We are in the process of choosing a kindergarten for Little Man, my 4 year old. Without putting undue pressure on us...this is the single most important decision we will every make for him barring any other. We could, by choosing incorrectly alter the course of his life and put him on the path to mediocrity - or by choosing correctly encourage and nurture the man who will cure cancer, or become a train conductor. (he's already promised to let us sit in the front car with him...at least once.)
Is that undue pressure?
(insert scream here)
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE? Private? Public? Catholic? Homeschooling?
My husband was a "public" as they were dubbed by us "privates" (being called a private doesn't sound very inviting now that I see it in print). He claims to have had an "OK" experience in school and doesn't feel it hurt him in any way. He's not quite sure it helped him, but it certainly didn't hurt him. I, on the other hand, was given the "greatest gift a parent can give " (this is a direct quote from my mother) by receiving 12 years of Catholic schooling. I can honestly say, all joking aside, that I do appreciate that my parents made the supreme financial sacrifice of putting me and my siblings through private school. To this day, my handwriting is better than any "public" I know. Beyond that, at the time I was in Catholic schools, Catholic schools in my area were head and shoulders above a public school education. But not only that, it was important for my parents that we were getting religious education every day of the school week.
Flash forward 20 years after I left the halls of my last Catholic school and new we have all sorts of options as far as schooling our children.
- We can homeschool, if we are so inclined. There are so many resources out there for the homeschooling Mama that it doesn't even really seem like homeschooling...but a kinder, gentler, organic and exciting way to learn. Pros/Cons - Sounds wonderful, but the reality is that he would basically continue to have me as a teacher and quite frankly...he deserve more.
- We can choose a non catholic private school, which with a hefty price tag will tailor the learning experience to your children's likes and dislikes and encourage their passions. That sounds really good. Isn't that what I've been doing thus far at home? Pros/Cons - we get to spend what we were planning on spending for their entire college education on his first year of Kindergarten.
- We can go totally public and send our child down the street to the corner school, which has it's benefits and which has a GATE program which promotes and supposedly teaches to your child's level. (Isn't it obvious that any child of mine would be in a Gifted program???? :) ) Pros/Cons - Most people we know are going this route...but I have no faith in the public school system.
- Or we can go Catholic, which is where my comfort and safety level lead me. (12 years of Catholic school also lead me here) But will he get good academic training along with religious training? I don't necessarily want a man who has FAITH that his future is secure but can't read past grade level 3. For my parents, it was important that prayer be a part of our day and that faith be taught. The schools I attended did their job, as did my parents, because a foundation of faith is important to me, too. Pros/Cons - If we send him to Catholic school, my mom will stop giving me dirty looks every time we discuss sending him to public school but I will have to start a daily novena that we have made the right decision.
I'm so confused. We want to give our son the best academic experience available. We want his opportunities to be abundant. WE DON'T WANT TO SCREW IT UP.
We've already signed the little man up at our parish Kindergarten. I've also put his name on lists at public schools in the area. September is looming. (OK, yes, I know that it's only February...but it feels like it's LOOMING!)