We vented quite a bit last time regarding middle school placement for 6th grade and now several months later we have found a solution. In fact, in part, the reason we haven’t been updating this blog has a lot to do with M.S.A.D. (Middle School Application Distraction).
Schools Near Inwood Manhattan
Don’t get us wrong, we love Inwood Manhattan, but sometimes one wishes with a wave of the magician’s wand, this process could be over. In truth, it wasn’t until April when school selections were unveiled that relief was found. But frankly, that’s just the beginning of the next phase which is calling the school you wanted to have your child get into and hope that a slot opens up because someone who’s child had been accepted there decides to move on.
A Decision is Made!
Such was our story and ironically we ultimately did not accept offers from city schools but went with a Charter School instead!
We of “Manhattan Kids Guide” are also parents and are facing the very thing that many other parents of Inwood Manhattan have faced before us: the stress of trying to get your kid into a good middle school in upper Manhattan.
The Challenging Transition from 5th Grade to 6th Grade
The thing is, you start worrying the moment your child enters 5th grade. It’s as if you are motivated out of fear by a timer, realizing that although early December is the actual deadline for submitting your list of choices, there’s no guarantee that after you submit it that your child will be placed at ANY of you choices.
How do You Get Your Kid into an Acceptable School?
This is easier said than done and requires a process that is even more overwhelming than getting your child into decent grammar school. So what’s a parent to do whose child is in 5th grade and will be entering middle school in the coming school year?
The Stigma of Where We Live in District 6
Some of the schools in district 6 are fine, but the specific area where we live in District 6 has a stigma. We don’t have the same options of those who only live a few blocks away from us. In other words we don’t automatically qualify for the better schools because of the city block we live in. Location, location, location, has never been so true!
Trying to Put Together a List
Our original concept for this Op Ed piece was to create a list of the best Middle School choices for Inwood Manhattan parents including both Public and Charter Schools. At the time of publishing this we are still putting that list together. It will consist of the schools recommended by our daughter’s current grammar school as well as other finds we’ve made.
The Reality of Getting Your Child to and from Her/His Middle School
The sad reality is that if we are even lucky enough for our child to get into an acceptible Middle School it will likely be one that is several miles away which in the city has 3 basic possibilities for travel.
The 3 Travel Realities When it Comes to Middle School:
(1) You can drive your child to school (we don’t have a car ourselves).
(2) You can bring your child to school by subway which means a trip there for drop off, a trip back, then a trip for pick up, followed by another return. This can easily equal 4 hours of your day as a parent just in travel!
(3) You allow your sixth grader to take the subway herself or himself (which some parents do).
Which of the 3 Realities Do We Potentionally Face?
Since we don’t have a car (and many in Inwood Manhattan don’t) number (1) is out for us.
Being that we refuse to let our then-to-be 11 year old child to fend for herself in the subway means a “no” on option for (3). Even if she was a part of a group of kids going together, we think 11 is too young to be potentially accosted by the latent dangers of the city.
Losing 20 Hours a Week to Keep Your Child Safe
So (2) is the choice we’d be forced to do and lose 4 hours a day, 5 days a week or 20 hours a week just in traveling. Of course there are also potentially an option (4) a school bus, as well as (5) an MTA bus. But you have to be dealing with very specific schools for (4) and (5) to be possible.
Unfortunately Travel is Just the Beginning
Once more, all of this travel talk is presupposing that the DOE (Department of Education) even selects our child for a decent school.
This site is just what its name implies: it’s Fun for your Brain! It has wonderful online reading from Pre-K through to 8th Grade so if you have a very young child, she or he could end up enjoying FunBrain for many years to come.
FunBrain describes itself as being a site that is created for kids in grades Pre-K through 8. They also mention that they have been a leader in free educational games for kids since 1997. Funbrain offers hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy.
As long as we’re on the topic of “Brains” here’s another enjoyable website for the mind of a child called BrainPop. This a terrific learning destination for kids and includes Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Arts & Music, Health, Engineering & Tech as well as New & Trending topics. A great resource.
Wikipedia.org describes BrainPop as being s a group of educational websites with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12 (ages 6 to 17), together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, mathematics, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music. Amazingly BrainPop is used in more than 20% of U.S. schools and also offers subscriptions for families and homeschoolers.
