Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Button Pusher

Curse you, fun dips!

Eliza models her Wicked Witch of the West finger tips.
And while I wish she had saved the white lick-a-stick for me (love those),
she was kind enough to share the dippy sugar stuff with her sister.
My memory remembers her face being much greener than this.
Even so, she makes a cute little green witch. 

Here's a video that ties in with the ensuing rant. 

Said rant was written last Friday night. I'm not feeling as heated as I was then. And as wise as it would probably be to just delete it and move on, I feel more inclined to leave it. Rants can be exciting. This one isn't. Even though these feelings are mine, I got bored as I re-read it (lower thy expectations).

(Friday, February 22)

Forgive me as I hop on the boat of 'having an opinion' tonight; but it would seem that there are a few things that have been circulating through my brain that are in need of being downloaded. In the 'online' world, namely Facebook, I try to keep the peace when it comes to politics (as an example) despite having very strong, personal opinions. Surprising to some, I actually spend a lot of time reviewing current political events, whether its online reading or talk radio...which was an absolute accident by the way. I had shamefully been avoiding an overdue fee at the library and so my habit of listening to audio books while I cleaned shifted to the radio. I'm an 'in the closet' political junkie. As depressing as the current direction of our country is headed, I'm having a difficult time divorcing myself from current events. Throwing my head back in the sand sounds pretty good most days. If anything, 'paying attention' is a motivation for achieving financial independence, hoarding guns (kind of joking?) and building up food storage. I've totally digressed.  

Perhaps this is a reflection of having a weak character, I'm not sure. Maybe I should share what I know and believe without apology. However, I have friends who believe differently than me and because of my respect for them I try my best to not to ruffle feathers. I'm totally up for a conversation in person where the possibility of a misunderstanding or offending someone is lessened. Having explained my hesitancy to shout my personal opinions from the roof top, please keep that in mind as I continue to vent. I don't like to step on toes.

Politics aside, I was on Facebook today and noticed that a friend had made a general inquiry about dual immersion programs. I couldn't resist spewing out a boat load of praise based on our current experience. Several of those who left comments do not have a child in an immersion program. Even so, we're all entitled to a point of view so the continued exchanges, both negative and positive, held my interest. The one comment, however, that upset me said something to the effect of, "being repulsed" by the idea of putting their child and themselves through that type of program. Repulsion to me is the effects of the stomach flu. On an emotional level, I associate the word 'repulsive' to infidelity, child kidnapping, cultures saturated with violence... etc.  

From all the parental praise and supporting research behind the success and achievements of immersion students and their teachers, I felt that labeling this program as being repulsive was unfair. So here I am; which is actually a shame since I'm supposed to be upstairs watching Alias with my husband.

And while I doubt that of the three people who will read this post in entirety fall into the category of wanting to know my full opinion on the subject of dual immersion programs (snore fest alert), I'm going to share anyway.

No immersion program is going to function exactly the same way. The influence of a school district, principle and its supporting staff are going to differ; not to mention, the community of parents and their underlying attitude and support (or lack thereof) will either contribute or take away from a program's success. While the lottery and application process is less stressful in an area like ours, I know that at other schools, the competition to be placed in an immersion program is tighter. With that being said, my first piece of advice if you're on the fence over whether or not you should enroll your child is to talk to a parent of a student who is already in the program at the school your child will attend and to another parent who opted not to participate. 

Schools in the Granite school district were mentioned in today's online discussion. It would seem that a concern that was floating around is that for the students who don't get in are struggling for different reasons. Perhaps they're not getting the academic stimulation they need in an English only classroom (one complaint I've heard) or their child feels outcast socially as it shakes up the friend situation by the automatic segregation of classrooms for the duration of elementary. Fortunately for us, if Eliza was in an English only classroom at her school, I feel confident that she'd still be receiving a great education. The teachers in those classrooms have earned healthy praise from my peers. As far as how this will impact her socially, I'm not sure. She's still young, but I can say that she gets along great with the kids who are on her soccer team that aren't in the same program. I don't think, at her school anyway, that an air of, "we're better" exists especially since there are plenty of wonderful parents and families who choose to opt out of the program. I could be totally wrong about this. Ask me again when she completes the sixth grade or fill me in on your experience.

As mentioned before, the immersion students either test at the same level if not higher than the kids who aren't in the program so the fear of 'falling behind' isn't one that I have. Because I feel like this is a great program for Eliza, doesn't necessarily mean that we'll pursue it for each of our kids.The success and challenges of learning a new language is something that thrills her to pieces. I don't expect it to come as easy or to be met with the same enthusiasm with my other kids. For her, it's a great fit. And while I claim to have the whole world figured out, keep in mind that Andrew is in the picture. He doesn't sit idly by while I dictate our children's future. He sees things I don't see. Take comfort that I have a rational partner who likewise cares as much as I do about our kids. 

