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Category Archives: preschool

“I had no idea” aka “When your child enters school”

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Last year Frick was in PreK.  They played.  They sang.  They danced.  It was so much fun!  So much fun in fact that she craved more.  So we did “homework” at home.  Mind you, I’m not an educator, and I’m not very patient so God bless my cutie for actually wanted to learn with me.

This year as we were “lucky” enough to have been accepted into a Magnet School (urban speak for what suburbanites consider normal).  It’s not my neighborhood school but it holds promise.  The promise of a “better” high school, therefore a greater chance of higher scores and a great college.

Mind you the entire “selective enrollment” process is more like entering college then what you would expect for Kindergarten, it is after all just Kindergarten!  Well here in Chicago we don’t mess around when it comes to the “right schools”. It’s a two-tiered system.  You have you innocent little preschooler tested as “gifted” which are tests administered verbally by college students to preschoolers in an alien environment to ensure the best success.  Well, we did that.  I did not tutor my child in advance like some do, but we did test.  Then we filled out the paperwork requesting entry into one of the “better” schools, stood on one leg, rubbed our bellies, patted our heads and waited… and waited… and waited.

Am I crazy?  Was the question I got from an education reporter, “your neighborhood school is just fine!” Which she’s right, it is.  But according to the current information available from “those in the know” the reason parents are chomping at the bit to get into a “good” kindergarten is because this sets them on a path for success.  The chances are greater to getting in since not all parents at this age are willing to go through the process (trust me, it’s a nail biter and I did feel slightly ridiculous during the whole thing, until I received the acceptance letter).

So why am I telling you the harrowing tale?  Because you my dear, yes you with that adorable baybe pulling at your hair while you read my blog post.  And you, with a 5th grader.  And you, dad, yes you too.  We must not only be involved in our children’s education – as we show them through our actions that we care – but we must be involved in the policies.  We must learn, we must speak, we must make changes.  Or else you too will end up driving 90 minutes each way to get your little one to school in the morning.

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To be or not to be, a Latino with a degree…

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One of the many sources of pride for me is that my parents came to the states and were able to build a life for themselves, and their family, I’m sure that you can relate.

 

My Cuban father made it through grammar school before he was put to work to help provide for the family, his family focused on survival over education.

 

My Colombian mother, the youngest in her family, made it through grammar school when father (the sole provider) was killed, so again, survival overrode education.

 

The big difference is that my mom’s family has always emphasized higher education.  Most of her older sisters and brothers are both highly educated and are now educators throughout the country.  Although the means were not available to my mother, she kept this value throughout her journey in life.

 

Fast forward 40 years – did I just tell on myself?! My parents immigrated to the states, both are successful entrepreneurs, have provided for us, and all without the benefits of higher education.  My father learned in the school of hard knocks, and my mother (remember education was valued in her family) returned to school in the states after starting her family, has her GED and some college, but what about me?

 

I took my father’s path.  Yes, I made it past grammar school.  Yes, I love to learn and do so every day, but I’m not a college graduate – wait, did I write that out loud?!  Most people assume that I am, because most people are and because, thankfully, I am educated, albeit not in the traditional sense, but enough about me, what about my children?  I want them to earn a college degree.

 

The degree-less path is not a common path, nor is it an easy path, and although having a degree doesn’t guarantee you any success, it does ensure a certain amount of inclusion, and I want my children to be included in all the wonderful things life has to offer.  The love of learning starts young, as does the reverence for school.  So, I am involved.  I am involved in preschool (remember, I said it starts young?).  I volunteer; I speak to my daughter, her friends, her teachers.  I tell her that she can go to school, learn and be whatever she wants to be.  She can be a mommy and a fireperson and a doctor and an astronaut, as a matter of fact, she is Spiderman as we speak, but she has to go to school and learn to do these things.  She will have to study, it may not be easy, she will get frustrated and she will persevere. We have college funds for them both (although we are hoping for scholarships), and both my husband and I have agreed, we will do everything in our power for them to have a college degree.

 

And me?  Do I think from time to time that I should go back to school, yes, alomejor ahora es el momento.

Let them be girls!

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It amazes me that despite the fact that we all want the best for our kids, that we worry about body image with our daughters, eating right, etc., yet I have yet to see anyone comment on the fact that little girls clothes are basically womens clothes, worse yet, hoochie mama clothes…but smaller.

Perhaps I’m not reading or in touch with the right people, but really, as a mother of a 4 year old girl, that practically bought her nothing when she hit size 6 because it seems that everything was too revealing or too grown up.  Ok, not everything but damn near everything.  Seriously, I practically stopped buying her clothes.  Why would a 4 year old, or even a 9 year old need a backless halter?  Or a shirt with faux necklaces?  Or a faux wrap that accentuates their…bosom!?!?  Really, what the hell are we allowing kids clothing manufacturers to tell our little girls?  We move a step forward with campaigns embracing all body type’s like Dove’s, but then manufacturers are creating little girls clothes that I would not wear, nor do I plan to let my daughter wear at age 18, and I’ll be damned if I’m getting it for her now.

Here’s the disclaimer, I’m not a prude, I love fashion (seriously, high end editorial nothing’s practical you better be a size 0 fashion), I want to look nice, and I want my daughter to look nice, be comfortable, but I want her to look like A GIRL!  I don’t want any free fucking lip gloss with her $70 shoes!  I don’t want anything off the shoulder!  In a day and age where I worry about human trafficking, sexual predators, pedophiles and crazies in general, plus the fact that she is tall for her age, I DON’T NEED MY CHILD TO LOOK ANY OLDER THAN SHE IS.

There is plenty of time for fights over mini-skirts and ripped jeans and too tight or too suggestive clothes, that’s called her teen years.  I’m not going to deprive myself of that rite of passage by dressing her up as a totstitute?!  If I embrace it and teach her to embrace it now, what am I going to complain about later?  Ladies, speak out on this subject and let your voices count.  LET LITTLE GIRLS LOOK LIKE LITTLE GIRLS!

If anyone knows of any group that speaks to this subject, please let me know!!

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