The Race for Kindergarten

How did it get to be February??? My recent explosion of posts were mostly the 30 days variety, so I realized that there’s not much in the way of actual updates here in these parts.

We’ve been spending the better part of many days researching elementary school options for the twins. Our district, like many, is in serious financial hardship, and while there are some good elementary schools, our “neighborhood” school is not one we are comfortable with the twins attending. We’ve currently got 4 applications at various charter schools, and there will likely be a fifth come this week. All of the schools run on a lottery system, so we have NO idea if we will get any of these options, and it’s possible that only one of the twins would get picked through the process at a given school. We will NOT separate them for kindergarten. Not even from the same classroom, much less the same school. All but one (well, now two) of our charter options will require moving. Another option is to apply for an intra-district transfer for the school near friends of ours but within our district. If that falls through, and all of our charter options fall through (or we don’t like a campus based on the upcoming site visits) then we will move to be within the boundaries of that school, even if it requires an apartment.

Yes, this sounds like a LOT just for kindergarten. But things aren’t like when we all were kids, and the local elementary school was your only option and was likely a good option at that. I’m keenly aware of the needs of my children and I fully believe it is my obligation to find them the best environment I can manage. Would I pay for private school? ABSOLUTELY. But we’re two state workers. On the heels of 18 months of being a (not by choice) single income family. We’re still digging out from a hole we fell into like so many in this economy. And I think there are good options beyond that. Part of my problem is N. N is reading at close to a third grade level. He reads words like “treasury” and “champion” and “believed.” I DO NOT want him to become the “teacher’s helper” because he can read and understands subtraction and count to 200. I need him to be with a teacher who is as committed to challenging him as we are. At the same time, J is ahead of her age, but not NEARLY to the extent N is. And I want them in the same classroom.

So the reality is, I KNOW the best option for them is the charter that has a campus over by our old house. There are 40 kindergarten spots. Many of which will go first to siblings of existing students. I am the kind of person who will blow off something I want to lessen the disappointment if it doesn’t happen. But as much as I DON’T want to move, as much as I loathe the idea of it, unless the charter behind our current house surprises the heck out of me, I want the kids in this school.

My other concern is J. Any time we talk about school she says she is nervous or scared. That girl is much more like me than I realize sometimes. I think her fear is already manifesting itself as she has recently been exceptionally clingy every time one of us leaves for work, even if the other is home. Once we know where they are going, I will walk them around the campus periodically to give her some familiarity with the environment. I don’t do well with change, and I don’t think she does either, and this will be the biggest change of their little lives. Which is another reason I think my first choice charter would be good, because the entire school has less than 150 students. Our neighborhood school has more than 150 KINDERGARTEN students.

Do I think they will be successful no matter where they go? Yes, because we will be involved parents dedicated to making sure they are adjusting. And yes, I realize that I run the risk of sounding like some crazy parent thinking that their kindergarten year will determine their future at Harvard Medical school. But I could care less where they go to college or what they choose to be “when they grow up.” I simply want them to have every opportunity to grow into who they want to be. And this is the first real decision we make along that path.


5 thoughts on “The Race for Kindergarten

  1. I so hope you all get what you’re wanting, and that N is adequately challenged and J set at ease. Such an exciting transition, but also a scary one–for all of you. xoxo

  2. Oh dear, now I am completely stressed-out about kindergarten. My two turn 3 in April, so I have time to turn this stress into something more productive, but holy crap. We’re on the peninsula, so most schools are good, but some are clearly better than others. You’ve inspired me to do some research!!

  3. I know this path all too well. So many choices, so many difficult decisions. Go with your gut. Take the risky chance. This is about a long term relationship your kids will be having that shapes who they are (not to add any pressure šŸ˜‰ )

    Hang in there. It WILL all work out!

  4. We picked our new house for two reasons – school district & proximity to our group of friends. While the school they will go to is the best in the city, it’s not our top pick – I’d rather a Montessori or Waldorf experience, but that won’t happen (out of our budget & location is far) – so even though they will be at the ‘best school’, I will still feel like I cheated them out of a little something. Guess my point is that deciding schooling options is so complicated on so many levels šŸ™‚ In the end for us, going to the same school with all of our friends’ kids and developing those long lasting relationships ranks above trying to figure out a way to do the other schools we like. Luckily though, they will be in a great school – based on ‘numbers’ and other things that rub me the wrong way! LOL

    Good luck – I hope you get your first pick!! šŸ™‚

  5. Scary numbers and worries and what ifs. If you can hold on to the fact that you know they will be great where ever they are with you by their side, good for you. Easier said. Print it out and carry it around as this will be a long wait chock w worry.

    I love to worry and frankly, I excel at it. Allow me to share this burden of worry. Potentially lift it up to a whole new level of achievement. Rest your mind – I got this one.

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