How The Other Classmate Lives: A Field Trip

I got an email a few months ago from my son’s Room Parent at The Willows School telling me the kids would be taking a field trip to a classmate’s house on the Westside to see their horse ranch. This classmate is the child of a board member. I was speechless. There was little information provided except that the trip tied into the novels about horses they were reading in class. Really?

 

Those of you with kids at L.A. private schools know there are some very wealthy families at these schools. It comes with the territory and if your kid become friends with theirs, you might glimpse a life that’s very different than your own (or maybe not). But, most school field trips are to museums, Watts Towers, the beach, The Aquarium and other historic and/or meaningful, educational venues. Most of the school’s previous field trips were excellent. Never had I questioned the purpose of any of them.

 

I wondered if this field trip would offer any learning opportunities like having a vet discuss the anatomy of a horse or something like that. Or, would it simply be a show-off trip to see how another well-off classmate lives?

 

Thinking about some of the kids who live in apartments or normal size homes, I thought about the message this trip would send to them. What useful purpose would it serve? A few moms of girls worried about the “Queen Bees and Wannabes” mean girl syndrome a trip like this could perpetuate.

 

I thought about scheduling a dentist appointment for my son the morning of the trip. I considered calling the school to inquire about whether there would be any learning opportunities beyond petting a horse on the trip. My better judgement prevailed. Calling the school would only cause me problems. I’d never get a real answer. Besides, I knew the real reason.

 

My son went on the field trip. When I asked him how it was, he told me it was “dumb.” “We petted horses and watched the board member/homeowner’s daughter ride her horse,” he told me. Lunch, he explained laughing, consisted of bacon, hardboiled eggs and fruit, served by a private chef. My guess is that *somebody* at the house was on a high protein diet and thought the kids should be too.

 

What my son learned from the trip isn’t something I could have told him. He learned an important life lesson by going on the field trip. I’m so glad he went.

 

 

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Weekend Links: Gifted Education, Tuition, Photos and More!

The Second Edition. September 2013.
The Second Edition of Beyond The Brochure. September 2013.

Analytical learning rather than rote memorization is a new trend in education. Really interesting piece about a the subject. Sometimes, this debate gets mistakenly discussed as traditional vs. progressive schools. (Newsweek/The Daily Beast)

 

How gifted education is interpreted at Steven S. Wise Elementary School (Launch Education Group)

 

Pasadena private schools and parents find ways to deal with tuition in the weak economy. This article is from 2010, but since there is very little coverage of private schools, its still helpful. Pasadena Private School Tuition: A Tuition Math Tutorial (Pasadena Weekly)

 

The vast majority of L.A. private elementary schools group kids by ability. The differences between schools tend to be how formal the groups are and whether they allow movement into the groups throughout the year. Grouping kids by ability is back. (NY Times blog)

 

Why Perfection Is Not Perfect. Encouraging failure is a good thing. For kids, recovery from failure encourages risk taking. (Psychology Today)

 

Here’s a cool new math app for iPad. Zorbit’s Math Adventures is for preschool and kindergarten age kids and looks super-fun.

 

At Club Mom Me "Moms Night Out" Loved the MommyJuice Wines!
At Club Mom Me “Moms Night Out” Loved the MommyJuice Wines! At Kidville Brentwood
Jill Smoker and Christina Simon at Club Mom Me event for launch of Jill's (Scary Mommy)new book, "Motherhood Comes Naturally and Other Vicious Lies' at Kidville Brentwood.
Jill Smoker and Christina Simon at Club Mom Me event for launch of Jill’s (Scary Mommy)new book, “Motherhood Comes Naturally and Other Vicious Lies’ at Kidville Brentwood.
Christina and Porcha at Children Mending Hearts event, Bel Air.
Christina and Porcha at Children Mending Hearts event, Bel Air.
With my daughter and Porcha. Supporting charity to raise money to send low-income kids to summer camp
With my daughter and Porcha. Supporting charity to raise money to send low-income kids to summer camp. Children Mending Hearts.
Christina with Nancy Redd, host, Huffington Post Live at Children Mending Hearts charity event.
Christina with Nancy Redd, host, Huffington Post Live, at Children Mending Hearts charity event.

 

 

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Touring, But Not Finding The Right Schools?

Beautiful art studio at Polytechnic School, Pasadena. Photo: ThePrivateSchoolLady.com
Beautiful art studio at Polytechnic School, Pasadena. Photo: ThePrivateSchoolLady.com

Recently a mom posted in an online Facebook Group that she wasn’t finding the type of L.A. private schools she was looking for. If this is happening to you (or happens once you start looking at schools), here are a few ways to find the private schools you will like:

 

  • Tour schools with a different educational philosophy than you’ve previously seen. It’s possible you thought you wanted a traditional school or perhaps a religious school, but maybe you’d be more in sync with a school that is a blend of educational philosophies. Finding the right philosophical fit for your family is important says Dr. Fay Van Der Kar-Levinson on Kids In The House
  • Ignore the hype! Instead, ask a few trusted parents whose advice you value which schools they recommend
  • Expand your geographic area (within reason). This worked for me!
  • Talk to your preschool director; ask his/her opinion about schools that might be a good fit for your family. This also worked for me.
  • Think carefully about the school you think will best fit your child. Try to think ahead a few years to what your child’s learning style and interests might be. Selecting a structured or unstructured classroom learning approach is a key element to observe, as Dr. Fay Van Der Kar-Levinson points out on Kids In The House.
  • Tour the school a second time if your first tour left you with questions.
  • Gather your thoughts and examine or re-examine your priorities. If finding a school close to your spouse’s office isn’t happening, think about other options.

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