I Have The Middle School Blues

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I have the middle school blues. Little Jack is on the verge of middle school. The kid is almost halfway through fifth grade and I just can’t reconcile that reality with what should be happening. He was a baby last week. Really, just last week I carried that boy like a football and told him that I couldn’t wait until he was big enough to play ball and do a million other things with me.

He has always been a good kid but I never expected him to take my words so seriously. I didn’t ask him to skip being a baby or a toddler. Never thought that the day would come when he would thumb his nose at Thomas the Tank Engine. But time passed, he grew and we entered the elementary school years.

Entered the elementary school years and fell into a yearly debate about the merits of public versus private school. It was the best and worst decision ever. If ever I felt like the Sword of Damocles hung over my head it was during those decision making periods.

This post should really be accompanied by a harmonica and or guitar but I’ll opt for a simple video intermission. Take the Long Way Home By Supertramp feels appropriate.

His current school goes through sixth grade so at best we have one more year there. But I am wrestling with what to do and wondering if next year is the time to pull him out and start him in a public school.  That public school is a mixed bag. The LA Unified school district isn’t what it was when I was a student but it is not all bad either. The trick is trying to find a good school and then figure out how to get him in there.

On the other hand he has received a stellar education at his current school and there is much to be said for letting him finish what he started. But I can’t ignore the financial concerns or the need to try and do the same for his sister. I never want them to be able to say that one received better treatment than the other. They’ll do that naturally because kids say that.

I know because my siblings and I all said it to our parents. It wasn’t true. My sisters got to do some thing that I didn’t and I got to do some things that they didn’t. Won’t ever find something that is equal all the way down the line but I am ok with that.

So now I am taking the long way home and singing the middle school blues. I am confident that we will work something out and that in the end all will go well but I am not naive enough to believe that it will happen without some planning and thought.

Damn, I hate these middle school blues. Maybe a brand wants me to their official dad blogger and in return they will pay for my childrens’ education. Look at the cars that the Nascar drivers push around the track. Pay for their education and I’ll let you turn my car into a moving ad. Come on companies, who wants to pony up to the table and help me stop singing the middle school blues.

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  1. Leon Noone December 1, 2011 at 8:51 am

    G’Day Jack,
    Some 30 years ago our eldest, going into grade seven had the opportunity to spend one year in a class for “bright” children.

    As we both grew up in a different State, my wife and I knew little about it. We consulted friends and teachers and found opinion was divided. Her Headmaster hated the idea, That was understandable. He didn’t like losing his “best” students in their final year in his primary-Grade-school.

    So we asked Katrina herself. She said she wanted to go because her best friend was going. Made sense to us.

    When I told her Headmaster he was positively apopleptic. “But she’s only a child!” he exclaimed. “She can’t make those sorts of decisions” When that happened we knew we’d made the right choice.

    Ask your boy Jack. It’s his life. He might even say that he’s happy for you to choose. Sometimes we parents, as we try to do the best for our children, make decisions on their behalf that they’re perfectly capable of making themselves for their own good reasons.

    Incidentally, Katrina had a great year. We were so pleased that when the same opportunity was presented for our youngest a few years later we agreed immediately.

    It’s all part of the fun of parenthood!


    • Jack December 1, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Leon,

      I already know his answer. Given a choice he would stay there all the way through high school and college.

      It is primarily a financial concern- tuition isn’t cheap. I am confident that it will work out, but heck it is a pain in the butt figuring it out.

  2. Lisa Carri December 1, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Im having similar blues. My twin girls are the same age and are heading to middle school next year. I wonder what happened to the babies they were just 5 minutes ago and terrified for the drama that goes along with middle school. I say if you are considering moving your son to public school then do it when all the other kids move to that building. When everyone is the new kid, it won’t be as painful.

    • Jack December 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      I have considered that. There is something to be said for moving him when so many others are starting.

      I have to ask my parents if they remember feeling like we were more advanced than they were. I am curious.

      It is an exciting yet crazy time.

  3. Betsy Cross December 1, 2011 at 3:23 am

    That’s a tough one. All but one of us got to go to private boarding school. My grandparents paid for most of it. Some scholarships helped.
    My kids ALL struggled through 7th and 8th grade. NOTHING helped. Some just have a calmer temperament. But the hormones win most of if not influence most of the battles.
    I like to see a kid see something missing in what’s offered and do THEIR best to fill that gap. Difficult, but possible and more in line with real life.
    The only thing that I liked about private school over public was the emphasis on the arts. They always had a budget for that!

    • Jack December 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      Private boarding school sounds like it was quite interesting. I have to imagine that there are a lot of good stories tied into that.

      I am sort of expecting/wondering what sort of children I’ll have during those years. Some of my friends say that it is like aliens take over the kids briefly but that eventually you get them back.

      The arts programs at their current school is one of the things that I love about it.

  4. Julie November 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Leave him in private school if you believe he will go to college or into business. Changing at this age is rough (I hate to bring this up, but puberty and all). You will have the money. I am fighting my own battle in this regard.

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