Thursday, January 23, 2014

Education Dilemma

So, I mentioned in my last post that the current dilemma is what to do regarding Jena’s education for next year and beyond.

You see, we had always planned on sending her to the local public school, and I had even called  talked to them prior to enrolling her in Kindergarten at her current school. Why did I call? Because she misses the cutoff for the school year by less than a week. But I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues.

At that time I was assured that if she completed an accredited Kindergarten program, there would be no issues enrolling her in first grade the following year.

So a couple of months ago, due to several things that were going on, I met with her current teachers, then called the public school again.

Uh, no. They want her to repeat Kindergarten next year. Strictly because of her age. I explained that she will have completed an accredited Kindergarten program, that her current teachers think she will be more than ready to proceed to first grade both academically & socially, and offered to bring her in for whatever testing / evaluations they feel are necessary.


Basically they really, really, REALLY don’t like to move kids out of the neat & tidy little box associated with their age.

It was explained to me that even if she did test into first grade, and they evaluated her to be socially ready, and IF they decided to then permit her to enter into first grade, they still would only allow her to attend half-day, because kids her age aren’t ready for a full day of school. According to them. Even though she's been in a full-day preschool since she was 2 years old. Oh, and schools across the country have full-day kindergarten. But, whatever.

Oh, and they’d charge us a tuition (yes, to a public school) as well.

How she’s supposed to only attend half day first grade and still progress along with the other students I have no idea. Or how that’s not supposed to hurt her socially, as she leaves every day while her friends stay. Or why they’re charging tuition to a public school. Or why her completing a Kindergarten program, accredited, in the same state, isn’t good enough. I. Don’t. Know.

Momma not happy.

Especially since I had previously called and been assured there would be no problems. Apparently our definition of “issues” is different. Hmph.

So, we may be able to get her into public school, but in order to do so we will have to go before the school board and fight for it. And quite frankly, even if we succeed in getting her in, I’m not sure I want my child attending a school where the administration  seems to think that all children should fit into this tidy little box based solely on age. Or any other factor for that matter.

And did I mention the cost of after-school care?

If they permit her to attend full-time, it will eat up over 15% of my paycheck each month. Not bad. Pretty much expected.

If she only attends half-day, the after school programs in the area will cost us nearly 25% of my paycheck. Starting to hurt a little more.

But if the school charges us a tuition on top of that? We might as well send her to private school.

So… we looked into that. Basically there’s only one private school in the area who has a good academic reputation, doesn’t add too much onto my daily commute, and we might be able to afford.

Except… private school tuition + after school care = nearly 75% of my paycheck.

At which point… why am I working?

So… we’re looking into homeschooling.


Right now it seems like the best option, except for that minor losing-my-income thing. Because our last tax statement showed that I bring home over 40% of our net income, plus provide all the benefits & childcare. Not exactly chump change to lose.

Thus, the dilemma.

Currently we’ve pretty much ruled out private school because of the cost. So we’re actively looking into homeschool curriculums as well as area groups / co-ops for homeschoolers while at the same time moving forward with trying to get her into full-time first grade in the public school. We figure if we get her in we can always change our minds later if we see fit, but all decisions regarding enrollment have to be made by the end of the previous school year (so May-ish timing), so we’d better start now so we know if that’s even an option.

I'm pretty much adamant that she not be forced to repeat Kindergarten. Just knowing her as her parent, plus having her current teachers tell me that not only is she the most academically advanced of all the kindergartners, she's also one of the most mature students in the class, I honestly believe forcing her to repeat Kindergarten would be detrimental to her development both academically and socially. So that is pretty much our worst case, last choice, we can't figure out any other possible way option.

So that’s where we are right now with that. As always, thanks for checking in!


'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

What an awful dilemma! I am almost always against kids going to public school just based on the garbage they get exposed to there. But I can see that your bottom line is very affected by other choices. I hope this all works out for you and that some 'right' answer will pop up and feel right.

Melissa said...

I also advise against Public School anymore, but sometimes its not an option.

I'm not sure I'd be so adamant against her repeating kindergarten, as opposed to the issues of sending her on to 1st grade.
She's at the top of her class and one of the most mature, but that is with kids her age/younger than her, right?

If she's a week (and up to several months) younger than the kids in 1st grade, suddenly she might be at the bottom of the class and one of the least mature.
Not sure how that change would affect her confidence or self-esteem, or if the other kids might tease her as being a baby for having to leave school early.

Whereas if she's one of the older, more mature, smarter kids in Kindergarten and on through her school years, she'll likely end up excelling and being more of a leader, one that the other kids/people look up to.
That kind of confidence will serve her a lot better in her future, I would think.

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