Middle School Scheduling: A Last Minute Switch

I knew when my husband came home with large protruding crazed eyes, walking ahead of Alex and saying “I’m going to let him tell you,”  it was going to be good.

But first, let me back up.

Since Alex is going into middle school next year, it is time to fill out his schedule.

We were all in agreement about what type of math and language arts he would be taking. Science and social studies are standard as well as technology and PE.

That left only only one elective.

He chose art.

Super. No homework. All in class. Free. Simple simple simple.

On the schedule paperwork you must rank your top 3 elective choices.

Alex put art first, band second, orchestra third.

There was no way he was doing theater or choir so we were fine with his choices. Not even a lengthy and impassioned speech from his dad about his joy of being a baritone in sixth grade choir could change his mind.

All set.

Not quite.

Apparently, if you put band down anywhere on your list, you must come in for an instrument test. The kids test out each instrument they are interested in to see if it’s a match for them.

This is where you insert my husband’s eyes practically leaping out from their sockets since he was with Alex.

Alex chose to try the french horn, the trombone, and the trumpet.

An area band director critiqued the student after each instrument try.

When Alex tried the french horn, “Good sound, wonderful pitch!”


When Alex tried the trombone, “Good sound, wonderful pitch!”


When Alex tried the trumpet, “Good sound, oh my, that’s the best sound that has come out of any student today. Wow you are a natural. The sound you produced was absolutely amazing. Wow. You are just a treat to listen to on this instrument.’


Or something like that.

Let me tell you when it is not going to be a treat listening to that instrument.


Yes, Alex came home glowing, wanting to play the trumpet.

“I want to switch to band. The lady said I had a great sound. She said I was the best all day.”

……deep breaths…….of course she did, that bit*h………release of air……

“Wow, what made you change your mind?”

“You realize there will be lots of practice involved?”

“Might be difficult carrying a trumpet as you ride your bike to school.”

After a few talks and days to think about it we have a new list of electives:

#1 Band

#2 Art

#3 Orchestra

I now realize this “try your instrument” is such a scam.

I’m onto you middle school.

We won’t be making that same mistake with the next kid.

Of course, I felt a little better last night when a mom texted me last night saying: James switched from theater to band! What did Alex decide?

He decided to switch from art to band – playing the trumpet. You cannot make me put on a “band mom” t-shirt. What instrument did James decide on?

The bassoon! No shirt here but we might be forced to put the decal on our car.

I laughed and suddenly felt better.


The bassoon requires private lessons.

Super Hero / Bad Guys Scavenger Hunt

At Caroline’s super hero training birthday party, the kids were required to complete 4 missions.

Each mission had one or two components. For example, there was an “Accuracy Mission,” since all super heroes need to have good accuracy when fighting the bad guys. A bean bag toss and a ping pong bounce game were played in order to test our little super hero trainees. Since they passed that mission, they received super hero cuffs – more on those another day.


The 2nd mission, the “Eye Test,” consisted of two activities – Super Hero Bingo and Bad Guy Scavenger Hunt. Super heroes need to have good eyesight to spot the bad guys so these activities tested that.

The Bad Guy Scavenger Hunt was definitely a 4 year old favorite.

Each trainee was given a marker and a sheet containing 16, “Bad Guys.” I used characters they might know of instead of typical comic book villains.


Click here for the Bad Guys Scavenger Hunt

The trainees were then asked to walk around our first floor to find the bad guys. They particularly enjoyed being able to mark off each character once they found a bad guy.

Before the party I had printed out large versions of the same characters on their scavenger hunt sheet and taped them around the house.

Mother Goethel from Tangled


Can you spot Captain Hook?


Syndrome from the Incredibles


Once the trainees completed their eyesight mission –  bingo game and the scavenger hunt – they received a chest letter (piece of felt with a safety pin (with a flat back) glued onto the back.



Man, four year olds are so much fun!

All 11 of the girls loved dressing up and were totally game for each mission.

Scavenger hunt for 4 year olds, mark that one down as a keeper!


A Wonder Woman Birthday Cake

Well, Caroline’s birthday party is over and I think it was a rousing success.

I’ll trickle the pictures throughout the week and maybe into the next (oh joy!) because:

1) I want to be able to share all the fun activities with you

2) My work hours are increasing slightly so I need some completed posts for the blog (not that the 8 – 11 year olds at work don’t provide plenty of material).

So up first today, the cake.

Caroline said she wanted a Wonder Woman cake for months and I really hummed and hawed about this. I mean, I’ve completed a fart cake for pete’s sake but this one gave me pause.

She said she wanted Wonder Woman’s whole body but I wasn’t sure I could do that.

In the end, I found this picture and tried to copy it.


Caroline loved it.



I think it looked more like a pornographic blow up doll.


Not my best cake.

But in the eyes of a four year old it was perfect.