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.