Good Day! (and ramblings about school choice)

Jake on his first day of first grade in 2010.

I’m just popping in to tell you that I’m having a great day! Isn’t it nice when you don’t know quite what to expect and you are pleasantly surprised?

I’m spending the evening with my parents, which I do off and on when my in-laws watch the kids on Wednesday nights. Tonight we’re going to be hanging out in their quiet house and sewing something I’ll show you later. But what I’m really excited about is this morning. I’ve been in the throes of school-choice decision making for our boys for next year. I am thrilled with Tyler’s dual language immersion school. I like the people and the school and the program fits his personality and will be such an asset to him in life. So he will stay there until I feel differently. But I’ve been agonizing about Jake.

Choosing schools is such a hard thing for me. There are just so many wonderful ways to educate a child and I want to do all of them. In fact, if you ever hear of a school that is an immersion Spanish school that meets three days a week and homeschools the other two days and is on a year-round schedule and teaches using the theories of multiple intelligences and has a gifted magnet class and encorages interaction with nature and self-guided learning and is free and is not just for Christians and is near my house would you please let me know? In the meantime, I’ll keep working on making a real life decision.

Don’t we as parents have so many things to worry about? It seems like every choice we make for our kids can have lifelong effects! I know it’s not always true, but it seems like it. I’ve been pondering three options for Jake.

  • Our Neighborhood School where Jake currently attends. We are lucky to have what I describe as a private-like school as our neighborhood school. You know, the ones where the PTA is so involved and the community so into fundraising that you still have music and art and dance and olympic day and field trips and assemblies and all that? In a public school. With nice people. Close by.
  • A New Charter School Nearby which emphasizes teaching with the Multiple Intelligences. Which means nothing unless you’re a geeky ex-teacher like me who gets thrills from things like this. Innovative, different, successful, and perfect for kids who want to explore information more than just learning it. They employ different teaching techniques to bring the curriculum to life in artistic, physical, musical, and other ways in addition to the standard teaching ways. So cool. And it also has a part time homeschooling program. Intriguing.
  • The GATE Magnet School for our district, where kids identified as gifted can go to a class of just GATE kids and high achievers for accelerated learning with more depth. This one is close to my heart, as I’m a former GATE magnet class teacher and (in spite of the crazy parents) count those years as some of my favorites as a teacher. So much learning can happen in that format. So much fun can be had with those kids! So much deeper can you teach, with a whole class of GATE kids.
I was leaning towards the charter school until our neighbor went to their information meeting (I’m planning to go to one in a week or two) and I wasn’t thrilled with her report about what happened and what was said there. Not that it’s not great for a lot of kids, but maybe not a good fit for our family and our goals? Not sure. Still pondering and I’ll probably still go to their meeting just to hear for myself.
But this morning I had a chance to tour the GATE magnet school, and oh, my, was I in heaven. I was worried that I’d be disappointed and overly critical of any other GATE program because I’d be comparing them to the one I taught. But I was so impressed! Actually, the third grade teacher I heard from made me feel like I was a slouch when I was teaching GATE. The level and kind of work they are doing in there is amazing, and I left the morning walking on air. They have an impressive set of teachers and a lot of special curriculum aimed at helping gifted kids go wider and deeper into any topic. They also have most of the great programs I’ve come to enjoy at his current school! The best of both worlds, it seems. Biggest downfall: it’s farther away. Sigh. 12 minutes as opposed to 3 minutes. But in the grand scheme of things, what’s an extra 9 minutes, when it looks like the kind of program that would suit Jake perfectly, and the kind of school I would love to get involved in. Although there’s still time to change my mind, I’m so excited to have a choice that I’m so excited about! (Yes, I know I’m being repetitive…that’s what happens when I’m happy!)

What a day…schools, sewing, family, and leftover roasted vegetables for lunch. Score.

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3 thoughts on “Good Day! (and ramblings about school choice)

  1. As a teacher, I love it when people get excited about our school, tell others and even blog about how wonderful a school is.

  2. I’m taking a deep breath after reading this, but thank you for writing it. The multiple intelligences concept makes so much sense. I’m two years away from these choices and already stressing about them. Especially since my little boy has a personality that I never expected and I’m not sure what direction to go with him as far as schooling. Inspight of his intelligence, I fear at a public school that he will be labeled as ADD or aggressive; that he won’t be able to sit still and will get into too much trouble. I fear that homeschooling will be too overwhelming for me and maybe not the best thing for him (to be trapped with ME all day long, haha). As of right now, private school is unaffordable. Stress…stress…stress… For now, I will focus on what I can, his speech therapy. My prayer is that if his communication gets better, his frustration will lesson a bit. We’ll see… And the Charter school, I need to look into that too.

  3. I am so excited to read your blog about your ideal school. I am searching for that exact school for my children which is how I came across your blog. I am also an ex-teacher wanting a homeschool/spanish immersion option. My child currently attends a dual-language immersion school and is doing well but I really would like to homeschool also.

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