Happy Monday, all! So far, this Monday has been about as lovely as a Monday can be: I had breakfast with an old friend, whose daughter is entering our wonderful — but initially a bit overwhelming — local public school system this fall. In our diverse community of 38,000 residents, housing integration is not always as complete as we’d like. As a result, if our community had neighborhood schools, we’d have a school that would be 92% white, and another that would be 77% African American, with similar discrepencies for distribution of students from low-income families. To combat this, for about 40 years now, our district has offered an all-magnet public school system. Each elementary school has a theme (e.g., global studies or environmental science), and parents visit schools and rank their preferences the spring before their children start kindergarten. Parent preference and socio-economic factors both then play a role in school placement decisions, but the key point is that where you live in town does not dictate where your child will attend school. Critically, as I reassured my friend, although our district has a hard task (trying to meet the needs of a wide, wide variety of people), all of our local public schools are strong. No matter where her child ends up, she will have access to a quality education, and our town is still small enough that even though we do not have traditional “neighborhood” schools, each school creates its community. Besides, in ninth grade, all of our kids end up in the one high school together, so many paths all lead to the same destination.
I then popped into our local independent bookstore for a couple of minutes to scope out their offerings (obviously I’m not buying any physical books at the moment!) and had a quick chat with a friend who works there about our district’s proposed new homework policy.
Then I headed to work, where all is well, but it’s just… Monday. I have a Monday to-do list, although that weekly Sunday night panic is starting to diminish as I see the end drawing nearer and nearer now that we’re into April. April!!!
It’s very exciting to be looking ahead to a year without Mondays. Oh, there will be actual Mondays, of course, but I look forward to an adventure where our time with our children will not be dictated by the external demands of jobs and bosses. For a year, we will be setting the rhythm of our own lives, without that feeling of facing that constant lists of tasks that others demand of us, rather than doing what we want to learn, see, and grow. The question, of course, will be: how do we structure all of that unstructured time without feeling like we’ve re-imprisoned ourselves in a world of Mondays, or, conversely, feeling that we’ve squandered it? How would you structure your time if you were living a life without school or a job (your own or someone else’s) setting the schedule of your days?