My mother once told me, “Finding quality education for your child will be the hardest thing you do as a parent”. She wasn’t wrong.
I pride myself on knowing a lot about education, educational politics, and different teaching methods without being a teacher. Over the last 3 years I’ve researched the death out of every public, charter and private school in our area to find the right one the fits our family. I know how much each school district yearly budget is, how much teachers get paid, test score and teacher to student ratios.
It started 3 years ago when my daughter was in pre-school. Doc was always very bright and pick up colors, shapes, numbers, and read at an early age. Her fine motor skill always needed work, but she could sit still, listen and follow directions. Since she was very well behaved and very tall for her age, we decided to start her early in school. In AZ the age cut off is 5 before Sep 1. Her birthday is Sep 27th.
Finding a school that would allow her to test into kindergarten was hard enough, but the blow back I received from parents and teacher (who by the way didn’t know Doc) was awful. Everyone told me not to do it. She would be behind. Let her be a little kid longer. (you get the point)
Well… ignoring all of the noise we got her tested, they let her in and she started kindergarten in one of the better schools in our area. She did great and by the end of kindergarten was reading at a 2nd grade reading level. My only complaint about her school was that her classes were very large, her school was very large (We felt like a number) and they were known to give out a lot of homework. I also felt that kids were rushed though the “system” even if they did not fully understand math or reading concepts. So for 1st grade we started the search again and found a small private school near my work. The only down side was it was a private school and we had a tuition bill due every month (Which was still a lot less then out daycare cost and a little more then charter school after school cost). Right now it works out since one month tuition payment is the same as one weeks pay.
We love our little private school. Classes are small, teachers are loving, homework is at a minimum, and everyone knows everyone else. The 2nd grades play with the kindergarteners, the first graders watch out the younger kids, and the other grade are always helping out the little kids. The sports and afterschool actives are fun and exciting. My daughter never wants to leave.
Now that school year is half over, and school registration season is in progress I find myself in the same position as when we left kindergarten. We might be moving so we need to find a school around where I work (since we are moving closer to work). Do I keep her in this private school, which tuition is going up, or do I move her to a great charter school? Most charters are great academically but the amount of homework they send how is crazy and the amount parents pay for afterschool care is a lot! The schools are much bigger and classes can be up to 30 kids.
I love our little private school but worry that if tuition goes up each year, we will not be able to pay. As our careers keep moving forward we run into the issue that we will not be able to qualify for scholarship. If we leave Doc would have to start over with friends and connections and risk being “the new girl” in school. We also risk moving from a well-rounded educational system to one that is just focused on test scores. Then when Bam get in school we are going to face this same issue.
I don’t know what our answer will be for the next school year… but for the next month this is going to be my main stress and worry.