I've been impressed with the way Eliza's two teachers collaborate with one another and the way the school tries its best to include the entire student body in embracing the Chinese culture. During Chinese New Year, the entire school participated in different activities and events. Many of the other 'unifying' school activities don't have much to do with the Chinese program. Last year, as the parent of a Kindergartener, I didn't feel that her grade level was left out as those classrooms were English speaking only. They were invited to the back to school fair, shopped at the 'Mustang' store, participated in the same fundraisers etc.

I'm sure there are flaws and learning curves that have to be figured out along the way, but I don't feel that Eliza is a guinea pig. Even if the grand promises of what level of achievement will follow don't fully come to pass, I feel good with what has transpired up until now. It was a decision we prayed about after doing our homework. This process is ongoing and if a friend has a new study to share, I'd love to see it... good or bad.

If Eliza chooses to be a simple homemaker like me, that's wonderful. However, if she chooses to pursue whatever career her heart desires outside of the home and she is in fact bilingual, this opportunity may have given her a competitive edge. To be honest, what concerns me more than anything is that the opportunities for a bright future, based on personal effort and sacrifice, won't be theirs to take hold of as the private sector continues to diminish and the government continues it self imposed BLOAT. As the middle class diminishes the need for the government to expand grows. That dependency takes away freedom and kills opportunity. Ooooh... look at me get all political.

KSL was at her school yesterday. Here's a link to the story. Another website that offers access to additional research can be found here.

In the continued spirit of, "Ali had her button pushed," allow me to shift gears entirely. A childhood friend recently blogged about how her opinion of Mom's who blog has changed since becoming a Mother herself. And while I appreciated her honesty and hold no ill will toward her at all, I couldn't help but feel self conscious as she confessed that she used to make fun and judge mommy bloggers for having no life outside of the kids they love and care for. She apologized for those thoughts and proudly claimed to now be riding in that same boat. It got me thinking about the possibility of those who may stop by to laugh or judge. Friends who I remain close with today, family members even, have said that blogging is dorky, something to be ashamed of, etc. Besides being a hormonal, pregnant mess there is a history to this conversation which makes me slightly oversensitive.

This blog is my journal. The silly, mundane memories and the personal thoughts I've spent hours to record are priceless to me. If my blog is a source of mockery and judgement, please don't visit here. If my personality makes you want to vomit in a toilet bowl, please click elsewhere. I'm not trying to flatter myself into thinking I have a legion of followers, because I know that's not the case. Everyone is welcome, but please know the Mommy world I live in is a place I love. The faces that I document so faithfully are ones that I will never tire of looking at. Each expression is loved and I won't apologize for the obsession and maternal connection that ties me to those feelings.

My role is not one of perfection. I'm flawed beyond belief.  The truth remains that these little kids won't stay little forever. And while their growth and development is a blessing and a miracle, it still makes my heart sad to see certain phases end. I can't physically bottle them as they are, but I can try to capture the details of today so that when I'm in therapy, years from now, I'll have something to look back on and cherish.

This blog used to be the link that connected me 1900 miles to family... more than that when we were in Germany. There are times when I've seriously considered pulling the plug on the public aspect of it now that we're back in Utah. I promised myself not to make any changes while I'm pregnant as my decision making ability is temporarily tainted as it's totally influenced by a spur of the moment mood. This blog has brought me new friends whom have buoyed me up and reconnected me to old ones. I sure appreciate each comment that's been left throughout the years. It's nice to know there exists a community of parents who are trying their best to do right by their children, who provide needed feedback and laughter; as well as supportive friends who haven't yet entered into that phase of life that are kind to crazies like me.

I now conclude this evening's rant. Alias, here I come.  


Anonymous said...

Our family used to live out of Utah. We moved back 3 years ago when my son was 8. We moved into the boundaries of a dual immersion school and because he was in 2nd grade he was not eligible for entering the program. It has been a very difficult thing for him and for me. There is an air of those kids being superior from the principal, parents etc. (I mean KSL didn’t do a story on the kids in regular classrooms at your school did they?). My son is very social, makes friends extremely easily and is well liked by everybody. However, he has struggled this year significantly. While he enjoys the kids in his class they aren’t his friends. The boys in our ward and in our neighborhood are in the dual immersion program and have different recess times as he does. I wish they would do dual immersion schools and non dual immersion instead of having them in the same school.

Also I wonder what they will do with these kids when they hit middle and high school. Will they offer advanced languages? Do they have the funding to do so? Will programs that my kids would benefit from be impacted because they will take funding from somewhere else? Will they lose their language after elementary school because they don’t have the funding to do so? Lots of things to think about.

I’m not trying to be difficult, but just showing you the other side of the coin. It has definitely created a division in our school and I am pulling my son this next academic year and going to a charter school.

rachel garber said...

Ali! I am so divorced from politics . . . I know you love them and I love them so much but man, my beliefs were shaken and I can't get back into the groove. It also just depresses me to pieces all the time and makes me have panic attacks and want Zoloft, so I stay away. For now. *Maybe* it will get better and I can follow it all again??

