The schools--- what am I going to do about the schools!!!!?????

The schools in Mexico really have a bad wrap.  I mean it is not hard to see why.  The schools in most smaller towns  are so tragic that the idea of University to most kids is ridiculous.  Now- to be fair- that is true for countless districts in the US as well.  But one thing that drives me crazy about here is that the people that are supposed to be the ones that care the most and that there to do it the most are the people that make it the hardest. 

I cannot tell  you how many days I have gone to pick up one of the kids at school and been informed that there is simply no class tomorrow.  Not that there is no school- but that Lena;s class will not be there.  I do not understand this.  I can see it a little bit- but really?  All the time and for days at at time??? Now I thought that this was  little more isolated to Tulum but no- this is just the way a lot of people run their schools.  It seems that if the teacher is not available then no one is called in.  This was totally reiterated in my friends blog post about her son's school.  Leslie Limon retells the perfect story to demonstrate my point.  If you have not ready it yet- read it and you will understand our frustrations.  You can read it HERE!

So after my annoyance fit of being told that my daughter did not have school for the rest of the  week (it was Tuesday when we were told) my question was... well, what should we do with them at home?  In the meantime?  You know... what lessons or homework in the mean time?  They looked at me like I was crazy.  Now granted I am always viewed as a little crazy here.

I have always wanted to do homeschooling and I do do some lessons.  I do not have the faith in my abilities not to loose my mind to do it full time.  Plus I need those 3 hours of sanity to at least TRY to write something or at least clean the house.  But when it comes to homeschooling- I do not even know where to start.  We do some good activities and stuff - and I know some really great websites with learning games and my mom bought me some reader rabbit games for the kids. 

But my prayers were answered the other day when I went to a meeting at Akilean's school.  The first part was talking about parents being more involved and participating more in the school and with the teacher.  It cannot be separate.  I totally agree- and luckily the teachers at my son's school really work with me when I ask questions or want to know what is going on.  And Lena's teacher is great too.   He has taught her to read. and she is a wiz at math.  But day s off at a time and nothing to do? 

With Akilean we have a little different of a problem.  He is a little more advanced then the other kids in his class.  He finishes his work very quickly and then is just sitting around.  That leads to acting up- One of the reasons for this is that he went to Montessori preschool for almost 3 years before we left the USA.  He plays with Lena and she is teaching him how to read.  We are trying to get him to go straight into 1st grade next year- ifhe passes the test great- but because of his age they are saying no!  He needs more to do? he is so curious and smart. 

In this meeting they were also talking about the TV and how it needs to get turned off.  Of course kids attention problems- they watch like 4 hours of TV a day.  This goes for all of the Novellas as well.  Kids are seeing things that they should not be seeing.  And novellas in Mexico are not subtle. This is one area we are doing well on.  We got rid of cable  a few months back and I love it.  The kids hardly miss it.  If there is a show I or they really want to watch- we can usually find it on line. 

The last part of the meeting was talking about a new campaign that the Education Dept was doing. In combination with SISEP - a group that is working to improve the quality and level of education in various communities.   They have developed these books.  These books outline everything that a student needs to know to graduate from that class level. Each book is designed for a specific grade and broken down into subject.  Spanish - Math- Natural Science- Social Studies- Civics and Gov't- History.  They are hard bound and fully colored.  I was really impressed with them.  There are also little exams and such to help guide what the kids are getting or not getting. There is also an atlas book that outlines every continent and country in that continent.  There are also 6 disks with even more info. 

Anyway. Long story short- I really want these.  They are expensive- well- not really when priced out but for here especially.  if you do it in payments of 250 pesos/ paycheck for 19 paychecks it would be 4,750 pesos.  If you do 2 payments each of 1,800 pesos then it is only 3,600.   I am doing everything I can to come up with this.  Yes- I want them.  If you pay it all you also get 8 paper back dictonaries broken down by subject.  I know it is expensive- but for 1 I think the product is worth it and I am one of the cheapest people on the planet.  Plus it is only 150 dollars per kid for all 6 grade levels.  And these are not work books these are like encyclopedias that are grade specific.

I know what a lot of people say- you have the internet- and yes that is true- but I do not even know what information we should be looking up.  And second of all- there is simply something about looking things up in a book.  I remember my family had these encyclopedias when I was growing up.  I loved them. I still remember moments of when I learned something from them.  Well, anyway.  I have never done this before but when I need help- I ask for it.  I am trying to come up with 1,800 pesos.  I can come up with the 2nd payment for the end of June no problem- but the first one is in just a few days and the first paycheck of the month is always spoken for with household needs. 

So although I am being ballsy and tacky - I am asking for help- anyone who wants to help me buy these for my kids- any help is greatly appreciated. You can donate via paypal at the button above- you can specify Books so it does not confused with the school project. -

 I know this is really tacky but- well, what can I do- I am a little tacky!

9 comments:

Calypso said...

Homeschooling - the best education available. We home schooled our son for his entire education - he is 19 years old now making a six figure income in Los Angeles; without $200,000 + college debt to payoff.

The skills needed to educate are over rated - let your child(ren) work at their own pace. Provide a computer - Internet - and visit the library a lot.

