Monday, January 28, 2008

Kindergarten Blues...Already!

Boohoohooo, can you hear my anguish all the way to Texas? My baby is starting kindergarten already. Well, in 6 months. Okay, so I have some time. But what has spurred my sadness is that she was given a kindergarten registration form at her school today and it's due FRIDAY! I'm still in shock that I'm already making decisions that could potentially affect THE REST OF HER LIFE...gracious! So it's decision time. I thought my mind was made up, I had already filled out the "yes we're interested in coming here for kindergarten" form 2 months ago. But now I'm getting cold feet. It's the dern pressure I'm telling you. The school she currently attends is AWESOME and she is totally thriving there. They are starting a kindergarten next year for the first time. It's Monday-Friday from 9-2. $300 A MONTH!!!!! Ouch. But it's like the perfect place for her. Smaller class. Awesome teacher. 5 hour school days. No pressure-filled kindergarten testing like they do in public schools here. Ashton will be there next year too and will also have to be there at 9, making it easy to drop them both off at the same time and at the same place.

BUT...I'm a HUGE advocate of public education. There, I said it! Burn me at the stake! The benefits are ENDLESS and totally outweigh the negatives, in my opinion. As a former school teacher in the public schools, I'm telling you public education is priceless. It's wonderful (in most places). I know there are some rotten schools out there, but I've never been in one. I know there are some rotten teachers out there, but I've never met one. There are many rotten kids and parents, and I've met a lot of those. The endless state testing, not a bad thing in my opinion. It's all about accountability. Don't want my kid learning from a multiple choice worksheet all year, but the testing itself is not a negative. It has, in fact, raised the standards FAR beyond what they were when I was in school. So I'm okay with that. But I don't think a 5 year old should be in school for 8 hours a day.

Do you see my dilema? Go to private school for a shorter school day, learn lots and be ready for 1st grade in public school, but pay a LOT OF MONEY, or go to public school where she will be in just as good of hands, for FREE, but have a way too long school day for a 5 year old in my opinion!

Okay, time for you to weigh in with your thoughts. Homeschooling is not an option, in case anyone was going to say, "Well, you should just homeschool!" I'd rather stick needles in my eyes. I can't get her to sit still for 5 minutes to FINISH A MEAL, much less read a book, learn some letters, or practice writing her name. Not an option!


mom2iande said...

I say pay for her to go shorter days and go right where little sister will be and they can go together. Somehow, the money will be there.

I have to agree with the NO homeschooling thing. Mine would want to know if they could watch Disney Movies all day long and talk about the characters in the movies. Yeah, right!

Have you ever considered a "Charter School"? I don't know a lot about them, but a girl in our Sunday School class chose that over public since they couldn't afford private. You may have your opinions about them. Like I said, I didn't really know much about them, but she made it sound like it was a good alternative between public and private when Private is expensive.

We are in the process of applying for pre-k for ours (same kind of thing -- they would be at the same place) and when I was reading this, I was like WHOA...Kindergarten. I guess she will be in Kindergarten since ours is about 6 months younger. But, wow! I remember when she was a little baby. How did Kindergarten sneak up that fast?

Texas Aggie in Florida said...

We do have a charter school nearby, but I dont know much about it. You really have to do your research on those. Some are great and some are kind of shady. But I do know it's full day kinder at the charter school too, so if she's going a full day, she's going to public. It's just easier that way. Closer to home. More convenient. I've also known of a few charter schools in TX that closed their doors like mid-year. That seems to be a problem that some of them have. So you have to be careful when choosing them. And many of them don't offer extra curricular activities for the older kids. I'd like for her to start out with the same group of kids in her classes and move up with them rather than going from school to school.

mom2iande said...

I thought you might know about charter schools better than me. I hadn't really investigated them and had only heard about them from this girl at church. That is kind of scary having some of them close up.

I agree -- I would rather our kids make smooth transitions when it comes to school. I have liked ours being at the development center together two days a week and am going to miss when big brother has to go five days a week when he is in kindergarten!!!

MargaritaMamma said...

OK so I am a reader of your blog! My friend Mel introduced me to it! I check in regularly and now I will comment!!! It's fun "meeting" new people!!

I am an advocate for public school. I am also an advocate for all day Kindergarten. My daughter who is 4 is ready for all day NOW. Of course she is just in preschool, at our public school and it is also free. Do you have a public preschool?? Something to look into!!

I enjoy your blog. I have family in FL, Panama City to be exact, and I am from South Alabama so I can relate to everything that you say!! You are too funny! Feel free to check my blog out and feel free to comment!!!

Ashley said...

I understand your concerns! We have pre-k and kindergarten in our public schools that are still only half day. I think it's the best for some kids. However, they only go to school for 2 1/2 hours a day and that seems way too short. They're trying to push all day Kindergarten but they still haven't done so.

My husband teaches in public schools and like you said, the teachers are great it just some of the parents who are the problem for him.

If it were me, I would try Public School first, save the money. If she doesn't seem to be doing well in the 8 hour days, you can always take her out and put her in private (as long as there is space) because wouldn't your rather try the free first before spending that kind of money. That's a car payment for us!!

Rachel said...

Go public. I think Lexi is ready...from the little time I have spent with her. :) It will be hard the 1st 6 weeks. I always made sure Jacob was in bed/asleep by 7:30. Although, I have heard great things about charter schools and have considered that myself.

Texas Aggie in Florida said...

