People often ask me, “Does school size matter?” In a nutshell…yes, school size matters.
Historically large schools (especially for middle and high school) have been the norm for many reasons. A school building, in and of itself, is expensive to operate and maintain. So the fewer buildings that a district has to pay for, the less capital outlay it is for the district. Secondly, the more students in one building, the more funding for that school. The more students in the school, the more likely it is that the school can offer a robust number of programs. In other words, the more students, it’s more likely that you’ll have a better football team, basketball team, and even a math team.
Despite some of the positives of a large school, sometimes in a large school setting, it’s too easy for a student to get lost. Particularly, students who don’t fit the norm and are not well assimilated into school, for whatever reason. My high school graduating class was roughly 170 students. A high school that wasn’t too far away had 1,000 students per graduating class. Take a minute to think about that from a student to teacher/adult ratio. Of course, large schools have more staff members, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer students fall through the cracks.
So why do I think that school size matters?
While classrooms have evolved quite a bit over the past few decades, in many cases, classroom furniture has not. It’s a typical scene from a school classroom: children sit for hours at a time in hard-backed chairs from decades past, arching their backs at unnatural angles, writing in workbooks or reading at outdated school desks, which lack all the comforts of modern ones.
It’s also a scene that some parents have become concerned about, due to the toll this sort of posture exerts on children’s spines and backs throughout their childhood and in later years. Tips on ‘sitting properly’ from an ergonomics perspective tell us that how most children sit in classrooms isn’t correct:
• The lower leg should be vertical to the floor, the thigh horizontal.
• The lower arms should be resting on the desktop in a relaxed position.
• Desks and scholastic furniture should be height adjustable.
One of my nephews, whom I will refer to as Thor (because he loves the movie character), was born at the end of September. His older sister, whom I will refer to as Rachel Alexandra (because she loves horses), was also born at the end of September.
Neither of them made the September 1 cut off for Kindergarten in their public school district. Both tested for Kindergarten readiness in the month of May after they turned four, and both were accepted to start a year ahead of schedule. My sister and brother-in-law decided to start Rachel Alexandra early and to start Thor on schedule.
Fast forward two years. Rachel Alexandra is not only able to keep up with her grade level peers (who are all a year older) but also has been and continues to participate in the accelerated academics program. Thor is well above his grade level peers both academically and in physical stature and participates in the accelerated academics program.
It happens every year. The school supply list is mailed to your home in the summer and this year it seems it will even bigger than the last one, even if your child is only in elementary school. I know it’s pretty early in the year to bring this up, but better a bit too early than too late.
For some families, the back to school supply list can take an unwelcome bite out of that month’s income, but there are ways to be a smarter school shopper and lessen the financial impact of that huge school supply list.
Check What Your Kids Still Have
Just because a book bag is right there at the top of your child’s school supply list does not mean that you have to buy them a brand new one every September. Instead of giving in to your kids’ whims and buying that flimsy Justin Bieber or Transformers book bag that will be in vogue for approximately fifteen minutes, invest in a good quality, sturdy and durable book bag that will last longer than just a single school year.
Lands End and Jansport both make great quality book bags that are designed to last and remain to look good for the length of their useful life. They are stylish but not flashy and they will last through several school years, not just one.
I’m now into educating my youngest one to let me talk to people in peace. She always interrupts me and it’s annoying, as you might understand.
One of my fears of dating somebody new is that when they’ll be around me and my little one, they might be horrified at how I let her boss me around, interrupt me and make me do things at any time. My girl is not that bad, maybe, but I’m afraid of this.
Children are usually jealous of their mother giving attention to other people, especially when they see some flirtation going on, but I’m afraid that single children from single moms suffer more of this. It’s really a LOT of attachment between us, being just us most of the time, so it can be quite intense.