Decisions, Disappointments & Daydreams::

Sunday, March 7, 2010

So this is probably going to be a long, rambling, whining post so if that's not what you came here for today you might want to stop reading now. Or if you find yourself in a whiny, rambling mood this morning you might just want to stay. And maybe go get a cup of coffee or tea...or a big donut.
This coming Fall my little guy will go to kindergarten, something I am totally and completely not ready for...not at all. I admit it. And I know that's why I am having such a difficult time with all this school business.
Here our school options are as follows: attending your "home"(neighborhood) public school , private school, homeschooling or trying to get into one of the magnet schools which involves a random lottery. After visiting the magnet schools we decided our first choice was the Montessori school. I just knew this school was exactly what I was looking for and it seemed right for our family. So we put our name in and waited and waited and kept our fingers crossed for months He didn't get in. We can try again for the next school year but for now we need to decide what to do for the Fall. Our neighborhood school, which also happens to be right across the street, isn't one of my very first choices. But it's right there and would be so convenient, I know, everyone keeps telling me that, most of all my mom. We also still have the option of a private school  but I don't think that makes sense for many reasons including starting him at a completely different school if we know the Montessori school is really where we would like him to go and we plan to do the lottery again the following year.
 I hate to say it but school hasn't even started yet and I am already over it. The decisions, the stress...blah...he's only 5 years old. I realize this is not college, I know there could be much bigger things I could be worrying about right now in my children's life but this is a big step for me and I wanted it to work out just so. But don't we all. I guess you have a way you imagine it's going to be, your first child going to school, and when you're not completely comfortable with the reality of what it is , it's really disappointing. But then again, not the end of the world either.
I know I'm not the only one who feels this way about sending my little guy off to school or that is having to make these decisions right now. Any advice? Words of wisdom?  I would love to hear what you have to say...even if it's just that I need to get over myself.


  1. Most likely, anywhere he goes to kindergarten will be a positive experience. Most teachers are awesome and most kids love their teachers.

    But if I could do it over again, I *think* I would homeschool my kids. Or some version of it. And I am a public school teacher.

    This is where I get whiny and rambly because I just know there is so much I have missed out on and so much about their personalities and work ethics that have been shaped by their school experiences in ways that we don't exactly value. And I know that I will probably never be able to mold them back to the way we would have wanted. Don't get me wrong, they have had wonderful school experiences. They're smart and happy and friendly and out-going. The problem is that they don't think of "learning" as a journey or even as worthwhile. Well, the little one does, but the big one just thinks of all of it as work. School is work, reading is work, learning is work. He doesn't get excited about it and that just about kills me.

    This is where I wish I had started reading these crafty-mama blogs years before my oldest started kindergarten. We were just sort of plowing through life and kindergarten was the next step. And, honestly, my old vision of homeschooling was either way too "granola" or way too religious. But now, that I've been reading about some totally normal and pretty awesome people who homeschool, I have a completely different vision in my head.

    But it's too late for us now. My oldest is half-way through fourth grade and he's all about his friends. He would HATE it. And worse than that he would resent me for it. The little one is in kinder and LOVES it. He would probably be fine with homeschooling, but we also can't really afford for me to quit working. So we're sticking with it.

    But back to you. What is it about your neighborhood school that you don't like? Have you talked with friends who have been through that school? A word of advice, you need MANY opinions. Don't take one family's experience as the end all be all. Also, kids ARE resilient. Changing schools is not going to damage him, especially early-on. If he starts at one school and changes in 1st or 2nd grade, he'll still be fine- better than fine.

    I hope it all works out for you all. Putting that first baby in school is difficult. But, really, they love it and thrive- even the kids who aren't in the picture perfect schools or classrooms. Kindergarten is so much fun. I'm sure it will be for your little one, too.

  2. I feel your pain.

    I teach kindergarten in the public school system. As Lia above me stated, most teachers love their kids, appreciate their unique qualities, and work hard every day to help them grow emotionally, socially, and academically.

    That being said, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit to considering homeschooling. My eldest has reading difficulties (he's currently being tested for dyslexia, etc.) and I wonder if that would help him. My daughter will do well wherever she is...that's her personality. But The Boy...I wonder.

    You are doing the right thing by being mindful and weighing all options. Most schools would welcome a visit to a classroom to observe for a short period of time (we do at our school). And I always focus on the fact that everything really does have a reason. There was a reason that you didn't "win the lottery". You might not see it now...but in time the answer will become clear.

    Hang in there, mama.

  3. Thanks so much to both of you for your comments, it really means a lot to me that you took the time to give me your input. i have a lot to figure out and although I know we have to make this decision ourselves I really love to hear what others have to say! : ) Thank you!

  4. Hi, Amy,
    I tried to post a comment here yesterday, but got waylaid by my pitifully sick baby (on the mend now, thank goodness). It's funny that your comments so far are all by teachers; here's another. I have 4 families in my early childhood program right now whose children will start kindergarten this fall. They're all going through the same difficult, emotionally-fraught process you are; you're not crazy! I have a hard time offering them good advice--and same for you--because I've decided to homeschool, myself. But I wonder if you have to make your decision right now? Here, kindergarten is not mandatory. So you could keep him home another year, essentially trying out homeschooling, while you wait for another chance at the Montessori school. I can imagine the anxiety of trying to make this decision! I think you should definitely visit everywhere, talk to families, seriously consider homeschooling, and then, whatever you decide, don't beat yourself up about it; know you made the best decision you could for your family. Thinking about you as you struggle with it. :-)

  5. I wrote you a long comment, but it somehow disappeared. Maybe it will show up later. But I basically said if homeschooling was an option, perhaps you could do a montessori program at home with your son this year, and then next year try to get into the magnet school. My mom homeschooled me most of the year in 2nd grade, along with my brother that was in 4th grade. She did that with a couple of my siblings too if she was concerned with the teachers we had that year. I thought it was great fun to be homeschooled for a year. Good luck with your decision, I'm sure it will work out whatever you're really putting a lot of thought into it.

  6. Give yourself credit for being so involved and knowledgable about your choices. I guarantee many of the families in your neighborhood don't even know there are options other than public schools.

    But - also cut yourself some slack. There are very few decisions you make that can't be un-done - which means they don't have to perfect, or forever. Do your research, and go with your gut feeling about what you think is right. If things change, or you feel it wasn't the best decision - you can always change later (if that means putting him in, taking him out or changing schools).

    I went through the same thing with Pre-school. Can you believe it...Pre-school....not even "real" school. Once I allowed myself to believe that I could make a change later - it freed my mind to be able to make (what I considered) the right decision my my little one.


leave me a know you wanna.