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Showing posts from February, 2014

Choosing our Future Elementary School (Part 3)

The Final Shortlist
In part 1 of this series I shared with you my 4 main expectations from the elementary school that my girls will attend viz:

Christian faithConfident body image: Multiple career/lifestyle optionsSocial savvy  /Diversity
The first 3 criteria are easy to evaluate on paper and that's what Part 2 of this series covers. The last criteria - diversity- can only be evaluated in person. The best way to do this is by visiting the school either informally or through organised open house events. 

By the time I finished the steps highlighted in Part 2, I had a shortlist of 3 public schools - 1 Montessori, 1 traditional learning center and the 1 we were zoned to. I also had around 6 private schools that I intended to visit. My primary objective in visiting these schools was to evaluate if they were as good as they seemed on paper. I was looking for an atmosphere of respect for parents and students regardless of similarities or differences. 

This is the one step where I would say t…

Choosing our Future Elementary School (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted about the first step for choosing an elementary school for us. That first step was defining our expectations. I narrowed down my expectations to 4 and in this post, I will highlight the steps I took to evaluating how the schools available in my city met some of those expectations.

School systems
In Calgary (and most big cities) this consists of public, private and charter school systems. Depending on how they are run, charter systems combine the best parts of both the public and private school systems

School Districts
There can be one or more school districts within each of the school systems. For example, the public school system in Calgary includes the Calgary Board of Education, the Palliser school district and the Catholic School District

Now that the definitions are out of the way, here's the 10-Step program for evaluating schools

Determine which school districts we're qualified to attend and which we are not. We're not qualified to attend the Catholic Sc…

Choosing Our Future Elementary School (Part 1)

Last year, I attended the open house in 5 different private schools in Calgary. This was in preparation for the girls starting kindergarten in the fall of 2015. (Some schools in Calgary have up to 4 year wait lists hence my aggressive head-start). 

After what has been an eye-opening 12+ months, I'd like to share some snippets of what I've learnt.

Define what you want your child(ren) to gain from the schooling system
Start with the future in mind. Define "what sort of 18 year old would I want my child to be?" and work your way backwards from that point. For me, I would like my girls to be 18 year old young women who are comfortable in their Christian faith, confident in their body image, able to interact with a diverse population of people and have a world of career/lifestyle options at their feet.

Drill it down to elementary school requirements
Now that you've defined what you want in +/-15 years time, drill down to what sort of school environment would lead to that o…

Teeth at Three

The first time I took the girls to the dentist, it was a memorable event. 

They were around a year and a half and I picked them up midday and drove straight to the dentist office - no diaper bag, no nothing. (Please note that fact and my double negative!). The minute we were on the dentist's chair, the first baby had a major blowout. Then the second followed. On our FIRST visit to the dentist. I was "that" mom who didn't have diapers or anything of the sort on her. I believe that we left the appointment with the girls sorta wrapped in those stiff paper towels that grace all medical offices. Luckily for us, the dentist was a mom to 7 month old twins and I jokingly told her that she should take my experience as a preview of what life could be like. 

Memorable is the word.

Fast forward to last week and the girls had what was their 3rd or 4th dentist visit. It was fun, no cavities to report and the dentist whispered to me that even though she's supposed to "graduat…

Becoming A Drugwise Parent

I've spent the last few days mulling over the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I think his death really got to me because even though he was a popular actor, he had the aura of the everyday guy you sorta know who rides on the bus with you everyday.  My thoughts on street drugs have evolved since 2006 when I moved to the US. I no longer sit perched on a high-backed chair passing judgement that "all you need is willpower".  Not even close.   I believe addiction is a disease and sometimes willpower is a myth. With the death of Michael Jackson, I was made even more conscious of the danger of not just street drugs but also prescription drugs. The scariest part of the drug-culture is how rampant it is and how close kids can easily come to drugs. Think about this, with the naivete that surround my growing-up years in Nigeria, the first time I came across any type of street drugs (indian hemp/igbo to be precise), I was 26 years old. Contrast that to the stories we hear a…

Sugar & Spice Chronicles: BuildABear edition

First time in a Disney store
Spice: "this is so beautiful". Grabs me by the hand and tries to drag me further into the store
Sugar: "this is yuck!" Grabs my other hand to drag me out of the store

Answer to the question "what do you want for your (3rd) birthday?
Spice: pink boots
Sugar: (to blow) candles

So we had our first visit to BuildABear workshop. Someone zoomed in on the pinkest, princessiest teddy bear and her twin went for the puppy dog.

Can you guess who got what?