Middle School

wpid-972123_10153160297445215_848467249_n.jpgMiddle. School.

I almost feel as if that’s all I really need to say. Worse years of most people’s life and for kid it’s starting… now.

Middle School.

I’m something of a Free Range parent. I believe that it’s my job as a parent to produce children who are ready willing and able to take care of themselves by the time they graduate from high school. That we are on that journey to readiness with every baby step we take today and tomorrow and the next day. (Insert long story of how I left home at 18 and never looked back blah blah blah)

Anyway, Middle. School.

Turns out that the choice to go to our designated middle school was a bit of a Free Range decision. We sit just 100 yards shy of the border for the actual geographically closest middle school and instead are boundried for one that is 5 times farther away. This freaks people out.

Those measures are as the crow flies.. as the car drives it takes about the same amount of time to reach either. This is caused by the face that a major interstate highway that runs right beside the middle school as well. So the while the route to closer school is less than 1.5 miles with red lights and traffic, it takes the same 10 minutes that covering the 6 miles on the highway does.

Still – it freaks suburban people out that their kids are going to go to school in some one else’s neighborhood other than their own.

I don’t mean it’s a bad neighborhood, We are not talking inner city busing, not even close. I’m talking about the fact that they are going to school on the other side of the mall and a golf course.  Because that is what is between here and there. A upscale mall, and a members only golf course and accompanying houses. Seriously.

Still there are vague horror stories that no one can validate or speak to that this school is “rough.”  Rough? They don’t even let the kids go to the lockers at the same times because they are afraid the top row kids will drop a book on the bottom row kids?

Insert rights-of-passage diatribe.

Rough? I’ve seen no evidence of it so far. But still half of Puddin’s fifth grade class was shipped off to private or magnet schools – which are in the inner city of the nation’s highest crime ridden downtowns – rather than go to this school on the other side of the flipping mall and golf course.  Half!

My next door neighbor while agreeing to the common sense of the argument above is still refusing to let her kid ride the bus. The bus might be rough. Rough? It has two other stops before us, both of which are one street away and right between us and the elementary school they just completed – meaning every kid on that bus went to the same elementary school with them in the last 3 years. It’s our neighbors kids! Did these formerly just-like-our-kids children convert to thugs in the last 2 to 3 years? Rough!


Anyway. Middle School I’ve decided is mostly made of up of parents projecting their own fears and worries on to their children. If we tell them it’s going to awful, and rough, and socially hard they will believe us. If we hand them a book called “The Worst Years of my Life” how can we be surprised when they expect them to be the worst years of their lives? (Transparency moment – my kid owns that book although she has not read it)

So I’ve decided that Middle School is no big deal. That’s how we are playing it.

In fact, it’s awesome. A place of new beginnings. The first opportunity, of many, in life she’ll have to redefine herself on her own terms. A place to meet new people and expand her world and boundaries. Where sports will be played and dances will be danced. Sure there might be mean girls but there will also be cute boys, and good friends, and school newspapers, and technology classes and science labs. So much more likelihood for cool things than lame if you only look for it to be that way.

So we’re putting that out there – we love Middle School. We are excited about Middle School.

Middle School is going to Rock!


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