Saturday, August 06, 2016

Just a Little Thing...

That's right. I'm taking a moment in the midst of my/our summer-of-theater craziness to let y'all know just a little thing...

Drumroll please...

Sweetie got into her dream school!!!

The specialized STEM-based charter school I've mentioned before? The one that's highly rated in not only our state, but the entire country? The one where the admission process is purely lottery-based and - as we found out back in early spring - Sweetie did NOT get into? Yeah - that one!

The email came just over a week ago. I was the only one home to receive this and I could hardly believe my eyes. I immediately called Hubby and together we were in shock. How did she go from the far back end of the pack in a grouping where only 3 incoming 8th graders were admitted, to now being asked to attend?! And what was Sweetie going to think of this? Originally, this was the school for her, in her eyes, and she was super excited to apply. However, knowing that she did not end up getting in, she pretty well accepted the fate, knew that she'd try again for 9th grade, and in the meantime would be happy still to be at her home school with her good friends. Still a win! But now! This complete 180! Would she be happy? Would she be resistant, since she had no notice and no chance to say a proper goodbye to her current school friends? Just WWSD?!

Alas, we wouldn't know for several hours. At the time, Sweetie was at play practice for one show, followed immediately by a matinee performance of the other show she was in (which my mom and I attended, both knowing full well this exciting turn of events, but both swearing that we'd keep this info to ourselves for the time being). I happened to see Sweetie, in fact, a few times before she performed, but I was not about to tell her anything this profound right then... she needed to focus on the task at hand and I didn't want to give her any distractions.

But then, of course, I had to go off to my evening job, which doesn't get me home until close to 8:30 pm. Hubby promised that he wouldn't tell her either, until I was home. This was a family moment and a family decision. Of course, Hubby and I already knew that Sweetie pretty much had to accept the offer and go to this new school. Again, we just weren't quite sure what her reaction would be. We, as her parents, could always make her go, whether she wanted to or not. But - no... at this school, with this work load, and this high standard placed on academics... we knew Sweetie had to be fully and happily onboard with switching her education to this new environment.

And - long story short(er) - she was/is fully and happily onboard! Her only slightly negative/sad comment when we told her, after settling from the shock of it a bit, was that she didn't get to say goodbye to her friends at school. Not that she wouldn't switch because she didn't get proper closure - but just that it is sad it didn't happen for her. Yes, Sweetie. That is sad. But we will work hard to keep you in touch with and able to get together with your in-town friends as much as we possibly can. Starting with a bonfire at the end of the summer for you and all your friends from school and your after school program, and also inviting your bestie along with us when we go away for the weekend in September. Friendships are important, and we know you'll make many new friends at your new school! But maintaining those you have is equally as important and we will help you in any way we can to make sure those connections you've made are not lost (or only now maintained through technology and social media.)

So! Sweetie is changing schools! To a great school! Dedicated to the subjects she loves and wishes to pursue further. I've always driven her to school anyway, and this new school starts later than our town school does. So we'll basically have to leave in the morning at the same time we always have. But her new school gets out later. That may be trickier to manage, but I will have time to pick her up before my evening work, and we have friends and family and a school carpool system that can help us as we see the need arise.

Yeah. Just one little thing. Changing schools. Kids often do it anyway when moving up from Middle to High School. Sweetie's just doing it 1 year earlier. The rest of our lives go on unchanged...

...Or do they?

Hubby and I have said since the day Sweetie applied that, if she were to get into this school, that would give us an easy out of our current living situation. We are not fans of our current living situation. We moved here in a hurry and took what we could quickly find. It's been fine. But, no, we are not fans. And kids attending this new school of Sweetie's can live anywhere in the state! So, if she got in, we would easily have an excuse to move without any upheaval to her schooling. Plus, if we moved further south just a bit, Hubby would be that much closer to where he most often travels for work. That would put us closer to Sweetie's new school, and closer to my evening job's location too. Huh. And looky there! Sweetie did get into this school! Time to start looking for new digs!

Moving would not only be good for being closer to our most-often-travelled-to destinations, but would also - theoretically - give us more space to spread out in. Sweetie is going to have a lot more homework than she is used to. This new school of hers is intense in their academics and promises students about 4 hours+ of homework each night. Where we currently live is not conducive to allowing Sweetie her own space for working, while also allowing Hubby and I to go on with what we want or need to do for the evening. Basically, we are all together all the time in our current, tiny living quarters. If Sweetie has homework, she is at the dining room table, which is right in the same room as the living room and TV where Hubby and I are. Maybe we want to watch something! Maybe we want to talk! But Sweetie is doing her work and needs quiet. And so, it's a quiet night for all of us. That situation has got to change. Moving, to the right place of course, would allow for this.

