Needless to say, I've had some time to prepare for this. I actively worked at it. I spent some time making B a really nice photo book of his school pictures and memories from his elementary school years. I organized his work, got rid of what I could, kept myself busy with starting to get him ready for middle school. (Are you ever really ready for middle school?) It was therapeutic in a way. Since we moved back from New York, I went through a huge, traumatic "MY CHILD IS GROWING UP WHY CAN'T I STOP TIME I'M NOT READY FOR THIS" downward spiral, and then I slowly climbed back up again. I'm okay now. I'm not dreaming about missing his little baby cheeks and hands anymore. I'm coping slightly better with the whole puberty thing. I'm being more understanding about the changes he's going through and more outwardly positive about the future. Do I feel mature enough to have a middle schooler? No way. And yet, maybe. I don't feel old enough, obviously, but I have a very "BRING IT ON" attitude about it now. I'm less afraid. I think I'm being more supportive than ever because I'm better equipped to be than I was when I was struggling to get through college and grad school. Thank god I got that out of the way before he hit 6th grade, right?
We had some pretty stellar luck in 5th grade. We were able to find one of the very-limited-and-hard-to-get-but-affordable condos in a very upscale suburb with fantastic schools. I just happened to drive by it on the day it went up for rent, we pounced and got it that day. That was a little over a year ago and it has been so good for us, despite my culture shock at having to live in the suburbs and missing my beloved Brooklyn. We signed B up for the awesome, highly rated school we are zoned for and then were told that school was overbooked and he would have to go to a different one, one that was less distinguished but had a certain charm I couldn't put my finger on. Wow, did that turn out to be the best possible turn of events. Pinkerton Elementary was the perfect fit for B and gave us the best year he's had since Kindergarten, when he was still in private school. He's always been a straight A student, but rarely has he thrived like this in public school. Pinkerton is becoming an IB school and introduced that curriculum this year. I won't go into all that, but just check this out:
Our goal at Pinkerton is for all students to have experiences that build positive attitudes, a deep understanding of who they are, what their interests entail, and how they can contribute to an international society.
Through guided inquiry and trans-disciplinary units, students will be challenged to set their own goals for learning and play an active role in the learning process. Our teachers facilitate this learning by asking guiding questions and challenging students to be creators of knowledge through technology and real-world application.
His classroom this year was a place for topical discussion, question-driven learning, Spanish lessons, tending a garden, building a mock business, and learning responsibility. His teacher was one of those humans who is born to be a teacher and she gave so much of herself to the class. Pinkerton does not have a discipline model in place, allows kids to bring their iPhones and tablets to class (as long as they use them responsibily), and offers a lot of fun days and perks. It sounds weird, but I swear the kids were better behaved and tighter-knit than any classes B's ever been in. What a great year.
The end of the year was a lot of fun, and the 5th graders were celebrated with a graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Each of the three teachers said a few words and the kids got to walk across the stage while their teachers said something about them. B's teacher spoke about her special class this year, and began to cry as she said, "I don't want to let you go." I know how she feels and I cried right along with her. (I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.) My smart kiddo finished up the year with straight A's (two 100s!) and a nice group of friends. We ate lunch in his class room and stuck around for the school talent show (which he refused to participate in, and then majorly regretted -- just as I told him he would). He did get his moment, though. At the end of the show, the entire 5th grade stormed the stage and did the Harlem Shake complete with confetti and silly string. It was ridiculous.
Yesterday they had a half day to clean out their desks and say goodbyes, and then his friend Joshua's parents threw a pool party for the whole 5th grade. They had endless pizza, a sno cone machine, a photo booth, games, and a candy bar (a full spread like you see at weddings). I had no idea this was a thing, but it was awesome, the best possible way to say hello to summer!
So yeah, I'm all mommed out with a preteen and no clue what I'm doing, but it's good. Bring on the summer!