Monday, August 31, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

My youngest starts preschool this year. Next year, I will need to make a decision on Kindergarten. It's not as clear cut as you may think. Or maybe I complicate- yeah that's probably it, but we don't need to point fingers- whatever the reason... it's a hard decision... take a step inside my decision process...

First, you need to know that I have a freshman in high school at public school and a 3rd grader and 5th grader in a very strict Catholic school and I'm not a model Catholic.

If you must question my sanity (and why wouldn't you)... the back story goes a little like this... when my kids started school, we lived in a city with a scary unaccredited public school system and since I was a new mom and liked my kids enough to want them to return home alive, but not quite enough to home school them- Catholic school was the only option. Oh yeah, I'm Catholic, too. We loved that school. It was laid back and the way I remember my Catholic school. The people were like us. It was a community within a community.

Four years ago, when we moved to a community with good public schools, I was an idiot- a sheep who didn't think for herself and shoved my kids into the same school that my sister sent her kids to (said strict Catholic school) even though one of the reasons we left WAS to be in a good public school district and did I mention... I'm an idiot. So, after the first year, it was awful, I hated the school, the judgement of the people, the cliques that I didn't fit into, the smiles on all the mom's faces while I was rolling my eyes- just pissed me off. It's a fine school, academically, but it's not a great place for me, personally.

However, I realize it's not really about me - which is hard for me to admit, but I did and asked the kids what they thought. My 3rd grader is easy- she likes the school OK, but is open to a change if that's what we decide is the best way to go. I love her. My 5th grader was not as diplomatic. Meaning she broke glass with her squeal while flailing and I heard something like..."I know you are doing this to me because you hate me and you want me to clean my room and NEVER let me pick the restaurant and now you are destroying my life by making me change to a new school where the kids are all stupid- why did you even have me?" I love her, too, but she makes me tired and sweaty.

So... sending my son to public school was easy. He hated the school he was at, too, and we left the decision to him and... cha ching- saved $10,000 a year and started my love affair with the bus system!

So, we decided that the girls didn't need to make more transition and we would just keep things consistent for them- plus, I have like $1000 invested in school uniforms.

Next year will be the test.

If I stay with Catholic school, I will have to break the bank-again- and make the decision of half day Kindergarten vs full day- for an extra $1000! Public school is full day- FOR FREE!

It would just seem easier to make the switch next year and put them all at the mercy of tax dollars! I will then have a 6th grader, which in public, would put her at the "middle school", a sophomore at the high school, and Kindergartner and 4th grader at the elementary school. Simple enough, right?

The catch? And the reason I didn't take the plunge this year? Was not from all the broken glass caused by daughter's screaming... it was because the elementary school goes year round. YEAR ROUND! What kind of crap is that? They go 9 weeks and off for 3 weeks- ALL YEAR LONG- NO SUMMER- it's just un-American! Then I also have to deal with the regular schedules at the middle school and high school which differ from each other, but at least, have summers, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

The people that live around here swear by it and think it's great, but if it's so great- why don't they sync all the schools on the same system- they like parent's heads exploding? And can you imagine the what employers of these parents have to deal with?

So yeah, that's what I'm thinking about.

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alanna rose said...

Ugh, that has nightmare written all over it. Right now we're trying to decided on public or Catholic for our son (he's 1.5, does this seem early to you, too?). It makes my head spin, and it makes me want chocolate.

Kori said...

Although I can see how the conflicting schedules would be difficult if not impossible, I would LOVE it if the school districs here were year round. I think my kids would get a better education, and for us working single moms, the daycare expenses for the summer are terrible; it would make more financial sense for me were they schedule to be such that my older children could wathc the younger children on break, and then they could spend three weeks at their dad's and my daycare costs would be almost nil. Plsu, I frankly think they get a better education going year round.

Anonymous said...

I was all ready to say move all the kids but the middle schooler to public school. Then I read the part about year-round elementary school and I wasn't so sure. On one hand, the money you would be saving would be fantastic. However, I'm no fan of the year-round school thing.

So basically, all I have to say is I'm glad I'm not in your shoes...

Annie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie said...

I know- move again. Yep, move and really throw them all for a loop! LOL
Ok- I'm pro public school if it is a good one, as I am a public school teacher, but year round stinks.
Do it anyway- they'll have enough breaks to make you feel like they've had 3 months off!

Under the Influence said...

Now that's just crazy - the schools, not you. Whoever heard of a school district that has schools with different start/stop schedules?

I have a friend who teaches year round school and she LOVES it, but her kids are on the same schedule, not two different ones.

Maybe you could join the school board in your spare time and get this taken care of.

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

They didn't have those options when Elder and Younger Sons were growing up. I don't know which way I'd have liked it...

Terri said...

wow that's crazy (about the elem. school), I've never heard of such a thing! Kori does have a good point though - daycare costs would decrease dramatically, maybe that's why they did that because you don't really need the daycare once your kids reach middle school age. I'd vote for saving money and let the kids have the public school experience.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid (oh waaaay back in the day), we had year-round schooling and classes and vacations were staggered according to what color calendar you were assigned. Red, green, blue, yellow and the coveted purple. Purple calendar meant no vacations throughout the year but all summer off. Somewhere around 8th grade, this calendar system dried up and disappeared and everyone's got summers off now. It was a stone b*tch for working parents to arrange vacation daycare, I'll tell you.

Jill said...

Oh yeah, you do have a lot to think about.

I'm personally a bit fan of saving that much money... if the schools are comparable.

But year round? That's torture - to the parents. Pure torture!

Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

Yup....that is some serious thinking you got to do.

Okay, Here's what I think!

I would make the jump next year for them all.

I think your two oldest can have their summers to themselves without their younger ones bothering them.

Then on the year round breaks the youngest will be together.

Maybe a blessing in disguise and less fighting?

Plus you will save some MAJOR $$$$

Lisa-licious said...

Now I am sweaty and tired, too! I don't envy your decision, my friend...the public school here might as well be private...we have an 87% parent volunteer rate. It's nutty. I say, warn them all for this year, and save the money next year. They will make even MORE friends, offer them some of the savings (a small percentage for whatever they want...clothes, etc?), and just power down on them with some life lessons! I have Molly learning site words on flash cards at red lights. They will all survive no matter what, because they have you for their amazing mother. Good luck!

Soxy Deb said...

I'm just gonna bottom line it here.
For me, the bottom line is all about the mighty (ok, not so mighty anymore) dollar.
If they were mine, I would send them all to public school (I went to Catholic school as a young girl and loved it - so nothing against Sister Mary or her rosary.Amen.)
The year round school wouldn't be much of a factor to me becuase I think I could still squeeze a family vaca in there somewhere and that would have been my only concern.
And also, I would up my meds if I were you. Oh and drink. What? The kids are back in school, what else is there to do?

Mrs4444 said...

Wait a minute. Aren't you the mom who was bitching about her kids being underfoot during the summer? Funny how three months changes things. JK, I know you love the little brats.

I'm so glad you stopped by today. I've been missing you, and I had made a plan to spend an hour or two over here, catching up. As usual, you are hilarious. And thoughtful. And stressing, haha. That summer schedule is so odd!