This week I made a big parenting decision to change my oldest daughter’s school, AGAIN.
She has been in four different schools (daycare, preschool, elementary) in her seven years of life, and this will be her fifth and last stop for elementary school. It took me a long time to find the just-right situation for her. My twins will enter kindergarten this year, and it was time to make a decision that would be for the greater good of all three.
We moved to our home when I was six months pregnant. We found the house we loved and could afford at the time. I didn’t check niche.com or US News and Reports for school rankings as I now advise my clients when moving to a new area. We were happy to be in our new home and bring our first baby into it; elementary school seemed light-years away.
By the time that baby was in preschool, I had begun to notice the great divide of opinions in our school district. We live in a city with 13 elementary schools and a high school that serves approximately 3,000 students.
I would hear things from other moms like, “We’ll move before elementary school,” or “We’re attending private schools,” “We’ll attend elementary school but move before middle/high school.” And not a week goes by without a post on the local mom’s site asking how the schools “really” are.
Every parent and family is entitled to their own opinions and make their own choices for their children. I may be a mom of three, but it was my first time sending a child to elementary school and I felt incredibly lost. It’s hard to block out the negative noise when it comes to the education and wellbeing of your children. Was my decision going to be the wrong one?
The great public school debate became my obsession – where do I send my children, do we pay for private school, or move?
As a family with three children ages seven and under, we have attended private and public preschools and elementary schools. Each school they attended provided a happy, safe environment for my children to learn and grow. Some schools we aged out of, and two we left by choice. All were wonderful options and gave us what we needed at the time.
As I look back on all our school experiences, I can honestly say that there was never a wrong choice. Each school was run by amazing professional administrators, kind, attentive, and qualified teachers whom my children loved and still talk about. Each school was attended by families who cared about their children’s education and wellbeing. There was never a time that my children didn’t come home talking about the friends they made in school, what they learned, how their teacher made them feel special, and the fun that they had.
I have made such a big deal of schooling, and I need to APOLOGIZE for it all. To anyone who has heard me stress over the topic, who I’ve asked for their opinion, or about their own experiences, I’m sorry. Making decisions has never been my strong suit, and the thought of locking my children into something that may not be right for them has terrified me for years.
As I look back on the craziness I’ve made of school choice, of schooling during a pandemic, and on our actual experiences in the schools, there was never a wrong choice.