I truly believe that one of the most difficult choices I have faced as a parent is school choice.
I agonized over it when Gloria was turning four. She was already in the TK class at daycare as a three year old because of a numbers problem. But they felt like she could handle it, so she was one that was moved up a year early. That put me in the position of not wanting just a second year of the same TK daycare class for her as a four year old.
Enter school choices...
Public Montessori? That would mean either a school bus or a daycare van taking her to and from school because four year olds could not attend the on-site before and after school care program due to state licensing issues. I wasn't ready to turn over the responsibility of transporting my daughter to and from school to a stranger. After all...I'm a public school teacher myself and I KNOW what those buses can be like! Plus, I wasn't sure I was ready to commit to Montessori school through fifth grade.
Private Montessori? That would mean about the same amount in tuition as I had been paying for day care thanks to a generous scholarship we were offered. The time for dropping of in the morning worked in my schedule and she could go to after school care there. Kindergarten on up through eighth grade would be "traditional." One school all the way through middle school? Great opportunity with the scholarship. Small setting, perfect for Gloria.
When it came down to it, I opted for a small private school.
It has been mostly good.
I've had a few issues.
But I'm a teacher and I tend to see things differently or know a little more than the average parent.
That has made it touchy a few times.
But overall, I've been happy with her school.
More importantly, SHE has been happy with her school.
Despite some bullying problems in the fall and a teacher problem in first grade, it has been a good place for her.
Everyone knows her.
She knows everyone.
And I don't just mean her 10 classmates.
Adults--teachers, administrators, people I don't even know--they all love her.
The music teacher loves her and has kept her in the extra curricular chorus even though I couldn't afford it this time because of "her enthusiasm and joy she brings to singing."
The art teacher has worked with her on several projects.
The STEM teacher stayed after school to work with her on her science fair project at least 7 different afternoons that I know of.
We ran into the computer teacher at the mall one night where they proceeded to have a 20 minute conversation about their pets. Most teachers say hi, chit chat for a moment, and move on.
And yet I'm pulling her out next year.
And it kills me to do it.
But financially, it is what I have to do.
No tuition payment.
No after school care payment.
My driving will be cut by about 65%.
We will have the same holidays and breaks.
I can be debt free before the end of 2012, other than my house and my car.
And that is a very good thing.
She's going with me next year, to my school.
I love the faculty and staff at my school.
Many of them I would entrust her to in a heartbeat.
I know they will do what's best for her.
It's the students that worry me.
And today was one of those wake up, "what do I really think I am doing" days.
And I hate it.
Oh how I hate it.
I just hope and pray I've made the right decision!
I'm just not feeling it.