Monday, January 11, 2010
Something new to worry about
Bryan and I have been going back and forth about where Ellie should go for kindergarten next year. It's a decision that comes with loads of questions.
She could go to the public school and for one solitary year, I could have both of my girls in the same school. Of course, sending her to the public school opens up a few questions. For one, I'm concerned about whether it will be full day or half. Since we moved here, they have been promising full day kindergarten, but it hasn't happened yet. Will this be the year it happens? Your guess is as good as mine. Because the length of day is a concern, I have to wonder if I'll be able to insist on her being in the AM session if it is a half day Kindergarten. I'm firmly against afternoon kindergarten for a variety of reasons. Bryan is in favor of the public school. He wants to be done paying tuition. I am pretty much firmly against it because I have no idea what we're going to get. I know several people who felt the kindergarten teacher their child had at this school was just too mean to be teaching such young children. Based on what I have heard, it looks like we have a 40% chance of Ellie getting one of the mean teachers. Those aren't good odds in my eyes.
I prefer the known quantity to the unknown. I could send Ellie to the kindergarten at her current school. Madeline went to this kindergarten and we loved it. The teachers were loving and sane (we have been scarred by a horrific 1st grade teacher). She was reading by November and her class covered first grade math starting in January. The class moves at a pretty fast pace, so they cover a lot of ground. When you graduate from their kindergarten, you go to first grade very well (too well) prepared. Madeline didn't learn anything new in 1st grade until the school year was nearly over. Class size at this school also tops out at 14 students to two teachers. I love that ratio. The public school will have anywhere from 20-25 students in a class.
Our third option would be to send her to our parish school. The tuition is roughly the same as the private school we currently use for her. (In fact, their kindergarten was $50 less than Ellie's school this year.) Getting her into the school would be the biggest challenge. They often have a waiting list, and children who have siblings already in the school get priority. The cons to this school would be that I have been told (by a kindergarten teacher from that school) they're not as academically advanced as the public school despite the fact that they are a full day program. Clearly sending Ellie there would not be as beneficial as using the school she currently attends. Class size is 30 students, which in my opinion is a bit crowded. However, I know one of the teachers, and am told that the other kindergarten teacher is very nice.
I feel so conflicted. On one hand, I'd really like to send both of my girls to the Catholic school, but I've been told by enough people that they're academically behind that I should know better than to even consider them. On another hand (I have three for the purpose of this blog posting) I could have both of my girls go to the same school next year and not have to worry about conflicting days off from school or even conflicting drop off and pick up times. Ellie would be late for school every day at the private school, and sending her to the Catholic school would mean that we have to have everyone out the door 30 minutes earlier than when we leave now. Both the Catholic and private school would allow Ellie to be done with school 45 minutes earlier than Madeline. If I send Ellie to the private school she will be late every single day, but since they don't start instruction until 9am, she won't miss any of that. I simply can't have her at school any earlier than 8:50 since I need to drop Madeline off at 8:40. If I send her to the public school, I know she will have a poorer education than what Madeline received for kindergarten. But, if we use the public school, we will save over $3,000 since we won't have to pay tuition. I really can't decide what we should do.
According to Ellie's school calendar, registration was suppose to start today at her school. No paperwork was given to any of us, so there's the possibility that the school may not be around next year. (It seems like they're in a tough spot.) The Catholic school is doing tours in another week, and registration will take place in just under a month. The public school will not be doing registration until late April. I am going to go out of my mind making this decision.