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ashkash 10-22-2006 12:24 PM

Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
First, thank you if you read this long post!! :hugs:

OK, this decision is seriously making me sick, I mean leaving me mentally, emotionally exhausted. I don't know why I can't just decide. Here's what's going on.

We built our house 2 years ago in this particular school district, because several people told us how amazing the public school is here, and we knew that it would be much easier to use the public school, financially, since I'm a SAHM & that's very important to us. Well, DH & I both went to very good private schools, so it's always been a bit of an adjustment to think that my kids would go to public school. Most public schools in the New Orleans area are sooo very, very awful, but not this one. It's excellent, compared to the others around here. Actually it just got awarded the status of Blue Ribbon School, so that's good, right? A couple problems, though, now that I've actually visited the school. First, there's almost 1300 kids, spread over 5 grades (K-4), so it's huge. Doesn't feel like it when you're there, though. And it's STRICT. Kids must be silent in the halls, with their right foot always on a line going down the hallway (so they stay in line). No talking in the cafeteria, either, but the teachers read stories, sing, etc., during lunch. And they have like 30-45 minutes of nightly homework in kindergarten! Yikes! But the teachers we know there describe it as the best school they've ever taught at, very kind, very moral atmosphere.

So, now I'm in a quandary. We could move again into another parish & try to get the kids into a magnet school, so they'd be in a good school. Or, we could make financial sacrifices to send them to a private school, but the thought of spending $6000 per kid makes me sick, knowing there's a perfectly good public school right here in our district. But why can't I just say "OK this is where they're going."? I cannot make that decision, I think I'm afraid it'll be the wrong one!

And then there's the issue that this public school only goes through 4th grade. The middle school is awful, so we'd have to send them to private school at that point. And then we definitely want them to go to private school for high school, if we stay in this district. But if we moved into another district, they could stay in the magnet school all the way from K through 12th grade.

See my quandary? What would you do? My mom & MIL say to try our local school for kindergarten, then switch if we find that's it's not to our liking. But I know how hard that would be for DS#1. He's so shy, it would be extremely hard on him to switch schools like that. I wouldn't do it unless it was seriously, absolutely necessary.

Thoughts, advice anyone? Thanks. I feel like I could cry every time I think about this decision! :cry:

urchin_grey 10-22-2006 01:31 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
Maybe you could meet with the teacher he would have? That might sway your decision if you find he will have a great teacher (or not). (I live in LA too, very near you actually, and most schools put kids in classes by last name, so you could probably easily find out which one he'd have.)

Other than that, I really don't have any advice. DS isn't near school age yet, but we are already planning on home schooling because he will be in special-ed and I'm just not thrilled with what they have to offer in that department (I live in Slidell). :rolleyes:

Anyway, I'm sure whatever you decide, it will be great and if not, it won't be permanant. Just take it one day at a time. :hugs:

DiapeyMom 10-22-2006 01:35 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
Yep, we are going to be building a new home soon too and this is top on our priority list. I went to public school the whole way and dh went half and half. So, we know what both sides of the coin brings. It's a VERY tough decision. I always said we would put dd into public school because we can find very good ones around here, but the homes there are $$$. So, I'm considering going where the homes are less and getting more and then putting dd into private school for $5000/year. It kills me to do that because I always think that could fund her college thru the prepay system here. So, it's a toss up.

For you, I would have to say to start out in the private system. I'm only saying this because you will have to transfer your kids at middle school and the kids will already know their friends and be comfortable with them and middle school is a very hard time to change for kids. I think your public elementary sounds good. There's nothing wrong with being strict. I've found that strict schools like that produce great students. Although, I am a little concerned with the fact that they don't get socialization time at lunch. What's up with that? Do they get to go outside for recess and then go crazy?

Good luck with your decision. It's soooo hard. Whatever youi decide will be best for your baby.

GrandIsp 10-22-2006 01:41 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
I agree with the PP who said to maybe go meet the teacher 1:1, do some more investigating, etc. Maybe there is a good reason you're having trouble taking the jump into the school. Looking into it a little more (although it sounds like you've done a lot already) will maybe solidify why your gut isn't letting you do this. Maybe? :headscratch:

I feel for you! We don't even have a babysitter - ever - at this point (DS is 17 months) because I just can't seem to take the plunge. Who knows what I'll do when Kindergarten comes around! Are you at all interested in homeschooling?

ashkash 10-22-2006 02:36 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
Thanks for the advice. Homeschooling is not really an option for us, as I know my limits as far as patience, lol! Both of our boys are in a little church-run preschool, which we've been very happy with. It's small and all the teachers know all the kids. This is what I'm wanting from an elementary school, but I know that may not be a reality.

The magnet schools would be ideal, I think, if the kids could all get in (selective admission, based mostly on test scores). They're smaller, more arts-based, and seem to be a good balance of strict while still letting the kids show their individuality (as opposed to turning them into robots, which is what I'm afraid of with our local school). And they're excellent schools academically. The only issue is that we'd have to move into a different parish if we wanted to utilize one of the magnet schools, because we don't have any in our parish (Carly - we're in Belle Chasse).

There's still one more private school, actually it's a Lutheran school, that we plan to look at. I think its tuition is slightly more reasonable (still like $5000 a year, which is crazy). I know a few people who love it though, so it may be worth the money if it meant we could stay in our current home.

Ahhh, the decisions!!!!! :banghead: I swear I'm gonna get an ulcer from this!

Moo&LaLasMomma 10-22-2006 02:45 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)

fostermomcchr 10-22-2006 04:26 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
Contact the principal and ask for a school tour and a chance to observe several classes at different grade levels and spend time during the lunch as well. For this visit, I would suggest leaving any children at home so you can concentrate on teacher/student interaction, teacher/staff interaction, students and see how they react to any rules such as the halls and lunch. It is also important to realize that a school atmosphere is directly tied to it's principal. When our oldest was 4 we checked out schools and bought this house based on the schools alone, he had a wonderful principal, a great school experience and really loved school til his last year at elem when a new principal was transferred there, that was the same year our youngest started K, we had the worst 6 yrs, and wouldn't you know it, now that Michael has moved to middle school, the elem has a new principal and he is wonderful! The staff/students/parents loves him and the atmosphere at the school is back to being wonderful again, so think about that as well. Good luck in your decision, I went to private elem/public high, hubby public and we decided that it was more important for me to be a SAHM than send them to private. I would never change that decision at all. How long before your child will be in school?

ashkash 10-22-2006 07:02 PM

Re: Making myself sick picking a school for DS - Help (Very long, lol)
I did tour the local public school a few weeks ago. The kids were pretty orderly and listened when the teachers spoke to them. Classrooms seemed to be laid out well, and I know they have some neat computer technology that some big company just gave them. The principal has gotten principal of the year for our state in the past, and the school has a very active PTA, which is something I definitely want to be involved in.

However, the principal is supposedly retiring next year, and things have changed a lot since the hurricane. The school has had to take on more students, as all the other schools in the parish were destroyed (they recently reopened one, but most kids are still going to ours). The schools that these kids came from were generally lower-quality schools with lower expectations, so it may take a while to see how these students will do in this school - whether it affects them positively, or whether they affect the school negatively. Does that make sense? I just don't know that I want our kids to be guinea pigs for it all.

I definitely do not plan to go back to work just to send them to private school. We could make it on DH's salary & send them to private school, but it would be tight (depending on how much the tuition was). We have to decide soon, though, because DS#1 will be in kindergarten next year. :cry:

Thanks for all the thoughts - ya'll are definitely making me feel better at least! :hugs:

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