Teach life skills by getting your child involved with banking, shopping, home repairs, cooking, watching the news, trip planning etc. Keep an eye open for what interests your child and help nurture those interests/skills

They are sponges that only need to be pointed in the right direction.

We tried several 'programs' for home schooling and found our more simple and direct method worked much better. Save your money - save yourselves - get involved and you will be amazed how your child will excel compared to 'normal' school attendees.

Ritamg said...

I have no idea how often school is called off, but here is a little insight. As you know, teachers are not paid well just like majority of the regular worker bees in Mexico. If a teacher is absent he/she must pay for the substitute assuming a qualified person can be found. After working in Mexico this past school year, I getting over the shock realizing that if parents don't give supplies for the classroom, then teachers have to pay out of their own pocket. We are not given a budget like in the USA. Also, all training is unpaid and in some cases, teachers have to pay for their training. In your situation, homeschooling would be the best. You'll get plenty of help with your state's curriculum and being in a class of 1, they will learn much faster. With a US high school diploma, they may be able to attend university much easier and get funding through scholarships and loans.

Amanda said...

I just want to say I hope you can find a good solution here.
Calypso I do have a question, because I agree with what you are saying but to get into a college dont you have to show some sort of a diploma even if you were homeschooled. This is something Iv been wondering if we do home school will they need this diploma?

Leslie Limon said...

Those books sound like a great investment. You could work with them on those days when the kiddies don't have class or whenever.

There are also workbooks available at papelerias and/or some newsstands, that cover the entire year of what the kiddies "should have" learned for all grades. I use those during Summer vacation so the kids can review what they learned. :)

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

Calypso: I totally agree that we as parents need to use the real world situations as wonderful teaching guides. I need to stop being lazy in this regard. We have moments- but not enough.

Ritmag: You are right that the teachers are not taken care of like they should be. That is true n a lot of places but here as well. But I will say that calling off school for several days at a time - several weeks in a row. I can say that my daughter has easily had over 3 months off of school (that is not including Christmas or Easter weeks) Becuase the sub is not called in Here in the municipalities- the teachers are unionized- a teacher is granted 9 days off- I can see that - But if they are going to be gone longer- it is the Union that needs to provide the other teacher- unless the teacher is gone for personal (non-covered) reasons-

The Gov't of Mexico has set it up better then the way it is run on the ground level. I am not sure where you taught but here the teachers union covers that cost. That is one of the reasons I really want these books- I can do lessons at home to add to school- but I have no idea where to start.

Amnda- Here in Mexico at least here in Q.Roo- if you home school you have to take exit exams. I know that there are exams and what not in the states too. I need them to go to school because I need the sanity of 2 hours at the house- but need to do hmeschooling also- Plus they are doing lessons in English and these books are the perfect out.line.

Leslie- I have seen the workbooks- but I am never quite sure wha facts to point out. At what level which facts are introduced. Oh well. It is all a learning curve.

Ritamg said...

I've never worked for the federal schools. At our private school if we are sick we pay for the sub. We are not unionized. Someone told me the federal teachers also paid for their subs but they could be wrong. But that's messed up if a teacher is gone that much unless there is a serious medical issue or something. My friend was homeschooled and she received a high school diploma. She went through a school in Chicago and lived in Cedar Rapids. I would start with your parent's school district. I am not a homeschooling expert but I think most districts have a program. And you can use it to make sure your children grow up to read and write English which I know is not taught well in the federal schools. Homeschooling is not a 6 hour job so they can also go to the intermittent federal school to give yourself a break. I can totally understand your need for that! My students in Reynosa go to school for 8 hours a day! That's why I don't give homework. They are exhausted after a long day of school plus all their other activities. I make them work hard at school but after 3 PM it is their time to be kids!

Sunshine said...

Because you are a US citizen you dont have to go with the exit exams in your state! You can go by your home state in the USA for homeschool guidelines. I also understand the need for time alone...or a "break". What about dance class or karate class for a break.
My 5 yo has never been to school and we are faced with the choice to put him in private school here in Reynosa or homeschool him. I'm not sure what to do! Homeschooling seems so much easier than anything right now! You can also purchase homeschool curriculum from the US for about the same price as what these other books are costing you! Something to really check into! I have some websites that you can check out if you need to know more info about homeschooling. John Holt has several books about home education. Look him up online!
Good Luck!

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

Sunshine- I do love the classes of ballet and karate. My kids are both in both. The classes however are only 1 hour and 1.5 hours. Unfortunatly- not much of a break. But I do get t use that time to work. I go to the park and write a bit or go and try to get clients for my calendar.

I think what it comes down to is that I need about 7 more hours in my day. But ones where I float away on a cloud to an office in the sky! jajajaa sounds good- but somehow unrealistic.

artis mooney said...

homeschool - or lifeschool as i prefer to call it! you can totally do it! can't go into detail now, but if you want to dialogue on this, email me. have a look at my blog too, there's some thoughts on it there - boundlessvoice.com .
you live in the perfect place for it, in some ways! thanks again so much for watching our kids - they had a blast with your tribe! love, artis

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