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September 04, 2009

Middle School Madness

IMG_2991 has begun.  We shopped, sorted, filed, labeled, packed, and prepped.  Oh, wait, she's 11.  Caitlin did all of the aforementioned with little or no help from us.  Well, one of us drove the car, and one of us paid for the school supplies, but other than that, she was on her own.  By choice, of course.

We took the obligatory picture on the front stoop with her carpool buddy, and with Kelsey. No, I don't know why they couldn't stand next to one another.  And, with that, she was off.  We waved until the car drove around the corner (yes, I even took a picture of the car driving away...I am hopeless). 

How's it going?  By all accounts, absolutely fine.  Her school has a nifty system called Schoolloop, which is a way we can all keep track of her homework and grades by merely logging into a website.  I suppose I should actually credit the school district, not the school, but I do applaud the school for using the system. Grades and scores are uploaded by the teachers per their schedule (daily, weekly, bimonthly) and there are never any (well, none thus far) surprises regarding grades, homework completion, or project due dates.

Last night was the official back to school night, and Peter and I were both able to attend (thank you, Sittercity!).  We visited all 7 classes, and received fairly comprehensive overviews of what would be studied.  Cait takes her "Core" (Readers' and Writers' workshops and Social Studies) classes with one teacher, and the rest of the classes (science, math, gym, and home ec (yes, an elective!) are with separate teachers.

I can't say we were disappointed in any aspect of the evening, and I was quite happy with the "rules" of the school. Rather than a crime & punishment style of authority, it is an action & consequence.  If she wears a hat inside, it isn't a crime, just an action.  There is the consequence that she loses the hat (for the day), but there is no punishment.  The same is true for gum chewing, dress code violations, and cell phone use.  They have a theory that middle school is hard enough for 'tweens and young teens, and try to teach them how to learn from their mistakes rather than just mete out meaningless punishments that shame them without teaching them. 

So, that's really that.  She comes home, works on homework, naps, eats dinner, finishes the homework, and reads.  Other than going to bed earlier (yes, earlier) not much is different.  I can't say it has been super-easy, as math has presented a few challenges, but she is adapting well and has no problem getting up and going in the morning.  It probably doesn't hurt that her Core teacher stresses that one should read, read, read, read, read, and read.  I think Cait's placement in that class was more than perfect!


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