll hate.

    We don’t know yet where we will be (it’s a little too early to buy a house quite yet) but from my experience they won’t let you register for school or make any requests until you actually, physically, live somewhere. I’m sure it will all work out fine but I’m nervous because of what I would consider a particularly awful transition in my past. :)

  5. I am sorry about your awful transition! Boy, can I count a lot of school transitions that I, as a mother, fumbled really badly! Please, be a better mother bear than I was.

    1. Oh, I don't blame you for it at all! Transitions are difficult to do and I don't think there IS a way to pull one off without making at least a few mistakes. Plus, even though you moved us a lot as kids you didn't move a lot as a child and it's hard to plan for or compensate for things you've never experienced.

      It's all part of life. :D

    2. I NEVER moved as a child! So no concept of it at all. Except I THOUGHT moving would be exciting!