Monday, January 23, 2012

This Stuff is Hard, Yo!

As an historically avid supporter of local public schools and local public school levies, I'm suddenly finding my February calendar full of open houses, meet-the-school coffee hours, and tours for the local private school circuit. Not only that, but I'm actually finding myself excited about the possibilities of some of these schools. It's not that our local schools aren't good. I've done the research, I know they're up to par. It's just that the world of private schools offers so many more options and experiences. It goes beyond the simplicity of better educational activities and enrichment areas - most of the private schools actually have operational hours that line up relatively well with normal working hours, including the holy grail for dual-income families - FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN! Our options in the public school are limited when it comes to full day options and extended care programs.

I'll admit that this may be coming from a position of bias, though. I was lucky enough to go to a Montessori school through first grade, after which my parents stuck us all over in a catholic school (it only lasted one year, but that's another story). I LOVED Montessori school. I excelled there, according to the (very detailed) school records that my teachers kept. I see Charlie excelling in the same kind of environment, and I want him to be able to stay there. I want him to have that kind of solid educational background, to really grow into a love of learning, and to have the Montessori freedom to develop the skills that he's most interested in. Yes, a lot of that also comes from the home environment - I absolutely recognize that. And of course, millions of kids succeed at public schools and go on to do wonderful things.

Beyond that, being back in school has forced me to brush the dust off of my old sociological imagination. Part of me wonders if some of the motivation is being able to do for him what my parents couldn't do for us, the whole idea that you want your children to succeed and surpass what you've accomplished. Maybe I want to give him the educational experience that my parents weren't able to give me. Don't get me wrong, my mom did an amazing job raising us to be curious about our world. She fostered a love of books and a love of learning and it was just assumed in our house that college would naturally follow high school, even though neither of my parents had degrees. Even so, I remember being pretty miserable when I started going to a traditional school. I just hate the idea of having to take him out of his pleasant little learning environment and stick him somewhere else.

Of course, that very well may happen. Researching private schools has involved a good amount of sticker shock.

But I'm probably over-thinking it, anyway. That's what graduate students do, after all.

3 comments:

  1. we went the public school route with all the kids.  The school district is a good one here.  I'm no expert but I think the attitude about school from the parents and the child are the biggest factor for success.  Hey Mrs. 4444 had an interesting post on parenting that you might like.
    http://www.halfpastkissintime.com/2012/01/raising-our-children-raising-ourselves.html

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  2. I work at a private school and it is amazing. But the cost of private schools is really something to consider when there are great public schools in your district. I myself have been to both private and public and LOVED public.. But I think the most important factor in a child's success is parent involvement. Good luck with it all! 

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  3. Heather McAllister-WinklerJanuary 25, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Both my boys go to Montessori.  We're lucky that their school goes from age 3 up to 12.  My oldest started in public school but we didn't have a great experience and the after school care was a problem.  The cost of having one still in all-day day care and my oldest with after school care was the equivalent of the montessori school tuition plus they had flexible afterschool care- where they actually still learn stuff!  It's hard to say it since I teach in a public high school but private/charter school was the best decision for my children!

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