I love this site. My 10 year old has as strong interest in animals but there’s more to National Geographic Kids than just animals. It has answers to questions about the world around us. There’s also an entire family section which is very useful and illuminating.
National Geographic Kids describe themselves as being inspiring to young adventurers to explore the world through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events, and a website. And the differentiation factor between National Geographic Kids and other online experiences is that it is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core. Impressive!
My child learned a lot from this kids website when she was very young. It made learning for her fun and engaging.
ABC Mouse describes itself as being a global education initiative of Age of Learning, Inc. Their goal is to help children build a strong foundation for future academic success by providing a comprehensive and engaging online curriculum to greatly assist early learners to succeed in pre-k, kindergarten, and early elementary school programs.
How Stuff Works is another terrific resource. It literally teaches older kids (and Mom and Dads too) How Stuff Works! A lot of interesting material here. Enough for hours of discussions!
Wikipedia describes How Stuff Works as being an American commercial educational website founded by Marshall Brain to provide its target audience an insight into the way many things work. The site uses various media to explain complex concepts, terminology, and mechanisms—including photographs, diagrams, videos, animations, and articles.
You can’t go wrong with any of these wonderful online education conduits. Hope you and your kids have a chance to enjoy them!
Hi all. Alison Stamas here. Happy July! It’s been a while since I’ve done a post for Manhattan Kids Guide but wanted to mention some of these terrific publications in a list as we are always looking for ideas for fun activities for our kids. My top 5 Manhattan Kids Guide activity resources are all New York City based and chock full of fun ideas for kids, tweens and teens. These 5 online publications can be found below. Also, if you have any blog ideas you’d like to contribute to Manhattan Kids Guide, as always please go to our contact page here.
1. Mommy Poppins
Mommy Poppins has always been a terrific friend to Manhattan Kids Guide and they are a wonderful place to get ideas for kids activities in the city. Even though the article entitled “40 Things To Do on a NYC Staycation with Kids” is from last year, it is still very relevant and might inspire some ideas that you’d like to pursue!
2. Time Out
Time Out is another website that Manhattan Kids Guide is grateful to for their featuring of some of our kids festivals over the years, that we’ve done in conjunction with Lights Camera Read. Their post called “Cool indoor activities for kids in NYC” is also from last year but is as current as can be with its host of kid friendly activities.
As New Yorkers we sometimes forget or never get to the very things that tourists do almost immediately. Curbed has a great list of things you can do in our great city that are “touristy” but well worth doing with the kids. These include one of my personal favorites which is seeing a show at the New Victory Theater. Our family attended a magic performance there recently and had a wonderful time. It was called “Jason Bishop: Believe in Magic.” Above is a picture after the show of my daughter Lily with the magician himself, Jason Bishop plus his magical assistant Kim Hess. My husband John especially enjoyed the performance because he used to be a magician and occasionally puts on his magic hat of Manhattan Magician for our New York Public Library touring theater company for kids called Magic Neighbors.
NYMetroParents actually has a search function on their site that features finding kid activities by categories including Date, Age, Price and More.
And finally there is NYCgo which calls itself the official guide of NYC. And best of all it has a page filled with lots of enjoyable activities that are all…free. Our family has done several of the outings and were quite pleased with the experiences. Plus, you can find out about cool stuff happening around town like Restaurant Week and Broadway 2 for 1 shows
Today is Monday July 2nd, 20018 and it’s been almost a decade since the parade of kids made their way through Inwood Manhattan in 2009. The parade marked the introduction of this website Manhattan Kids Guide as well as represented the coming together of the community and local businesses. The kids, in costumes, would stop along the way at storefronts where they would be given treats by business owners.
Since 2009 a lot has happened with Manhattan Kids Guide. We’ve let you know on a regular basis fun things for kids of all ages to do in Upper Manhattan and beyond, as well as have faced the challenges of this community face on. And now, as of today, we have a blog as seen in the entry you are currently reading.
We are continuing to be committed to bringing you activities and articles of interest to the Inwood Manhattan and Washington Heights neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more.