Friday, October 15, 2010

My dumpling at school...AGAIN

Yesterday was a bit of an emotional day for me. *unladylike snort* This pregnancy, that seems to be pretty much every day. But yesterday, even more so than usual. And once again, it seems to have led back to my discomfort with Hank's public school.

In many ways, I know that I'm overreacting. I like to think that I'm self-aware, even of my own weaknesses. But the series of events yesterday just made me wonder if it's a bit of a nudge that we should consider other options.

Yesterday dawned with Hank, wide-eyed, complaining of an upset stomach. I think his allergies are draining, and he may also have just had a bad case of gas (sorry for the tmi :) I made him some toast, and generally nurtured him, but I did send him to school. He seemed reluctant to go, but he was up walking around fine, and I knew he'd be ok.

But I arrived at work feeling vulnerable. I couldn't wait to get home to him later in the day. Meanwhile, I happened to run into a colleague, and we started chatting. She asked me about how Hank likes school, since she has two children and they live in the same district as us. I'm the type of person who could never play poker; my face always reveals my emotions. I was honest and told her that so far, I have very mixed feelings.

We ended up talking for a short while, and she mentioned a few of her friends that have changed their child's school because it just didn't feel like the right fit. This included, of course, some people that moved from public to Catholic, but also one family that moved from Catholic to public.

It was a thought-provoking conversation. She mentioned going to look at other schools, even if you don't end up switching, just so that you have a full view of all of your options. I was still mulling that over when I turned on my cell phone back in my office. I recalled that I hadn't remembered to turn it on in several days. I can be bad like that. I don't have a smart phone, and so I don't rely on it that heavily. But I figured maybe the school nurse might call if Hank didn't feel better, and I wanted to be able to be reached if that's the number they called.

Well. I saw that I had a voicemail. I figured it was my mom, but I was wrong. It was Hank's teacher, and it was from *2 days ago*! I was horrified. She asked me to call her back regarding "a few issues with Henry." Naturally, I panicked. What could be wrong?! I couldn't call her back right then, since it was the middle of the day.

In agony, I waited until 3:20, and then pounced on my phone. Luckily, I caught her in the classroom. It was really no big deal. Henry had two instances on Tuesday of not listening, and so was held out of recess as a consequence. She said that generally, Hank has to have directions repeated multiple times instead of just once. Well... :) I agree, it would be optimal for all children to only need to be told things once. But, honestly, I don't think this behavior is at all abnormal. Certainly, he should be listening better, and we can work on that at home. But I didn't necessarily think it warranted a phone call.

Granted, I had no overt problem that she called. It was kind of nice talking to her. But Henry is the type of boy that is a bit shy. He really rarely engages in behaviors that call attention to him. So I was surprised to get a call about something so minor. Do I think that my kid is perfect? Absolutely not. And I had no problem talking to the teacher about it. But it just once again got me to thinking about his school.

I'm just SO unsure about how I feel regarding it. Like all mothers, I have a powerful mommy instinct, and right now at least, it's telling me that this just isn't a good fit. It's an excellent school. Henry is absolutely in a healthy, engaging environment. But is it the right fit for him and for us? I don't know. Honestly? I don't think so. But I promised Mike that I'd give it a year, and I feel that it's fair to hold to that promise.

I did do some Catholic school poking around though. And I found that many of the schools will offer their parishioner rate if you are a parishioner at a parish that does not have a Catholic school. That's us. So, the tuition is *extremely* reasonable.

Of course, we'd still have the cost of after school care, like we do now. But here is something exciting: right now we pay $20 per day for before/after school care for Hank because his school hours are 9 am-3:10pm. That's *just* inconvenient enough so that we can't drop him off or pick him up ourselves. I don't leave the house to drop him at our daycare (before/after school care provider) until 8 am, so that I can arrive at work around 8:30 am. Thus, Hank doesn't arrive and get settled in until 8:10 am or so. The kids leave on the bus by 8:30 am. Then, after school, he's picked up around 3:15 pm by our daycare, and Mike picks him up there by 4-4:30 pm every day. So, essentially, we're paying our (granted, beloved) daycare a heck of a lot of money ($100 per week!) to do very little.

On the other hand, the local Catholic schools, I come to find out, have a much earlier start time. Morning prayer starts around 7:45 am. They have an earlier dismissal, but then you're only paying for after school care. So, what all this rambling means is that even with tuition and after care put together, it's still a tad cheaper than what we're paying right now just for before/after care! I was shocked.

I mulled this over a lot yesterday, and was hesitant to pounce on Mike with it because I don't want it to look like I'm pushing a Catholic school agenda, and biased against our public school. I'm not. I just can't shake this uneasy feeling that I have that this just isn't quite right in our particular case. I thought maybe it would be better to wait until closer to the end of the school year, so that I give the public school more of a fair chance.

Well, last night, Mike and I are in bed doing our nightly chit chat session. I think all married couples do this, no? It's where we talk best :) And we were talking about Hank, and he mentioned that he's getting out of class early the next day (today) and would like to pick Hank up right from school. Inspired, I mentioned that even though I love our daycare, and I know Hank loves them too, we're paying them quite a bit still these days and we really don't need the full range of hours that they offer anymore. He agreed. So, I noted very casually that I'd done some Catholic school poking, and he gave me the raised eyebrow :) But I made a solid case for how inexpensive it is, and how the hours work out so much better for our needs. He agreed that in that way, it's much better. I mentioned how much I liked the curriculum as well, and that at the end of the school year, maybe we could take a look and do a full evaluation. He agreed that he thought that would be fine, after the school year is over.

This is a tough issue, because we moved where we did because of the good public schools. Our property taxes reflect this. And so to then not use them? *sighs* If it were solely up to me, I tend to be impulsive, and I'd move Hank right now to the Catholic school :) But there are 3 of us in this family, and I need to wait to know if that would be right for all of us. Plus, we have the new baby coming, and we have childcare costs upcoming for him/her too. This is enough to depress me, so I'll move on.

I guess the answer is that I don't know what the ideal solution is right now. But I'm going to pray about it. And I'll need to be patient (very hard for me). Sometimes the solution is something that you didn't foresee right away, or is the option you were initially opposed to. So I'm going to persevere in prayer. I just see my baby, while doing fine in school, just not "thriving" you know? He told me this morning that he doesn't like school :( In fairness, this may be because he simply wants to play all day like he did at daycare and not focus more on academics. Which isn't the public school's fault. But like I said, my mommy instinct is that there may be a better solution out there for all of us.

Keep us in prayer, would you?

1 comment:

  1. No problem. Will do. I'm sure that a solution will present itself. I find though that something I am sort of interested in becomes a big yes after giving it a try. Maybe after this first semester, you can convince your hubby to at least tour a school.


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