When our friends ask where we plan to send my son Jacob for kindergarten, I stonewall.
“We don’t really believe in formal education. We think Jacob can learn everything he needs to know on the street. So, come September, we plan to just open the front door and say, ‘Go ahead, child. Go out and learn. Just be home by dinner time. Or once you’ve made your fortune.'”
They usually stop looking concerned somewhere around “Go ahead, child”. And force a tentative smile. Usually.
But it’s coming. In less than six short months, Jacob will be in kindergarten. (Which is really weird. Because he only emerged from the womb about a week-and-a-half ago. Not to mention, there is still far too little in his college fund. And you know the slippery slope of education. You send them to kindergarten and next thing you know they’re JUST BEGGING to go to middle school, high school, college . . . it never ends.) Let me correct that. Jacob will be in kindergarten ASSUMING we actually get around to registering him. Somewhere. The question is where. As I have mentioned previously, we have been trying to sell our house. For a year. So it’s still a total mystery where we’ll be living in September.
We could certainly register Jacob at the local elementary school. This is where he’ll likely go if we fail to sell our house (AGAIN) over the next six months. Of course, if we do move, we’ll want to register Jacob in the new town. Wherever that is. We can’t register him there yet. Because we can’t prove that we live there. Because, right now, we don’t. You see our dilemma (read: excuse for procrastination.)
Anyway, I’ve been feeling like it was time to get in gear. And do SOMETHING. So, a few weeks ago, I called the school department in our town and asked when and how to get Jacob registered.
Local School Department Receptionist (chuckling): School registration? Gee. Not for months.
Me: Could you be a little bit more specific? I just want to make sure I don’t miss it.
Receptionist: Hey, Hal! When will we be doing registration for kindergarten?
Hal (in the background): Wonh-wa-wonh-wonh-wonh-wonh.
Receptionist: Yeah, not for months. Maybe this spring. Why don’t you check back in then?
Me: This spring . . . so maybe in April or May?
Receptionist: Okay, sure. Let’s say May.
RIGHT. Not feeling really confident about this. Just to give you some perspective, the town next to ours did their registration LAST MONTH. Lots of Jacob’s little friends live there. And their parents are currently awaiting word about which of the neighborhood schools their child will be assigned to. Apparently our district is a bit more “laid back”. So nothing to do until spring. Except . . .
Consider charter schools. Much to my husband Dan’s delight there is a charter school just down that road that provides bilingual education. You can choose the English-Spanish or English-Portuguese tracks. Half the day is taught in each language. We put in an application. And went to an open house with Jacob and our one-year-old, Emma. When I told Jacob what we would be doing that morning, he said this.
Jacob (annoyed): But I already speak Porchi-guese.
Me: Excuse me?
Jacob (saying vaguely Portuguese-sounding words): Cinco seis verd comid frango . . .
Me: Hey, Dan– Jacob already speaks Portuguese.
Dan (yelling from down the hall): Make sure you speak it at the open house.
Me (to Jacob): Please don’t.
When we got to the open house, Jacob was pretty jazzed up. Both to speak his Portuguese and tour the school. Unfortunately, first we had to sit through a slide show. I was bored. Jacob was annoyed. Mostly at the content. Which he considered to be blindingly obvious.
Presenter: This slide shows a map of the countries represented by our faculty.
Jacob (eye roll): WE KNOW. Of course THAT’S A MAP!
After several suggestions from Jacob that we “JUST LEAVE”, the slide show finally ended. (Gracas a Deus.) Then we were assigned to Mr. H, for a tour of the school. We walked into a classroom that was filled with signs, displays and books in Spanish. Right next door was an exact replica with everything in English. Bilingual immersion. Mr. H couldn’t say enough good things about the school. Or the immersion program. And just offered one caveat: he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish or Portuguese. Lost a little credibility there, Mr. H.
Jacob spent most of the tour playing with a bead necklace of mine that had broken. And jumping two footed around the Spanish classroom. When we finally left the building, I asked, “What do you think of that big kid school?” Without hesitation he said, “I think I should go THERE!” That said, the boy feeds off novelty. Strongly suspect he would have had the same reaction after touring a juvenile detention center.
So, for now, we wait. Wait to find out if Jacob got a spot at the charter school. Wait to find out if we will be moving to a new town anyway. And, wait to find out if they ever decide to open public school registration in our (current) town.
Of course, we could also consider the option of home schooling . . .
No seriously. We’ve got to get this kid registered.