In two days my daughter will come to the end of second grade. Had she remained at her public school, she would be moving on to the “big kids” Intermediate School along with her pals. Instead, we switched her mid-year to a private school and so she will only be changing sides of the building.
I’m eager to see this year go. I feel a bit sad saying that, especially when I see the other moms who still have their kids in the public school feeling nostalgic for the loss of their child’s Primary School years. Still, this year has been a tough one. I imagine it probably isn’t the toughest year we’ll face as parents, not by far, but it’s just been a struggle all the way through.
First we had a challenging situation in public school where Kid was bored and losing interest by the day. The teacher was not doing what she could to keep her challenged and there was a sense that we would just have to suck it up. That was less than ideal. However, she had a great social situation with little girl friends who were…well, little girls. They liked to play superheroes on the playground and their friendships were very innocent, pure, fresh things. Even their arguments were childlike and without subtleties.
So, we changed her mid-year, taking advantage of an empty place in the classroom of a local private school.
Suddenly we had school work that was, if not exactly challenging, at least different and given with some depth. Poetry, for example, was explored at length and culminated in a poetry jam where every kid had memorized at least one poem for recitation. In addition, they’d learned about different types of poetry in some depth, written many poems, and read over fifty poems at home for homework. We had Spanish as a class and opportunities like Robotics Club and other specialized learning opportunities.
But the social situation…argh. These little girls were not little girls at all. At least not in the innocent way that her old friends had been. There were conversations like, “Janice said that Marilyn said that Natalie said she didn’t like me.” It was exhausting. Issues of class and income could not be ignored. Cliques were full-on and impossible to figure out. Everything about the social life has been 180 degrees from the social life she enjoyed before the change.
Then there was the entire thing of just getting used to an entirely different school culture. And, whoa, was it different, in both good and bad ways! I just never felt like we really got a grip on things. What was expected? And what was unreasonable? And what was just the way things are?
Add to that book releases, fears, travels, and the longest, coldest winter ever in my memory and UGH.
After everything, I’m looking forward to summer. At least when we go back next fall, she won’t be the new girl anymore and she’ll be starting the third grade with the rest of her class. Hopefully, we won’t have another year of struggling and trying to figure out how to get by every day.
So, yeah, second grade? Adios. We won’t be seeing you again. (Until Kid has a kid, anyway.) And while parts of you were fantastic other parts were just endlessly stressful. I’m happy to see you go. Bring on summer!