Monday, January 31, 2011

Catholic school open house bonanza, and nesting abounds...

Well. :) This was a very interesting weekend, and as always, I shall provide all the details. :)

I did in fact do a spell of nesting on Saturday. I went though the changing table/dresser combo that currently still lives in Hank's room. I had cleaned it out before, so it wasn't too bad. This means I now have to locate the bag in our storage marked "newborn" but I'll deal with that another week. I got all of Hank's stuff fit nicely into his larger dresser unit, and the changing table piece ready for the move to the nursery whenever the nursery actually exists. I consider this a success.

Sunday I was a bit nervous, since I had to teach Children's Liturgy of the Word. Last time it had gone well, so I was hopeful. Alas, this time was another one of those weeks. I had a larger group that included several young children circa age 3, and it was impossible to keep them still and quiet, thus distracting the entire group. I did the best I could, and it certainly didn't go terribly, but it wasn't a stellar installment either.

After Mass, we stopped for a brief lunch break, and then it was time for Catholic school open house #1. I was nervous, because I know that I'm certainly biased in favor of sending Hank to Catholic school in the fall, and that Mike is biased in favor of keeping him in public school since we live in a great district and pay the taxes to show for it. I was praying, so I was resigned to whatever outcome might come our way. We packed into the car and drove 2 minutes to contender #1, St. A's.

Immediately upon arrival, we were greeted warmly. People lined the hallway, saying "Welcome to St. A's!" It could have been creepy, but it wasn't. :) It was just such a pleasant change from our public school orientation last May. Right away, we were directed to the principal, who has a reputation as being "not a warm and fuzzy." I was worried that this would bother me, but honestly, it didn't. She was just fine. Certainly not the warmest person I've ever met, but not unkind or objectionable. She greeted us nicely and even spoke to Hank for a minute. After that, we were given a gift bag with some informational sheets and directed to a parent volunteer to give us a tour of the school.

There commenced the most thorough tour I've ever been on. :) We were there for nearly 2 hours! We visited every classroom, grades pre-k through 8, including all of the "specials": art, music, gym, computers, and the library. Every single teacher was kind and genuine. I was getting warm and fuzzies all over the place. The first grade teacher in particular was raved about amongst the others, and I noticed that she was wearing a small brown scapular around her neck. Every classroom had a crucifix on the wall and a saint statute in one corner. Statements of Christian values were posted in each room.

Instead of state testing and wellness policies, this school emphasizes traditional Catholic values and service, strong academics, particularly math, and the sense of family that they like to pervade their school, with an encouragement of children having fun at school in additon to learning. They have a monthly school Mass (it would be nice if it were more frequent, but I can live with this) in addition to Masses celebrating holy days and other feasts, full sacramental preparation for first reconciliation and eucharist, altar server training, service requirements for all students, daily prayer, and adorable little extras, like the first grade Christmas pageant.

The children all wear school uniforms, of which I highly approve, and the school has a strong code of conduct without being "over the top," which is how I perceived the public school. The tuition is extremely reasonable, and since we attend at a parish without a Catholic school, we qualify for their parishoner rate. We can afford it.

After we left, Hank announced, "I love this school, Mommy. I want to go here!" I did my best to stay quiet until Mike spoke first. He said, "let's talk when we get home," which I knew was a good sign. :)

Following a trip to the grocery store, Mike and I sat down. He said that going in he wasn't prepared to make a change, because he thinks our public elementary school is a good one, which it is. But that he was very impressed by St. A's, and thinks that it might be a better fit. He's leaning toward trying it for first grade. I was estactic.

The decision isn't final yet. I think we should let it simmer for a few weeks. There is still another open house that I'd like to go to. St. B's, which is Thursday evening. Mike can't attend that one with us due to a class commitment, but Hank and I will scope it out. I think it's always good to compare.

But in the end, I'm hoping to have Hank registered for Catholic school, most likely St. A's, by the end of February, to begin in the fall. With the 3 of us having as positive an impression as we did, my thought at this juncture is that this is a winner.

Last night, I couldn't sleep, my mind was such awhirl by the unexpected developments of the day. Even though the tuition is affordable for us, we still have after care costs to consider (school starts nice and early, 7:45 am, but ends at 2 pm), plus the new baby. If Mike is home, these costs won't exist, but eventually we'd like him to find a job in his new field, obviously. I will go back to work, so we'll have daycare costs, which for an infant, are *significant*. Catholic schools also come with fundraising obligations, and I'm worried about those too. But once again, I shouldn't "borrow worry." One thing at a time. Hank and I will attend this other open house on Thursday, we'll let a week or so of thinking time go by, and we'll make a decision. And then we'll go from there.

But overall, I'm feeling much, much better about schooling issues. And despite all the uncertainty with Mike's future employment, I know we're in good hands. Everything is going to be ok.


  1. I'm so happy to hear that all three of you had just a good impression of the first school.

  2. So happy things went great at the catholic school. Sounds like things are really great there.


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