Happy First Day of School

For us, summer is not quite officially over (O doesn't start school until Monday) but it certainly feels that way.

We celebrated with a Back To School Feast last night.  The kids requested home made chicken pot pie, mashed sweet potatoes, and the vanilla cake from this cookbook.  It definitely tasted like Fall.

This morning, E headed off to a brand new school for first grade.  Hopefully ending a yearlong saga of worry and concern.  We live in a city.  (I think) a great city.  In a fabulous neighborhood.  Unfortunately it is a city with a reputation for really bad schools.  We believe (and know) that they are not all bad.  And that everything is relative.  And we really hoped that our neighborhood school would work.

When E came home from her first day of Kindergarten saying she never wanted to go back and that she 'hated that place' we were concerned.  She reported that the Kindergarteners had been yelled at at lunch.  We waited.  Then she came home a couple months later looking conflicted.  Finally, after some prying, she asked "How come it's okay for my teacher say "Shut Up" but not me?"  But she loved her teacher.  And she was not getting yelled at.  Then after the winter break, she started talking about being bored with her specials.  A kid who loves art and music.  But we had no other options and while she was struggling with the envrionment she was making some good, good friends and excelling in reading and writing.

Then late last Spring we found out that they had a seat for her for first grade at a local charter school.  A highly ranked charter school.  The only one in the country to sit on the grounds of an environmental education center.  And The Dad and I sat and breathed and acknowledged once again how amazingly lucky we are.

Then we spent the summer deprogramming.  When anyone would ask her where she went to school she would say: "I'm going to ___  Charter School.  Where they're not allowed to yell or say Shut Up or Boy or Girl."  As in 'Get out of my face, BOY' or 'Sit down in your seat, GIRL.'

She had her first day of first grade today.  For Art they went outside and picked a tree ('We each got our very own special spot') and drew it.  She had a fabulous day.  No one yelled.

While I am not breathing my sigh of relief quite yet, I am almost there.  And oh so grateful.

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