Hard Decision? Private vs Public School
After getting an offer on our house in April, 2010 and knowing we would be moving before the school year started I found a private school located near where our temporary home was going to be. I’m not saying we moved into a bad school district, I just think my daughter is super smart and deserves the best and to be challenged… Even if that meant putting her into a private kindergarten a year before public school would accept her.
I did A LOT of research into the private school at the beginning of May. The cost wasn’t much different from what we were currently paying for daycare and my daughter would be in school a year early. However, they warned us the private school would be a two year commitment, because of state laws regarding how old a child has to be when entering kindergarten AND first grade. Once we had those two grades behind us she would be all set to transition back into a public school (if we so desired at that time).
After all the research and all the pondering, Brian and I decided to go the public school route. I mean, public school is free right? And although we’d have to pay for before and after school care it would still be cheaper than sending our daughter to private school for two years instead of another year of preschool.
Here we are in December, and I decided to check into some ‘bus fees’ I was warned our school district charged, and I stumbled across the small fact that our school district charges for full-day kindergarten! I was completely appalled. Really? I have to pay for my child to go to public school? I don’t even care that it is just for kindergarten- I don’t want to PAY for public school.
So, like the irrational parent I am, I threw a fit to my husband. Furthermore I called the private school we had interviewed with in May. Guess what? They’ll take my daughter at the semester. She can have a semester of kindergarten and go into first grade in the Fall 2011. I’m as torn with the decision now as I was in May.
1. She JUST turned 5 in November (but my son will turn 5 in July and we won’t bat an eye about shipping him to Kindergarten in August- is this really that different?).
2. She’ll be a semester behind her classmates, but I was assured we could borrow books and really work on phonics and probably bring her up to speed with the class. Plus, they will be split into 3 reading groups for the spring semester and will be able to move between the groups if she excells.
3. After taking into account gas and tuition it will only cost us about $150 MORE a month to send her to private school than we currently pay for daycare. 2011 the cost may diminish to be only $80 more a month depending on which before/after school program we can get her into.
4. She’ll be in the same grade as her cousin (and best friend). We are eventually planning to all live in the same town so the girls will be in the same grade and can help each other study.
5. We only have one shot at getting her into kindergarten early.
1. She’ll always be the youngest in her grade/class. Will she be forced to grow up too quickly. I know she’s a sponge right now and learning now may make it come easier for her.
2. When she’s a teenager, she’ll be hanging out with older kids. However, I am sure she’ll be hanging out with the older class anyway because of how close she is with her cousin who is currently a year ahead of her in school.
3. I think our son will be devastated not to have his sister with him every day. No, they aren’t in the same room at preschool, but they do have time that they see each other and sometimes are in the same craft room at the end of the day.
4. This will add about 45 minutes to my morning commute. I will have to drive her to school and then backtrack to get to work.
5. The curriculum at the private school is about a grade above that of the public school. Even if we switch to public school for her second grade year, chances are she’ll already have covered the second grade curriculum in first grade at private school. Are we just delaying her being bored with coursework that is too easy?
6. It is $150 MORE a month than we currently pay.
7. We don’t know what type of fees are hidden with the private school.
I’m having a hard time deciding what is ‘right’. Whatever decision we make will affect her for years to come.