Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sing a New Song

Since Annika was a baby, we've been agonizing over whether to do the private school thing or send her to our local public school. Having swum the sea of mediocrity ourselves, we firmly believe that public school is more "real world" than private school. Nobody holds your hand and makes sure you do all you need to do to graduate in public school. Nobody reminds you at UGA that you need X,Y,Z classes or that you have to take that test. If you don't graduate, tough for you.

When it came to Annika, though, we thought maybe it would be good to be in control of the brainwashing that occurs in school. Sure, religiously-based schools have brainwashing and biases too, but at least you know what you are getting. If you go to Catholic school, you are getting the Catholic party line. It's pretty easy to know what that is. If you go to public school, though, who knows what whims they may be following. Like when my sister was in elementary school and they stopped worrying about spelling - "whole language," I think it was called. Thank goodness for spell-check. . .

Similarly, if you pay for the school you have more say in what the school does. No one is going to put your kid into World Geography instead of Economics just because it is convenient or because "freshmen don't take Economics". Also, you have license to complain if your kid gets put in the class of the teacher who hates her job and thinks that her big writing break is always around the corner.

That's the idea, anyway.

So, we made our application back in the winter, and have been worrying about it ever since. Would she get in? How do we pay for it? Is it the same academic standard as the other school? Would it be OK that we aren't the world's greatest Catholics?

But alas, Annika was not offered a spot at our chosen school. Rumor has it that there were only 8 non-sibling spots available. I don't know if that is true or not.

So, today we registered for kindergarten at our local public school. And it was fine. There was a lot of beaurocracy, but we saw Annika's favorite neighbor (Maddy) and another neighborhood friend whose brother is also starting kindergarten in the fall. Annika is pretty excited because Sarah Anne is also going to this school. And next week, we have the open house.

I think it's going to be OK.


JoeVic said...

We had similar tug of war between public and private school for our Hailey. Then we quickly had 2 more (thank you Jose Quervo), and the option of private school was out the window. No way to afford it for 3.
So far we've been very happy with our school. We monitor everything she's taught. I'm constantly looking for the agenda driven, political brainwashing, anti-american, anti-military teachers and curriculum. So far we've seen none. Of course, she's only in the 2nd grade. :)
I guess for us we decided she (and the other 2) can get a good education, monitored and supplimented by us at a public school, saving us $8-15k per year per child.

Dogwood Girl said...

I second what Joe said. We have also wrestled with this. I honestly believe that good, active parenting will overcome the rest of the obstacles they will run into in a school that is not completely failing. (I say that, because the school district we used to be in was so bad that I would have sold my body on the corner to pay for private.) But the schools up there are going to be great. And annika is so smart she will do well whereever she goes.

Wes said...

St. Joseph's wouldn't let my youngest son in kindergarten either. That's how we ended up at AHA. Sure, they cut the kids a good bit of slack there, but with 15 kids per class and a higher curriculum, my oldest son transitioned to no "hand holding" at Walker just fine.

We had a friend that took their kid out of St. Joseph's and put him into public school, and he was two years ahead :-) LOL!!

There are so many variables. Public schools are better in different neighborhoods. In some schools the students have to want to learn in order to get a good education. The parents have to take an active interest in their children's education.

I graduated from a catholic high school and wouldn't change it for the world.

With that said, I know that where ever Anika gets her education, you and Doug are going to see to it that she succeeds. No doubt about it...

Dorothy Gould said...

Steph, Ditto what everyone else has said. One of Soph's good friends from preschool is at Roswell N. Elementary, and his mom, a former teacher, speaks very highly of it. We have almost completed our first year of public school, and have nothing but praise. I would have loved my kids to go to Q of A, but with three, there is no way to afford it. Funny that all of us Maiers went to Catholic school; back in the day it was so cheap. Plus, Dotty ran the Bingo kitchen for years, so I think they gave her a break b/c of that.

I know that Annika will do great, and I bet you and Doug will be pleasantly surprised; I know we were.

Dorothy Gould said...

BTW, What were the white tracks/prints on the road? Inquiring minds, you know.....

Mike Maier said...

This is Kat posting. Mike asks that I always state this, so that people don't get us confused.

-- It is such a difficult decision. We have been looking at ALL the options in Hartford, from multiple Magnet schools, to the Jewish Community Center, to Montessori, etc-- and this is just preschool. We finally decided on the Congregationalists-- Specifically the First Congregational Church of Bloomfield, CT-- it is close to home and work, and (importantly) they have an opening.
I think the fact that this is something you focus on almost GUARANTEES your girls will be fine. You and Doug are active parents who will supplement the 'education' of your children with interaction.