Reasons I’m sending my kindergartner to public school:
1. My husband is making me.
I used to firmly believe in parents taking action and investing time into making sure the public school system stays not just adequate, but educationally competitive and safe for children and families of all income levels. I used to think I would steadfastly concentrate on integrating my kids with the mainstream education system and making sure that they succeed with my parental involvement.
And then my precious kid had to actually enroll and all of a sudden it was really a big decision and a huge change in my attitude.
Right now I hate integrating into the mainstream system. I want to live in the private school bubble. It’s cozy in here. The families are very dedicated people who love their kids and they always show up. They participate, they talk, they get along well and schedule play dates. We’re like-minded people interested in saving the environment with reusable sandwich bags and organic produce.
Public school is a giant unknown. It’s a heated political talking point. Are we funding public schools well enough? Why isn’t public education equal for all socioeconomic backgrounds? Is common core the devil incarnate or is it just misunderstood among Gen X parents who learned materials a certain way and can’t unlearn what has been ingrained? Are standardized tests going to reduce in frequency and punitive income damages for teachers? Or hopefully just vanish.
And then there’s friendships and playground politics and best friends and bullies.
I don’t know how I feel about cresting this gap between little kid childhood and big kid childhood. It’s all terrifying. It’s too many variables. Starting public education is taking the first step in letting go of your kid and putting them into the hands of perfect strangers. And they will stay there, in that organization for twelve years.
Twelve years that I hated. Twelve horrible, important and formative years.
School ebbed and flowed for me with awesome times and really uncomfortable ones. I fell behind in school more than I want to admit. I lied to my parents about homework from the minute I was assigned it. Homework should just go pound sand, and I still firmly feel that way. I don’t want my kids to hate school and see education as a chore. I want super nerdy kids who freak out over microscopes and new findings in space. I want music theory to excite them. I want philosophers and dreamers.
Private school is great for the encouraging, “be who you are” style of learning. It’s a place where art matters as much as math and my kids are encouraged to go hunt rocks and research their Geological matter and then bring the rocks to the art table and turn them into wire wrapped ornaments. That’s a brilliant, inclusive and idealistic education.
I love that. I love that to the tune of three hundred dollars a week for half day tuition.
Record scratch. Hold up.
I’m a writer and a social media marketing manager so let’s all have a good laugh at my income. My husband is my boss. And I mean that in the most feminist way possible. He actually pays me a legitimate paycheck for my loosely termed “work” but make no mistake friends; his ownership of a successful business is the only reason I drive new cars instead of bikes. The kind with pedals.
My husband and his good credit went to take out a loan for tuition and then the roof on our house started to leak and our basement flooded and the fence in the front yard collapsed in a torrential rain downpour. So now we have teenagers who jump over the scrap fence posts and smoke pot behind our house. They think we can’t see them, because teenagers are essentially very dumb.
We have more to worry about than keeping our children in what I deem to be the best school that matches my educational philosophy. The physical roof over their head is one important matter.
Essentially the only reason I’m staying true to my initial promise to dedicate myself to public school is because I can’t afford to be special. Sustainability and financial security are going to matter in the long run. So I’m being honest; I’m not gung-ho here we go about public school anymore but I respect the dollar and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.
At least for the sake of staying married and keeping my debt to the confines of Home Depot.