Thursday, September 15, 2011

More School Aggravation

It never fails to amaze me at how worked up I get around this time of year, every year. I've always had a hard time accepting the control that school brings into our lives. My loss of control, namely.
When your child is a baby, and little, you have so much control over their lives. What they eat, where they play, what they play with, who they play with, when they sleep, and more importantly, by whom they are cared for. I was, and still am, a SAHM. A working one at that. I never had to put my children into daycare thankfully. I wanted it that way. I wanted to be the one to raise them, to experience all the firsts with them, to spend all the wonderful (and miserable) moments with them. Other parents are not so lucky. They have to go out into the working world. Some do it for money, some do it because they love their job. Some are not bothered that they can't spend all that time with their child. But most do spend a lot of time searching for the right provider. They want to make sure their child will be safe, will be loved, will be amused, or entertained, or stimulated or taught, the RIGHT way. The way that agrees with their own parenting philosophy.
So when my son R started JK, it was a huge shock to my system. What do you mean I don't get to choose the teacher? What do you mean I have no choice about what days he goes to school, or how he is disciplined/reprimanded (not that he needed it) or when he eats and plays? It was hard for me to accept that that piece of control I had over his life was gone. I had to let go.
Most people who know me well, know that I do not like being told how to raise my child! After all, I MADE them! I carried them, I sacrificed caffeine and alcohol for them, (and chocolate when they were nursing), I sacrificed my much-nicer-body for them, and I gave birth to them. I don't even like my husband telling me what to do, or how to handle them. I love them more than anything in this world, so I should be the one to decide what to do in relation to my kids.
I have learned to let go more (I think.) It might have more to do with the fact that they are so much older now and more self -sufficient. I do realize that if I try to control them too much that they will resist and rebel more.
All this is leading up to the one thing that pissed me off this morning. Every year there is something for me to hate about school, some little thing that I resent. Another small piece of my control lost. But this morning I was angry. I still am, really, and I'm hoping that my DH will pick up the slack here and become just as outraged as I am. I doubt it though.
So here's the thing:
Every year the kids bring home tons of paperwork at the beginning of the year for us to sign. I deal with it all, since the forms don't require two parental signatures. And every year a form comes home about student accident insurance. I always decline. What's the point right now? My boys are not very athletic or adventurous. R usually joins the chess club most years, but he's not on any teams. L is not a team player, so it would shock the hell out of me if he told me he had joined a team. He did give choir a little go last year, but that's only because they were told there would be a pizza party at some point, LOL! He didn't last long with that, and he just likes to do his own thing. I'm ok with that, because they both have extra-curricular activities outside of school.
This year, I received two forms about insurance again. Only this time, the two boys' forms were different. R's had three options: 1)Yes, we have purchased the Student Accident Insurance, 2)We have our own Extended Health/Dental coverage, and 3) We decline. L's form did not have the third option.
What? I was confused. How am I supposed to sign this form saying I have insurance, when I don't. I'm not purchasing the money-grab insurance the school promotes. What for?
*And in case you are American and you don't already know this, we Canadians have "free" health coverage. (I put free in quotes, because, well, we do pay for it with our high taxes!). It doesn't include dental, but if we have an accident, I can take my kid to the hospital and I don't have to pay a dime (well, for parking I do, but you know...)*
We don't have extended health coverage for dental and whatnot. I work for myself, and my DH has been in and out of work for years, and is now in school. Health coverage through your work only comes when you are a fulltime employee that's been there for a while. We just take our chances mostly that we aren't going to need that kind of insurance, and if we did come across that situation, we'd find a way to deal with it. I guess DH's nan is kind of like our insurance, because she has PILES of money, and we know that despite her stubborness, she'd never let her grandchildren or great-grandchildren suffer with no teeth, or no wheelchair (god forbid!) or whatever OHIP doesn't cover.
So, back to the forms (are you still there?). Long story short (too late) I was told when I phoned the school this morning, that the form with three options was the wrong one and was sent out in error, and the form with only two options was the right one. And basically, it was the school board's decision (not the school secretary's, so I wasn't going to yell at the poor lady) that any child wanting to participate in ANY extra-curricular activity, INCLUDING chess club, had to have insurance. So basically, no insurance, no fun.
I really resent this! How dare they tell me I have to have some type of insurance in order for my boys to join a team or club? Are they really going to go and tell them when they show up for the club, "I'm sorry, but you can't be here, because you don't have insurance." I can't even imagine the look on their faces. R would be pure red with embarrassment (an inherited trait from me, unfortunately), and tears would be threatening. How would this affect their social life? I want them to feel free to join any team or club they want. I really don't want them to be like me, socially awkward and so not the joiner in school.
But in order to do that, I'm being told to purchase insurance. And I don't care how much it is, it's just the principle of the matter! It doesn't seem right. Even if it is only $20/year. So in essence, I'm losing more control, and this time it's over my money! Using my children's happiness and enjoyment is like blackmail!


  1. I don't think it's a control issue, I think it's the ridiculousness issue. It's not right. This is the school protecting their own arses. Might be worth the fight. I would call your local paper. It's amazing what a little media coverage will do. But you have to be willing to speak up. If you have more outraged parents, the better.


  2. Lisa has a point - there may be more like-minded parents out there. Go to the paper or take it to the school board. The board may be able to officially make "exceptions" to the rule.

    My parents didn't have insurance either, when my brother and I were growing up. They lucked out that neither one of us hurt ourselves really bad or needed braces!

    Tough call on what to do. And weird, since you could have your kids in sports outside of school without the insurance.