Of course, in our current situation, Sweetie could just go up to her room to do her work. And, in fact, that is exactly what she is going to have to do. But that's not entirely ideal either. I actually want to be able to keep tabs on her as she works, so I see she's working and not becoming distracted. Plus, if she needs access to a computer, as I imagine she often will - well, then she has to use our one and only family computer, which is in our living room. Perhaps if we moved we could find a better location for the computer that puts it in its own separate space, but yet is accessible enough on a regular basis for all our use. At any rate - our current living situation is entirely too small and cramped for we three.

Not to mention, if Sweetie for some reason decides that this new school is not for her in the end, we prefer to be in a town that has a much better school than where we currently live. A town where their STEM program is impressive and challenging. I know other towns close by to where we currently are that fit this bill. But, we have to live in such a town for Sweetie to fall back on that school system. Put another CHECK in the "reasons we have to move" column!

So, new school = moving. Not immediately or anything. Definitely a casual sort of looking around, though. On our own time, this time. That's it. Or?...

You know that evening job I've been mentioning? Well, with Sweetie now about to embark on a much tougher school than she's used to, I'm feeling more than ever that it would be beneficial for me to be available to her in the evenings. As it stands, she will have to often fend for herself until her dad gets home - which is also usually pretty late. But if she had a parent home more regularly in the after school/evening hours, I think that would be best. Not that I nor Hubby would be able to actually help her with her homework. We are decidedly not math and science people! But just to be there. To listen when she needs an ear, to guide where we can guide, and to provide a regular, at home routine for her after school working hours that are not interrupted by being picked up from a grandparents' house or some such place where she's been instead. Yeah. Not working at my evening job would be great.

But - we desperately need the money. I'd have to replace the job with some other employment. And, of course, that other employment could make life difficult to impossible to continue the other jobs I have and love. And, you know, for as much as I don't love working evenings, I do really like this job, as well as the other jobs I have. And they all currently fit very well together and allow me a great daytime schedule where I'm easily accessible to Sweetie if needed. So, there's that. Looking for a new job would probably be good for me to do, but looking for a job doesn't mean one will come along quickly. Or that I'd even be hired. And, what I've got now really isn't so bad, in the grand scheme of things. But... it's all just something to think about. Just one more little thing...

And, of course, Sweetie is going to have to take on a whole new focus on school. Mind you, she's always been a good student. She never fusses about getting right to her homework after school. And - whatever the subject - she does her best to do her best. And it's paid off! She usually makes straight A's, if not maybe sprinkled with a few B+'s or B's. She made the National Junior Honor Society last year. She's a good kid with a good head on shoulders for academics, and is comfortable with her position as a top kid - grade-wise - in her "small pond" of a town school. But now she's moving on to where she needs to realize it's going to take a lot more effort to reach that same status. And to get somewhat lesser grades in this new "pond" will be just as impressive as what she's been doing all along. It will take a lot more effort to get those somewhat lesser grades. But Sweetie will do okay. She really does view her school work like a job. Never questioning or complaining that it's got to get done, but hunkering down and just doing it, to the best of her abilities. I'm sure that will continue on at this new school.

She will also have to join a new Destination Imagination team! When we reminded her of this - pointing out that she wouldn't be able to stick with the team she's been with since 2nd grade (granted, only one other girl on that team - one of Sweetie's good friends - has been with her all those years on this team. Other members switching in and out all the time), we though she'd be sad. And she was, a little. But mostly she was excited to join a team that is - theoretically - more focused and bonded and ready to tackle the more science-based challenges. Sweetie's team started off doing the Engineering challenge way back when, and they did pretty well with it. But then the team and the team dynamics changed and they moved more towards the arts based challenges. I think - we all think - Sweetie should get back into the more science-y challenges. And, because all of them require creativity and theatrics to do well, Sweetie assures us that she can help her new "all science-y" team improve their artistic component of the challenge, what with her love of and talent for art, and her experience in theater. Yes, you can, Sweetie! I'm excited to see how far you and your new team can go!

One more thing - Sweetie's new school does not offer Physical Education classes, but they require them. Just the minimum required by the state, so it's not much, but it's something. So, to that end, Sweetie will have to engage in some sort of physical education along the way before graduating. This is a new concept to her. Well, of course she's used to gym in school, but she's always disliked it and never felt comfortable there. She's just not a sporty type. But now, she'll have to pick some sort of physical class or team to be a part of to earn the credit. We are thinking martial arts. It would do her a world of good, we think, and Sweetie actually seems interested in and a bit excited about it. But - it can wait, for now. For now, she needs to just settle into the school and get her bearings on the academics and the overall school environment. Extra curricular will come. She does plan on being a part of DI right away, so that is enough. For now. Even acting will most likely have to take a back seat for right now (we usually let her do the fall musical at the local Boys and Girls Club, since it's usually done and over with before DI kicks in). But - we'll see. I know her new school has an active drama club. Perhaps that is something she can get involved in along the way.

So, yeah. Just one little thing. One great "little" thing! That's having a big impact on not just Sweetie's life, but all of our lives.

One thing's for sure, though. It's going to be one heck of an adventure! So excited to take this ride with her and see where it lands not only Sweetie, but all of us.

Let the ride begin!