I love your blog. I honestly love your mommy world and can't wait until I can have a mommy world someday. I gain so many stinkin' ideas from your blog alone of what to do with kids, how to handle things, perspective to be had during times you want to rip your hair out, etc. . . there is nothing to be ashamed of in having this blog. I read every single word you write. If these blogs weren't around, I'd be stuck reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting" - blah.

This is long-winded and I apologize. I have a massive headache from all our weird weather we've had lately. But I love your blog, I agree with what you've said and even though I'm going to end up home schooling I'm sure, I think the immersion program Eliza is in ROCKS. (Plus we know I love the Chinese culture and language and country).

Ali said...

Dear Anonymous friend,

Thank you, thank you for your feedback. I hadn't considered the challenge it would be to move in 'after the fact' so I appreciate you sharing your experience. Had Eliza's school started the program in Kindergarten, we would not have been around for the application/lottery process and been in a similar situation.

I'm sorry to hear that they divide your son from his friends at recess. That would really bother me too. Eliza has friends from Church in English classrooms that she is still able to play with at recess and has had over a few times for play dates.

Like you, I think the idea of dual immersion schools or strictly non-dual immersion is a great one. Who knows, with time, if that is something that will possibly come to pass as the feedback from parents and community continues to roll in.

To answer your question, the district has 'promised' to continue its support (ie: funding) of these programs into junior and high school. That was something they talked a lot about when we went to be 'oriented' on the program. Whether or not they make good on the promise remains to be seen.

I'm saddened by the struggle this has been for you and your son and sincerely wish you the best with his experience at the charter school. Thank goodness there are options out there, but its a shame you were put in that position. ALL THE BEST to you! Thanks again for your insight.

... And to Rachel, I freaking love your face. Thanks for being the coolest friend I've never met.

Kim and Franklin said...

I love a well said rant. Well done, well done.
Call me a blogging nerd as well, I love that when I can't remember something I usually have the documentation on the good 'ol blog. This is something I'm sure I will appreciate even more when I have kids.
I hope that my kids (when I have them) will have the awesome opportunity of being in dual immersion. With a Spanish speaking father and English speaking mother it will really help them with their development in both languages and be a way they can formally learn the language of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. If they don't have the opportunity then we'll teach at home and that will work too.

Karen said...

We love Alias!! This was a fun, informative read. Thanks for sharing.

CarrieAnne said...

I just got done slurping the last 5 yrs of my blog. It was so much fun to see all the things we had done and the changes that had taken place (although the weight loss and gains weren't AS fun to see!). You just keep on bloggin' Ali!

Catherine said...

The greatest human need is to feel understand, I believe. And that's exactly what blogging does for me. I read your thoughts and know that I'm not alone in this crazy, wonderful world of motherhood. And also like you, I use it as my journal to print each year into a book to enjoy for years to come.

Your writing captures my attention, and your kids are so stinkin cute, too. I remember meeting in our Institute class years ago when Eliza was a newborn! How did our kids get so big so fast?

I have one child in our French immersion program and one child out of it since there wasn't any room for him when we moved to this area last summer. He will automatically get in this upcoming school year though. I love the French immersion, especially since my husband is fluent so a lot of French is spoken in our home. I can see how frustrating and even painful that would be for this mother whose son has been shafted a little bit. I, too, wish them well in their future educational experiences. :)

Megan and Jonny said...

I hope you don't stop blogging! Your blog is one I consistently look forward to reading, Mommy stuff or not.

I feel the same way as you--I try to keep up with politics every day and to read things that will help me understand how government should function. But I tend to keep that to myself just to keep peace. So I'm grateful to see you share your well-informed opinion! You do a much better job than I do of making a clear point. For example, you most definitely do not want to read my review of 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' on Goodreads.

So keep it up!

Millan said...

I also hope you don't stop blogging. As even though you don't know me in 'real life' I really enjoy reading your blog. Your entries always make me smile as you have such a lovely way of describing things happening to you and your family.

I found your blog years ago (when you where expecting Henry in fact and were blogging about whether to name him Forest I think...?) as I had only just started blogging myself (for the same reason as you - I am swedish but living with my family in England so it's a good way of keeping in touch with home) and I still pop in here regularly to see how you are all doing. I am sorry that i am so bad at commenting though!

Now that I am a mum of two and working there isn't as much time to read blogs anymore. But yours is one I really love reading and hope to be able to continue to follow!


BnK said...

Henry is 4? I thought he was like 6. Where am I? Can't wait to celebrate your birthday. We got Alias Season 1 from the library...you inspired me. Brent isn't as into it as I am, which is great because Jennifer Garner (is that her name?) is freaking hot.

John and Trina Busch said...

I really appreciate what you said! I am considering putting my oldest in a program as well because she LOVES to learn and she is very creative. some of my family think that it is bad for her education.
I LOVE reading your blog. honestly I read a few of my friends blogs that make me feel like a bad mom. they only post good things, perfect children, clean house, and never argue with the hubs. kids are kids and yours are enjoying life! and hey you are a mom so what else should you be blogging about?