Welcome Margaritamamma and thanks so much for leaving a comment!

Lexi does go to preschool currently at the private school I'm considering for next year. It's not free. We do have free preschool here but it was another case of her being in school all day every day and I wasn't ready for that. So she goes 3 days a week from 9-12:30 which is just perfect. She has learned SO MUCH and loves school. It's been the best thing I could have ever done for her socially and emotionally, and of course academically.

Send me your blog link. I wasn't sure which one is it on Mel's links because she has them listed by first names.

Stop by any time!

And p.s. My husband is from Mobile, AL and is a big Auburn fan. Although when he wears his Auburn hat, I feel like he's cheating on me!

Kristi said...

OK girl, what is this talk about sticking needles in your eye? YUCK! I am pro-homeschooling. Now I know what you are thinking, it is not for everyone. True! But, for our family this works. I have spent the past few months doubting my ability as a homeschooling parent. But God is SOOOOO good. He has called our family to this and he will equip me until the day He shows me a new direction. I want to be faithful to Him.
I meet new people all the time and it is such a blessing to me to hear their personal testimonies from homeschooling. Our children are so impressionable and I want to be the ONE who influences my children. OK! OK! I am off my soap box now.
Lexi is a wonderful little girl and adapts to any situation. My vote is for the private school. The teachers are so loving and nurturing there. Cole loves his pre-k class. And as you know he loves Lexi. Have you started planning for the wedding?

Kim said...

I do not understand your Aggie Fever. Nor do I understand Auburn/Alabama fever, but it is real and people are offended by the other. Whatever. My husband is an Alabama Fan and I am by proxy. He still has to explain football to me everytime we watch it together. I'm sure that's not annoying.

I've been waiting to comment to see what others have said...

What a delimma. We've homeschooled this year (and WOW it's hard) so next year we are looking to the public school route. My sanity is at stake. I would love for the boys to go to a Classical School, but they are expensive and I can't see how we would pay for it. Charter School is my next choice (this is the first place I've heard bad stuff about them, but I really don't know that much) and public school is really dependent on the area where you live. I've always thought that eight hours was a long day for a five year old, but I know they have rest time. I'm thinking if you can afford it ($300 a month!!!!)then the private school would be your best choice.

Whatever you decide, you'll be more traumatized than she will, so rest easy.

Texas Aggie in Florida said...

I think tomorrow after I drop Lexi off at preschool, I will go up to the public school she would go to and ask to take a quick tour. Today I got to talk to a good friend who used to teach public schools in our county. I heard lots of wonderful things from her about the school Lexi would (hopefully)go to if we get the house we want. I've heard from several others that it's the best school in the area, so she confirmed what I was thinking. No matter where she goes, she'll be just fine. I will be the one crying my eyes out when I drop her off!

justgottalaugh said...

" And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way,when you lie down and when you rise up." Deuteronomy 6:6
Now you know that I homeschool my crew and I'm all for homeschooling. However, I am not one to push it on anyone because it's the hardest thing I've ever done and I wouldn't want someone to lose their hair because I talked them into it. It really has to be something that the Lord lays on your heart and then He provides eveything you need in AWESOME ways. That said... this verse says that we need TIME with out children to teach them His ways. It's worth the money to have her at school for shorter days and home more- especially at such a tender age. God will get you through the year financially, it will pass and you'll be so glad for the extra time to pour into her little heart. That's my opinion for whatever it's worth :)

MargaritaMamma said...

Sorry, it's Karen.

Thanks for checking it out! I can't wait to see what you find out at public school!

Stephanie said...

I'll have to come back, Abby just woke up and needs 2 b fed, I have lots 2 say though!

Stephanie said...

I agree with you about staying away from homeschooling. I say try the public school. Don't judge a book by it's cover, look at what is going on inside, unless the school is in the hood, and you said it's not.

I have been listing my pros and cons about homeschooling lately because if we move to the neighboring city, I could be a SAHM(my dream), but my children would have to go to school in a district that doesn't have many good schools. ^For those readers who don't know me, my children are not in daycare, my husband stays home with them.^ That problem could be solved if I homeschool...I am certified 1-8 and have been teaching in GREAT public schools for 12 years but I honestly believe it would be a disservice to my children to homeschool. Public schools offer SO MUCH more than I can offer starting with experiencing different teachers' knowledge and ways of thinking and interacting with children who are different, maybe even special needs children. I do not feel qualified to teach my children PE(nor do I want to). Blah, hated it, always have and always will. I have experience in music theory and band but I do not have the training a music teacher has. I love to do arts and crafts but I do not have the special training art teachers have to go through. The same goes for computer technology. Teachers specialize in certain areas and can offer so much more from grade to grade than I can. What about supplies? Schools have the budget to offer a variety of music instruments, physical education games, and computer software!

Even though my certificate is through 8th grade, I would never feel qualified to teach 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th. The state of Texas realized this and changed the range of certificates to 1-4.

I also don't think homeschooling would be fair to my other children, I would not be able to give them the time they deserve from me.

Another thought...aren't we all more patient with our children after we've had a break from them? I think a break from our children is good for us as well as them.

If you feel like a topic needs to be covered more thoroughly than the teacher covered it, you can enrich their knowledge at home. That's what parents should do anyway! Especially religious education.

The only way I would HS is if we had no choice but to live in a school district with very low socioeconomic status/low performing scores on state mandated tests!

I could go on and on and on. Trust your instincts and do what is best for you and the girls!