Choosing a School

It sure seems that a parents job regarding school was much simpler when I was a kid.  Maybe it was the fact that I grew up in a small town, but there certainly didn’t seem to be as many options.  Or maybe my parents didn’t entertain any other potential schools other than the public school a few blocks from our home.  However, we are considering other options for Lili.

Don’t get my wrong, I’m quite sure our neighborhood elementary school does a fine job of educating the students, but I’m not convinced it’s the right environment for my child.

Do we want her in a classroom with 20+ other students?

No.

Do we want her in a classroom with the typical public school curriculum?

Yes and No – We want her to learn to spell, to read, understand math, and science, but we would also like her to have art instruction, learn a foreign language, music and the extras that aren’t provided in the public school setting.

Do we want her in a classroom with little diversity?

Absolutely not.

While I’m happy to have options and to know that there is a school just down the street, we want something different for our kids and I’ve been looking.

Last week I submitted an application to a laboratory school that is part of Illinois State University.  Each year this school has about 600 applications for somewhere between 50-60 slots.  Needless-to-say, I’m not holding my breath, but it would sure be nice to get a call saying, “Your daughter has been accepted into the program.”

Since I know this school is a long-shot I’m looking at other options.  Today we went to visit a private school in the area who was hosting an open house.  As expected, Lili took some time warming up, but eventually decided that this school may not be too bad and that Kindergarten looks like it might be a lot of fun.  The highlights for her were the white boards and the class turtle.  Come on, what kid doesn’t like white boards and turtles?  🙂  After spending about 30 minutes in the classroom we headed out to test the playground.  It passed the test until Lili tripped on the step up to the sidewalk and skinned her knee and shin.  Even after a small injury, I think the playground still passed the test.

Naomi and I even checked out one of the pre-school rooms.  Which leads me to my next dilemma – Naomi and pre-school.

I have really, really, really liked the pre-school program Lili has been attending for the last couple of years.  I enrolled her into the program because it was highly recommended by my SIL and they had part-day, part-time and full-time programs which would allow us to send her as often as we felt was best.  Last year we started with 2 mornings a week and this year moved her to 3 mornings a week.  As a stay-at-home mom, it just didn’t make sense to send her for a full day.  Why do I need anyone to feed her lunch and put her down for rest time in the afternoon?  I can do that at home.  It’s worked out well and she loves school.

Last year they held early enrollment and about a month after early enrollment the school announced they would no longer have a part-day program 😦  The school fulfilled their obligation by allowing those student who were enrolled into part-day programs to continue this year, but no new part-day enrolments would be accepted.  While I was thrilled that Lili could continue, I knew I would be in the position of finding another program for Naomi.  So far, I haven’t had any luck finding anything other than full-day programs and it’s really not what I want for Naomi.  I really want to start with a couple of mornings a week and move up from there.  I’m also a bit picky about where I will send her and I should be.  I’m entrusting the care of my daughter to someone else and I want to make sure that she is not only being taken good care of, but that she is growing well socially, emotionally and physically in the program.  Not all schools are created equal and I want the best for my babies.

So for now we wait to hear back from the lab school and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll look more seriously at the private school we visited today.  And I keep looking for a pre-school program that is good for Naomi.  Again, this all seemed a lot simpler when I was a kid.  Then again, I wasn’t the one making the decisions on my education.

2 thoughts on “Choosing a School

  1. We are dealing with this same dilemna but feel like we have fewer options. We love Grace’s preschool, where she attends 2 days a week. Its safe, warm, nurturing. She simply will not get this kind of care in our local public school with 22 kids in her room. And we can’t afford private school with two more coming home soon. So we are giving serious thought to homeschooling, which comes with its list of terrifying realities. Hope you find the right fit for your beautiful girls.

    1. Do the private schools in your area offer financial assistance?

      My hat is off to those moms and dads who successfully homeschool. I did some homeschooling with one of our boys and I didn’t enjoy it. Of course neither did he 🙂 And it wasn’t the cirriculum. LOL!!!

      Lili is in a pre-school that sounds much like Grace’s pre-school. She loves it. She loves her teachers (one in particular). She has done very well there. She is loved, respected and nutured. I want to find a program that will allow her to continue doing well. She loves the interraction with the other kids. In my perfect world, her pre-school would grow and expand into a private elementary school. At least I can dream 🙂

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